Monday, February 14, 2011

Assignment 5, Conceptual Prototype

A short single player FPS where you design a short single player FPS.

(a) distribution; played in your browser for free
(b) interface; hardcore WASD interface regresses seamlessly to "mouse-only" waypoint interface
(c) content; narrative and gameplay that isn't just about male power fantasy.

CREATION, anyone can write or draw or paint (maybe not well), but very few people make games. How can I make a fake virtual game design tool more intuitive?

NARRATIVE + ARCHITECTURE, player-controlled architecture (the level) results in different responses / experiences, couple it with a fragmented narrative.

AUDIENCE, is it possible to make something that both hardcore gamers and my mother would enjoy? (If I have to have a separate "casual mode" then those are actually two different games.)

* * *

For my final project, I want to build some sort of artistic first person game for web browser deployment using the 3D browser plug-in Unity, targeting some notion of "accessibility" through distribution, interface and content while still pursuing my interests in architecture / narrative / interactivity.

Here are my goals in more detail:

Accessible distribution = it is widely available and easily accessed from a computer. Using Unity, I am able to upload the game files to a server -- players must simply visit the web page to play, and content is streamed through the plug-in and into their browser, much like a Flash game. The difference here, however, is that Unity is a high-performance professional-grade 3D game engine.

Accessible interface = the controls are intuitive to use and players can meaningfully express their actions / intentionality in the game. Some players find it very difficult to navigate spaces with typical FPS controls, so I will do research into alternative control schemes. (This is a software approach because I don't have the expertise to solve it in hardware.) There are several precedents to alternative FPS control schemes: "Grotto King," "Epic Citadel" and "Fatale."

Accessible content = the mechanics, narrative and architectural context do not cater to a hardcore teenage male market but rather a wider, more casual market. The test for this will be if I can get my own mother to play it and engage with it meaningfully, i.e. understand the aesthetic effects.

Stuff will happen = there will be a gameplay mechanic and things will happen. There are many artistic first person games where you merely walk around. I think that's boring and doesn't fully leverage interactivity -- it's pretty much just an architectural walkthrough.

It'll be single player.

It will favor poetry over prose, and mood over plot.

It'll be short. Typical playthroughs will last about 5 minutes.

It'll be suitable for a gallery setting. Some of my previous FPS work has been displayed in galleries, and I can't possibly imagine such installations being effective. They're usually designed to be played alone by hardcore gamer audiences who are incredibly familiar with FPS conventions.

... so the core structure, tech, implementation and design constraints are in-place.

Now I just need an idea.

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