On tuesday next week I will be giving a lecture named "SOMA - Crafting Existential Dread" at GDC. This post will serve as a repository for more in-depth information on the information presented in that talk. I will also try and write a text version of the talk some time after GDC and if/when I do so, I will put a link to that here. Now for some info:
An overview of the failings and successes of Heavy Rain which spawned a lot of design thinking,
Self, Presence and StorytellingLink: http://unbirthgame.com/TheSelfPresenceStorytelling.pdf
This essay goes over some basics of what presence means and how to achieve it in a game. Many of the concepts and rules presented in here was a foundational part of SOMA.
The Scene Approach
A description of the scene approach which was intended to be a cornerstone of SOMA, but ended up not working.
Puzzles, What Are They Good For?
Here I describe the reasoning behind using puzzles in SOMA, instead of the more open-ended Scene Approach.
An in-depth description of the 4-layers design approach that proved to be a crucial element of SOMA's design.