Preschool Reticule

In Bonbon you play from the perspective of a small child, possibly 3 years old.

This is certainly not the first horror game with first-person infant protagonist. In particular there's Among The Sleep, which is a fantastic game. I have to say that Bonbon owes a lot to it, and it's a far meatier game than Bonbon will be. Go play it now and then come straight back.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindNow, one thing that has always slightly niggled me in any game in which you play as a child, or small being of some sort, or when you have been shrunk, is that I can't help feeling that I'm a normal sized person in a giant world.

I guess this is a problem common to first-person perspectives, at least in games that don't render us a body in-world, or a view-model. Since the game does nothing to signpost our sense of bodily scale, it becomes intrinsic to the player, and we assume that the protagonist is "normal" sized, or whatever size is normal to us. So it's easy, therefore, if I'm playing as an ant, to feel like I'm human sized in a scaled-up world. Similarly, playing as a giant makes me feel I am a man in a kaiju costume on a tiny film set.

The Land of the Giants, 1968, and King Kong Versus Godzilla, 1962

Whilst not completely solving this problem, I found a partial solution whilst setting up the HUD. I can't claim to have invented this technique, but I think this is an original use for it.

I don't play shooters much, but anyone who has played or read anything about Destiny (or the later Halo games) will know about the trick that Bungee use to coax players into looking upward: the reticule or crosshair is placed slightly below the centre of the screen. The reason for this was apparently related to the shooter mechanics, but it also had the side effect of making the towers and vistas in the game that little bit more epic and majestic, and the player is likely to see more of it. I took this idea and ran with it. In Bonbon, the reticule is also lowered, and co-incidentally it turned out that it is lowered by exactly the same amount as in Destiny.

The infant protagonist of Bonbon has to look upwards slightly, and the player facilitates this themselves by unconsciously attempting to position the reticule in the centre of the screen, which is of course impossible. As well as altering the angle of perspective and making the world loom, I also think it creates a different psychological perception. Just as deliberately affecting our body language in real life can affect our mood and thoughts ("Keep your chin up!") our virtual body language can do the same in games, depending on immersion and context. Hence the environments in Destiny feel more grand, and in Bonbon, I hope, the domestic environment feels bigger and more imposing, and the player feels smaller and vulnerable by comparison. 

Bonbon's reticule cursor is offset below the centre of the screen.

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