Project Proposal Update: Lost at Sea



Global warming has flooded the planet and submerged everything underwater. You are lost at sea among the ruins of an underwater planet, and your goal is to stay alive for 10 days, upon which you will reach an outpost of fellow survivors and “win” the game.

Along the way, you pick up bottled messages from other people who are presumably in the same situation as yourself, lost and alone on the ocean. You can reply to the messages by selecting from pre-written options, but whether or not you ever get a response back is up to chance.  “Sending a bottled message expresses a hope to find connection in a fear-filled world.”

As you float along, you may also come across junk objects and other items of the past that reveal to you the state of the world and the climate change apocalypse, since nothing will be explicitly revealed to you when you start playing.

You stay alive by performing actions that keep your hunger, thirst, and exposure at good levels, but these actions will no longer be the focus of the game (rather, the discovery/story/exploration aspect will be the focus.) These actions will be simply performed by clicking on various objects in or around the boat. If you hover your mouse over something that is clickable, it will have a highlight around the outline.

Random events that might occur include storms, shark attacks, and finding other boats.

Project Proposal: Lost at Sea


You are stranded on a boat and must survive for 30 days to win. You avoid sun exposure, drink rainwater, and catch fish. To win, not only do you have to do everything correctly for 30 days, but you must also get lucky (for example, that it rains enough for you to stay alive.) The game is a metaphor for the daily struggles of real life and how even the most unthinkable situations can become boring and routine.

The goal of the game is not to be particularly stressful or intense, but rather present a life-threatening situation in such a way that it seems kind of routine (kind of like if you were playing Sims: Survival Edition).  I would like for the game to induce introspection in the player, in a way that it forces the player to think about the routine they experience in their own lives.


  • The game goes through sped-up day/night cycles, with one day lasting between 3-5 minutes.
  • Thirst, hunger, exposure, and sleep levels are all kept track of. Various actions need to be performed to keep the levels in a good range to stay alive.
  • Weather is randomly decided for every day, with a chance of getting sun, rain, clouds, or a storm.
  • Being lost at sea is also a common metaphor in literature and film, so I want to reference that by having a narrator describe things that are happening in a way that feels like you’re reading a book.


Game References:


The Sims (performing actions over and over from day to day to fulfill your needs)


Murder Dog IV (having a narrator describe what is going on at the bottom of the screen, to add flavor and also reference “lost as sea” as a literary tradition)

Wind Waker (for the lowpoly boat and ocean imagery)

Non-Game References:


Life of Pi (the book goes extremely in depth about surviving alone at sea, describing everything from its boredoms to the regular routine chores required)

Vlogbrothers video about living with chronic illness (the idea about a “new normal” where your life changes drastically but you learn to become accustomed to it until it becomes routine)

Thecatamites (Stephen Murphy)

“Oh no, I like making small shitty games. I only feel embarrassed when I think they’re going to just be parsed as these incapable aspirants to some different ideal of what a game should look like, for instance as the withered embryos of 30+-minute IGF contestants rather than as things in their own right.”-Thecatamites


Murder Dog IV

From 12/10/2012 Doors Without Keys (post on his website):

“Every videogame, song, poem calls up a kind of phantom audience that it’s addressed to as well as a phantom tradition to belong to: previously disparite elements which get knitted together when seen retroactively through something new. The sense of mystery and depth in videogames is sometimes just the feeling of not being a part of the audience for a work, or not being able to imagine a context which would make it coherent.”What is the jagged blue thing meant to represent?” “Is this referencing a previous game?” “Am I supposed to be able to do this?” “Is this a secret?”. Or when you find someone’s private little webpage listing a mixture of tech demos and heartfelt projects, or the tiny community around some obscure development kit, or a list of strange titles for a system you didn’t know about. You might not ever play them just like you might not get all the way through a particular title or have the time to figure out everything that somebody’s trying to say, but that’s okay because this absence can have a quality of its own.”

Project Proposal

A dark room that is mostly pitch black with thin white lines textured on the objects. The game measures your heartbeat, so that as it beats, the room is transformed and becomes briefly full of light and color and the objects morph using blendshapes, then returns to the dark state. The faster your heart beats, the more often you can see the environment. The changing environment is meant to make the player experience a state of unease or anxiety, connected to the beating of their heart.





Hi I’m Kat, digital artist

2016-08-25 16.33.45

Hi, I’m Katherine Tsai! (I also go by Kat online)


I mostly like more relaxed environment games like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, and Undertale, but I also enjoy MMO and action-oriented games that I can play with friends like League of Legends and Guild Wars 2. I would say that interesting characters, immersive environments, and the “mood” of the game are most important to me when I play.

Here’s my Tumblr blog

Here’s my portfolio

And here are some selections of my work that are more animation/game oriented!

pastry witch's housewitch project 1cam's roomtoby's room

5. Flowers9. Falling Down the Rabbit Hole12. The Caterpillar2. Alice3. Queen of Hearts