Fall 2017 Prototype | Arthouse | Unity (Mobile)


Audience Choice award winner at the Stanford Brainstorm Virtual and Augmented Reality Innovation Lab, 2017

Artistic Statement

Soteria –Dreams as Currency is a Game for Mental Health, aimed at promoting players’ readiness to use effective strategies to overcome anxiety disorders. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults in the US age 18 or older, or 18% of the population (source: National Institute of Mental Health).

Soteria is based on the work of Anxiety Research Center founder Prof. Reid Wilson, whose input informed the game’s design. According to Prof. Wilson’s research, the key to overcoming anxiety lies in letting go of the desire to be safe and certain at all times and to “invite anxiety along”, to “move towards the roar”. This premise is the basis of Soteria’s design. However, one cannot fast-forward to the solution. To create alignment between the player and a person with anxiety disorder and to make facing one’s fears more meaningful, the game first leads the player down a path of resistance and suggests that one can achieve one’s goals by taking enough protective measures. This path turns out to be a dead-end. Disappointment opens the mind to new learning, in this case the introduction of a new strategy: to seek out the danger, linger through the fear, even provoking it, in order to win the key to free one’s dreams from fear’s iron grip.

In the game, you take the role of Ana Carmena who suffers from anxiety disorder. The setting is Ana’s inner world, represented by a strange harbor town dedicated to Soteria, the goddess of safety. Your goal is to seek out and defeat the Shadow entity Oicys who has captured your dreams. To do so, you must find three key pieces that will unlock the sewers where Oicys dwells. Each key piece is hidden in a special location that represents an aspect of anxiety: the music store in Soteria’s music district, the puppet theatre in the theatre district and the observatory in the observatory district. Each location is heavily guarded by Oicys’ minions. Obtaining the key pieces seems impossible. Overcome by fear, the initial attempts at “regaining your voice” (music store), “enduring judgment” (theatre) and “finding your own path” (observatory) fail. Soteria’s tailor fashion you a Phobos suit, protective clothing imbued with cards that symbolize Ana’s strategies of avoiding fear. The suit keeps you perfectly safe by preventing you from doing what you must do to overcome your fears: facing them. Stuck, the only way forward is to adopt a new strategy: to turn your back on Soteria and face the fear, linger through it. This enables you to obtain the key pieces and confront Oicys. By provoking him to scare you more and lingering through the fear, you rob him of his power until he deflates and releases your dream. This ends the game and opens a new path to a richer, fuller life. Soteria can be played on either Mac or PC and requires keyboard and mouse controls.





ShadowCreatuesHorrorSCHcharacter_colors5shadowtoadhouseconcept3lightMusic Store Exterior ConceptisometricoutlineAna concept_03

Music Store Exterior ConceptHUB_01CoverConceptB

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Click the direct download link below to play “Soteria”.

*The PC build is recommended, optimization for the online and Mac builds is currently in progress.

Soteria Builds 
Note: The Web build is not Compatible with Chrome Browser and Microsoft Edge. Play at 1920×1080 resolution.


A CDM Deep Games Lab Production Game Director:

  • Doris C. Rusch


  • Jim Niemiec


  • Lead Gameplay Programmer: Chris Sosa
  • Lead Systems Engineer: Omar Zohdi
  • Gameplay Programmer: Thomas Bauers


  • Artist/Animator:
    • Lead Artist/Animator: Paul Sullivan
    • Michelle Verceles
    • Diana Kogan
    • John Garcia
  • Model Rigging:
    • Mike Fleege
  • Texturing
    • Diana Kogan
    • Sahir Irfan
    • Madhan Raj Manoharan
    • William Walker


  • Lead Designer: Doris C. Rusch

Level Design:

  • Lead Level Designer: Joe Dean
  • AJ Klopfenstein
  • Yuan Gao
  • Jim Niemiec

Music and Sound Effects:

  • Lead: Andrew M. Andrews
  • Connor Cook,
  • Landen Seesahai
  • Stephen Tanksley

 VO Recording Engineer:

  • Ryan Sullivan

Voice Acting:

  • Director: Talon Beeson
  • Olivia Churchill – Ana
  • Rose Sengenberger – Fortune Teller
  • Talon Beeson – O’Malley
  • Daniel Schaefer – P.T.
  • Russ Macholl – Cartographer
  • Johnny Arena – Tailor

User Research & QA:

  • Lead: Jeff Caruso
  • Yuan Gao

Subject Matter Expert

  • Reid Wilson, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Director of Anxiety Disorders Treatment Center North Carolina.

With special thanks to the College of Computing and Digital Media and the DePaul Vincentian Endowment Fund.Special thanks as well to the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund.