Week 3: Game and Storytelling

So far, my game development has gotten up to the story and getting that base down was tough.

Below I have also got a painting that I will use for inspiration in terms of colours. This was specifically needed so i could see how colours balance with each other in terms of tones and using transparency when design the visuals. The colours here will ultimately be used in my game together so I need them to blend well and complement each other to get my game’s bright and cheerful setting across. By visually doing a painting instead of a digital colour board, I can see how paint and water interacts with each other to blend and overlay and how transparency can be used.

I think it was just a personal preference to do this because I have more experience with visual arts than digital art heh. I was also considering making my backgrounds actually hand painted with ink/water colour to give it a more artistic design. I am not completely sure if I will do this but here is my first mock-up for a background design:

20170603_134312
First mock-up for a background design

I also did some research on game backgrounds and 2D platformers. I found that the ones that have water colour/ink for the visual arts are not as common but gives the game such an intricate feel. An example of this would be the game, “Child Of Light”.

Links below for research:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/256290/Child_of_Light/

https://docs.yoyogames.com/source/dadiospice/000_using%20gamemaker/007_backgrounds.html

http://arcadesushi.com/top-25-best-2d-platformers/

While this is a very appealing concept, I am not definite that after I have confirmed the rest of my visuals that my idea won’t change.

Now onto the developing the story:

Embedded narratives:  Games as an information space discovered, structured, and restructured by the player (Henry Jenkins-Game Spaces and Narrative Architecture)

Plotting my story against the dramatic arc:
-Who is the protagonist? Meepoo,  a small caricature of myself.
-What is the main conflict, and when is it introduced? The player is an artist trying to complete a vase for an exhibition but the vase gets broken from an unknown reason. The player is now desperate to finish project on time and this conflict is introduced at the beginning.


-What does the protagonist do to resolve the conflict? Meepoo will go on an adventure to search for the missing vase pieces scattered around Fimbletown. It will start from one area of the town and move onto the next with the next levels (if it is made).


-What causes the tension in the story to rise? Meepoo has a time limit to search for the vase pieces before exhibition. The longer Meepoo takes to collect the pieces, the more broken/deformed the pieces are (e.g. higher level of decay – painting/colours start to fade, textures erode, cracks are more prominent). This will make the player try get through the level as quickly as possible with the vase pieces collected but enemies will target her so she gets side tracked in her mission. A conflict will also arise at the end of the levels bout choosing paths.


-What deciding factor brings the story to a climax? Meepoo has to decide between going back for a friend (Baguette) she meets at the start (another special level that won’t be made) or moving on to the next level (level 2 which won’t be made but referenced to) to collect more vase pieces before they deform more with time .The character of ‘Baguette’ will be introduced as a close buddy in the beginning but doesn’t come along with her in the adventure. He will tell her to stay safe and not emphasize on the vase pieces as an important thing, in contrast to the narrator and Meepoo herself. Once the player sees there’s a friendship set in the start, it will follow through at the end of the level with Baguette waiting at another special level, which Meepoo has to go back through level 1 to enter (level will not be made). She has to go all the way back instead of moving onto level 2 where the other vase pieces are (and also in the process of deforming with time).


-What happens in the resolution? If Meepoo chooses to go back for Baguette, then she will find a missing piece of the vase which wouldn’t have been collected without her going back through level 1. She will receive a weapon from Baguette as a token of his gratitude, which comes in handy for defeating enemies (watermelon). She will also have his help at the end of the game and thus keep his companionship. This won’t be told to the player, which makes them decide on the values of friendship and morality. It also questions materialism (collectible inventory which is the vase pieces) over friendship/relationships. Going back for Baguette however increases the deformity of the vase pieces in the future levels because she is taking time out to help him.


If Meepoo chooses to go to the next level (level 2) then she leaves Baguette behind and loses him as a companion. This won’t be told to the player but when in need of help, Baguette will not be there to help her and won’t appear again. She will move onto level 2 and her vases pieces won’t be deformed (dependent on time) but she also misses out on a piece in Baguette’s level and his gift (watermelon).


-What elements of INTERACTION can support each point?

The 3 types of game interaction include:

Reacting to the player actions: The game has to respond to the players choices for Meepoo including her reactions in getting attack from enemies, movement on platforms with walking and jumping, collecting inventory etc.


Games can interact with themselves: This makes the game interesting and adds complexity. It becomes a sort of puzzle for the player. I think that my game has this through the enemies because when you try to destroy a Chump (enemy) you may get an unexpected result. It is possible to either get a positive flower (that helps with health and gaining life) or a negative flower which decreases health and points to gaining life.


Player-player interaction: My game won’t provide a framework which players interact with each other and it will solely be a one player game in Meepoo’s world. Player-player interaction makes players able to share the experience together but along with limitations on what I can do, I feel like my game needs to be an experiences for the player by themselves because if you get help from a character who you may or may not end up leaving behind. It needs to leave the audience by themselves to get through the level and make that decision at the end.


Reference:http://www.leagueofgamemakers.com/game-elements-interaction/
-Are controls integrated in the dramatic premise?  The dramatic premise focuses on the decision the player makes for Meepoo, so the controls will include either moving either left or right to her chosen decision.


-How does interaction or gameplay cause the dramatic tension to rise?  Empathy is in play here because I will build on the relationship between Meepoo and Baguette in the beginning so you are introduced to him early on. So at the end of the level, it makes you emphatic because you already have an early connection with the character. His character will not push Meepoo to go get the pieces and focus on caring about her (opposing to the narration).


-Is there a pivot point?   For characters and some objects, possibly so that i can flip them around.


Can you think of three changes to the story or gameplay that you believe make the two better integrated?  Not at the moment, perhaps when further developing the game then new changes will be added.

Essentially, I want to make the game make the player think that maybe you’re helping Meepoo or Meepoo is helping you.


Game Review: Against All Odds (Developed by UNHCR)

This game is heartbreaking because it showcases a global refugee’s experience. It goes from leaving their country of origins to starting a new life at a new unfamiliar place.

How challenging was it to discover the value of the game?  As you play through the 12 stages, you are in the role of a refugee. It has a creative game play which aims at younger audiences such as early teens. It is effective to allow them to develop ideas about these social issues and bring forth serious questions regarding morality and treatment of refugees. From my experiences, it is user friendly and not confusing. The value of the game wasn’t extremely hard to figure out since it fully frontally criticizes mistreatment of refugees. It makes the player step into the shoes of a person who has to deal with all these

Graphics: 8/10

The graphics are interesting, the style is focused on colour blocking and shading. It gives some dimension to the characters and make the ideas of contrasting views more prominent.  The use of silhouettes to invoke an idea/character/scene fits in with the ominous surroundings and dark mood.

Sound: 8/10

The sound effects are great and emphasis specific parts of the game,whether collecting or spinning right through the zones.

Story: 9/10

The story really makes you think about what it’s actually based on. It’s an issue that does have relevance and impact on our world whether we acknowledge it or not.  It brings to light these issues through a game making it appear and seen by a wider audience.

Controls: 7/10

There are smooth controls making the mouse pointer flow alongside the story and camera view. It wasn’t laggy which made it a pleasant experience and there was obvious highlighting around objects, places, buildings to contrast against the dark tones in visuals. This makes its important to the player to know if the game is responsive in selection and gameplay.

Replay Value:9/10

I defiantly recommend this game and believe it has replay value because it highlights an issue through a format that is different and interesting.

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