SGP: Emotional Intelligence Game Idea

This week for Serious Game Project, I was determined to create a game which would aid children in developing skills which would help them to become more aware of their own emotional states, while also helping them to better recognize the emotions of others.

Growing up, I was not lucky enough to educated in emotional intelligence and recognition.  I was an extremely cheery and upbeat kid and had little to no experience dealing with the stresses of the real world as I would never let anything get under my skin.  Upon growing up, however, difficult transitionary periods in my life – such as going to college –  were extremely challenging, ultimately leaving me to figure out the coping skills that I would need as an adult on my own.

As a subsequent result of my own difficulties, I wanted my game idea to be able to at least make children more consciously aware of their emotional states so they don’t have to go into difficult situations with little or no coping skills.  Therefore, I have decided to create an interactive story game which allows for some user input (similar to the Telltale games).  The story will detail a series of events and will allow for players to choose certain responses or actions in each section of the story.  Depending on their selection, different scenarios will unfold each resulting in a different emotional response.  The affected characters will then explain how they feel as a result, why they feel that way, and how they can make the most of that emotional response or to healthily cope with it.  A quick example could be that one character in the story is demeaned or belittled by another character, thus granting the player numerous options to choose from in order try and cheer up that character.  This type of gameplay would not only allow for children to gain a basic understanding of how emotions can tie into their actions but would also allow for them gain some insight on emotional recognition as they’d visibly see characters in game respond to certain scenarios with certain emotional responses.

 

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Sierra St.Onge – https://sierraphantom.wordpress.com/

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/

Darius Watts – https://badcoffeesite.wordpress.com/blog/

Nicolas Kruzel – https://seriousfailure.wordpress.com/blog/

SGP: Friendly Feelings Contribution

This week our serious game project team further discussed out game ideas.  After much debate, we decided that we would expand upon Sierra’s idea.  Sierra’s idea involved a game which revolved around the usage of imaginary friends as emotional intelligence learning tools.  As children grow up, we found it important that they have the skills necessary to get through difficult aspects of their lives.  Thusly, creating a game to foster those skills seems rather important considering most of our group members grew up lacking any education in this field.

In order to educate users in emotional and social intelligence, we agreed upon making a game which is, at its core, is a child-friendly visual novel.  The characters in-game, which will be the player’s ‘imaginary friends,’ will be scattered around a park or playground which has very drab, washed-out colors.  The player has to talk to all of the ‘imaginary friends,’ each of which will be representative of a social/emotional intelligence skillset such as self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy, social skills, etc.  Conversing with a character will educate the player about the associated social/emotional intelligence skillset, after which the player is brought into a fun puzzle game which they must solve.  The puzzle will reinforce what was just taught to the player in a fun and engaging way, therefore hammering home the message.  After each puzzle is completed, the section of the game environment that the associated game character was located in will have its full color and vibrancy restored, therefore providing players with additional incentive to keep progressing through the game.  After completing the puzzle provided by one in-game character, players can then move on and converse with the other characters.

As for this week’s game brief, I had expanded upon the “Levels/Environment” section as well as the “Main User Mechanics/Actions” section.  For “Levels/Environment,” I discussed our ideas regarding progression and came up with the idea for gradually restoring color to the game world as players progressed.  As for mechanics, we figured that out game would be best suited for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as that would provide us with the greatest reach for hitting our target market of 6 to 10 year-olds.

 

Game Brief

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Sierra St.Onge – https://sierraphantom.wordpress.com/

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/

Darius Watts – https://badcoffeesite.wordpress.com/blog/

Nicolas Kruzel – https://seriousfailure.wordpress.com/blog/

SGP: Signs of the Tide Contribution

This week our SGP group got together and discussed our three game ideas.  In the end, however, we decided that we were going to flesh out and further develop our turn-based strategy game which utilizes American Sign Language as a method of control input!  The basic idea of “Signs of the Tide” is that it will allow those who utilize American Sign Language or are trying to learn American Sign Language to practice both creating hand signs as well as recognizing them.

This week, I worked on the “Introduction to Game” portion of the game brief.  Although the actual game idea itself is pretty straightforward, the unique control method we created makes for a rather interesting game.  In it, players will be able to use sign language as a method of input via the usage of either a computer webcam or possibly the Nintendo Switch Joycon (which will view and interpret the hand signs formed by players).  Since “Signs of the Tide” is a strategy game, we decided that players will be able to use hand signs as a means of moving their units, as well as for choosing the actions of those units, in-game.  For this to work, we decided that the game will utilize a node-based system with which a player’s units can only be moved to specified nodes on the game map.  Above each node, a word will be listed which, when signed, will move the player’s selected units to that node.  Each level in-game will feature a different topic such as foods, colors, or months; which will be the basis what words will be associated with nodes on the game map.  Between levels, there will be story portions of the game during which in-game characters will sign in ASL directly to the players, after which they must utilize the signs learned during the previous level to respond to the in-game character.

I also worked on the “Unique Game Features” portion of the brief this week, however, our unique feature is the inclusion of the sign language based control input which I already mentioned above.

 

Game brief – link

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Sierra St.Onge – https://sierraphantom.wordpress.com/

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/

Darius Watts – https://badcoffeesite.wordpress.com/blog/

Nicolas Kruzel –

Game Idea: Wii Sports-like Stroke Rehab

This week’s serious game topic involved designing a game which would assist either elderly or disabled individuals in maintaining independent living.  With such a broad topic, our group decided to focus primarily on games which would assist the disabled.  One game would act as a form of entertainment for the blind as there are currently very few games on the market that cater to such an audience, essentially detaching them from the digital entertainment industry.  Another idea involved creating a game for the deaf which involved sign language recognition, therefore allowing them to interact with the game in a very comfortable fashion.  Lastly, we came up with an idea which would aid in muscle rehabilitation, specifically for stroke victims as the rehabilitation exercises required to regain motor function are often quite boring and tedious.  Thankfully, with the recent introduction of virtual reality to the consumer market, there are a lot of new ways to incentivize movement and exercise.

For the muscle rehabilitation game, I envision something which utilizes virtual reality in order to make rehabilitation exercises fun and engaging, therefore essentially masking the fact that individuals will be repeating otherwise monotonous movements with their hands, wrists, and arms.  The idea is to create a Wii Sports-like game for the HTC Vive which contains a series of differing minigames, each of which will feature a different type of upper-body movement.  The first minigame, for example, could be one which solely uses the thumb trackpad on the Vive, followed by a series of other minigames with gradually increasing difficulty (in terms of the muscles required to play).  This would allow stroke victims (or others recovering from a motor function disability) to not only gradually recover their motor skills in a less tedious way, but would also incentivize the recovery process by providing those playing with plenty of new games to work towards, thereby potentially decreasing recovery times!

I really believe that one of the biggest obstacles in the way of stroke victims recovering their motor skills is the sheer tedium of the required daily routines which can inevitably take a mental toll on the recoveree.  Therefore, I find it very plausible that gamifying the process would not only make stroke victims look forward to doing their required recovery exercises, but could also do so to the extent to which it speeds up their recovery.

 

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Sierra St.Onge – https://sierraphantom.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)  (Links to an external site.)

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

SGP: Midterm Week 2 – Game Brief

Working Game Title:

Private Theatre
Group Names:

Me, myself and I (Kevin)
Genre:

Role-playing, Simulation game (which is nothing like the SIMS :p)
Audience:

Anyone who has never had the chance to be involved in theatre or acting! (Though actors are welcome too!)

 

Primary Objective:

  • Introduce a new generation to theatre by dipping their toes into the waters of improvisational acting.
    • This will, in essence, allow those whom have never experienced being a part of a drama production to do so without having to experience stage fright, thereby introducing a new generation to theatre via gaming.
    • This objective was very interesting to me as the performing arts are something I have always wanted to get involved in, however, never once attempted due to my fear of the anxiety involved with public performances (stage fright).

 

Introduction to Game:

  • Private Theatre is a virtual reality role-playing/simulation game in which players are given the opportunity to experience the thrilling fun of acting without ever physically setting foot on a stage. Many performers and actors agree that the performing arts serve as a means of both self-betterment as well as a means to meet awesome, new people.  Therefore, players will utilize VR and VOIP in order to put on either scripted, or totally improvisational performances (there will be numerous game modes to choose from) which can be viewed by other players, thus engaging them with other people to enjoy the performing arts and all of its benefits.

 

Game Control:

  • Movement –> Players can move utilizing the HTC Vive motion controller’s D-PAD
  • Talking –> Players can communicate with each other by simply talking (the HTC Vive has a built-in microphone for voice communications)
  • Interacting with objects –> Players can pick up and wield props in the scene by pulling the triggers on the Vive controllers.
  • Inventory –> Players can access their inventory by pressing the menu button on the Vive controllers. The inventory will contain information necessary for the gameplay in certain modes.

 

Score/Objective/Winning/Losing/Competition:

  • There is really no winning or losing in Private Theatre. It is more about meeting new people and being immersed in the entertainment that the performing arts can provide.

Interface/Information:

  • Button Popups –> Control instructions will temporarily appear informing the player of how to interact with certain objects (eg, press the trigger button to pick up this object).
  • Pre-scripted dialogue –> In modes with pre-scripted dialogue, lines and emotional queues (emojis will be used to convey emotion) will appear floating in space in front of the players, telling them what to say, how to say it, when to say it, and who to say it to.
  • Inventory –> This is to be utilized in the improvisational game modes and will display character information and backstory to players in the form of virtual notes on scrap paper, giving them a rough idea on how their character should act and respond to certain situations. This gives players and basic idea of their persona and the rest is up to them to act out and improvise.

 

Main User Mechanics/Actions:

  • Match –> In game modes with pre-scripted dialogue, players will have to match their speech and tone to the dialogue queues which appear on screen.
  • Destroy –> In game modes with pre-scripted dialogue, some characters may be killed off in epic sword battles.
  • Create –> In the unscripted or improvisational game modes, players will be free to create dialogue and essentially construct their own performances.
  • Move –> Players have the ability to move their avatar.
  • Random –> Players can be randomly assigned a role in certain game modes.
  • Shoot –> Technically since the game is to utilize virtual reality, physics can be applied to any object, thus giving players the ability to toss objects between each other.

 

Levels/Environment:

  • Private Theatre will incorporate numerous different game modes, all of which are slightly different:
    • Scripted –> There will be a pre-scripted game mode in which players will deliver lines of dialogue to each other which are to be inspired from the scripts of actual plays! These performances will essentially be condensed, altered versions of real performances and will incorporate major plot points to briefly portray the overall story.  The story isn’t concrete, however, as players will be given different options for the dialogue which they say.  For example, on a player’s queue to respond to another player, they can choose between different emotions, thereby altering the line of dialogue which that the player receives, potentially altering the overall story as well!  This mode could also have scripted fight scenes if the play calls for it, directing players to engage in combat.  When in combat, each player is told what to do and how to do it locally, thereby making the overall scene appear continuous and fluid.
    • Non-Scripted –> There will be two non-scripted game modes which players can choose from:
      • The first involves players solving a murder mystery. Each player is granted a backstory and an alibi, thus giving them insight on how their character should behave and react.  Then, one player is designated the role of the murderer.  Players must utilize their backstories and alibies to communicate with each other in order to figure out who the murderer is.  The murderer’s job is to create lies and false stories in order to persuade the others that they are innocent.  At the end of a pre-determined timer, all players will cast their vote for who they believe the murderer was and the true murderer will be revealed.
      • The second is a completely improvisational theatre mode in which players can get together and customize their set by selecting and placing props from a list. Players can then create their own story, be it scripted or improvisational, and then put on their very own performance.
    • Regardless of game mode, when players join a game they will be placed on a virtual stage in a virtual theatre. The environment which players will be acting out performances in will be a virtual, customizable set on the virtual stage.  This gives players an idea on how it feels to perform on the set of a real play, thus giving them the best idea of how acting is without having to experience the anxieties of stage fright.

Obstacles, interactive elements, enemies, collectibles, npcs etc:

  • Weapons and stage props –> There can be interactable props on the set which players can use to further the plot of a performance.
  • Enemies –> Since players are to be taking on roles, there may be instances in which one player is the enemy of another player and must show animosity towards, or sometimes even kill the other character.

Describe and Explain the unique ways in which your game idea meets the needs of the theme, entity, AND objective

  • In the scripted game mode, if players do not adhere to their lines, they will be booed by the virtual audience viewing the performance. This, when combined with the visual environment and the emotional queues provided to players in order to accurately act out the performance creates a fun and unique experience in which users will both be playing a game whilst also performing an act and essentially putting on a theatre performance, thereby blurring the line between theatre and gaming!

 

Sixty seconds of play:

  • Two players are reading their lines to progress the storyline. Then, one player receives a queue to draw his sword from his waist, thus bringing both players into a close quarters sword battle.  Players are told which ways to swing their weapon in order to make the skirmish seem more natural and smooth, ultimately coming to an end when one player is told to intentionally mess up, therefore leaving an opening for a killing blow to the other player, therefore progressing the play’s plot.

Link to video of similar gameplay. Link to video or inclusion of images of similar look/style

The Wolf Among Us gameplay:

 

Powerpoint Slideshow:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6QH5gFpNUxYVEM2QzVtRzBhV1k

SGP: Theatre One

This week in Serious Game Project, I decided that I will design a game for Theatre One.  The game will appeal to both those involved in acting as well those who enjoy gaming, hopefully opening some eyes to the enjoyment that can be had participating in, or viewing theatre.

Theatre itself is a very old form of art dating back to before the common era!  In fact, it is believed that “in the 6t century BC a priest of Dionysus, by the name of Thespis, introduced a new ‘element’ which can validly be seen as the birth of theatre” (Gascoigne 2001).  The fact that theatre still exists today, amidst vast technological advancements and alternative forms of media available, perfectly emphasizes the impact and importance that it carries along with its age.  For actors, theatre opens up the opportunity to become part of a family – a family which works together in order to portray the events in a story.  This, of course, requires the actors to become familiar with their characters, all of which have varying personalities, qualities and relationships with each other.  This ultimately forces the actors involved to not only learn about their particular character and the characters to be played by others, but about themselves as well!  As stated by actor, Nick Wyman, “I [have to] solve problems: how to get the truth out of a fellow character, how to reassure an anxious juvenile, how to stop boring the rest of the cast.  As a result, I grow.  I grow as an actor and as a person” (Wyman n.d.).  So, acting can not only serve as a fantastic form of entertainment for others, but can also serve as a tool for developing one’s own interpersonal skills, helping to form friendships and even families (even if the families are just for the show).

As far as gaming is concerned, there are not many digital games which incorporate theatre or the performing arts.  Therefore, I wanted to create something mostly original which could potentially allow players to dip their toes in the waters of acting or playing a role.  As a result, I decided that it might be best to start with focusing on finding a fun way to engage individuals in communicating with each other.  I figure VR would be a phenomenal platform to achieve such a feat as it would allow players to interact with each other in a slightly more natural way.  Then comes the game element…  I imagine a game such as “The Wolf Among Us,” a murder mystery, however, with no scripted dialogue between players and instead just backstories provided to them before playing.  The idea would be that one player is given the role of a murderer, while all of the other players are innocent bystanders.  Each player (including the killer) would be provided with a brief backstory for their character, an alibi, personality traits, hobbies, etc.  Players will then have to communicate with each other while playing the role they’ve been given in order to figure out who among them is the murderer.

I figure that these murder mystery scenarios can be themed after actual plays, with the environments being modeled as sets in a theatre, thereby drawing the parallel between gaming and theatre.  Such an experience would allow those who have never acted before to test their hand at the art, giving them a taste of the fun to be had acting out a part with others.

 

Sources:

Gascoigne, Bamber. “HISTORY OF THEATRE.” HISTORY OF THEATRE. N.p., 2001. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. <http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=cui&gt;.

Wyman, Nick. “From the President | Actors’ Equity Association.” From the President | Actors’ Equity Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. <http://www.actorsequity.org/aboutequity/president_archive23.asp&gt;.

SGP: Art Game (Chromacy) Contribution

This week our group decided to expand upon our colorblind art gallery idea!  We decided to call our game, which is essentially a walking simulator/art game, “Chromacy,” as it refers to the medical term used to classify certain types of colorblindness.

The initial idea we had tossed around involved creating some sort of psychedelic, VR art gallery which would immerse the players in elaborate and breathtaking environments, however, we ended up molding our vision into something slightly different.  What we decided was that players would begin the game at the entrance of an art gallery.  The player’s vision would already be affected by a form of colorblindness upon entering the gallery to examine the artwork on display.  Upon close examination of the artwork, however, the player will be pulled into the picture, thus allowing them to explore the environment within the painting in 3D (while still being affected by the colorblindness).  Players must then search for and find a painting of the art gallery within the 3D realm they have been transported to in order to be transported back to the art gallery.  Upon reentering the art gallery, players will be given a different form of colorblindness from what they previously had and they can they move on to examine the next painting on display.  The idea is for players to get through the entire art gallery, therefore experiencing and ingesting a ton of artwork without being able to see it as it was artfully intended.  Such an experience emphasizes the idea that art and beauty are very much tied to perspective.

As far as the game brief is concerned, I worked on fleshing out the game’s introduction which discusses our game’s purpose.  I also worked on the levels and environment section which discuss level progression as well as the general design of the game environments.  Other members of the group had other sections which they wrote out, however, much like last week, we tackled the game brief and powerpoint slideshow as a team and so we were constantly spitting ideas back and forth as we brought our work together.

 

Brief: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18oEFhC0BccVJxAxA0jzpdIBglSXFvPBagZUMn7FF2SE/edit?usp=sharing

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Sierra St.Onge – https://sierraphantom.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)  (Links to an external site.)

Nolan Aldridge – https://noiceguy.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Game Idea: Psychedelic Art Gallery

This week’s topic for development was focused on games which were created with the intention of being art.  We tossed around quite a few different ideas, however, ended up honing in on three of them.  One idea places a very heavy emphasis on narration in order to draw players into the story and make them feel as if they are a fully immersed in the experience.  Our other two ideas stressed the importance of perspective as they involve putting players into the shoes of someone who sees the world in a very different way from most people.  The first idea centers around someone who sees via sound, similarly to how bats use sonar for navigation in the darkness.  The second idea, which is the one I will be explaining in more detail below, involves players taking on the role of someone who is colorblind entering an art gallery.

The primary idea for this colorblind art gallery experience is to focus less on narration while overwhelming players with intense and captivating visuals.  Additionally, we decided to make the game support virtual reality in order to push the visual immersion even further.  With that in mind, the game will start with players entering into an art gallery.  Various pieces of art will be on display in a lengthy hall and players will be able view the images in order from front to back.  After viewing the first few pieces of art (all of which will be portrayed in a fashion which blends colors together in order to emulate the view of someone with a form of colorblindness), the hall morphs into an almost psychedelic landscape filled with colorful and enchanting visuals which will surround and guide the player forward through the scenery.  After getting to the end of the psychedelic landscape, the original art pieces that they viewed can be viewed again without any color distortion.  After re-viewing the artwork, players are transported back to the original art hall where they can then move forward and begin viewing the next couple of images.  The same set of events will occur each time with players being transported to a colorful landscape, however, that landscape will change each time the player enters it.

By having a very minimal amount of narration in the game, players will be able to search for and find their own meaning behind the experience, therefore spreading the premise of art and its creation by propelling the idea that art is not what you see, but instead what you make others see.

Group Members:

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Kevin Larson – https://kevinlarsonblog.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Sierra St.Onge – https://sierraphantom.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)  (Links to an external site.)

Nolan Aldridge – https://noiceguy.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

 

SGP: Naturalization Contribution

This past week, our Serious Game group worked on writing up a game brief and creating a presentation for our migration game idea.  We ended up pursuing my idea for a text-entry rogue-like simulation game which we’ve titled “Naturalization: The Drawn Out Process of Uncertain Immigration”.

The idea of the game is that players will take control of the actions of immigrants attempting to gain entry into the United States.  Prior to getting into gameplay, players are presented with the backstory of the character or family that they will be controlling.  First, players will need to gain entry into the United States by filling out and submitting documentation at an inbound immigration office.  Players will be shown a list of documents such as their birth certificate, various permits, certifications, etc.  They must use that information to correctly fill in a variety of documents which would permit entry into the States.  If players make a certain number of mistakes filling out their documents, the immigrant or immigrants they were controlling are sent back to their country of origin with a short, often bleak briefing of the outcome of their extradition.  The unforgiving nature of the game will be reflected by its look and feel as the art is to be pixelated and lacking of any vibrant or uplifting colors.

If players fail to correctly submit their documentation, they must restart the entire process from the point of view of another immigrant or family of immigrants.  If players manage to successfully submit their documentation, they will progress to the next immigration desk with further documentation to fill out and submit.

As far as the game brief is concerned, I focused primarily on writing up the introduction to the game which overviews its story, mechanics, look and feel.  However, our whole team met in the design building and worked together, throwing ideas back and forth as we each wrote our section in the brief.  We also all contributed to the creation of a slideshow presentation which summarizes the game brief.

 

Brief: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15hOxrSf4TZDVcRRLenrl_KWPDj6KnnrVNBLBagvM7oY/edit?usp=sharing

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/

Kevin Larson – https://kevinlarsonblog.wordpress.com/

Ryan O’Mullan – https://ryansseriousgamesblog.wordpress.com/

Nolan Aldridge – https://noiceguy.wordpress.com/ 

Khuong Truong – https://dysfunctionalthinking.wordpress.com/

SGP – Immigration Game Idea

This week’s focus for Serious Game was creating a game which exemplifies some of the many hardships faced by immigrants trying to gain entry into the United States.  Being that one of our group members has first-hand experience with the adversities and dangers of immigration, we decided to design one game around the actual process of traveling overseas to the United States.  To stem off of that, we also decided to design a game which is similar to “Papers, Please” while utilizing a text-based input system similar to “Façade” in order to emphasize the sheer length of the process required to legally immigrate into the US and to become a citizen.

The idea is that players will take the role of immigrants attempting to gain entry into the United States with the end goal being, through much trial and error, gaining US citizenship.  Each immigrant or family attempting to gain entry to the States will have a backstory which is presented to the player so that they can establish some sort of emotional connection to the characters.  Then players must utilize the text-based input system to petition for a Visa, stating their reasons for entering the United States.  When players finally gain entry into the United States, they can begin the next phase of the game.  This phase will involve players answering a series of questions (including questions which determine their understanding of US History and Government) which will decide whether or not they can gain citizenship in the United States.

We wanted to make the game very unforgiving as to show just how demanding the process of gaining citizenship is.  Therefore, if a player answers just one question incorrectly, the immigrant or family they were playing as is sent back to their home country and the process must be restarted from the point of view of another immigrant attempting to gain entry to the United States.  This will allow players to progressively learn all that needs to be done in order to gain US citizenship while also educating them on the harsh realities that many immigrants face when they are denied entry into the country.

immigrationGroup Members’ Blogs

Luke Carpentier – https://lukecarpentier.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Kevin Larson – https://kevinlarsonblog.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Sierra St.Onge – https://sierraphantom.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)

Ryan O’Mullan – https://ryansseriousgamesblog.wordpress.com/ (Links to an external site.)