Friendly Feelings

Posted in Serious Game Project with tags , , on April 18, 2017 by sierraphantom

This week, we met and did the game brief over Google Hangouts. I was in charge of some different sections this week. Before, I was always in charge of the objective and obstacles sections, but this week I worked on the introduction to game and objectives. We met in the call and worked on the brief together, but parted ways to work on our individual power point slides.

This is what I wrote for the introduction to game section:

“In this game, the player gets to interact with five imaginary friends and play puzzles with them. The player gets to talk to the characters, listen to them talk to each other, and play puzzles with them to teach them social and emotional intelligence. There are characters to represent self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy, and social skills and they drive the story by giving the player puzzles to complete. The player has to bring color back into this world by completing the puzzles and talking with these friends. The game has a cartoony look to the characters and backgrounds.”

My blog post from last week is basically an extended version of this, going in depth on who the characters are and what they’re like. Although, the part about color coming back to the world was added this week as a way to get the kids more invested. This way they would be more likely to continue playing and want to help out these characters. Before, we did not have an established story, but now we have an idea of an overarching plot.

In the next section I did, there was not as much information to cover. With obstacles, there really was only one which was that puzzles needed to be completed in order to progress in the story. It’s a fairly straight forward game so there are not many obstacles.

 

Brief:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11wPdp52-8OZfTbSRWoxybB4sHtfSxAM2IcwdHt906_s/edit?usp=sharing

 

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Kevin Larson – https://kevinlarsonblog.wordpress.com/ 

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/

Darius Watts – https://badcoffeesite.wordpress.com/blog/

Nicolas Kruzel – https://seriousfailure.wordpress.com/blog/

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Coping With Imaginary Friends

Posted in Serious Game Project with tags , , on April 8, 2017 by sierraphantom

For this week, I decided to pitch an idea involving something a little personal. With the prompt focused on helping children learn about emotions and how to handle them, I connected with how I used to do so as a child. With not many friends and not being able to connect with my family, I had imaginary friends during elementary school. This was the way I coped and it did help. I could vent or cry to my imaginary friends when I was alone and it did help me feel better, but also work out problems by talking aloud about them.

With this game, I want to encourage the idea that emotions should not be suppressed. Kids should have a healthy way of venting and talking about how they feel, whether it’s with themselves or with another person. This game is a story based game about a group of character, who look like they could have been imaginary friends spawned by a kid. Each character represents a field of social and emotional intelligence.

First off is a character who looks like a normal child to represent self-awareness. They are open about how they are feeling and make sure to let others know when something makes them uncomfortable. Next is a tree character who represents self-management. He controls it most of the time, but does have anger problems, and offers advice to other characters on how to control their emotions and proper ways to vent. Another character is a small hamster to represent motivation. He encourages everyone to be creative and get tasks done, but also to make sure everyone takes care of themselves first and foremost. The next character is Berry the Bear to cover empathy. She is good at observing the others and knowing when one of them is feeling a certain way. The last character is a ghost who doesn’t have the best social skills. He keeps to himself and likes to be left alone, but the other character understand this and don’t force him to hang out.

The game itself involves the player playing mini-games with the other characters as well as pairing off the other characters and watching them talk to each other. The game is fairly open ended and lets the player see a multitude of conversations between playing small games like tic-tac-toe or checkers. The focus is on the characters and storytelling. The goal for the player is to finish the story and the goal of the game is to help kids understand the different aspects of emotions and social skills.

 

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Kevin Larson – https://kevinlarsonblog.wordpress.com/ 

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/

Darius Watts – https://badcoffeesite.wordpress.com/blog/

Nicolas Kruzel – https://seriousfailure.wordpress.com/blog/

American Sign Language Strategy Game

Posted in Serious Game Project with tags , , , on April 3, 2017 by sierraphantom

This week was a little hectic in terms of the project. We did manage to have a short talk with all of us discussing the game idea together, but due to scheduling conflicts on my end, I was not able to attend the longer meeting later in the week. To try and make up for my mistake, I did my sections of the brief before the meeting was held so the group could look it over and send me their critique. With not much critique given, I did my slides based off of my points and prepared for the presentation.

I focused on three different sections. The quick one was a link to similar gameplay, where I chose Fire Emblem: Awakening as an example. With the core of the game being a strategy, the mechanics work in a similar. The input, being sign language, is the key difference.

The next section was the objective one. I talked about how the goal was to win all of the battles utilizing American Sign Language. The player loses if the computer or another player defeats them in battle. This can be determined by skill with the language or skill in organizing a battle. The player can win if they successfully beat the computer or other player in the battle, more so if they beat all of the story missions.

The last section I worked on was the obstacles one. This game has some unique obstacles as the input itself is one for some players. One obstacle is learning ASL if the player doesn’t already know it. Tutorials are provided to help. Another obstacle to conquer is the affinity system. By doing little in between ASL talks between troops, the player can boost the affinity and teamwork from the team. The system of taking turns is also an obstacle as you cannot just charge head first into battle, you have to be strategic. The last one, is the enemy troops themselves. They are the main thing standing in the way of the player’s victory.

Brief: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JKu0oVI_1t_BVZy194SUUunhP6rCxYS3dIdntKXDMPs/edit?usp=sharing

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Kevin Larson – https://kevinlarsonblog.wordpress.com/ 

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/

Darius Watts – https://badcoffeesite.wordpress.com/blog/

Nicolas Kruzel – https://seriousfailure.wordpress.com/blog/

 

A Braille Text Adventure

Posted in Serious Game Project with tags , , , on March 25, 2017 by sierraphantom

HumanWare BrailleNote Apex BT 32 Braille Notetaker

This week, with a slightly different group, we were assigned the topic of disabilities. With such a broad topic, we could choose any disability to focus on. For one of our choices, we wanted to do something with vision impairment. With one of my friends being legally blind and knowing what a braille note taker is, I offered the idea of a text adventure for the the technology. My friend has a few, so this is not a completely new concept and it is not too hard to put documents and these text adventures on there. The main issue I know of is that some symbols and punctuation don’t always translate correctly to the system, so the biggest focus would be on quality assurance to make sure odd typos and errors do not happen. Since the game is being made for this in the first place it should work best on the technology.

The next focus is entertainment for the visually impaired. Unless the game is also put on PC, it will only be accessible for the visually impaired who own a braille note taker. The story for this text adventure is about the player character being stuck in a room and having to solve puzzles to get out of the room. The game has different endings based on what the player does while in the room. There will be some endings where the character dies, a few where they survive, and then one true ending. The player gets paragraphs of text describing the room or items when they type in commands like “inspect key” or “look at room.” Some puzzles specifically involve braille so there is a learning curve if this game were to be put on PC for the non-visually impaired.

Games similar to this would be the Zero Escape series or the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Text Adventure. The genres are puzzle and text based adventure.

 

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Kevin Larson – https://kevinlarsonblog.wordpress.com/ 

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/

Darius Watts – https://badcoffeesite.wordpress.com/blog/

Showered in Dysphoria Brief

Posted in Serious Game Project with tags , , , on March 7, 2017 by sierraphantom

Showered in Dysphoria
Sierra St.Onge

Genre: Simulation
Audience: Friends and family of transgender people

Primary Objective: What is the primary objective of the game? This is in relation to the Entity and your stated goal:

Help people understand a piece of what transgender people are going through.

 

State WHY you chose this primary objective. Why did it meet the needs of the
goal and the Entity, and why were you interested and committed to
exploring this objective?:

I chose this objective in order to show those who are not aware of what it is like to be a transgender person a specific recurring part to most of their lives. No one really talks about dysphoria and many cisgender people are unaware that this is something they face.   


Introduction to Game:

This is a game about dysphoria in the shower. Bathing time is when trans people who have not transitioned basically have to stare at the bodies they are uncomfortable with which can lead to long, depressing showers. This isn’t the case for everyone though and dysphoria in general varies from person to person. This game will focus on one person with dysphoria, a demiguy. The player will see a silhouette behind a shower curtain and thought bubbles from time to time from the character. The player has to manage the character’s shower time, have him accomplish washing their hair and other hygiene based tasks, but the character can reject what the player wants and just stand there, thinking or staring at the wall. The game’s levels are different days and are affected by the character’s mood and any unpleasant encounters relating to gender he had that day.

What mechanics in the game are you using to optimize and actualize the Objective?:

The mechanics that help optimize my objective are the thought bubbles that come from the character depending on his life and the player’s actions and how the player can tell the character what to do, but it is possible he will stop or not listen. Through thoughts and actions, the player will learn about what the character is going through.

Game Control:

  • The player clicks on what shower task the character should do, but can also cancel the task by right-clicking on it in the list of tasks.


Score/Objective/Winning/Losing/Competition:

  • The objective is to complete the shower in a timely manner.
  • You win if you make it through all of the levels
  • You cannot lose, but you can get a bad rank on the level for not finishing quickly or not knowing how to handle that shower.


Interface/Information:

  • Upon starting a level, the player will see the character silhouetted behind a shower curtain as well as the silhouettes of soap, shampoo, and other shower supplies.
  • The player can hover over an object or body part and a nameplate of what the item is will appear.
  • In the upper right corner of the screen, the list of tasks to be done will form.
  • In the bottom left will be a leave shower button. A prompt will pop up when clicked asking “leave shower” or “go back to menu.”



Main User Mechanics/Actions:

Match: The actions chosen and the order of these actions need to match with how to limit how depressing the character’s dysphoria is going to be.

Manage: The player is managing the events of the character’s shower for him.

Move: The selections cause the character to move and perform them.

Select: The player clicks on objects to initiate tasks or cancel them.

 


Levels/Environment:

  • Levels
    • Each level takes place in the shower.
    • The player has to choose tasks for the character.
  • Level Progression
    • The level starts with some thought bubbles about how the character’s day was or what the character has to do that day (depends on time of day).
    • The player chooses tasks while the character has different thought bubbles on what he’s thinking about.
    • If the character feels like it or dysphoria hits, he will cancel tasks himself.
    • Once the player has the character leave the shower, they will receive a rank and move onto the next day.
  • Environmental Look
    • The environment consists of the view of a shower with the curtain closed.
    • The player can see silhouettes from behind the curtain.
    • Thought bubbles will appear around the character’s head.
    • The lighting will change based on the time of day the shower took place.


Obstacles, interactive elements, enemies, collectibles, npcs etc: (list and minor descriptions. Puzzles if applicable MUST be described)

  • The player can click on the objects or click and drag them over to a body part to start a task.
  • The character can slow down or stop while doing a task, but it is not random.
  • Clues have to be found in the character’s thoughts. Some thoughts will be nonsense shower thoughts or small things, but even some of those could have clues.
  • What to do depends on mood and how bad dysphoria is.



Describe and Explain the unique ways in which your game idea meets the needs of the theme, entity, AND objective:

The game is unique and connects to the theme, entity, and objective by forcing the player to pay attention to what the character is going through. If the player does not focus on the character’s thoughts while setting up tasks, the game will be really hard. It’s tough to get a good rank and it should be tough to watch how depressed the character can get while doing a task that, to a lot of people, is simple. However, in some cases through the game, it is best to just let the character think.



Sixty seconds of play: (a few sentences providing a timeline and guide to what one actually does in the game)
The character gets into the shower and thinks about how his day went. A thought bubble appears on screen saying: “I hope I can play games tomorrow. The sooner I finish my homework, the sooner I can relax.” The player clicks on the shower head and drags it to his hair. The character wets his hair under the water. A thought bubble appears: “I need a haircut soon. It’s getting too long.” The player drags the shampoo to the character’s hair and he starts washing it. A thought bubble appears: “I don’t want it super short, but if I cut off too much, I can’t put my hair in a ponytail for work. My hat falls off if I don’t thread my hair through.” The character washing his hair slows down and takes a while with the task.

 


Link to video of similar gameplay: Link to video or inclusion of images of similar look/style.

The Sims 3 for the tasks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loLJN7FgBiU

Oxenfree for the style of thought bubble and storytelling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4uW3q19LFM

Trans Games

Posted in Serious Game Project with tags , , , , on February 25, 2017 by sierraphantom

Pronoun cards 2016-01

For this week, I decided to brainstorm ideas for serious games based on issues transgender people face. I did some research as well because, even though I’m a demiguy, I obviously do not know all there is to know about trans stuff. I focused the bulk of my research on pronouns and dysphoria since my ideas revolved around the subjects.

Pronouns are a lot simpler than they appear to be. Basically, if someone tells you what their pronouns are, use them. Don’t misgender anyone. It’s okay to mess up, but apologize, use the correct pronoun, and move on. There are a lot of pronouns so it may seem confusing, but just use the ones that person asks you to. Pronoun sets include: she/her, they/them, he/him, ze/hir, ne/nem, and more.

For dysphoria, it was hard to find research that was inclusive or didn’t misgender the examples they were talking about. A good definition of dysphoria is “an experience of discomfort or disconnect with one’s assigned gender, often accompanied by a strong desire to change one’s sex to better match their identity or to be called the correct gendered language.” Dysphoria can happen with binary as well as non-binary people.

One idea I had for a game was something simple, a Sims like game that is more more inclusive. In this game for customization, you can choose whatever pronouns you want and not be locked into gendered body or clothing options. Once you have your character you can talk to other characters. You get options for conversations like “ask about pronouns” or “talk about hormones.” In the world of this game, there is no transphobia or transmisogyny

For another idea, I thought of a world that was the opposite of that. From the outside, this game would seem like a normal action game. You go into character creation, but get basic options for the character, only two genders to choose from. This game is designed for cisgender people to play, but there will be trigger warnings for misgendering and dysphoria because throughout the game, most of the other characters will misgender the player character. Basically, the game will show cisgender people how it feels to constantly be referred to as a gender they are not.

The last idea, which may be my favorite, is a game about dysphoria in the shower. Bathing time is when trans people who have not transitioned basically have to stare at the bodies they are uncomfortable with which can lead to long, depressing showers. This isn’t the case for everyone though and dysphoria in general varies from person to person. This game will focus on one person with dysphoria. The player will see a silhouette behind a shower curtain and thought bubbles from time to time from the character. The player has to manage the character’s shower time, have them accomplish washing their hair and other hygiene based tasks, but the character can reject what the player wants and just stand there, thinking or staring at the wall.

 

Sources:

http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2015/09/ze-or-they-a-guide-to-using-gender-neutral-pronouns/407167/

http://gender.wikia.com/wiki/Dysphoria

 

 

VR Colorblind Art Gallery

Posted in Serious Game Project with tags , , on February 18, 2017 by sierraphantom

For this week, our group selected to expand upon an idea about a trippy VR game. At first we were comparing the game to LSD Dream Emulator on the original Playstation, but this idea has evolved into something kinda cool and original. This game focuses on an art gallery and the player has to look through it, but they are colorblind. You have to go into the paintings themselves as well and explore the 3D rendered environments to find a painting of the art gallery the player just came from. Once the player exits that painting scene, the type of color blindness they have changes. So, the player can go from monochromacy, seeing in black and white, to protanopia, confusing black with shades of red. You have to go through every painting in a section to move onto the next one with that one having a different theme from the last.

In terms of participating in the group this week, I set up the formatting for the powerpoint and covered the sections for objectives and obstacles. I formatted the powerpoint so it looked as if it was all made by one person. I wrote that, for the objective, the goal was to get through and experience the entire gallery. In terms of the win and lose conditions, there really is not a way to lose the game, but you can “win” by finishing it. For the obstacles, there are not many. The main one is that the player cannot leave the painting scene until they find the painting of the art gallery inside. Once they find it, they can go back into the gallery and look at another painting. The other obstacle would be that the player cannot move onto the next section of the gallery until all of the painting environments are viewed.

 

Brief: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18oEFhC0BccVJxAxA0jzpdIBglSXFvPBagZUMn7FF2SE/edit?usp=sharing

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Kevin Larson – https://kevinlarsonblog.wordpress.com/

Nolan Aldridge – https://noiceguy.wordpress.com/ 

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/