The Monomyth of Kingdom



Kingdom (2015) is a retro pixel art game where you play as a King riding a horse around a side-scroller world. The objective of the game is to build a Kingdom and fend of the shadows of the night.

All the player can do is move left and right and drop money to pay for buildings or hire peasants. This unique minimalist gameplay mechanic is what makes the game interesting. The game also provides very little instructions and requires the player to make discoveries of his/her own.

The Monomyth

The Ordinary World


The player first appears as a king on a horse in a seemingly peaceful world with lush pixel forests and woodland creatures.

A solitary King carries the crown to a new land…

-Kingdom 2015

Call to Adventure

The as the player explores a little further he sees the title of the game Kingdom which presents itself as a stone sculpture. It crumbles. As the player walks further on he sees coins prompting you to move forward.

Refusal of the Call

After the first night players will soon realize the vulnerability of their position and may be scared of wandering from their camp. But soon they will realize that in order to defend against the enemy and progress through the game he will have to take the risk.

Meeting with the Mentor


Eventually the player will approach a campfire and is given the instructions:

Hold down X to light a fire

-Kingdom 2015


After the player lights the campfire structures begin to form around the area wandering NPCs start to appear and another prompt appears

Throw coins with X to recruit

-Kingdom 2015

As you throw down coins to recruit NPCs prompts appear upon the other structure to prompt you to throw coins in order to get tools or weapons.


Finally it teaches you how to build walls and gallop. and with the parting words of

Build, Expand, Defend

-Kingdom 2015

That is the end to all instructions given in the game and players are left to their own devices.

Crossing the Threshold


As players explore and begin to expand their settlement, this signifies the crossing of the threshold. The player accepts the ambiguous mission and sets out doing it with what little knowledge he/she knows.

Tests, Allies & Enemies


As the first night approaches, the game seems to take on a eerie mood. Monsters start to appear from mysterious locations outside the walls. They begin to attack. But most likely the player manages to fend them off and hold out for the night.

This process repeats as the days plod on in the game and every night the monsters test the strength of the player’s defenses.


As the player builds his settlement into a kingdom cutting down trees to expand his territory, he/she will chance upon a stone archway, the first of many. As the player clears the forest to get to the archway it will reveal itself to be a portal. Suddenly monsters spew forth and the player is thrown into combat.


After coming out victorious, it is clear that the portals are the source of the monsters and it has now become the players mission to destroy all the portals to ensure the safety of his/her kingdom

The Ordeal

With the discovery of the portals the monsters redouble their effort to destroy the player every 5 days or so in the game there would be an event called the “Blood Moon” where the moon turns red and a host of monsters much larger than normal come forth to attack the player.

The Reward


After each night a chest of gold will appear in the player’s camp rewarding the player with money to expand his kingdom. This gold is also what the monsters are after and they will stop at nothing to get it. The player loses the game when his crown is stolen. This happens after the monsters have stolen all his gold.

The Road Back

As the player progresses in then game, he will have to leave the safety of his settlement in order to discover new recruits, buff giving statues and monster portals. This will cause the player to be outside of the Kingdom when it gets dark and the player will have to make a dash for the walls of his settlement. The player might even have to sacrifice some gold in order to do so.

The Resurrection

During your time in Kingdom you will face failure and die. Your settlement might get heavily damaged leaving you with very little resources to mount your next defense. The resurrection in this case is where the player replays the game and rebuilds his kingdom. This resilience is part of the core of what “Kingdom”(2015) is about.

Return with the Elixir

Towards the end of the game as players get stronger and portals get destroyed. The player will face his ultimate challenge facing the last portal the frequency of “Blood Moon” raids will increase and as the player activates the final portal monsters in larger amounts than ever before will emerge through the portal.

Upon destroying the final portal text will appearing saying:

The crown is safe.

-Kingdom 2015

And with that the credits will start to roll and you have completed the game.


“Kingdom” (2015) is an example of the Monomyth. Just that the events within it does not occur in sequence. This provides new insights on the Monomyth. For instance a fragmented narrative may also be classified within the Monomyth. It is all a matter of perspective.


Guest Speaker Candice Ng


Browsing through Candice Ng’s work, I have come to be intrigued by the connections between human relations and objects. This is evident in her Exhibition “Sleep in the Power Sockets”.


The works that peaked my interest the most was that of “New Artifacts of Remembering” and “Alternative Rituals of Remembering”.

New Artifacts of Remembering


A series of RFID ceramic dish wares, this exhibition explores the permanence of digital content. How can you make data sacred? Is it plausible that in the future inheritance would come in the form of digital content instead of material objects?

The act of trying to give these “heirlooms” a digital connotation is very interesting as here we see what Candice perceives as an amalgamation of the digital and physical.

Which in my opinion is not easy to do.

Alternative Rituals of Remembering


This artwork is a very intimate piece. Candice combines the common rituals we do for our deceased loved ones with more intimate pieces of their lives.

This piece in my opinion adds meaning into what we do for our loved ones, makes it feel that the memories of this person matter more than ever. If we perform the same ritual for everyone what proof is there that this person made an impact on your life? How is he or she different from everybody else?


How does Candice Ng’s work contribute to the ongoing public discussions about identity, in the context of Singapore and South-East Asia?

In this day and age where everything is getting increasingly digital, where all our works especially that of digital artists are mostly “Up in the cloud”.

How can we be sure that what we pass on to our loved ones, our blood sweat and tears, a piece of our identity, would be sacred when our life’s work is so easily accessible?

Candice’s work in my opinion contributes by getting people to ask questions about such matters.




Trees and Sculptures


Wood has always been a popular medium in art. But these two artists create more than just your average sculpture or carving.

This essay is an exploration into the concepts and processes behind the work of Ai Wei Wei’s “Trees” and Paul Kaptein’s “Warped Wood Sculptures”.

Trees by Ai Wei Wei


Ai Wei Wei’s “Trees”

Case Study Link

These tree sculptures were created by Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei. Made from parts of dead trees that are brought down from the mountains of Southern China, Ai Wei Wei transports these trees to his Beijing based studio where they are made into the “Trees” we see in the photo.

asdwww (Left: “Tree being constructed”) (Right: “Ai Wei Wei Supervising”)

“Its like trying to image what the tree looked like”

-Ai Wei Wei

Like a memory being recreated, the trees are held together by hidden mortise and tenon joins and large industrial bolts. From a distance the trees look natural but on closer inspection the artificiality of the trees is clear alluding to the state the modern Chinese nation, where ethnically diverse people are brought together to form ‘One China’.

“Warped Wood Sculptures” by Paul Kaptein


Paul Kaptein’s “Warped Wood Sculptures”

Case Study Link

Perth-based artist Paul Kaptein uses large blocks of laminated wood to create warped and distorted human figures, some of which have holes pierced through them to look like star constellations.

These hand-carved busts and sculptures have gaps in between the wood work created during the laminating process, thus creating the over all impression of digital glitches or skewed imagery one would encounter where he/she has poor reception.


“I am interested in examining the undefined area between expansion and contraction, or interconnection and incompleteness

-Paul Kaptein

Even while the viewer walks around each piece, the warped nature of each artwork continues the push and sink in different directions creating new perspectives on the artworks.



Subject Matter

Both artworks are of very different subject matter Ai Wei Wei’s being about Trees and Paul Kaptein’s being about Human Figures.

But there is one similarity that I feel is important to mention, It is that both artists were trying to recreate something from imagination or thought. Ai’s was about recreating what he thought the tree would have looked like while Paul’s was about recreating the effects a digital glitch would have on an image.

Process of Creation

Due to the fact that both artworks are of very different scales, the processes of both work vary.

For starters, Ai Wei Wei’s work was accomplished with the help of other people building his design while Paul Kaptein’s work was hand carved.

In Ai Wei Wei’s case, he had to do more human resource management as the wood was taken from the mountains of south China and brought to his studio. From there he designed how the trees would look like and supervised it’s construction. The trees were also made to be taken apart sort of like a modular structure for transportation which made the exhibition in London possible. This required advance planning and human resource management skills to do so.

As for Paul Kaptein, his works were made from laminated wood as the lamination process was where the gaps in the wood was created this also required planning. Visualizing and creating the glitch wood effect and making it so that even with the effect the sculpture would still represent a coherent subject matter was probably one of the challenges he faced in this planning process.

In a nutshell

The main differences were:

The wood Ai Wei Wei’s work was taken from the mountains in as natural a form as possible while the wood for Paul Kaptein’s work had was a block of laminated wood.

Ai’s work required a lot more interaction with other people than that of Paul’s while Paul’s work involved a lot more planning in the design of the work itself due to the subject matter. Reason being trees come in much more varying shapes than that of humans.

The main similarities were:

Both works were made of wood.

Both works were re-creations of something imagined in the artist’s mind.


In this case study, although the processes of both works were very different the importance of planning is paramount to it’s success one cannot simply rely solely on “happy accidents” to achieve the result one has in mind.


Sonoport questions

  1. I read an article that sonoport is interested in moblie games and apps, will do you plan on creating a plugin for platforms such as unity and unreal to ease the creation of sound in games?
  2. Is the Sonoport platform reliant on the Web Audio API of HTML5?

Questions on Karst

My questions for Karst is not actually about the film’s subject matter but on the process of the film

How was this project planned from start to finish?

What resources were needed to create this film? were there sponsors for this?

And most importantly

How does this film important to us in terms of project planning? What makes it a good example to study? Is it the film’s subject matter or do we need to speculate on how this film was made