This scene isn’t the first scene in Avatar Secrets.
It’s not even the first chapter.
It’s Chapter three, Scene two. But it was what I chose to build out when we started creating a prototype of how this project would look and feel.
This scene was pivotal for a few reasons.
First, it marks the point in the quest when I realized I couldn’t go at it alone, that I had to ask for help, which was a huge lesson and a monumental shift in how I thought about the game.
This is also the chapter where we really start to explore the changing nature of community — and that to me is what the town square and the fountain represent.
There’s a line in the script, when I first enter the town and see the fountain: “I wondered what other digital nomads were awake at 2 am, and what silence they were escaping from.”
My mom was in the hospital. I was in my childhood home, alone. And I recognized immediately, that everyone else online was also on an adventure, a mission.
Maybe they were also searching for something, or escaping something.
The town square is historically the hub of activity in a community, where people meet to do business, to share stories.
It is a meeting point.
And in our modern, hybrid lives, the digital world — whether it’s the world of World of Warcraft, or Facebook, or an online forum — becomes that hub, that meeting point.
So, not only was the challenge to visualize the transition between worlds, in real time, and integrate the illustrated imagery with photographic content. But, we also needed to find a way to communicate the big themes of the project – connection and community, identity and empathy – to subtly nudge viewers to ask the same philosophical questions, not just about my journey, but about all of our increasingly digital lives.