I was excited when I first heard that we get to make Flash games for this class. Honestly, I thought we would get into Actionscript and Flash much earlier in our Computational media careers, but I won’t argue. When it was time to form groups, ours was one that kind of meandered together, most of us having just met each other for the first time. Our group was diverse: we had hardcore gamers and casual gamers, we had two females and three males, and people from everywhere—including UGA. We found each other that day, stuck together, and made a game we could all somehow be proud of. And I’m sure we all came out of this class with a new perspective on teamwork and game development.
Because of my experience with art, I was assigned the role of artist alongside Danni. Since the mechanics of the game must be determined for the art assets to be made, we all agreed on making a game that relied a lot on the art for emphasis in order for everyone to put in equal weight in the work. Our idea would focus a lot on the development of a space for exploration, a gamespace that players can just explore and have fun.
The earliest stages of development of our game were mostly put into brainstorming. At first, our group was having a hard time deciding on a mechanic to base out game off of. Everyone on the team had creative ideas and stories, building setting and character and getting a little too attached to their ideas to quite give it up yet. This was when our manager took control of the reigns and led us in a direction we could all agree on—a game that appealed to everyone on our diverse team. With this, our game became something that anyone can enjoy, both male and female players. The game was given a code name (Eyeballs), an androgynous protagonist, NPCs and a whole lot of potential.
We agreed on our core mechanic: the
protagonist would take the eyes of the NPCs and use them to see things that
would otherwise not be there (Zimmerman). The only constraint we were given was to not depict death, so we bypassed it in a whimsical, yet dark way by having the alien 'beam' the eyeballs out of the NPCs. We really wanted the game to be enjoyed by
anybody: we had conventional controls that are simple and intuitive, a brief
cutscene detailing the game objective, no lose state, and puzzles ranging from
painfully simple to just plain mean. At one point of development, we
realized that the story is not the important part. Lazzaro points out that
there are countless other ways games can create emotional experiences for the
user, in our case we wanted the game to have what he calls “easy fun”: “Ambiguity, incompleteness, and detail combine to create a living world”.
The mechanics bring about an element of
surprise for the player, as sudden changes to the player’s perception of the
world appear with each new ‘eye’ that is found (Lazzaro).
Everything was slowly coming together. Although our team could use some better time management, we still pulled through in the end with everything we hoped for AND MORE. I went ahead and drafted out the level design as requested by Chip, and drew in the assets for the Eyeball Man's animations, the interaction objects, the backgrounds, and NPC's. The way the UI was set up was pretty intuitive. The eyeballs you collect are stored in an inventory at the top left corner. It was set up in a way that help create an affordance for the player, allowing them to easily recognize what eyes they have in their arsenal and mentally map each eye out to the 1, 2, 3, 4 keys. Overall, the game design, the art, the music, and everything else we put into this game was well made and planned out. We've even received mostly positive comments when the game was uploaded on Kongregate.com, a network of indie game designers and players.
Lazarro, N. & Keeker, K. (2004). "What's My Method? A Game Show on Games." In CHI 2004 Conference Proceedings, April 2004. http://www.xeodesign.com/whatsmymethod.pdf
Lazzaro, N. (2004-2005) "Why We Play Games: Four Keys to More Emotion Without Story." Self-published white paper. www.xeodesign.com/whyweplaygames.htmlNorman, D.A. (2004). "Affordances and design." http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/affordances_and.html
Zimmerman, E. (2003). "Play as research: The iterative design process." http://www.ericzimmerman.com/texts/Iterative_Design.htm