Friday, December 17, 2004

Final Game Design Statement

My final project consisted of making a video game with Leo Hertz called The Lonely City. This wasn't any normal computer game because we used a game design engine based on what LucasArts had used to make such games as Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle. It is important to note that these games had a huge influence on my tastes in games since they were the first games I ever really played, and the first games I ever really loved (if love is a feeling you can bestow upon a floppy disk). This is probably the main reason why I decided to do such a project, because I wanted to fulfill my dreams as a child of making, or at least trying to make, a game in the style of all my favorite old LucastArts games.
What makes our game even more of a step away from the norm is the fact that we decided to use photos of actual environments that we came across in our every day lives (such as our school) and photos of ourselves and friends to make characters within those environments in the game.
What makes our game still a computer game is the fact that the way you played it is based on how old adventure games made by LucasArts or Sierra were played. That is to say, you are given your character, environments to interact with (pick up/use objects etc..) and characters within that environment to interact with (talk/use etc...). We attempted to make something with more of an artschool/student aesthetic to it. That is to say a story that contained more poeticism and had random and absurd things happening within it. It dealt with things that we felt strongly about, such as the state of our school's artwork and the state of ourselves, going through college and living on our own: trying to be an individual in this big city. Also the backgrounds and characters were edited on photoshop to give a more "artsy" feel, meaning the images themselves were an art project/art piece. Although you won't be seeing any of these images in a gallery, ever, because they don't belong there.
Like all single-player computer games, only one person can play at a time, but anyone around them has the chance to sit in and enjoy the game too. The length after the final game was tested reached to about a half hour, which was more or less what we reaching for.
We tried to make the game's story mysterious and absurd/random enough so that the player would want to continue playing to find out what was going on. We also used the artwork in our game as a tool to keep the player interested by making the backgrounds and characters as aesthetically pleasing and interesting as possible.
I knew that I wanted to give the player the illusion of freedom, but with most 2-D adventure games that is very hard, and our lack of knowledge of the program was also something that stopped from doing that. It was great watching people do things we had normally though during the play testing and helped me realize that for us to give the player more "freedom" we need to offer him more possibilities as far as interections with the environment and the characters.
It was real tough making this game but in the end it was worth it and I know both Leo and I will continue on with this game, although after all the trouble with bugs and learning script we definetly need a little break from it. But when we come back, we'll be much more prepared for what will come out of continuing the story and the game.

In conclusion I really appreciated this class. I got to realize that there was more to games than simply board games and computer games. I am very grateful for this because it has opened new ways for me make my own artwork. I know that next semester I will be attempting to create my first real physical game, that doesn't involve computers but people interacting with each other and environments I will create for them. Alot of the readings were very insightful and really helped me understand how a game works and functions. Im glad I have this course reader and these different essays to look back on if ever I want to be more articulate about the game making process. So thank you Jane for the great class, I won't be forgetting it anytime soon.