Reflection

Bring your emotions together and feel peace. Your emotions don’t have to be in conflict; they can live in harmony.

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Description:

Reflection is a game about becoming one with yourself. You control two conflicting emotions at once. You must navigate them through a split level, focusing one at a time, both at once, all while avoiding peril. You need to bring peace to your emotions by combining them within yourself.

This game is designed to help people to understand living with their emotions. Emotions can be powerful. Emotions can be overwhelming at times. Sometimes however it is good to be able to control your emotions or at least put them at peace. This game was created to help people realize this.

The theme we went for was simultaneous opposites. As stated before emotions can be opposed at times but this doesn’t mean that we should ignore any emotion. We wanted the player to control both emotions at once to make them see that no emotion is bad but that all emotions should be brought together to make you more whole as a person.

Development:

We started by brainstorming ideas. At first, the cards that flipped up had us thinking about a stealth spy game where you have to break into a building, dodging enemies, and collecting information. As we collaborated more the idea began to change towards what we finally created. We mapped the game out as a reflective game where you control multiple things at once, while still dodging enemies and collecting things. Eventually we dropped some things and fleshed out a few others.

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Obviously there were challenges but a lot of things we went too. What went well was that everything seemed to fall together once we got the ball rolling. Nothing was last minute. It all went along at a comfortable pace. However, some of the problems took the luster off an otherwise enjoyable development.

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Brenner, who did the art, had issues with the colour palettes. This was because coordinating all the colours with the different opposing emotions didn’t always harmonize together. At times the colours didn’t match or didn’t look good together so they had to be redone a few times. Every piece of art needed to work and harmonize with other pieces of art to make the whole thing coherent and this took a lot of trial and error.

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I also had my own issues with the game though mine were more technical. Game Maker chugged and corrupted my file at one point near the end (Thankfully, I create back-ups occasionally so I was able to pick up not too far from where I was). This was because I brought a gif into the program that was both dimensionally large and had more frames than I think Game Maker is usually used to. When I stretched the animation, as soon as I saw it lagging, I knew something was probably going to go wrong. It did so I made some animations within the system itself. This caused other problems such as objects not following their commands or appearing and disappearing for no reason. Logically it made absolutely no sense why two objects with the exact same commands would act totally different. I tried to cut back on the complexity of these animations and that seemed to make them work better. Also, order in which you place objects matters from a layering perspective!

Both of us had a problem designing the levels. At first we tried to map them out analog but we quickly came to the understanding that it would be hard to visualize everything on paper so we changed to prototyping in Game Maker. Making levels for one player but two different parts was difficult to balance in the end without making it overly difficult or needing to be super precise in timing.

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Future Directions:

In the future, it would be nice to polish the game more; polishing the art, designing more challenging levels and more emotions, expanding the story and elaborating on it. Adding new features, more enemies, other forms of obstacles would be pretty cool too.

Making this game to help people was fun but maybe incorporating a psychologist or psychiatrist would make the game more therapeutic. It would be interesting to create a game that people with mental illnesses could play to help them cope with their illness.

Links:

Game: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1gbhdcnuzsbksoc/Reflection.exe (55.05 MB) {May not work on Macs}

Final Assets: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1sjh0vfe84wcg8e/Reflection_Final_Assets.rar (117.81 MB)

Credit:

Art: Brenner Pacelli De Castro

Programming: Corey Dean

Soundtrack: Apotheosis – Austin Wintory (Journey OST)

Sound Effects created using http://www.bfxr.net/

Game Created using GameMaker

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door

Update: Door was shown at Vector Game + Art Convergence Festival 2014!

Update: Door was shown at Level Up! 2014! We even got a review! Read it here: http://www.gamezebo.com/news/2014/04/08/5-student-made-games-you-need-play 

Experimental Game. Two Players must work together to get through dark levels to reach Door.

Basics: Door is a platforming game projected onto a blackboard. The twist? Platforms are invisible.

Download Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gb9j6cd3csb9mr9/Door.exe

Gameplay: Together two players must reach the door. Player uses arrow keys to move the square character, Partner uses chalk to sketch the invisible obstacles onto the chalkboard. Working together, the two can get the square character through all ten doors.

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Best Setting: Door is a social game based on communication and teamwork. This is why best played at parties or public events by any demographic of people who are playful and experimental.

Theme: The theme of Door is blankness. The game provides no character, no plot and no game board. Players of Door discover and create the experience themselves leading to a surprisingly vibrant experience. From the blank slate of the black chalkboard, Players creatively design their own game, this is why no two games of Door look alike!

Personal View: The game of Door came from our team’s personal view of the world. Everywhere I look the media is shoving a narrative down my throat. We are sick of the themes and characters and drama and story and bla bla bla!

Door is meant to provide a blank experience which players create themselves.

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Development:

Challenge 1: It is surprisingly difficult to create a simple game. From character design to plot to music we were easily tempted to add details that would add our own personality to the game.

Solution: We had to be very watchful ourselves and each other. As we designed the character we had to strip it of personality. As we created the game music we had to strip it of emotion. Even the objective was cut from “rescuing the Princess” to just getting to the door. Door is just a basic game for complex times.

Challenge 2: Door is a two player game but one “player” is really just there to help identify the level obstacles.

Solution: We play tested our levels to find a balance where both players are needed and work together.

Development Photos:

Brainstorming game concepts.

Brainstorming game ideas.

Cards we chose.

Cards we chose.

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Roughly designing some levels.

Roughly designing some levels.

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We enjoyed the level making process. See future plans below to learn more.

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Testing out the projector.

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Testing game play for whiteboards vs blackboards.

Play testing when the game was one player.

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Creating the sprite for Square

Creating the sprite for Square

Finished Game:

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GameplayPlaying Door

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Future Direction:

As we made levels for Door we found the platform placing process very creative and fun. In a future iteration of the game we’d like players to be able to create levels for each other like so:

Player A designs a level. Player B tries to play to the end. Player C uses chalk or whiteboard marker to draw the level map.

With these three game mechanics we’d have a super simple game builder which integrates level design, play testing and aesthetic design into one fun package.

Another goal for the future of this game is to polish it and show it at an Digital Futures fundraising arcade. The social aspects of the game and the highly visible game play make it perfect for a game show!

Team:

Connor Campbell

Corey Dean

Jeremy Nir

Software used: GameMaker, GarageBand and iMotionHD.

Site with some sound effects: http://www.bfxr.net

Thanks to our game testers: Lewsy, Will, Michelle, Sarah and Ed from home. Various classmates from school.

Retirement

There are four companies that run the world. Can you show everyone you’re the best by promoting and retiring all your employees or will your company falter due to restructuring?

Description:

The point of the game is to get your three (3) employees to retirement first. While they are employed to you they can be promoted or demoted. You want your employees to retire at the highest position possible. Just be careful your employees don’t fall off and get fired!

This board game incorporates both strategy and piece management. You need to control three pieces at once while trying to hurt your opponents chances of winning. The board continuously moves and pushes everyone’s pieces down, so be sure not to let them get too low or else they will fall off and get fired.

Development:

This game was a modification of the children’s game Up The River.

What we as a group did first was play Up The River, completely unmodified. We quickly created the board, found some pieces and die, and went to play.

Next was to brainstorm new ideas. We just wrote down anything that we thought could work; new rules, modified rules, themes, or any random thing we wanted to say. This generated a lot of new ideas and we decided to go with one or two of them.

From here we started changing rules one at a time. This worked exceedingly well surprisingly as we never really reached a roadblock. Each thing we added changed the dynamic of the game without breaking it, which blew our minds to be honest. We kept iterating until we had a prototype to work with.

Then it was just a matter of making a polished product. Art was created, rules were written up, pieces were made and that was that.

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Links:

Final Assets: Download Here (14.89 MB)

Credit:

Saffron Bolduc-Chiong, Lucas Branco, Connor Campbell, Alex Gerassimov, and Corey Dean