Dimensional Divide


Itch Page

Dimensional Divide is a game jam project completed for ACORN JAM #5.

The theme for the jam was "Loneliness", in addition there was a twist which was "Surrealism".

The project was completed as a solo project in 4 and a half days.

dimensional divide 1A
dimensional divide 1B

Original Concept

One of the most difficult aspects of this game jam was coming up with an idea for the project. This was made particularly difficult with the addition of a twist on top of the theme.

The concept I went with was a game where the player explores several dimensions that share the same space, yet have different themes. Each dimension could be abandoned and ominous, fullfilling the Loneliness theme. I thought travelling between dimensions was also a reasonable take on the Surrealism twist.

Besides dimension hopping I had a hard time coming up concrete gameplay mechanics. Rather than spending too much time on this I decided to get started with a prototype and see what inspiration emerged from that.

dimensional divide 2A
dimensional divide 2B

Level Design

Level design was an important aspect of this project, as jumping between the two dimensions/levels of the same space was the primary mechanic of the game.

Level design is not an aspect of game development that I am confident with, so this was a challenging and time consuming task to complete.

It was particularly difficult to come up with props and areas of approximately the same size, that would fit in each level.

An interesting aspect of the levels to implement was the characters that would flicker in and out of view. To achieve this I took the animated characters and baked their meshes in a range of key poses. I then build some simple tools to automate randomizing their placement, and in some cases, placing them in bulk.

dimensional divide 3A
dimensional divide 3B

Dimension Swap FX

The dimension swap and flicker effects were another aspect of the project I put a lot of effort into. The effects helped to sell the transition between the dimensions, and enhanced the surreal feel of the envionments.

Swapping the visiability of the dimensions was achieved by putting elements for each dimension on unique layers, and updating the camera culling mask at runtime. Additional layers were added for the intermitant characters and space craft, then added/removed from the camera culling mask at a high frequency.

The glitch/distortion effects were achieved with:

dimensional divide 4A
dimensional divide 4B


Gameplay is an aspect of this project that was not done well. This was mainly due to a lack of specific gamplay design at the start of the project.

During the project I decided the goal of the game was to locate items that had become lost in the wrong dimension. I had planned for several interdimensional environment puzzels that the player would need to solve in order to find these items. Unfortunately level design took far longer than I expected, so this was eventually simplified to just searching for items within the envionments.

The resulting gameplay is not particularly fun or satisfying.

dimensional divide 5A
dimensional divide 5B


Overall I am very happy with how this project turned out.

The gameplay was dissapoiting, however I am still very pleased with the envrionments and tone created by the post processing and effects.

Having a more concrete plan for the gameplay at the start of the project would have been wise, and likely resulted in better gameplay. However this was a tough theme, and I'm happy with what I achieved.

© Daniel John Miller