We’re making good progress with our game. We have figured out all of the character movements and put in the four characters we will have for our demo. There will be a menu first describing that it is the player’s objective to get the four roommates home safely by crossing the road. When a character makes it across, we have figured out in GameMaker how to have it automatically go to a next room so the player continues to play and will play all four players consecutively.
The order of the characters is easiest to hardest (white male to black female). We decided not to let the player decide which player to choose first because of this. When a character gets hit by a car, another screen will open so the player can see what happened. (E.g. When a black male gets hit by a cop car, the screen will say “You have been arrested for jaywalking!” and show a man getting arrested.)
What we need to do next:
We have temporary sprites and backgrounds put into place in the game so far. One of our group members is a skilled artist and has drawn out all the backgrounds and characters in pixelated form. The game has been sent to him and he will replace all the temporary sprites and backgrounds. After that, it will just be a lot of fine tuning, ensuring that we have meticulously made the correct movements, etc. in GameMaker. The main issue we are dealing with is completely figuring out how to make the cuts to the images that will pop up when a character hits a car, and then have it go right back to the game where the player starts over.
Everything is on schedule and going well with Infinite Loop. We have finished most everything on the research side. We have done research on the social justice issues which best reflect the inadequacies of slacktivism and decided on what to include in the game. Daniel has spent the week finding images that we can put into the game to represent these. They will be put on the screen in the center of the infinte loop maze and will change between eachother as you collect likes. There will also be clips that will be shown at the end once you have completed the maze, as we give links for people to donate or volunteer.
We have created the basic layout of the game / maze. We have figured out how to move the sprite around and through the maze and we have figured out how to make our “likes” spawn and move in a certain direction. However, we are in the process of figuring out how to make all of the likes spawn repeatedly and have the m all gravitate towards one exact spot (the center). We also are figuring out how to increase the amount of likes that spawn as you collect them. After we accomplish this we will need to figure out how to make the character sprite gravitate towards the center as well. These are the main challenges we have over the coming weeks, as other than that we only need to figure out a few more basic things such as implementing an “awareness meter” that fills up as you collect likes. We are on schedule, things are going well, and we will have another update next week.
Tethered is coming together well according to the schedule we planned out. We all spent a week mainly focused on research, specifically focusing on domestic abuse that occurs outside of the norms of male abusing female and finding resources that discussed how issues other than gender played into abusive relationships. This research further strengthened our belief that abstract representation is the best way to address the issue, as domestic abuse is a problem across different races, classes, and sexualities. We also agreed on the “report” option not being successful every time after reading about issues abused partners can have when seeking help, and have discussed the specific way we would need to incorporate this into our game in GameMaker.
As far as the game itself goes, we have reskinned the demo to create the feel of the final game, using cube sprites to represent the players. We have also been playing with the relative sizes of the characters to the maze walls before creating the maze itself. I created several small sections of maze of various sizes in which to test this. I also programmed the game’s view area to show only a small section of the maze and follow one of the players, rather than showing the entire maze. The current goal is to create a separate mock-up for what each player’s screen would look like, with Player A’s screen showing less of the entire maze, and Player B receiving additional hints as they progress.
We ran into, and have since fixed, an issue with the player characters’ interactions with each other. We decided that we wanted players to be able to pass through each other for ease of navigation, but unchecking the “solid” box for an object did not change their behavior. While we were unsure what to do about this Bekka created a version of the game using the game creation software Construct 2 with the core features, to test whether we might want to use this program instead. We found a long-forgotten option in one of our player actions that fixed the issue though, and opted to keep working with GameMaker.
At this point, we almost have the entire maze incorporated into our game. Justin has researched maze design and has drafted a maze of appropriate size on paper, the only step left for this is translating it into our GameMaker room. Our next step after this will be playing with the view sizes and incorporating other features such as the police or friend blocks, in-game text to teach Player A their “abuse” button, and hints for Player B. Finally, we will create the introduction screen as well as additional text or screens for players being booted, a character abusing their partner too much, and winning the game.
So far our group has completed the layout of our virtual space. The user will first enter through a narrow hallway lined with pictures depicting the production process of an iphone and the aftermath of when it is thrown out. Next the user will walk through another narrow hallway to a simple recreation of a dorm at an Apple Foxconn plant. This will demonstrate the cramped space employees live in, with often eight workers to a room. The user will also be able to look out a barred window at the suicide nets located below. Then the user will enter the main space whose center piece is a statue of a person holding an iphone in front of a giant wall with Foxconn stats of workers hours and pay on it. The other side of the wall features a contrasting view on Foxconn and states in the context of national stats, Foxconn is not as bad as the media portrays it. This installation will give the user two contrasting views on the issue. This main space will also feature videos on e-waste such as a 60 minutes exploration into e-waste exported to China and a Nightline investigation inside a Foxconn factory. This space will also feature an Apple computer which, when clicked on, will open Nick’s minigames in a browser. His games are coming along nicely and Nick has been working out bugs and making the games fully playable.
We still need to start detailing the interior areas and picking out which pictures we would like to use. One challenge we have is boiling down the concepts to make them simple enough to understand. For instance we would like to visually represent how holding on to obsolete products is a waste because old technology rapidly decreases in value as time goes by. We want to tell the user it is better to stretch out a products lifespan as long as possible or find a trustable electronic recycling center to dispose of their electronics but it is a challenge to show the user this rather than just telling them. Another challenge is conveying stats to the user. We do not want to overload the user with information but we have lots of good Foxconn and e-waste stats we want the user to comprehend.
So far, so good. After deciding to ditch Twine due to it’s extremely basic format, we opted to use Ren’Py as the program to mod our game. We chose Ren’Py because we thought it was a more image-oriented program, which fit the kind of game that we wanted to create. After several efforts of trail and error, we were all able to download Ren’Py and semi sorta kinda figure out how to use it.
One of the things that we have done recently is to create the basic fundamental beginning of the game. In the ideal game, players will have a choice of four pre-created characters to play as. These characters are very general and represent a range of ethnicities as well as representing both male and female genders. The character that we will choose to focus on for our demo will be Miss Kim, an Asian female. We started creating a background for her, such as her origins, her educational level, etc. The idea is that at the beginning of the game the player will be able to see an image of each choice, along with a paragraph describing them, before making a decision. Then they will choose an area of the world to start outsourcing from. For the purposes of our demo, Miss Kim will choose India as the location.
We started creating the basic storyline of the game, meaning scripting the dialogue and the choices/responses that the player can make. This is still in its beginning stages, but it is being developed and pretty soon will be near completion. In regards to the actual gameplay, we decided on a feedback system that rests essentially on the opinions of the investors and the workers. This will be represented by a horizontal bar with two colors: black for investors and red for the workers. We chose these colors for a couple reasons- it references gambling terminology, with black being good and red not being good; red is a very common danger color (which we liked because it showed the workers as “dangerous” and thus negative, going along with the whole detached feel that we wanted to create), and because black is a very prominent, bold color, so even if there is lots of red of the bar, black will be ever present and thus always will be noticed by the player (kind of prompting him to try to focus on pleasing the investors and raising the black).
Also, we have begun the process of actually finding images to put into our game, which turned out to be a lot more difficult than any of thus thought after Amanda told us to watch out for copyrights and that we could pretty much only pull pics from sites that have openly free images. All in all though, the game is progressing along, and another update will come next week.
During the last week our group has been working on the story line of our game. We divided the work into the two potential love interests for our main character. The story has different two different branches, the decisions you make in the game, result in you either winning the heart of the love interest or being rejected by your bad decisions. These meters are possible with the program we are using, Twine.
The main character, Javier, has a choice to either win the affections of a female, or of a male. The thing is that Javier is queer so even if one chooses to be with the female his sexual orientation does not change, he is simply choosing her because he feels pressured to by society. If he chooses the female his life is way easier but if he chooses the male interest then his life becomes extremely hard, this is to demonstrate the unique problems with being queer in a urban environment. The story line is different for the two love interests but similar events happen in the different branches.
In addition to hashing out the storyline we worked on our bibliographies and finished the first three scenes of the introduction. The introduction is comprised of a fight scene, a scene at his house and a scene at school. These scenes give back ground information about the main character’s family, school, and gang affiliation and from the school scene the main character chooses whom to pursue.
Thankfully we haven’t had many problems with Twine but it can it can be buggy and crash. In addition to the storyline, we have decided to add photos but are not going to illustrate full scenes or any people to leave it up to peoples imaginations.
At this stage in the development of our game, Phil: The Quota, the game itself is starting to take shape. All of the characters that Phil will be meeting have been established and approved, and most of the dialogue for the entirety of the game has been written. Outside of class, each of us have been working on creating characters (a minimum of 3 each) and the dialogue exchanges that will occur between Phillip and the characters. This has been an interesting process, as each dialogue has the potential to end in different ways, necessitating much more dialogue than expected, though we’ve compensated accordingly. In addition, while I (Andrew) have been hammering out the story with help from Jessica, Brandon and Lauren have been busy with searching out appropriate sound clips that we can put into the game. Lauren is also knocking out images of our character while Jessica is doing research on background images that we can use.
The next step will be to begin uploading completed scenes into Ren’Py, the game engine that we are using to run our game. We have been uploading and saving all of our separate files into Google Docs, so that we can all access them and see where we stand as a group. Because we’ve been able to divide our labor effectively, we expect to be able to continue working on later scenes while simultaneously streamlining and completing the earlier scenes, rather than having to wait until all of the scenes are finished to put them into Ren’Py.