Game Design Conceptualisation – What could I make? – Phase 2

 


29th November: Update & Thoughts

The concept and implementation of additional content, supporting material that adds to but does not affect game-play, such as: figurines and cards that support concepts and create value for players. Providing these materials as marketable paraphernalia would be an advantageous endeavour that could potential create links between myself and others in the industry, giving gifts, such as: cards and figures to market my game could be a useful tool – supporting my digital game with a link to a physical product. Creating materiality in that which is immaterial.

I was inspired to consider the material after creating personalised ‘Pokemon’ themed trading cards for my friends in my spare time – I greatly enjoyed this experience, the simple transformation of illustration into an exciting visual story was something I want to explore more in my future concepts. Below are some examples of these cards:

Speculative thoughts: “Card game? Real commodities, collectables, interactivity between the real and the immaterial, what platform is best for this? Is this viable, why do I like this?

Nihilism – Nihil – Nothing (Un-tangible and Immaterial – more related to digital platforms due to these correlations UNLESS I plan on taking a different stance; a stance of defeating Nihilism then perhaps the ‘material’ is more appropriate) Is that too fine art?”


20th November: Process & Planning

Today I plan on looking at game engines & prototyping/playing around with their interface to see if I can produce a basic shell of an idea – using my game concepts from last week as a base. This testing will allow me to see what is viable and what isn’t in the space of time that I have to produce a game. I will also be able to see which games I prefer by reevaluating their premise with new eyes; hopefully honing in on 3 main concepts for my presentation in week 9.

I am running both Linux and Windows meaning I must choose which operating system to produce my game in for compatibility and consistency. Linux is very limited leaving me with few choices of software to start with – however – for the time being, until I install Windows on my laptop I will be exploring Blender and Godot to produce a basic game level. Both are open-source leaving me with plenty of room to explore, learn and if I choose to produce my game or any of my assets in Blender I will own these products in their entirety.

Godot Engine

Godot is an open source engine that allows for the production of 2D and/or 3D games, it has a simple interface and seems easy to navigate so far. I have never used this engine before so I will have to learn it’s basics before progressing onto actual level design.

What I need to implement:
  • a playable character,
  • a background,
  • a few objects in scenery which can be collided with,
  • gravity & movement,
  • a beginning and an end.
Outcomes:

This session gave me a basic understanding of the execution of techniques within Godot Engine, I am now able to add sprites and environmental objects to a scene, I learnt some basic programming, however, this knowledge needs some more exploration and practice to refine.

My next steps are to continue working on this basic shell of a level and to finish it so it is playable by a user. I plan on achieving this before Christmas break (15th December)


1 Failure Mechanic (Thriving in Nihilism)

First level emphasises the pointless nature of it’s design, there are no sensible solutions, no easy paths, no beatable enemies, just a stream of frustration that leads the player to shout out. If the player sits and leaves the Playable Character for a set period of time, the level completes (emphasising the concept of the nothing approach)

The rest of the game will be full of other strange puzzles with un-ordinary solutions.

Narrative base to provide catalysts for game-play

Genre: Puzzle, Platformer

Platform: PC, Mobile

Demographic: Casual Gamers, Puzzle Fans, 20-30 y/o’s.

Pillars of design: Frustration met with a solid reward of relief, Interesting visual style, Plot twists

Rules: Complete puzzle through any possible in-game actions

Mechanic Specifications:

Visual Themes & Styles: Dark, Pixel-art, cute


2 the Search for Meaning (Combating Nihilism)

Story exploration (free roam)

I want the exploration to be the most rewarding part of the mechanic – exploring unlocks story lines, collectables and philosophy (ideological books that in part each form a small part of a bigger story). When all Philosophy is collected a readable passage is formed – unlocking an achievement.

Collect connections (with people, groups, things, animals) and artefacts (help progress story line – need object to complete x)

Groups form the basis for larger connections (religions, families, work, friends)

in order to gain these connections you must perform actions and conversations, influence others (animals, situations), collect objects, create things.

Genre: Narrative, Exploration, Combat

Platform: PC, Console, Mobile?

Demographic: 10-25 y/o’s, People who enjoy stories and fantasy, those who enjoy exploration and nature,

Pillars of design: Fun and engaging environment, interesting story-line, great pay-offs

Rules: explore the world, complete quests, finish the main story-line

Mechanic Specifications:

Visual Themes & Styles: Zelda-ish? 3D, Cute, Westernised Cartoon, Bright and colourful, Nordic & other Traditional European architechure and thematic symbols.

zelda-ocarina-of-time-15
(Perera, C. 2013)

Above is a screenshot provided by Perera, C from the Legend of Zelda: the Ocarina of Time, this game has many visual qualities that I see working in my proposed concept. Low polygon modelling will save time and space, a simple UI will be effective in a short explorative experience and a simple way of calculating stat scores such as health can be displayed in a visually effective way without being overwhelming – as shown in the screenshot above. I will not be ‘copying’ the style of the Zelda title as it is unique to Nintendo, however, I wish to use it as a point of reference for designing my own unique visual style.


3 Narrative based – Point of Nothing

Story, Episodal

Genre: Episodal, Narrative, Literature, Multi-media

Platform: PC, Mobile

Demographic: Young women (prefer story based media – 15-20), Fans of other literature (manga), Those who are interested in Art and Illustration.

Pillars of design: Interesting story that teaches values, Quick and easy to play, good characters and customisation.

Rules: Click through narrative, engage with the story and change the outcome (dialogue trees),

Mechanic Specifications: Customisation, Dialogue Trees, Chance of Persuasion, Click through, Cut-scenes, mini-games?

Visual Themes & Styles: Anime inspired cartoon, Pale colours, bold illustration style, focus on character design, backgrounds will be less significant


4 Survival Sim – Mental Health (Seratonin Collector – Nihil Game modes)

Have notes elsewhere

Goal: Explores the difficulty of managing mental health disorders & other similar afflictions.

Genre: Survival, Exploration, Platform, Simulation, Adventure, Action

Platform: PC, Console

Demographic: 15 – 30 y/o’s, those who are into similar games, those who like being challenged, those who enjoy concept narrative and themes.

Pillars of design: Difficult (in an exciting way), fun mini games, crazy gameplay style

Rules: collect items, maintain health bars, do not allow your character to become depressed or manic, avoid enemies, avoid treacherous terrain, complete mini-games (struggles – nihil mode, chaos mode)

Mechanic Specifications: N64 Zelda Ocarina of time style display and controls, bonus rounds, inventory, character customisation, mild combat, health afflictions (stat defects and affects), visual changes in environment (similar to weather system – but triggered by moods), narrator style commentary, character dialogue,

Visual Themes & Styles: dark, old-skool (N64, low poly, basic textures), cartoonised & stylised (not decided).

 

Design Documentation - Initial DrawingaDesign Documentation - Initial Drawings 2

 


6 Perspectives of the Villain (Perspectivism & Nihilism)

You play as the villain in this game, he is cold, evil, chaotic and his philosophy of Nihilism allows him to commit atrocious acts.

Either:

1 side – The game emphasises Chaos, you go around destroying things for fun – rampage ‘beat em up’ style

2nd side – A character – hero style character or victim – makes YOU the villain see the world from another perspective, changing your world views slowly over time. You go on rampages and a dialogue called ‘consciousness’ starts to speak up, at first he is evil too but as we learn more about this world (the world of the innocent) ‘consciousness’ begins to become more concerned about the well-being of others. You end up getting frustrated by ‘consciousness’ and you fight this dialogue in a surreal dreamlike fight to establish dominance – nihil or altruism – you either end the game killing the innocent NPC or saving them.

Genre

Platform

Demographic

 

Pillars of design

Rules

Mechanic Specifications

Visual Themes & Styles


7 the Pointlessness of Everything

A game that illuminates the pointless actions we take everyday, all the strange habits, pointless conversations, wins that really accomplish nothing – showing the player the other side of the coin. It allows achievement but reminds the player it means nothing.

Ways to achieve this?

Randomly change stats and attributes (money worth, level, colour, style of items) to emphasise the pointless action of acquiring these goods.

Genre

Platform

Demographic

 

Pillars of design

Rules

Mechanic Specifications

Visual Themes & Styles


8 Light-bearer

The last ‘light’ in the world is going out, after this the world will be consumed by a plague of nothing, the gods will sleep for a few 100 centuries and humans will be left to their own devices, no punishment, no reward, no luck or good will, just the chaos of everything. You are the last Demi-God roaming the world before the plunge into darkness. Can you keep the Light going? or is it a pointless endeavour? Can we really control what happens around us (is there any point in trying)? your job is restore order before the light goes out – trying to keep it going for as long as possible before the long sleep.

(similar concepts: Hue)

Genre: Story, Adventure, Action, Exploration, Puzzle, Combat

Platform: Pc & Console

Demographic:

Pillars of design: Concept & story based, fantasy feel, fun exploration

Rules:

Mechanic Specifications: inventory, quests, weather, lights, controller and keyboard input system, dialogue, linear story progression, jumping, collecting items, moving items, more…

Visual Themes & Styles: 3D, N64 Zelda Style??, my personal illustrative style, invented language, writing systems and cultural symbols, final fantasy ( no.6 and below style fantasy), 3/4 size of real world, cute and strong.


9 Brightening (Combating Nihilism)

Story based platformer. Player transverses a cold and dark world, completing the basic geographical things typical of a platformer – along the way are houses, people and animals that the player can interact with, making a difference to their day by bringing them items, completing dialogue and escorting them to places increases your connection to the land, brightening it up and showing a lighter side to the environment – complete enough actions and the world goes back to a state of happiness; finishing the map.

player can level up, gaining perks to combat, weapons etc – unlocking new items to help them complete quests.

Must kill the final boss – Nihil – to win the game


10 A Walk into Oblivion (Positive Nihilism) — (similar to Brightening)

Your job is walk down-hill into certain death, you can’t turn back, yet you must walk – consciously. You can make connections along the way, do tasks you deem fun but after a time you still must walk.

A metaphor for life, but more forced.

Darkly positive (it’s the things we do that matter regardless of what happens to us after we die)

Genre: Platformer – Straight line and back and forth within time constraints

Platform: PC, Console, Mobile

Demographic: Casual and Seasoned, Those who want to experience a strangely positive narrative, those who want a quick and fun challenge, You choose how to play and win, no need to complete the quests (why would you, geez?)

Pillars of design: concept game, enjoy the scenery,

Rules: Walk from A to B, complete quests if wanted (in between A and B), at B Game ends – a little narrative appears and a score.

Mechanic Specifications: Straight line controls (walking) and back and forth within time constraints, time limits, dialogue, weather system, inventory, quest inventory (active, non active, completed etc)

Visual Themes & Styles: like Limbo & Braid (a mixture)


Talks with Adam: UNRD Creative Director – 29th November

My conversation with Adam was very inspiring, exploring my initial concept lead to a conversation that expanded the idea, generating an additional layer of game-play that translates a feeling of surprise to the player (isn’t this unusual?). We explored my initial concept – the walk into oblivion – and created an idea that lead to further exploration of potential game-play content; Endings becoming Beginnings.

Contextually within the mechanics of the game-play already described, instead of the game ending when you reach point B – Point B being the Game End – the sign for (end) spins around and changes to (start);changing the dynamic and the players experience of the game. Your new task is to walk UP the hill – as you ascend the scenery changes – adding new life to the world around you. Each time you ascend or descend the world gets brighter and more full of life – How far will you climb?

Stop-sign-start-continue
(LifeCycle Technologies Inc, 2018)

Conceptualisation and Questions (Spontaneous Thought)

Within the walk do I still include other tasks? is it possible to just stop and enjoy nature.

The concept of the journey and the many things that can be learnt through that experience are potentially limitless, every journey has the potential to generate new perspectives.

The pointlessness of A to B, reaching your goal in the fastest time possible and having no potential for any extra content. Ending the game for the sake of ending the game feels very uninspiring and limited. Instead every Ending creates a New beginning, a new chance to explore the world and find meaning in little things as they pass.

Will the game go on forever? Potentially, but if not this would mean implementing a high score board to highlight the lengths in which people have taken to reach an ever growing goal. How long will people spend climbing the hill? Until it is tested this is unknown, however, some people will climb and climb expecting an ending that never comes – how does this dynamic change the standards of what constitutes a game? (challenging traditions).

What is the incentive for playing the game?

Is exploration and change enough of an incentive to continue playing?

Does the need for completion drive game players or is it the journeys they take in the ‘in-between’ that are the driving force for retainable experience and enjoyment?

 

 

Walkintooblivion
Concept Art for ‘a walk into Oblivion’ – (Emsley, P. 2018)

Bibliography

LifeCycle Technologies Inc (2018). Start Continue Stop Illustration. [image] Available at: http://lifecycletech.com/business-process-optimization/methodology/ [Accessed 29 Nov. 2018].

Perera, C (2013). Human Computer Interaction, Blog 6. [Article] Screenshot of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. [Accessed 20th November. 2018]. [Accessible at: http://cpereragdev.blogspot.com/2013/03/%5D.

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