Glitch Feed

Relevent Game Design episode ONE by +peter
November 19, 2006, 12:36 am
Filed under: Game design, Glitch Feed, Glitch Feed Game Development, Relevant Game Design


The following are game design concepts developed by myself along with the enigmatic yet lovable Stephanie. Using some form of periodical as our source, we chose an article and then designed a core game concept based upon what was being written.

You might notice that this challenge was published about two weeks ago. At that time we claimed we would have our resulting labors published, a paltry seven days later. Those finely edited works would then be ready for all you in blogoland to consume, digest and worship.

Your cries have been heard! We apologize for causing you to hold your breath longer than physically possible. To those faithful readers who have survived that whole suffocating thing, may we present to you: Relevant Game Design episode ONE!

Note: we publish the following so that these concepts may be discussed, debated, applauded, whatever. Public opinion is always appreciated. These projects are not closed off to anyone who would like to join in. When we announce our second design project, we hope that those who wish to join in will do so!



Relevant Design 1 – Part 1

Stephanie Frankiewicz

In response to: Gene selection, abortion, and euthanasia

At what moment does life start? Who determines the quality of a life? Who determines when to end it?

The screen will be divided into two distinctly separate sections, A and B.

Section A will be austere and antiseptically perfect. This will be the area in which the player interacts with the game. This section will be highly reminiscent of a hospital/laboratory scene. The player will make decisions through dialogue boxes and mechanical-sounding instructions. The goal of this portion of the screen is to place the player in a position of authority that directly affects the experiment/human-life in the adjacent section.

Section B will reflect the decisions made in section A. ie, let’s say the player is asked (via sec. A) which eye color they want their ‘project’ to have. Sec. B will carry out whatever directive was given in response to the inquiry. In the case of eye color option, sec B could show the corresponding genes being added to the final mix.

The player will be asked various questions pertaining to the physical, mental, and (possibly) social traits that they want their human to have. [This could potentially be a spoof of ‘Sims’] Once all data is obtained, the player will have the option to “commence gestation”. Once this option is selected, the player virtually loses all control over the pawn (except for those options in “list_of_choices”) and will watch their decisions unfold in section B.

The goal of this interactive adventure is to drive home the fact that society at large has been desensitized to critical issues – which are, quite literally, matters of life and death. This will be acheived through the dichotomy of rote, callous questions juxtaposed with the ‘real-life’ simulation (the artistic style of which has yet to be determined).

The player will have some input as the sim progresses. Ie, say their pawn broke a rib. The player would be alerted via dialogue box and would have the option (as a connoisseur of medicine) to Treat, Not Treat, Kill, etc. Below is an incomprehensive list_of_[possible]_choices:

• commence gestation (used mainly at start of sim)
• termainate procedure (used at any stage in the life)
• treat, heal, fix, (used for mini-events [such as health issues])
• bring in for testing (gives an in-depth diagnostic of the current pawn)
• …

As of now, this concept does not have a definite end. It is something more akin to a widget or ‘tamagatchi’ pet than a typical goal-driven game.

Relevant Design 1 – Part 2

Peter Traylor
North Korea versus the World

Article – Any collection of articles concerning North Korea, specifically the recent nuclear tests and how the world reacts to them. Emphasize is also placed on how N. Korea’s populace is also effected.

Concept – With North Korea taking steps towards developing and testing nuclear weapons, they also make very strong statements to the rest of the world. How the world handles this delicate situation is very crucial. A concerted effort should be made in ensuring healthy diplomatic relations for future negotiations.

The gameplay is to focus on choosing the correct path, or response to a situation with the goal of maintaining peace and keeping the N. Korean economy and population healthy. The ultimate objective could be to simply avoid war. Any outcome other than war may be considered as winning. Extra points(?) could be if North Korea is persuaded to disarm (maybe).

In game, the player will first be presented with a situation and they must choose which course of action is best to take. These courses of action could vary from actual descriptions of the reaction, to a general selection of positive, neutral or negative reactions. Once an action is chosen, the player is than notified of how North Korea responds, how the country itself is effected and how the world is effected. The cycle then repeats.

Adding challenge to the game play, the selection process is time limited, thus quick decisions must be made. Time limits may also vary with the longer ones allowing a the player the chance to deliberate on a choice while others require an impulse decision. Sometimes, the options presented may have no immediately positive effects, yet the player must also consider the long term effect and plan on what might aid there future progress.

A desired effect of this game is that the player feels as if the game remembers their past responses. If the player was initially harsh than later moved to a more peaceful tactic, N. Korea might not be as trusting as they would have been if the player had taken the more peaceful route all along. If the player’s responses vary wildly, they might be also seen as unable to commit to any decision, thus N. Korea could perceive them as less of a threat.

While this might be able to be simulated, an actual AI is obviously more difficult to implement. This would not be a required feature.

Execution – Game play is from the player’s, 1st person perspective, yet they have little control over where they go. The only control they are granted is in choosing the path they desire. The player’s perspective is always moving forward towards one of the “reactions”, this works as a way to implement a time limit for each decision. The 3D perspective might aid in creating a sense of urgency.

The game world is depicted as a globe. The player’s perspective glides over the globe as if doing a fly over from the height of a satellite. The globe itself is rendered in a stylish, exaggerated way, allowing another channel to illustrate global changes.

The “situation” is presented by a man/woman/child/group, standing on the surface of the globe. They stand disproportionally tall when compared to the globe. As the camera rotates around the globe, it will glide past this person. This person could be reading a newspaper, talking with their peers, listening to the radio, watching TV, but always exercising some form of information transfer. As the player passes by, N. Korea’s actions will be displayed via text (?) on screen.

The subsequent reactions to N. Korea’s actions take the form of other mediums of information transferal (newspaper/fax/email/television). These reactions are placed far ahead of the player, around the globe, and may correspond to the geographic location of where the reaction came from. These “reactions” are initially out of site from the player because the player is rotating around the globe, elements on the opposite side are out of view. As these elements come into view, text appears and presents what that course of action will be. Multiple elements may be on screen, each telling what their reaction is (?)

The player must then decide which reaction is needed, and they will select the path that leads them directly to that reaction. All paths run parallel, and the player only needs to use the arrow keys to switch paths, paths are also invisible (?)

Another variable to the decision process is that not all options may be visible at one time. If the player is presented with an option they do not like, they may forfeit that path and hope the next one (which is currently out of site) will be better. This correlates with actual patience in real life. If the player often waits for the last reaction to come up, they may be seen as incompetent. Depending on North Korea’s actions, it may be better to wait a bit longer for another reaction to become available, on the other hand, it also maybe necessary to act quickly.

Another gameplay variable could be when the reactions available to the player at one stage are actually all the same, the only difference is the amount of time between reaction. For example, the only reaction available maybe a negative one; if the player chooses the first one, they may be seen as rash, while if they wait longer for the second negative reaction, they maybe seen as cautious yet firm.

Once the player decides upon a path, it will lead them literally into that medium, where the world will then reappear and the cycle begins again. Example, the “reaction” might be a television. The player’s perspective will fly into the television where they begin again on another globe (the next globe was visible withing the television prior to the player entering it. This is possible using the “portals” concept available in most game engines.

Reactions to the player’s decisions should be in text but also may be reflected on the globe itself. If war breaks out, explosions might be visible on the surface. The people illustrating the reactions/actions of North Korea should also vary depending on how the situation is progressing; personify the result. The “reactions” available to the player should also, somehow reflect the current state of affairs.

Other Potential Uses for this Design Concept – As time has passed, I have come to realize that such a topic may eventually be regarded as cliche (but no less important). With that in mind, I must also realize the potential implementation for this game concept into other topics. This design concept is not limited to political situations but could be utilized within any topic or story that features a conversation/argument/debate with an entity that might heading down an unwanted path.

An example of this might be an argument between a couple. The goal is to keep the couple together by choosing the correct reactions to the situation presented. Locations within game may vary depending on how the story progresses and each scene would function as a microcosm of the current situation.

The game starts with the female character walking into a room and finding her significant other in bed with another person. The camera glides through the scene towards potential “reactions” that are displayed within the assorted props decorating the room such as a television, picture frame or radio. The camera would fly into the chosen prop and the next scene to take place would illustrate the result of that past decision, and the process repeats.

*everything and your mom Copyright 2006 GlitchFeed, Peter Traylor, and Stephanie Frankiewicz

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