Pitching a game based on the CICLOPE 2016 Opening Film

A little over a year ago I wrote a screenplay/pitch for a video game based on an animated short film created by THE LINE Animation Studio: the opening film from the CICLOPE Festival in 2016.

I’d like to make this game but I need support to do so. Until then I figured I’d post it here for all to read.


Think of this as the game trailer. Watch it before or after reading.

More information on the making of the animation at https://www.thelineanimation.com/work/ciclope/

Game Overview

Our task is to transport the package to its destination.

We start the game not knowing what, why, or how.

The story would involve the environment and its occupants, across many scenarios. We would work together to overcome problems and allow the drone to complete its journey.

The overarching theme of the game is that we could and should all live in harmony together, make use of what we have around us, treat each other and the Earth with respect, and live a happy life.

The experience is not a walking simulator, it is more than that. It is a truly interactive, guided story, with puzzles and multiple paths.


These are the scenarios shown in the film and story boards. I’m giving them names here, but I do not see them being named in the game as it will strive to use as little text as possible.



We first see the drone flying above an River delta at low tide, arriving from an unknown location. We are immediately tasked with flying the drone, following the strand of river that we are on. The camera angle is locked to point only down. We do not see that we are carrying a package.

On subsequent play-throughs we would fly low to pick up some “gold dust” on the package we are carrying for a special bonus in the ending sequence.

After a while everywhere starts to look the same, every tree looks the same, every bit of riverbed looks the same. The small river we have been following starts to disappear, eventually branching into another which does the same. We realise that we are lost.

Picking up clues from the environment, we figure out that the best course of action is to follow the direction in which the water is flowing, eventually reaching the open sea.

River deltas have proven to be important throughout human civilisation, as they are major agricultural and population centres. They could be considered the cradle of civilisation.

We cross the open sea only to encounter an electric fence, we have to seek the help of animals to find the hole in the fence and continue our journey. Near the hole in the fence we find a small satellite dish and overhear some broken comms/broadcast that we cannot understand.

We see our reflection for the first time in the water and see a label stencilled on our housing: D3174 (“Delta”).

  • we see: beautiful landscapes, ourselves
  • we feel: found, lost, new beginnings, purpose


Opening Credits

This acts as a tidy segue between river delta and desert, showing star-filled sky and sun-bleached-sky signifying that much time has passed and distance has been covered.

Here it is revealed for the first time that we are carrying a package.

  • we see: the vast expanse, the wide world, stars, sun, endless vistas
  • we feel: excited, inquisitive, small, ill-equipped



After flying through the desert for a while, exploring structures, a sand storm approaches and we are forced to take shelter in a small hut at the base of a felled pylon. Here we are taught first hand how we can drop the package if we need to (but only on places where X marks the spot) and how we can pick up and combine items. We learn how to craft new objects with the things we find around us.

After the storm has passed (coincidentally as soon as we have completed the tutorial objectives) we are allowed to go back outside. We discover lots of new things: a partially covered megalithic monument where we are able to find a replacement battery, and a satellite dish and broadcasting station.

Similar partially covered monuments are visible in all locations, and are a reference to technology and discoveries that have been forgotten in the name of progress.

We need to use our new crafting ability to reconnect the equipment. We then receive our first communication/broadcast. But what form does it take?

One idea would be for it to be famous radio broadcasts in foreign languages, celebratiing technological breakthroughs related to the current scenario. eg. the desert could be Africa, and the radio broadcast could be about, say, CT scan etc.

We are also given our first new ability, an Augmented Reality (AR) overlay on our camera view allowing us to see certain invisible things in the environment such as hot air drafts.

  • we see: sand storm, crafting, invisible stuff
  • we feel: accomplished, empowered



The transition out of the desert takes the form of an encounter with an oasis.

This gives us the opportunity to have a flash-back or flash-forward, somewhat acid trip sort of interjection in the story. Half through our AR glasses and half through the scene. We see elements of what has happened on Earth to leave the landscape in such a ravaged state. It is not Nuclear war, or AI, but simply a result of our over-use of Earth’s resources.

We are left wondering… what was real and what was imaginary?

  • we see: psychedelic, trippy, quick-cut flashes from another time
  • we feel: confused, lost, humbled


Solar Farm

We see something on the horizon, something that looks like a city. Perhaps our experience at the oasis had foreshadowed this? We instinctively head in that direction, and it turns out to be much closer than it looked because it is much less tall than it looked at a distance.

We have encountered a solar farm, with panels stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.

In fact the game makes sure it is impossible to fly away from them, see Notes section at the end of this document.

After our ordeal in the desert we have a problem with our battery and solar panel.

We need to figure out where in the solar farm we have to go, maybe there is something here we can use to craft a solution. Racing against daylight and the approaching shadows of nightfall we are forced in a certain direction. We realise we can follow the cables on the ground much like we followed the rivers at the delta. We end up at a hut somewhere in the solar farm.

We immediately find a new battery, but replacing our solar panel will be more difficult. Another satellite comes online and we receive more comms. We see signs of a power source radar, we have to find it and pick it up. But how?

We need to build a Rube Goldberg-style contraption involving: a fragment of our existing solar panel, the reflection of the sun to concentrate light/heat, the water tower, and of course the drone. The water tower ruptures and water floods onto the land and down a previously unseen drainage system. We fly through the pipes into an underground facility where we find a replacement solar panel and our power source radar.

  • we see: signs of sustainable technology, signs of an advanced human race
  • we feel: empowered, less small, hopeful



We see the megalithic monuments for the first time.

Our radar picks up its first sign of power, but we cannot reach it.

We need to fly to top of the tower, in stages as we do not have the power to fly at once. When we get to the top we realise we are low on battery. The only things up there are a rock and a small plank of wood. We have to position the wood on the rock and then land on it like a see saw. The wood then flips over and lands on top of us, interlocking with our frame to create wings.

We dive from the top of one monument and glide over to the other monument, to sunlight and safety, and a replacement power source.

The gliding in this stage is reminiscent of hang-gliding in Pilotwings (SNES, N64, DS) where you need to fly through rings of dots and catch updrafts. These can be see thanks to the item we obtained in the desert.

  • we see: strange monuments to lost technology
  • we feel: mysterious, capable, resourceful


Cut Scene

The transition from coastline takes the form of an introduction to our Augmented Reality camera.

We see AR overlays of ravaged landscape showing aspects of how it used to be.



We use two abilities of our AR camera in this tricky scenario. We need to find a path through the steam that avoids heat, and use updrafts to reach difficult heights.

We reach a set of six communications towers but they are offline. One of the six towers is broken and we need to fix it.

We need to find some metal, smelt it in the heat, pick it up when safe to do so, find wire and a way to cut it, and all to fashion a replacement resistor. We also need to find, untie and otherwise free various wires, and eventually re-plug them to get the system powered up.

We get the system online and hear more comms.

  • we see: heat haze, AR views
  • we feel: relieved, capable, hot!


Mountains: valley

We see the broken monorail. In the distance we can hear the sound of cattle bells.

We pick up a power signal and after some effort removing a rock fall, we enter a tunnel and find a small monorail cart. It’s a close cousin of the drone, for the purposes of delivery and operated by the same company. But it’s much older, from the days before drones.

We have to go through the waterfall to collect the battery. Now we have two options, we can leave the area with the battery we have found, or we can go back to monorail cart and give it the battery.

By donating the battery the monorail cart bursts into action and we discover that it is part of a much larger system. The various parts all come to life and start to reconnect the monorail track. This results in a special bonus in the ending sequence.

We are also given a new ability for our kindness: language translation which will allow us to understand the contents of all the broadcasts in the game. These abilities can be kept for New Game+ allowing us to see the contents of the earlier broadcasts which add an extra level of depth to the story line on second playthrough.

After the task is complete we feel as big as the mountains and capable of anything.

  • we see: the bigger picture, traces of other useful technology
  • we feel: huge, helpful, part of something bigger



This scenario not only shows some fancy weather effects, but also shows us that we can save battery power by switching off our light and by not using our other abilities.

We manage to locate a hole in the electrified fence. Once we fly through the storm abates. We are low on power but pick up a radar signal locating a power source. We fly towards it but our battery is depleted giving us no choice but to crash land. The music has been building all this time, becoming more somber, but now it falls completely silent. We hear the strained whine of motors that do not have enough power.

The image fades to black, and we think it might be game over.

A short while later the scene comes back and it is day time. We are in the opening of a cliff-side cave. We see ancient murals depicting a peaceful world.

We can photograph these with our AR camera to get a special bonus in the ending sequence.

Enough sun has entered the cave to recharge our battery enough for us to continue our journey. From our current vantage point we can see we are almost at the peak of a mountain range. The only way is up!

  • we see: rain, lightning, the end?
  • we feel: relieved, born again, recharged


Mountains: peak

We are now far off route, but the top of the mountain has been calling us.

We encounter indigenous people who have perhaps never seen a drone. Or maybe they are trying to take the package? We keep our distance and notice they seem preoccupied by something else.

There are markings on the rocks, including our familiar X marks the spot the recurring theme showing the place where we can set down our package and it will be safe.

The people are looking for their pet. They understand that the drone might be able to help them and they shout in a language the drone does not recognise, but the new ability gained at the Valley means that we can understand them. We can see the pet stranded on a high peak.

If we fly directly there we will be in too much shadow and our battery will deplete. We figure out that we need to fly between crepuscular rays and avoid shadows. So with some aerial acrobatics and some picking up and dropping things to help the animal come closer, we are able to rescue pick it up and carry it back to the people. They reward us by interpreting the photo we took earlier and show us which way we need to go.

  • we see: people, animals, the path forward
  • we feel: helpful, helped, oneness



We fly down the far side of the mountain. The scenery changes from snow covered peaks to lush forests. Never have we been able to fly so freely.

Flying below tree canopy means less direct sun light and makes parts of this scenario more difficult. Imagine the Star Wars speedbike sequence.

We are receiving radar signals for multiple power sources. One by one they drop off the radar, by going out of range, leaving us with only one. Little do we know that this is our last waypoint.

We are hit by a catapulted projectile and crash to the ground. We see the crashed drone, open package, and the child picking up and using the music box.

  • we see: a human, a child
  • we feel: useful, happy, complete
  • we hear: the music box



The end sequence is similar to the opening sequence, with the addition of humans. We see each location that we encountered in the game, but they are changed because the world is rebuilding. There are many drones, monorail systems and power source to be seen.

  • Delta: is once again the cradle of civilisation, busy with people and agriculture
  • Desert: is back online, populated and a hub of activity
  • Solar Farm: is now fully functional and even larger than before
  • Coastline: offshore wind farm, the monuments have been converted into windmills
  • Volcanic: we are harnessing the volcano heat and steam for power
  • Valley: we see a busy monorail system, and the waterfall and river is a power source
  • Storm: in daylight we see the electrified fence is another way of harnessing power
  • Peak: we see the indigenous people using technology to make their lives easier
  • Oasis: this turns out to be the home of the child, we see the drone being played with

That’s all, folks.

  • we see: everything
  • we feel: happy and content
  • we hear: rearranged main theme

Post Credits

The child is seen saving the sum total knowledge of her civilisation to a small magneto optical disc, inserting it into the music box, and loading it into the repaired drone. With great delight, she throws the drone into the air. Its next adventure begins.


If it’s an open world can’t we just keep on flying?

  • it is not an open world but a guided experience
  • each location is a limited dimensions and if we keep flying in one direction it will wrap around
  • this also help reduce backtracking if the map was wide open
  • travel between areas is guided but there is free movement within each area

Who is flying this thing?

  • we are
  • slowly we will earn about other people in the world and we will be helped on our way by many of them, in a wide range of languages
  • with an ability gathered mid-game we can understand the languages
  • hearing all the messages will require a second play-through
  • messages that initially appeared angry take on other meanings

How do we segue between locations?

  • music & animated sequence almost like a music visualiser
    • like the star-filled sky @1:38
    • and the sun-bleached sky @1:48
  • we have to rest (sleep) in some locations to progress from night to day


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Comments: @gingerbeardman