Initial Prototyping (Week 2)

JUNE 14 – JUNE 20

We had a basic game design ready. There were also a few tasks that had to be done either way, like the menus and localization. So I got into the engine and began programming the basic layout of the game.

Prototype Everything!

We didn’t have many mechanics detailed out, but I didn’t want to wait 4 weeks to get started programming, like what happened with QR, so I kicked it off with the essentials.
Our game was split into two modes – the worldmap, and the disaster levels.

The Disaster Levels

The disaster levels would be used to teach players how to behave in the case of a natural disaster occuring – as a normal citizen. In these levels, the player would have to navigate a character to an exit point, in order to help them survive the disaster. The only thing we knew so far was that we wanted to make the game very easy to pick up, so every student could play and succeed at the game. We decided for a basic mechanic inspired by Hitman Go.

hitmango
Hitman Go (2014)

Similar to Hitman Go, our players would navigate a node-based grid in a turn by turn puzzle game. This was very favourable for one of the initial goals we had set – that the game should be pausable at any moment, so the teacher or students could talk about what was on the screen at that moment.

So I set up the most simple prototype for this behaviour. A flat space with a 3×3 grid of nodes, and a cuboid as the player figurine. You could move the figurine by clicking on adjacent, highlighted nodes.
And that was already it. It didn’t take me long to build, but having the initial setup done, especially with a gamemode, playercontroller etc provided me a solid basis to start iterating on.

The Worldmap

The Worldmap would act partly to teach some details about the disasters, like where in the world they can appear, and partly as a hubworld to get into the disaster Levels, XCOM style, while also providing the mission objective to the player!

xcomGeoscape
Open XCOM The final modpack (Lewis and Ben Save the World)

In our game, natural disasters would occur randomly on the globe, within the areas that that type of disaster can occur in real life, and the player could choose which disasters to play. The player could select one of the disasters on the globe – represented through known hazard map symbolism – then answer a short Quiz. The answer to the last question of the quiz will be the location the player needs to reach within the disaster level. When they have solved the quiz, the player can enter the level.

earthquakeEpicenter
Example of how a disaster could be shown on the globe.

By the end of this sprint, I had a gamemode set up for the world map, a preliminary globe and a disaster quiz window which pops up when you click on the disaster marker. The Quiz used data tables from csv files, so the questions could be written in spreadsheets, rather than in-engine. You could also enter the disaster level prototype I made when you answer all quiz questions correctly.

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