2021Fall GSP Prototypes

These are records of interesting prototypes based on theories of game studies.

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An ocean creature protecting game

Feiyi Zhou
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This prototype is inspired by Megan Condis’s “Sorry, Wrong Apocalypse: Horizon Zero Dawn, Heaven’s Vault, and the Ecocritical Videogame”. This article is about how video games with an environmental theme have a disconnected gameplay style.

The core gameplay of this game:
In this game, players will play as a diver, helping ocean creatures break away from the stuck-on trash, and collect these trashes to a ship.
This game works similarly to traditional nonstop side-scroll running games. Sea creatures will come from one side of the screen, players will try to catch them to remove trash from their bodies.
These are some concept arts of the game.

From gallery of Ukoidyost

From gallery of Ukoidyost



In Horizon: Zero Dawn, although it has an environmental theme, its core gameplay is still real-time action combat. However, in this game, both theme and core gameplay are about environmental-friendly activities.
In this prototype, I realize that environmental themes may have a stronger influence on players if the core gameplay is matched with the theme because players will not be distracted by off-topic elements on the screen.
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Sun Nov 21, 2021 4:29 am
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Touching maze

Feiyi Zhou
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This prototype is inspired by Aubrey Anable’s “Touching Games”. In this article, the author discussed how touching can influence the gaming experience.

The core game mechanics of this game:
The core of this game is simply navigating through a maze from the entrance to the exit. However, players will not see the maze, instead, they will touch it. These mazes are made with pen and paper. When drawing dots hard enough on a paper, it leaves small humps on the other side of the paper. Players will close their eyes and put a finger on the paper to feel the humps and navigate through the maze.

From gallery of Ukoidyost

From gallery of Ukoidyost


The playing experience of this game is very interesting. Because the maze is formed by lined-up dots but not continuous lines, when player move their finger along the maze, it creates a feeling like vibration. It works very similarly to haptic feedback. In addition, because it is the only sensation players can rely on, players will pay more attention to it. Therefore, this game is an exact application of the theory discussed in Aubrey’s article.
In this prototyping activity, I learned that while players are giving input to the game – whether through an input device or directly on a piece – the game can also give player feedback through sensation other than visual and auditory. And because tactile sense conveys simpler information than graphics and sound do, it is more instinctive and contributes to the mood.
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Sun Nov 21, 2021 4:09 am
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Realistic rock climbing

Feiyi Zhou
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This prototype is inspired by Nathan Altice’s “Family Computer”. This article is about the research and development of Nintendo’s Family Computer. It discusses how improvements in technology can bring a better gaming experience to players.


The core game mechanics of realistic rock climbing:
This game will be played with a VR display and a pair of controllers, with an extra device. There will be 8 rods with 9 powered joints, connecting from a wall to another. VR controllers will be attached to two joints in the middle.
The player can do rock climbing in the game. When holding onto rocks, joints will lock to provide the realistic feeling of holding fixed terrain with hands. When holding onto an object with both hands, joints between controllers will lock to provide a realistic feeling of holding.

From gallery of Ukoidyost


This is a paper prototype of the joints.

From gallery of Ukoidyost

About the realism of VR games, there is a shortage that the quality of feedback from controllers is not as strong as the graphic and control. This design utilized the miniaturization of devices, making realistic feedback from controllers possible.
Through this prototyping activity, I learned that a lot of amazing ideas are already possible to make with current technology. However, just like Nintendo’s family computer, it needs a group of people working hard on it to bring it to consumers.
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Sun Nov 21, 2021 12:04 am
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Tunnel of shapes

Feiyi Zhou
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This prototype is inspired by the theory from Whitney Pow’s “A Trans Historiography of Glitches and Errors”. In this article, the author discussed glitch art in video games.

From gallery of Ukoidyost


The core game mechanics of Tunnel of shapes:

The players will be given pieces of three types, square, circle, and triangle. There are two tunnels connecting the player’s area and the target area, one can let square pieces pass through, one can let triangle pieces pass through.
The player can hold at most 5 pieces in their area. When the player pushes a piece through a tunnel, a new piece of a random type will be placed in the player’s area. When the player cannot send pieces through tunnels, the game ends.

In this design, the circle piece is a working glitch. It is working because it cannot go through any tunnel. It is a glitch because when the player has only circle pieces in their area, the game will end because no possible action can be taken.
The playing experience of this game contains randomness. If a square or a triangle piece is given, the player can push them through the tunnel and the game will continue. If a circle piece is given, it will remain as an accumulated glitch. Therefore, the game may be played for many rounds if circle pieces come rarely. It may also be ended immediately after beginning if all given pieces are circle at the start.
Through this prototyping activity, I realized that the rule can be separated from the gaming experience. Spawning glitches may not be an issue for the rule. What makes it important is the player’s interpretation. This helps me to understand how glitches and errors are a form of art produced by running programs in a different way.
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Sat Nov 20, 2021 11:36 pm
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