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"After the game is before the game."

RUN RUN is an experience free-roaming game that consists of abstract feelings and constructing real "dream" scenes. In the process of experience, the audience is invited to create a game soundtrack made through the generated music. Through games, it will explore and think about the relationship between time dimension and experience, loop and memory.

produced by: Xiaoyi Hu


What if tomorrow is today? There is no tomorrow, tomorrow is today, always today. So is today a dream or a reality? Always in the same state, seeing fixed buildings, meeting the same people, watching them do the same thing. No matter how the Afro-hair boy runs, these people and things will appear meticulously in accordance with the order. Do not stop exploring; keep moving on "today", until the game starts all over again, "the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started." Explore each of the same "today", anything different is good.

The only thing that cannot be changed is that fate must be fought for in the run.

RUN RUN is an experience roaming/immerse game made by Unity. The visual part is made up of Unity and Processing: the scene of Unity is the dream/reality part of "real", while the scene of Processing is the abstract feeling and mental experience of the running character. Trigger the Processing screen from some running positions in the Unity interface. The soundtrack of the game is made by Max/MSP (controlled by TouchOSC).

Follow the link to download my Unity game and explore the entire roaming scene:


Context (scene storyboard)

The piece is visually divided into two parts. One is the dream and reality part, which is divided into two big scenes:

Scenario 1

Forests and the sea, some strange big mushrooms and plants, people dressed differently, dilapidated buildings and sculptures, steps in the air and buildings on the sea.

Scenario 2

There are deserted houses, huge animal farms with all kinds of giant animals, fish and bottles flying in the sky. The boy can ride the horse and ride hot air balloons in this scene.


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The other part is the imagination of the running boy and the experience in his mind. I created this character and put him in the scene. There are five scenes:

Scenario 1

The teacup is broken and restored, which is used as a metaphor for the passage and circulation of time.

Scenario 2

The boy is entangled in a ball of wires on the airwaves, which is used as a metaphor for him to be tightly and bound.

Scenario 3

The boy fell into the sea and met many strange creatures in the seabed: fish with legs, potted plants that can move, mouse flying on pizza, sharks bound by balloons, mummies, chameleons and so on.

Scenario 4

Walking in twisting lines, used to show that he felt confused and perplexed.

Scenario 5

The boy is involved in the black hole.


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I connected the two parts of vision: when he was running in the vast forest, time was passing, and he wanted to find an exit. When he jumped up the steps in the air, he felt more and more bound and wanted to break free, so he ran to the top and jumped into the building on the sea. Then his mind swam freely in the ocean. And when he entered another world from the sea and got on his horse at the animal farm, he began to feel dizzy and dazed. Still no exit, he began to run on horseback, finally found a hot air balloon to sit on, but was sucked into the black hole, and eventually returned to the beginning of the scene, starting all over again.


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Concept and background research

Life is not only a process from birth to death, but also a training ground for life existence and life to feel its presence.

Existential Psychology is a psychological theory that arises from the influence of existentialism. This kind of psychology emphasizes personality and experience, devotes itself to solving the practical problems of human existence and some difficulties faced by human beings—for example, the exploration of the meaning of life.

The most influential is Frankl's theory that people have all kinds of psychological problems under pressure because they don't find the meaning of life. Three-dimensional creatures have a stubborn concept of time, there will be ten o'clock after nine o'clock, and the feeling of succession or cause and effect is measured by time. Time is an artificial physical quantity and, like decimal, is an imperfect concept, so it can give rise to many paradoxes, such as Zeno's ingenious difficulties, which make serious people collapse like pi. If all the processes in the universe double from now on (like using variable speed gears in computer games), you have no way to feel because there is no reference; if from now on, time falls into an endless loop and stays in a day that cannot pass, for the same reason you still can't feel it-you've entered a four-dimensional world that can be set at any time.

What is "time"? Time is desire, and desire exists in time. The more you want, the more time you need. The object of desire always exists in the future; it can not be in the present, there are many movies and science fiction make such an assumption: if time stops, if life forever stops in one day, only the last 24 hours, what will happen to you?

We will suddenly become relaxed and great. Relaxed, we can suddenly get rid of a lot of desires, because we have seen the end of time, in the place where the road ahead is within reach, without the space of time, desire becomes meaningless. Great, we began to think about the true meaning of life, so we began to transcend.

Forever trapped in the same day, always in the same state, see fixed buildings, meet the same people, watch them do the same thing... In this game space, only running can volatilize the boy's mood as much as possible, and the speed is burning anxiety and endless courage. This is born with instinct, like all creatures, in the most critical moment with a running posture to save themselves. However, no one he met cared about why he was running because no one could help him. Life is so isolated-think who can help?

The astronaut, the savage, the kungfu man, the painter, the clown, the cook, the bank clerk, the boy ran to his own destiny, but also completed the fate of others; everything is same.

So in the end, the story starts all over again, nothing has happened yet, and we enter the new rules of the game again. Because in reality, transcendence is a delusion.

I believe that individual experience and memory are sincere testimony of the existence of the world. For creators, whether it is personal or group memory, what is important is not only the things experience that can be traced back through the game but also the process of how the memory is constructed and the ways of seeing it.

* several inspirational classic time travel-related movies, animations and books: Groundhog Day, Coherence, Rick and Morty, 12 Monkeys, All You Zombies, also a game Red Dead Redemption 2 that has a great impact on my creative images. The construction of the scene inside inspired me a lot.



First, I used Procreate to create an Afro-hair boy, and then transformed him into a 3D object in Maya, into two parts of the visual sense.


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Game screen

This part is made by Unity. I used the HDRP render pipeline to build a mountain terrain. Use skeletal animation connections on each character or animal to trigger the animation as they move back and forth, left and right. I used gameCreator to trigger and execute actions on the interaction of characters, controlling the walking of characters, the advance of horses, entering another scene and triggering events. And use OSC to connect with Processing, so that the character can go to the specified area to trigger different scene of Processing.


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Connection screen

These five scenes were written by Processing.

Broken teacup: irregular patterns are divided according to different points to imitate glass fragments. Broken glass is mainly irregular geometry, so it is necessary to randomly point on the screen and then connect it into an irregular pattern to break, put the position information in, and then set rotation of the broken glass.

The main algorithm of the second scene is to generate Gauss line, the main algorithm formula is Box Muller transform, traversing the stored points and then drawing the graph.

Both Asteroid, Fish and Particle use particle systems.



Generate music

In the video is a more satisfactory version that I have recorded, but the sound can be real-time. The soundtrack of the game can be controlled manually, and the music generated each time is different. The reverberation effector of Max / MSP is used to reflect the effect of space. I use the delay effector to delay, edit a sequencer, and write the scale to repeat the melody. Low pass filter is used to transmit the low frequency of the audio source, and sine wave and triangle wave are used to modulate the sound. Use TouchOSC to control the total volume and three audio tracks: big reverberation, small reverberation, and delay. Every time the sound is made at random, and I want the audience to control its sound by themselves, to create their own game memory and experience.


Self evaluation

This is the first time I have tried to use Unity to create a scene. I encountered a lot of problems and challenges, and the final effect was not high in terms of playability. But it was a meaningful attempt, and I began to learn how to make games. This is a whole new field for me; I didn't even know what is "Unity" six months ago. So obviously I still have a long way to explore, this is just a starting point.


Future development

How to optimize the game is what I want to solve most. I bought some models from the Unity store and applied them to the scene with my models. As a result, the accuracy of some models cannot be adjusted, so the final source file of the whole game is huge. At first, I wanted to turn the game into an AR project so that viewers could walk into the screen experience, but because the file was too large and I didn't have the desktop computer to work, it didn't run successfully. So the next step is how to optimize the file to make it smoother is my first thing to do, and then I will continue to think about turning it into an AR/VR project, or a real computer game that can be downloaded from the store. It doesn't have an ending now. Although it seems to be stuck on the same day forever, I still hope to make some different part of endings. Probably he comes into contact with someone who can trigger some hidden plot; probably he can continue to explore some fantasy scenes. I hope to make this project a truly playable, interesting or thought-provoking game, not just the current experience game.




Eliot, T.S., 1944. Little Gidding. London: Faber and Faber.

Herberger J., "After the game is before the game.” Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel

Frankl, V., 2000. Man's Search For Meaning. New York: Houghton, Mifflin.

Faris, J., 1998. The Paradoxes Of Zeno. Aldershot: Avebury.

Geig, M., 2018. Sams Teach Yourself, Unity 2018 Game Development In 24 Hours, Third Edition. [Place of publication not identified]: Sams.


2, R., 2020. Red Dead Redemption 2 On Steam. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 September 2020]. 2020. YusongMOMO Program Research Institute | A technical blog focusing on Internet and Unity3d game development — Xuanyusong.Com. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 September 2020].


gifAnimation Library of Processing:

Gif image of Processing submarine scene (copyright belongs to the original author):

Balloon shark:

Flying mouse:




Long-legged fish:

Potted plant:

A pink monster:


A man who draws a sword: