Grant Doney

Halcyon Night Itch

Grant, artist making a funny face at the camera


Halcyon Night is a simple puzzle based game set in an extensive museum, tasking the player with connecting events and puzzles across 5 timelines. Halcyon Night attempts to delve into player expression through simple mechanics in an exploration based environment, limiting their methods of in game interaction. Built using Unity, Maya, and Houdini, Halcyon Night represents 4 years of technical growth. Halcyon Night is part of a shift towards ludo-narrative harmony, creating stronger connections between players and environmental storytelling by taking advantage of the interaction medium. By engaging with mechanics, players are more likely to retain and explore an experience in more detail.

Artist Statement:

     The current game’s market offers a multitude of exploration based experiences, each designed around simple mechanical depth with an emphasis on environmental art and storytelling. While this often creates an engaging experience, the lack of mechanical depth often creates a gap between these games and other narrative experiences, often denoted by the term “walking simulator” in reference to a lack of interactions aside from basic movement. I believe a game is defined by its unique mechanics, delivering on the promise of interactivity. As a multimedia artform, games have the ability to augment standard narrative and visual storytelling with interactivity to enrapture an audience. Disregarding the interactive aspect wastes the potential of the medium. The combination of exploration based environmental storytelling with engaging mechanics offers a truer mimesis of actual interactions, ideally creating a deeper connection with the digital world.

Halcyon Night takes this approach, adding a fantastical world to enrich the storytelling and encourage deeper exploration. With the core mechanic of creating windows and pulling objects from the past, the gameplay has the ability to work together with narrative, creating a more balanced and complete experience for more types of players. It also creates a unique opportunity to explore the different aspects of game design more thoroughly in a solo developer environment. I am excited to tackle the marriage of the three pillars of games; gameplay, art, and narrative, in the solo environment, further challenging and developing my skills for future projects and opportunities.

I intend Halcyon Night to be a strong portfolio piece, showcasing a combination of technical and artistic skills alongside new technologies explored within the engine, a culmination of my personal growth in the past 4 years.

Preview of Work:

Demo Trailer for Halcyon Night Itch. Click Here to view the full work.