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David.M

Final Project Design

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I'm in a class called Reading and Writing Disability which takes different texts such as books and films and analyzes how they portray disability. We also look at the social construction of the terms disabled and normal and how these texts fit or go against those definitions. For our final project we're free to do anything we want. One idea was to make a game and I think that's what I'm going to try going with. However, I'm not the best at coming up with a story or idea for the game so I'm here asking for some help.

 

I'm first debating whether to make the game explicitly about a character who has an obvious disability such as being confined to a wheelchair or to simply portray the character as being treated differently than others, leaving it open to more analysis.

 

I wanted the player to be able to make choices that affect the character's development. For example, making choices that affect the character's mental state and attitude such as becoming angrier with his disability or learning to accept it. This can show a progression of the character's view of themselves and their disability and change the outcome of the story for the player.

 

At this point, this is about all I've got down. I was wondering what type of game (platform, narrative, etc) you think would best fit this vision of a game. I was pointed by my professor to The Witch as an example I could use. I'm not sure how wide an audience such a game would have and would like to get the game fairly well distributed if possible. What do you guys think?

Edited by David.M

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Do you mean someone with a disability? Because a lot of people just want to "fix" them. Behavior modification, you can "get better" all you need is a little help, etc.

 

Which is quite different from accepting that a person is not able to do something, such as running or seeing color. And the frankly bizarre notion that they must therefore be "better" at something else to appease some sense of fairness is in my opinion an attempt to negate acceptance.

 

Maybe something that presents the difference between trying to change the person to fit the environment versus changing environments to be more suitable to the person.

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That's what the course is getting at. Society is trying to force people with disabilities to conform to the societal ideal. They are rejected for their differences. I'm trying to envision a game that reverses this attitude but, frankly, that's very difficult. The main story and idea behind pretty much every game is that you as the character overcome all these difficulties and come out all the better for it on the other end. This just doesn't happen in real life.

 

The first book we read depicted this, as did the second. In the first, a woman's attitude deteriorates as she cannot cope with her issue. In the second, an entire family deteriorates because of the son's disability. I'm not sure how a game in which the main character is unable or unwilling to "overcome" his disability would look which is why I'm having so much trouble.

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I think you need to start by looking at it as a story telling question. Don't worry as much about getting the player to achieve things so much as communicating to the player what's going on. You want to show (graphically or by text) what's going on in the mind of the main character and what's happening around him. You need to compel the player to follow one or more specific paths that you intend him to follow.

So, yeah... probably a lot of writing which you said you're not the best at. The only other thought I have is that it would probably be easier to depict something on the lines of the first book you read otherwise you'd need to plan out various reactions of family members which could become very extensive. Maybe do something simple where the character is in an accident, tries to return to his old job, and finds he can't keep up with it for some reason. Maybe just explore that general situation without necessarily coming to any final resolution.

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I wanted the player to be able to make choices that affect the character's development. For example, making choices that affect the character's mental state and attitude such as becoming angrier with his disability or learning to accept it. This can show a progression of the character's view of themselves and their disability and change the outcome of the story for the player.


I'm thinking that to achieve this objective, you might want to come up with some sort of script or map to follow events, what directions the character can go, and how the character's state of mind changes. And I would suspect that a narrative game or hypertext fiction could emerge quite quickly from such a map.

As far as expressing the character's state of mind, you certainly have text and dialogue as an option but if you have some mechanic in mind that you want to explore as a way to get the message across that you're hoping to, then embrace it. It is after all, your project. But even then, you would still benefit from knowing where the game is going and how you plan on getting the player there.

So my recommendation is that you first come up with some sort of script(whether that includes dialogue or not) before proceeding too far. Worst case scenario, you have something that you can hand in.

Edited by kseh

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How about a puzzle game where you have differently colored tiles. When you move a green tile the entire world is green and you can see all green items. When you are moving a red tile you can see all red items/constraints. The red can move on red backgrounds but not on green ones. You then have to solve the puzzle by moving around the right tiles to unlock keys/doors. 

 

The game would simulate how people are different, percieve the world differently as they have their own "normalcy". If combined they can do together what they would not be able to do on their own. 

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How much time do you have? What are your programming skills? Have you finshed any game before?

 

I suspect, for a class project, you should go for the absolute simpliest, like narrative text (with a few pictures), maybe with some very basic mechanics (but that's a the very last part of dev process, when and if you have spare time).

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