Weaving in a Story

The Library reading room of the Mabel Tainter.
The Library reading room of the Mabel Tainter.

After a long winter break and a fresh start to the new semester, the development team is back in action, with a few new gadgets on our swiss army knife. We’ve got loads of new and talented people working on Harvey this semester. This project has many facets. We have taken in a class of Digital Cinema students, many new 3D artists, and a graphic designer. We’re working on branding, short films to serve as cutscenes as well as trailers, and even a coffee table book to augment the project.

One of the more exciting announcements we have is that we’re finally hashing out the details to the storyline to drive the player through the game. We’ve created a Narrative Team that’s broken up into several small teams of students from all three classes to write the story for the opening cutscene, an in-game animatic, and the individual events that turn the narrative.

Picture this: A student is studying alone late at night in a library. Lightning flashes outside the window. It’s raining heavily. The student is digging into the history of UW–Stout for a class project. The library is near closing. She has been working hard and is very tired. Down the hall she can hear a door close, then another. It’s the custodian locking up for the night. He looks familiar to her for some reason, but she doesn’t know why. He is a bald man. She sees the man walk past her and approach the doors to the stacks containing the library’s collection of rare, old, and protected books. He locks the door. At least she thinks the custodian locked the door… There is light coming from a crack in the door. The student packs her book bag and stands up to investigate. She approaches the door cautiously. She is scared. She places a hand on the door and it swings open with a creak. She enters the room, and the door swings shut behind her. It’s locked. Inside, she finds the source of the light. It’s coming from high up on a book shelf. The student climbs an old ladder to investigate. She finds a book emitting a faint blue glow. She is stunned. Lightning cracks outside. Thunder booms. A window is blown open, the student is startled, and she falls. The book falls with her. She closes her eyes… But when she opens them she is standing face to face with Lorenzo Dow Harvey. The time is 1917.

That is the brief and general story of our opening cutscene. We are considering locations for filming, too! Right now, the backstage area in Mabel Tainter Theater—that once housed a public library collection—looks like the perfect set.

Vault Door to Mabel Tainter stacks
Vault Door to Mabel Tainter stacks
Ladder in Mabel Tainter Stacks
Ladder in Mabel Tainter Stacks
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