As part of my final year dissertation study I am exploring the social awareness and need for Inclusive designed and minded games by creating a video game which strives to not just emulate real world conditions both neurological and physiological, but rather raise awareness that titular avatar and narratives should not be so scared to touch the subject.
To some degree Project Sense is serving as a test-bed for my larger game LIfE by the fact it operates at its core in a similar manner however as of today (roughly an hour ago) the game now utilises a brand new plugin for UDK known as the Adventure kit (http://www.freetimestudio.net/?go=software&id=14) this will allow for some more dynamic interactions and if successful will be used in LIfE to breath more well life into the universe. At the moment Sense is still being constructed and due to the modular nature of it (loading each segment as a different level alongside some randomness) core game-play is still being worked upon.
One puzzle I would like to talk about today however is the one I am simply calling the block parable. You enter a room and are greeted with a set of instructions and patterns, match the pattern to right door to proceed to then collect ‘totems’ to then place in a particular order not revealed. The idea is to test cognitive functions whilst the game itself is going to try and work against you by essentially sending mixed signals, this is to try and represent the confusion and strain people with conditions such as dyslexia can face with cognitive understanding in both direction and order following overall.
The hope is to have the game finished by the end of the month and available to download for free with the option of those who downloaded it to take part in a study to give me more data results to work from. No screenshots for now but will appear as and when on my twitter feed: https://twitter.com/3llipsegames
Whilst I am working on my dissertation one being Project Sense I thought I should dig out some files of what it could have been, i.e. some of the older concepts behind it and so let me begin. One idea was to have it play out like a survival horror game where each chamber was a test where part of you was limited however this was too dark and too much like saw also felt mildly offensive, something which I did not want the game to be. Another idea was to have the player pick out disabilities to solve puzzles with the only way out being to pick in selected orders however this felt like it was prioritising, ordering and otherwise making light of some conditions. The game is designed to raise awareness and is now a puzzle style first person game where you play as robot.
The version being developed for university work will only feature a handful of neurological and physiological conditions however it is my full intention to develop a fully fleshed out version that both raises awareness but also is fun and takes advantage of modern input control options such as the oculus rift.
The game will require some test candidates in the New Year with a Free copy being given out shortly after.
I have decided to take a bold new step and basically learn a new engine or rather mobile version of an engine and chosen to have ago at Havok’s Project Anarchy engine which is built with mobile development in mind. They are currently running a challenge which IF I can get a team together will be taking part in as have an idea and such.
It is essentially a cut-down version of a game I am working on for a project. IF I decide to use this I will write up a follow-up post.
As a Games production student the idea of trans-media transgression is one that vividly interests me with the blurring between what we perceive and what we feel becoming less defined. As part of my university degree I am working on a socially aware game that challenges the idea of disabilities in video games by placing the player into the role of someone or something that is facing real world impairments be they physical or neurological. It is designed to evoke a response from the player and as an avid fan of Augmented reality and trans-media strategies any chance to cross boundaries is one I jump upon, games can evoke responses that other forms of media can only just simulate, they actively encourage the player to proceed however rarely do they cross the threshold in the big world stage.
The game I am making simply called Project Sense at the moment is designed to cross these boundaries and give life to an otherwise simulated world, players can physically interact with the world and emulate struggles that people face in daily life. I feel that it is only by pushing sometimes can progress be made and linear development can only go so far, we see examples of games that have made it into books, films and even rarely television spaces however often the message is lost and the feeling tainted by the lack of understanding that it is not simply enough to create a world sometimes you need to feel the world you have spun and engulf the user into this fantasy, games should not end once the machine or device is switched off they should using gamification methods spread into daily life making the virtual feel that little bit more real.
I find it hard sometimes that in my course we are told a game is defined as one way of thinking to provoke a response from interactive engagement but sometimes I feel a game can be more important for the message and long-standing message that is subtly delivered. Trans-media is linked via media methods and approaches but can it really deliver the impact on social level that can change actions and thoughts without even being realized? Does tans-media therefore transcend media itself…
I hope to write more posts here including one on an audience aware project and the pitfalls and research concluded and one on mobile augmented communicative delivery.