Meridian | Solo Developer
Meridian is a short exploration game focusing on themes of growth and discovery. Explore a small archipelago either walking on foot or sailing in a boat, and use the your power to restore color and life to the islands.
If you want to give Meridian a try, you can download it below. WASD is for movement, left click uses the power to regrow. Walking into a dock will transition to the boat, and moving the boat close to a dock will transition to on foot. The goal of the game is to restore color to each island by walking into the glowing particles. If there appears to be no path forward, try using left click, as it can expand objects to form pathways and bridges.
Exploration and Wonder
When concepting Meridian, my main goal was to create a prototype that encouraged exploration by making the player feel a sense of wonder as they moved through the environment. To capture that feeling, I devised the Restoration mechanic and the core concept of exploring a small set of islands and restoring them to life one by one.
The core system in Meridian is Restoration, which allows the player to restore color and shape to their immediate surroundings. Using this ability adds color to the world and regrows vegetation and other natural elements, allowing the player to open up new pathways and uncover hidden elements of the islands.
This system heavily utilizes custom shaders that I had to create from scratch in order to have things like color be constantly changing and physically interacting with the world. I also needed to optimize these shaders to make sure that the game could remain performant while still doing tons of calculations in the background.
I knew early on that I wanted to include sailing as a unique traversal method that could act as a break between segments of island exploration. Implementing sailing proved to be a challenge, and I had to do a lot of research on how waves work mathematically and how boat engines are positioned to create a sailing system that felt easy to use on a keyboard and mouse but also mimicked sailing faithfully. After a lot of experimenting and looking at other indie games and how they handled sailing, I was able to implement a system that fits the game well and is realistic enough to feel faithful to real world sailing.