top of page

Unknown Paranormal

Unknown Paranormal, a 3D first person perspective horror puzzle game where players need to figure out the best route of collecting 4 pieces of totems, while avoiding being caught by the evil ghost wandering in this unknown magical inner world


Design Document

Game Overview

Unknown Paranormal, a 3D first person perspective horror puzzle game where players need to figure out the best route of collecting 4 pieces of totems, while avoiding being caught by the evil ghost wandering in this magical inner world.


From the beginning of the idea to the final effect, there are many stories. Of course, my concept of design for this project has also changed due to the design and production process. After the first class at Peter Brinson’s workshop, a thought of making a horror puzzle game came up in my mind. I was mainly inspired by a horror game called Hongkong Paranormal, which chasing and collecting mechanics. I think it’s gonna be very interesting creating an unknown paranormal world.

Design Process

The first step is to learn the portal mechanics and to make terrain and texture maps, which is the first new thing I learned in the workshop. But once I finished the initial work on a very large terrain, I realized that my computer can't support it. So I decided to make the whole terrain smaller, raise the boundaries around it, plant trees, and add invisible barriers that restrict player movement at the very edge, giving the feel of being inside a large forest.

Then, I started collecting assets related to the theme of the game. I found some suitable ancient Oriental architecture, and based on my requirement for the same color system, I changed the texture color of the buildings to represent the mysterious purple. Then, in the process of placing these buildings, I began to design and conceive some wayfinding systems. Just like we have seen in real life Japanese shrines, the doors of the shrines are usually independent from the outside. So I also put the player's birth point in front of an Oriental style Torii. This naturally leads the player to the Torii gate and into the creepy shrine and meet the evil ghost at the first place.

Next came the process of lighting design and level design. Compared with bright light, I think the dim light can better reflect the spooky environment and the mystery behind it. At the same time, I also used different sizes of Oriental buildings, such as the lower lomb and giant tower, to distinguish different parts. At this point, the prototype of the entire game is already in place. After that, I also added two secret paths for player to escape from the evil ghost quickly.

Then, my favorite step is post-processing. This is also a new skill that allows me to do simple things in Unity, but with a huge visual boost. I used a few filters, including grain texture and lens distortion, to make the world look more unreal, as if the player was looking at the whole world from a low quality camera. And this is a very important point of Eastern horror, that the vague, the obscure, is often more frightening than the direct.

Finally, was the countless iterations for the game play mechanics of adjusting the key placement, so that the players would find the key and being able to collect them, but not in a very easy or difficult way. The difficulty was balanced during 5 rounds of playtests. During this phase, there were also some slight adjustments in the game world environment, to better accommodate with the gameplay. As for the enemy design, I created a black evil ghost that’s floating in the air with some particle effects, terrifying sound effects and AI navigation system. The AI stuff was brand new for me, and I found it very useful creating a wandering AI enemy like this.

Further Iteration Ideas

For future improvements of the game, I think adding more enemies is a good way to go. Right now there is only one enemy, and the player has a single strategy for avoiding enemies. Of course, the design of more portals can also increase the playability of the game. On this basis, I will make more levels and add a more complete story line, for example, why should the player save the butterfly? And why is this butterfly so huge? And where did the ghosts in the inner world come from? These are all clues that I will lay out for the future story. More, the game's picture quality and UI sophistication can also be further improved.


It’s my first time making a combination of horror game and puzzle game. The juicy stuff I learnt from Peter Bronson’s workshop was absolutely amazing. I really appreciate the thinking methodology taught in the workshop, as well as some useful techniques like the portals. If I had more time, I’ll definitely add more levels and construct a very complete story. But for now, let’s dive into this horror experience!

bottom of page