Hello, internet! I’m Karla, and I’m doing art things on this project. In various video games, I’ve done character animation, character portraits, graphic design, historical and thematic research, voice casting and soundtrack work, and a whole ton of stuff in .ini files. I was Steve’s right-hand creature on Minerva’s Den, and that’s still the project I’m proudest of.
So, anyway, we have this game, which is called Gone Home. It takes place in 1995, but the house that you explore is an old Victorian, still filled with original furniture and decor. The original stuff generally looks like this:
The pieces are darkish, severe, and dignified. Serviceable, slightly classical antiques that have been imperfectly but not poorly kept.
But the story of Gone Home centers around a family that moved into the house a hundred years after it was built, and they brought with them some of the quintessential unloveable 80s-90s oak furnishings that many of us recognize from our parents’ houses.
Getting these things right requires reference. The antiques are a little easier, since everyone loves a good antique. But with more recent, less tasteful items, Google image searching can only go so far. So I trawled eBay for an important artifact: a 1990 Sears Home Catalog.
Not too expensive, and a timestamped treasure trove of any household item we could want to make. There’s some amazing stuff in here, because the 80s and 90s were a real winner of a time period as regards decor. Behold:
These furnishings are not going in our game, because they are silly.
But there are piles of stuff in there that we can actually use! Like this little coffee table:
We gave these as reference to our environment modeler, Kate Craig, along with a few changes we needed to keep the piece in line with our already-existing furniture. We wanted to keep it all looking cohesive, as if it could fit together into one big horrible faux-country 90s living room.
Here’s what she came up with, lit and arranged, with a little bit of added clutter to liven it up.
And finally, here are the two styles, uneasily but naturally coexisting.
Our intent is for all aspects of Gone Home to mesh together and support one another. Here, our visuals reinforce the concept of different generations uncomfortably occupying the same space — a theme which is also woven through the story and setting.
Ack! the result – it totally looks like my parent’s house!
There is something terrifyingly familiar about that look. Scary