For my Video Game Design class, we had an interesting assignment. Our teacher put us in groups and prompted us all to create a prototype for a 3D game in mind. Up until this point, we have been making paper prototypes for physical games in mind, such as card games and board games. My group number was Group #8.
We also had to create our paper prototype with a specific prompt in mind. We had to create a game about the Zika Virus, and use our game to somewhat educate players on prevention techniques and symptoms of the Zika Virus.
Needless t0 say, this assignment was a bit hard to wrap my head around. It took my partner and I about a week of brainstorming before we finally decided on what genre we wanted our game to be. We were at first leaning towards a FPS game, but we feared that would be a common idea in our class. We actually ended up deciding to do a Survival Horror genre game. We came up with the idea of players being stranded on an island stuck with “Super Mosquitoes” that were infected with the virus. This was how our game Survive Till Night was born. Players would have to keep track of their clothing and water levels and if either one became depleted, the player would die. Players could use bug spray to attack the Super Mosquitoes.
We intended our game to be prototyping a real-time, 3D survival horror game. To emulate the passing of time, at the end of each round I would write down an hour had passed. I used a white board for all of the stats in our game and tried my best to keep up with players and write down the status ailments and item uses in real time. While I was not actively playing the game with them, this allowed for be to have a very close watch on the players’ struggles and reactions throughout their play test of our game.
During our first play test of the game, it was clear that we had our game’s basic mechanics down rather well. Players were overall positive of our game, and no one had any complaints about our core mechanics of the game. In fact, most criticism we received was mainly to add mechanics such as the ability to loot resources off of dead players, the implementation of a crafting system, and the incorporation of teamwork mechanics into the game.
The tasks in my group were pretty evenly split. I was in charge of creating and designing the board, my teammate was in charge of buying and bringing resources such as dice and the whiteboard, and we both took equal part in brainstorming for our game. In particular, I was in charge of fleshing out resource mechanics and crafting while my partner was in charge of fleshing out the “Super Mosquitoes” and their battle mechanics. I would say we managed ourselves mostly, but we kept each other accountable. We had very good communication.
Going forward, I would take a page from what I learned in this assignment and get the core mechanics of a game polished as best as I can BEFORE I play test my game for the first time. That extremely helped in this assignment and made the design process so much easier going forward compared to my previous assignments. Plus it allowed for us to add more complex mechanics to build on top of the core mechanics, rather than having to fix an already convoluted mess of broken mechanics. This assignment went really well for my teammate and I.