So this week has been watching tutorials and just noting down ideas for my game in more detail. Firstly, a question I constantly asked myself was whether my game embedded my values enough and if my values were appropriate.
We were provided with a list of Values in the brief as seen below:
(Diversity, Security, Safety, Justice, Creativity and Expression, Inclusion, Cooperation, Equality, Sharing, Privacy, Trust, Gender Equality, Authorship, Environmentalism, Liberty)
I wasn’t sure if I could venture out into other things and worried that my game was too vague on emphasis of Liberty because the value seems to be only reflected in the plot but not the game play. I also thought about the value being more about letting go/moving on. The story itself was to have either Meepoo (the character that the player plays as) teach the player the value or the player sequentially teaching Meepoo by the choices they make for the character.
My idea was that games tend to have the player obsessing over collect items to gain something in the end and I wanted to teach that by letting go of that compulsion, you would set yourself free. The main conflict is that the player controls Meepoo, an artist who is trying to complete a vase for an exhibition but the vase gets shattered due to an unknown reason and she is now desperate to finish project on time. Meepoo will then search for the missing vase pieces scattered around Fimbletown. She greet her friend at the beginning of her journey but will need to decide between either going back for this friend( going through level 1 again) or moving onto the next level (in the end of level 1).
By conforming to what others (peers, teachers, host of the exhibition) want you to do (in the game’s case, collect the broken pieces and fix your broken vase on time), the obsession to collect items for your inventory reflects that you are under the influence of social pressure. To liberate yourself, the player must choose their fate for the character whether they decide to fix the vase, or leave it broken and move on to new ideas.
The ending for the full game will teach the meaning of letting go of something to move on with life. Depending on which ending is selected, either the player already understands the concept and teaches Meepoo to let go or that Meepoo teaches the player to let go.
I found out from Britta that I was allowed to choose any other values that were important to me, thus letting go and moving on worked. New ideas to further develop the game are coming in as I design my sprites and backgrounds which is really exciting.
An idea from Britta was to have Meepoo (the player) make a difficult decision – so the value changes – the player may need to hand over the vase for something ‘less valuable’ at that moment – but it becomes very important later on. I look forward to developing this because it brings an ultimate climax and moral of figuring out what you want vs. what you need. It would be as if to tease the player with balancing values (in our current society, e.g. Material values) over life values, e.g. Experiences, health and love for example. Then we have the true liberty and freedom – if we don’t WANT or desire stuff all the time for example.
So with this in mind, I’m thinking that at the end of the level 1, with the conflict that arises, it makes the player have to choose between relationships/ friendship over materialism (inventory items). Value in itself is a theme – it means something different to all of all – society has different values as Britta says.
Another Question I could think about to further develop the game:
Do we value items or experiences?
This could come in with the end of the level and further put emphasis on going back for Baguette (the friend) which would be an experience that Meepoo would miss out on if she goes off to the next level (where the next items are).
I’ve taken a look at some Game Maker tutorials as well to familiarize my self with coding and how to use it.
How hard was it to find the value? This game has a value that’s very prominent because it’s about bullying and how to respond to it. The game play is very simple where you choose which answers you want to use as a reply when getting bullied.
The graphics are flash based, making it have a simplistic cartoon design. However it looks not as appealing because of it’s movements. The movements are very basic which doesn’t make the game as engaging as it could be.
The sound effects that run through this game are basic and repetitive. It’s very simple but it does bring attention to some aspects of the game such as control reactions.
The story is simple and straightforward. You have to choose responses to a bully but they are preset as specific sentences. This allows the game to have a set pathway for the decisions but makes it less interactive because of the amount of text that is in one answer. When you follow the pathway with the correct responses then the outcome is positive and you defeat the enemy. It could be more creative to make the story more interesting and interactive because the choices given are very obvious on which path is the ideal one in terms of the value.
The controls are simple so it’s just clicking on a choice that is preset. Nothing too complicated but it is straightforward in this sense. The responsiveness of the choices work to further move up the level.
It is user friendly but not the most appealing or interactive as a game. The value it is focusing on is important and interesting but it takes more content and designing to make it have reply value. The message is good but a different approach could be more effective to teach this value.