The Unfinished Swan – A Preview

This here is a little interesting indie game that I came across a while ago. It’s not finished without any plans for a release date as of yet. So why show it to you? From what we’ve seen, the game does something very unusual in games. Like Portal and Fracture it looks into design space that I loosely call special manipulation. Unlike the previous two game where they change the area or level design around them, this game reveals it.

Unlike most first person shooters that have a gun used to kill enemies to allow you, the player, to move on through the level, here the paintball gun is used to reveal the level so you can move through it. I suppose you could do the whole level blind, but where would the fun in that be. Instead of describing it further, why don’t you just watch the video.

The Unfinished Swan – Tech Demo 9/2008 from Ian Dallas on Vimeo.

The paintball gun aspect means that there are no enemies per say, instead the world could be called the enemy. It is a puzzle game, reminiscent of Portal. You have to figure out how to get from one end to the other. That much is evident. It is unique in its approach.

Beyond just the design aspect of being a really innovative idea, but it is also creates a artistic design that creates an ominous atmosphere, both ‘inside and outside.’ I’ll explore that meaning when it comes out on my new site. So see it there. (*hint hint*) Any possible story could be chilling, if this is any evidence.

I can’t wait to see where the designers go with this. The man responsible for it has also worked on The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom, another indie design gem yet to be released.

Find out more here on his blog:

And the game:

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Eric Swain

A graduate of Boston University, majoring in English and Creative Writing and has spent significant time studying story structure and theory in the mediums of books, film and video games. His articles offer unique perspective on deep game development and design through his eclectic prose. you can find his critical analysis on

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