A Short Game from Start to Finish

MDDN243 Project 3 Game 2014

November 05, 2014

This is another project made for a Media Design course focused on Computer Game Design at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. It was a group project where the initial proposal was created by me ultimately lead to it being developed by a group consisting of myself and 3 others. 

Concept/Initial Proposal


Fossil fuels are the main source of energy in modern in the modern world. We use it every day to run our cars, power our homes and build the products we use. A major issue is however that there is a finite amount of this energy source and our dependence on it has not decreased in order to be sustainable.

Without Salt takes place in a fictional setting where the overall theme is the depletion of Salt; a fictional resource that was used by a civilization in the past. The idea is to show the aftermath of a civilization who has overused and exploited the natural resources around them for personal gain and profit. This message should ask the audience to think about what is happening in the real world and make parallels between the fictitious problems which are in fact very real in today’s society.

The story revolves around a curious protagonist who leaves the confines of his small village to explore where he is not supposed to. The journey takes us from his small village deep in a forest where wildlife and fauna prosper to a desolate and barren desert wasteland littered with the ruins of the long dead and all but forgotten civilization.


Salt is the fictitious resource that was exploited by the extinct civilization. It was harnessed for its energy and when refined and in large amounts it is destructive to living things. It forms naturally in small amounts in the world and is capable of creating life when it reacts with water. The extinct civilization used it in such large amounts that it became scarce and they were unable to adapt to life without Salt and thus they ultimately perished.


The main mechanic of Without Salt is navigation throughout the world which takes the form of problem solving to pass obstacles. The player will have the freedom to move around the world naturally but also is capable of using Salt to aid his progress. The player can harness the natural power of Salt for growing vines to cross obstacles, create geysers to propel the player or an enemy. A subtle underlying mechanic will also be the amount of Salt the player has will slowly affect the player’s health. If they hold too much then effects may be seen later in the game which are detrimental.

The player starts in the forest they call home. Wildlife lives in the forest along with the small village where the player is from. They leave the village because they are curious of the world beyond the forest where it is forbidden to go. The player will navigate through the forest by surpassing obstacles and wild animals. Salt may be found in small amounts throughout the forest but it is very scarce and thus valuable.

The forest edge will begin to show a more rocky and rugged environment where the player will encounter new challenges. This is a transitional environment which bridges the gap between the safeties and abundance of life of the forest compared with the ruins of the civilization devoid of life and full of mystery and danger.

The desert is the place where the ruins of a city are present. The player will encounter more Salt in this area but also dangerous remnants of the extinct civilization in the form of machines created for the soul purpose of harvesting Salt. The ultimate goal is have the player realise the danger of the exploitation and total reliance on Salt and attempt to prevent something similar from happening to again.