» November minijam (Hey idiot)
November minijam (Hey idiot)
Unfortunately I won't/wouldn't be at the
november minijam. So I decided to make a game under the same basic
conditions except with fewer people and more
How did I get from theme to
Well actually there was no theme. But
I have lots of ideas and little time, so I started designing right
away. The result was ambitious, it started with the sentiment of having
your feelings ridiculed, something that people often do, especially kids
in school. The morning before I started I also saw
And I wondered what possible responses
people could have. Fear of its strength or its fashion
Initially I intended to illustrate group or
herd behavior. How people adapt their opinions, likes and dislikes to
the masses and lose some of their individuality in the process. I
thought it was a really sad idea to get home from school, play your
favorite videogame and then say you didn't like it so others wouldn't
bully you so much.
So the idea was to go through a couple of
days of school, look at the decisions the player made and extrapolate an
ending for that (a look into the future of the player character). The
endings didn't make it because I ran out of time. For it to be
convincing it also had to become dependent on a lot of things like what
was being marketed, what was popular, what characters really liked and
disliked but also things they didn't admit to liking, disliking
I got to the point where each character has a different
stance on different things. Popularity or marketing effects of things
are not taken into account. The player starts out neutral to all things
but starts to like things more when he or she does them after school.
One big thing I was sad not to be able to get in was exactly that
question of wether you would admit to liking what you did or actually
being able to give up on one of your passions altogether. I think it
would have made the game a lot more impactful. (Also, at the moment
there's no way for the player to start disliking things
Also initially I wanted to go very dark and have
it be possible to go to a shop, steal a gun and go on a shooting spree
or commit suicide for instance. But there simply wasn't enough time for
all that and the more I developed it, the more it felt forced to design
the game to go in that direction. So I cut that pretty early
The game definitely isn't kind though. There are almost
always a couple of bully's coming at you. But you can evade them or you
can get stronger by doing sports for instance, and then you can beat
them up instead.
A disadvantage of this pushing
mechanism is that I sort of gave up on the insults, mocking and
ridicule. Which are generally more impactful.
designed stats like in a pen and paper rpg consisting of health,
physical strength, mental strength, charisma, physical stamina, mental
stamina and selfworth/insecurity.
Basically the insults and the
mental strength & stamina would have been a mirror to the
physical implementation. Just without tactile gameplay. And I was quick
to implement something visual, physical, and so.. I left it
If I had thought up a gameplay mechanic to illustrate the
tie between the mental implementation to the denial of passions I
probably would have focused on that. But as I'm writing this I'm still
thinking in gameplay that implements insult avoidance patterns, which
would basically be the same as the physical implementation... so it's
difficult I think.
What actually is there then? Well,
there's a bunch of people who all have their own stances on things.
Depending on that they will be friendly, neutral, or hostile to you.
Actually only 3 out of 5 options got implemented I think, the friendly
part, where people would stand with you and protect you or scare off
hostile people was once again too much work.
I thought it was
important to be able to notice and navigate through these
"personalities" and see people behave differently depending on your
choices (your likes in this case). That made it in, though I think I
noticed a bug where people are more aggressive than they should
You can get surrounded by people and be beaten up before
you even make it to school. You can also invite people who aren't
bullying you (but I just realized the nett bonding/anti-bonding effect
of inviting them is zero, it works just as well if you don't invite them
After school there are a number of activities you can
choose from. Unfortunately, the only one that has an effect besides your
stance is sports which gives you a strength boost. The idea originally
was for certain activities to alter mental states like increasing
selfworth, decreasing insecurity when cooking a recipe for instance.
Also visually picking between a painting and a car, or between pieces of
music would have been cooler. But it's easy to see how this would be
expanded and how marketing and popularity trends fit in with
The people and their stances are randomly generated each
time you load the game. They don't change once you're playing. The only
one that changes is the player. It's a little less interactive than I
would have liked but it does allow you to more easily recognize what
people like or dislike.
* Feedback and results are
addictive, I tend to focus on them more once I get a result. It took me
about an hour to do the design, about three hours for the basic physical
implementation with people bumping into eachother on a map. The other
four hours were spent on adding stances, dealing with a nasty sprite
problem and implementing the text screens and text feedback.
It's surprisingly easy to focus on visual elements, usually representing
physical actions like violence for instance. Just seeing shapes bump
into eachother causes associations. This is illustrated very effectively
with the Heider-Simmel demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZBKer6PMtM
The article is easily findable online but I think the video speaks for
itself if you keep in mind you are only watching a couple of shapes with
* Flixel destroys all sprites when you switch
states. I defined a Person as an extension of a sprite with the result
of nobody you invited actually existing anymore as soon as school time
passed. It cost me about an hour tops to realize why that happened and
restructure my code. That was one hour completely lost.
much design? Or too little? It's hard to say in this case. Reading the
above part it seems like it was overdesigned for an 8 hour creation
process. But I was very quick to drop things and I never figured out a
truly alternative way to visualize the mental process. In that respect 1
hour for a design seems way to little. It's probably a question of
breadth vs depth. Design for depth not for
The game is open source, once again a
Haxe/OpenFl/Haxeflixel Flashdevelop project that you can get right
here. The flash version can be played online here.
Category: Experiments |
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