Environmental Distress

by | Dec 9, 2022 | Artwork #4: Experience, Projects

Artwork 4 Artist Statement – Environmental Distress 

By: Michael Stauber and Kaylah Webb

Game Controls

  • WASD to move 
  • E to open inventory 
  • Two finger click for action (e.g., open chest, plant tree, open gate) 

Artist Statement

Environmental distress was inspired by the game Max presented on, Proteus, which is a single player indie game which explores how the environment reacts to the player. We wanted to take this idea and explore how the player reacts to their environment. Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing also inspired us.  In these games, the players are given instant access to their environment and are provided with minimum guidelines and “side quests” to complete if they want to. Your impact on the world directly affects the others in the game, either positively or negatively. For example in Animal Crossing, if you don’t play for a long period of time weeds start to grow due to neglect. You can either choose to make your town look better once you return or ignore the issues that were the result of your inactivity.

Players spawn in the once thriving town of Turtleville where they quickly learn, they are the new mayor and in full control of everything the small village has to offer. Players have the choice to restore Turtleville’s jungle, build infrastructure to better the villagers, save the almost extinct sea turtle population, and so much more. We wanted the choices and actions to be up to the player. If players had this opportunity in the real world, what would they do? Environmental Distress speaks on ethics, internal morals, and personal/communal choices. Since Minecraft is an open world game just like the ones we were inspired by, we decided to create Environmental Distress as a side quest for Minecraft users to add a level of realism to the game. Players can ignore these issues and even use the boat to go to a new location in the map, which relates a lot to how people sometimes choose to ignore an issue somewhere because “they weren’t the ones who did this”.