An open-world dance-adventure game prototype and design document.
Role: Narrative designer and producer
January 2014 – present
What I Changed?
What I Learned
The design portion of this project was completed for Dr. Kim Voll’s Foundations of Game Design course at the Centre for Digital Media, which focused on cognitive game design and testing. The early playtests mentioned above were helpful both in design and in teaching me about sample size, testing constraints, observation, and protocols, as well as the work and care required to set them up.
This project was the first time I’d ever fully collaborated on a game story idea with a designer and the first time I’d taken the initiative myself to focus on unifying gameplay and story. Previously, I’d approached it purely from the story side. Here, I was challenged to put story aside and focus on creating core gameplay that would serve as a foundation for everything. I learned to balance the demands of gameplay with the overall vision in my head, and create and iterate upon both until they eventually fit together. The clickable prototype, though very low-res, presents an open-ended level with sample story development embedded along the way. The story story goal for the project at this stage, aside from showing a sample for tone and content, was to create a space and effects within it that would challenge the player to continue interacting, exploring, and moving through the world to trigger the story.
Finally, Garden represented another exercise in scoping. With about three months to deliver a working prototype and design document and no programming or art skills on the team, it was crucial to identify realistic goals early and build towards articulation, rather than function. By limiting work to the conceptual level, rather than trying to create a working piece of the game world, we were able to articulate and hone the concept to a point where, going forward, more prototyping work can take place.
Garden remains in concept development, and the team hopes to continue prototyping specific parts of the game levels, core movement mechanic, and story. If you’re interested in contributing to it, or just want more information, please contact me at dy.matthias[AT]gmail.com.