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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Center for Games and Playable Media (CGPM) houses UCSC’s five games-related research labs including the Expressive Intelligence Studio – one of the largest technical game research groups in the world. CGPM boasts one of the largest interdisciplinary faculties, drawn from Computer Science, Psychology, Economics, Computer Engineering, Literature, Theater, and Art.

Grow!

(2019)

 Grow! is a game where player gets to enjoy in the perspective of grass, an object which is though to have passive stance in daily lives. Its' main aesthetic is to tweak norms of puzzle game just a little bit to let users enjoy a new sense of fun from it.  Grow! is no different from usual puzzle games, except for the fact that it has always more than 2 protagonists running at the same time. The items, such as holes and soil, and the enemies, represented as deer, are so common features of normal puzzle games. I wanted user to have a fresh experience, but not a strange experience where everything is new with never exited rules of chaos. I was astonished by the game "Yami" (from the last semester) and "Baba is You" and learned how important it is to think out of box when making games. The "multiple protagonist" concept is the answer I came up with, and I've figured out that it was pretty successful while play testing the game.  Grow! has another core concept. Grass merges. Grass grows in 4 steps in the overall game. They are able to do different things when they have grown to certain level. On the design stage, I wanted to make a game where players could feel the distinctive difference in available options they could make according to the different states of grass, but due to time limitations and 45 event limitations I ended up having just one effect where grass grows to state 3, the sand on the map is broken.  Grow! takes a lot of concepts learned from class active. The mechanics are simple, making 80 pixels of move works fairly for all objects in the game. Everything is under control and rules, you don't have to worry about objects or deer sliding down in different speeds with their own positions. It is relatively easy and intuitive to learn, easy to control yet has variety of options that we could make the game through.  "Cool!" was one of the most frequent comment I've heard while play testing this game. It was for sure, had independent logic and feature among the games made this semester. I've played all the Construct games from last semester posted on board. Some of them were normal, some of them were fun, and some of them were astonishing. It was not only the effort they've put into the game that surprised me, but also how much they have thought about the game itself, really surprised me. For instance, "Yami" had its unique feature of turning the light off, making the game a totally different from usual Mario games. Although the idea itself might sound simple, it is never easy to come up with a brilliant idea like that. I've spent a lot of time, focusing on what could be distinctive in our games that would be fresh and unique. I've came up with an idea of Maze Sprinter first, where acceleration matters in a maze game, protagonist could break the wall if they have enough speed, but due to logical issues (both programming logic and gaming logic) I've discarded the idea.  30 seconds describable and 15 minutes playable are difficult conditions to match. This literally means that your game should be simple but fun. You really need a sparking idea to achieve those goals. Therefore I was proud, since people really enjoyed playing the last 2 stages of Grow! The average time taken for people to play Grow! was 10 mins, and the worst case (who had no previous experience in playing games) took 17 mins to complete. Even for the game lovers, it took 6 mins to clear the game. Considering the fact that the game could be physically cleared in a minute and a half if played perfectly, we could assure that there is a challenge which players had to overcome, eventually generating fun and continuous retries.  Developing Grow! would be an unforgettable experience. I've achieved confidence in making games or logic that people could actually enjoy and be engaged in. I've got a sense of developer's perspective, which was totally different from that of a normal player. In my future life, both as a player and as a developer, this experience would help in understanding and exploring games for more good. I would like to thank Tad and hard working TAs for introducing a wonderful chance to have the game developed, tested and published with evaluation.  The soul of Grow! will grow on, even after all class schedules are over.

  • 1 supplemental ZIP

Find your soulmate

(2019)

I used the theme 'Soulmate' for my game. Based on the TA feedback, I added a quiz about the soul mate. I added a story to hell if the quiz was wrong, a story to heaven if it was right, and put the ending that the user was curious about. I also received the following feedback from users in the alpha version of the test. - There is no image in the game. - I want you to visually show the animals. - I want to have an image of the animal when the results for the soulmate come out. - I wish there was an ending to Good Place or Bad Place. I have satisfied all of the above in the beta version. My game allows younger children to study animals. In fact, I also looked at a lot of wikis while creating the game and tried to include as many of the features of the animal classifications as possible in the game. The educational use of games is my goal.

  • 1 supplemental file

project-2

(2019)

On this game, you should move the player to the goal of each stages. The basic storyline as shown below. "Soul mates, Aru and Bee, got a mysterious accident. After they woke up, they realized that they are trapped in one body! Only one of them can control the body at the same time, and they found that they should take turns to control the body. There are some places where only Red can go through, and other places where only Blue can go through. Travel this weird world and find an exit from the world!"   As you can expect through the story, you should control and explore the player to specific goal. The controls are done with "left", "right", "up", and "z" keys. The first three control keys are done with "platform" behavior on Construct 3. "Left" key makes the player move left, "right" key makes the player move right,  and "up" key makes the player jump. On contract, "z" key is a feature for player that changes player's color either red-to-blue or blue-to-red. This part is related to the story that Aru and Bee got trapped in one body changing their body control to themselves.   On each stages there are many blocks and items and each of them has special characteristics. The red block and red trampoline are only available to use when the player is blue. Also, the  blue block and blue trampoline are only available to use when the player is red. Black block and black trampoline are always available for player. If the player meet with any green blocks, the toxic area, player dies and start at the start point. If the player pass the turquoise ring, the portal, it automatically change the player's color.   The interesting part is that the block on each stages keep changes their color for each periods. So that the player should focus really hard so that they can maintain their state. This is the feature that makes the games very challenging and hard. Player would consider those features try to reach the goal for each stages. There are 7 stages and at the end of the stage, as an ending story, Aru and Bee are separated to each others.   The most characteristic part of this games compared with others is definitely very hard. To reach the final goal, the player would die and restart the stage numerous of times. This would make players mad or stressful and somebody can ask this question,  "Why did you made this game?". My answer is "Because it's fun". This can be sound weird but there are many games that makes people much stressful. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, cat mario, world hardest game are well-known games for this. People who enjoys games had heard about those games before. Those games makes people's attempt meaningless a lot by making them into initial state, but still people enjoys those games every time. Because those games are really hard to achieve the final goal, it makes the end of the game much worthy. Person who would play this game will also think achieving the final goal is very worthy, and keep try and enjoy the game.   My game contains a concept with portal. Portal is well used concept for various ways in games or even other media. Especially, the game PORTAL is very famous for the concept of portal. People can make any characteristics using portal on their imaginary world. For my game, I used as a concept that the turquoise ring, the portal, would change the character's color itself.   For the first summit, game players gave us many feedback. Based on this feedback things below has added for the final game.   First, we add a tutorial so that people can easily notice for each feature of the blocks and controls. Because we didn't have any explanation before, people had to die a lot to learn for each features. We don't want player to spend their time meaningless so we add the tutorials.   Second, we add visual and auditory elements to show when the world change occur. On the first version, the blocks change on certain same period with notification. Due to this, people suffer for super hardness so we imported audio and made background change so that people could notice the time much efficiently.   Third, we add more stages and set some save points divides as stage. We want people to enjoy the game longer. This make the world bigger but if there's no any check points people's attempt will be too meaningless. Therefore, additional checkpoints would make people less suffering.   Last, we developed our end story much better so that people who reaching the final goal could be more worthy. Some players had dissatisfaction when they end the first version of game. We made more stories and effect receiving peoples demand.

  • 1 supplemental ZIP

Deadly Traffic

(2019)

I selected the word "traffic". So in the game, you have to decide how to deal with huge traffic on the highway to avoid being attacked by the monsters. For my game, I want to play to make hard choices. In the game, you might need to sacrifice some people to survive. Also, you might need to save people to be alive.

  • 1 supplemental file

Beta

(2019)

Deer would be my inspiration for this game. To be honest, I do not have much experience with deer, growing up, there might be 3 or maybe 4 times where I encounter deer in real life. But in game, many times. There are two variants of deers in games. One, an easy target, practice tool for a beginner. Or the peace lover with enormous power yet only use it to protect the nature/forest it loves dearly. So I went with the second approach. Overall, this game is pretty much a hero game, well at least the beginning of a hero game. This is just the part where the player starts in bigger games. The main thing I wanted to express in the story, especially toward the end, was that only those who really care for the land are worth to process the power. There are many choices within the game will lead to bad endings but I believe that is how trials in real life work. Maybe one wrong choice will lead to a bad consequence. Games nowadays will make you the main character as you did some good, blah blah blah. Yet there are no actual procedures where you become the main character. In my game, NO. your action decides where you will go. Be the main character for maybe my next game. Or made the wrong choices and get punished for it

  • 1 supplemental file

Fallen

(2019)

I selected the word "fallen" to incorporate in my game by writing the plot based on the plain crash, which the plane has "fallen". My goal for the game was to make the user experience multiple paths and make them fun. I hoped the player feel fun when even if you selected strange paths(such as throwing car batteries to the bear when the bear charging to you), resulting in it was not the dead end and turned out to be a good decision! I wanted to make players to encourage themselves to restart the game by themselves and experience every paths of the game. I added images and some passages based on the feedback. - Added passage before the rescue team arrived - Add multiple options for how to catch a rabbit(using oranges as a bait or use axe/knives to catch rabbit) - You can kill a bear when you have an axe. I have playtested several times and debugged my game.

  • 1 supplemental file

1

(2019)

I want the player to feel that different people may make different things when the end of the day falls. And want the player to feel what is human nature, and not to be blinded by the appearance.

  • 1 supplemental file

Soulmate2Love

(2019)

I designed the game so that the player can choose between various paths. Also, although this is a simple game, I considered the correlation so that players' choices could be added and lead to results. I agree with that it's a bit childish game, but the user will surely feel pleasure. My theme: Falling, Soulmate I made a game based on my experience of feeling the love from a close friend(soulmate).

  • 1 supplemental file

Julius

(2019)

I wanted to make the player make the hard choices, and to experience what a fun/funny game should feel like. I tried to really separate the two choice paths to make it sort of feel like you were playing a different game. In one segment, you are forced to follow the linearity or die and start over, while the other, you're allowed to freely roam around the castle you're trapped in.

  • 1 supplemental file

Peach Girl

(2019)

Speaking of the aesthetic goals, we wanted the player to have a fantasy and challenging experience overall. In ancient Japan, a girl named the Peach Girl, who was born in a peach, began her adventure because the evil boss Oni took away her soulmate the Peach Boy. In the game, as the Peach Girl, the player goes on a journey to save Peach Boy. Along her adventure, the Peach girl will encounter a huge number of monsters with different kinds: red-faced Oni attacks you with a wooden club, whereas the blue-faced monster throws stones to damage her. The game loop is perhaps that the player fights the monsters, to get stronger, and stay alive to fight more monsters. In this way, the player would be well-prepared to defeat the final boss. The boss Oni has binary attacking model throw a fireball when the player is far from it or hits the Peach Girl with the mace when being near her. However, the player will find it more difficult to kill the boss Oni than normal monsters, as that is our goal to bring the challenging experience for the player. Therefore, when you kill the boss Oni, you can save the Peach Boy. Our gameplay goal that makes the players interacting with game mechanics is by clear visual representation on the game. As a result, when creating this game, we focused not only on game logics but also on our artwork. We drew all the characters, animations, and assets except for the boss in the game. Also, we gave each character several animations, such as walking, jumping, attacking, all of which we drew. The other reason why we drew all of these is that characters online could not match our initial intention. In the end, we choose pix art as our drawing style since, based on the lecture, the less detail gives the player more space for imagination. Also, by referring to the class, we used what we learned from the lecture to balance the “story” and “mechanics”. We wanted to make the Peach Girl and the Peach Boy and monster with an ancient oriental feel to make the storyline interesting. Therefore, we chose an ancient Asian style background and there. Also, we made the boss other monsters have similar shapes but different sizes to distinguish them and made normal monsters to have the same shapes but different colors. In doing so, we pursued unity and diversity at the same time for the game.  Like the mechanics that many other games shared, the Peach Girl can walk (left arrow, right arrow buttons), run (up arrow button), attack (z-button), and dodge (x-button). The Peach Girl can reduce her damage according to her defense power and cause damage to the monsters based on her attack power. Based on what we talked about in the class, we could not affect the player experience directly but by manipulating the mechanics, so that is the reason we added fun mechanics to make the game experience better. Also, from the feedback from playtesting by other peers, we modified our game in several ways. First of all, we allowed the Peach Girl to dodge can avoid incoming attacks by pressing x-button and made the player action (walking, attacking, and jumping) much smoother. Besides, by adding multiple rooms, we have “hyperlinks” that discussed in lecture. Moreover, we originally had only one type of monster, but we made two types of monsters with the action of hitting with the club and throwing the stone, respectively to make the game better. Also, we added a wall to prevent the player from falling off the edge. In the past, when the user makes the decision, the monster didn’t stop the attack. We heard peers said that this prevented users from making a choice, so we updated the monsters to let the users pause for a while until they made a choice. The most important mechanics we added is the feedback for the player to notice the damage. By implementing these mechanics, the player would know when they are being hurt by the other monsters.   Unlike other Action games that use player’s EXP for levelling up, what makes our game innovative is the sacrificing/saving mechanics: the player can have a chance to make a moral decision whether to sacrifice or save the monster after killing it, to make the Peach Girl stronger. This decision affects the player’s attack or defense power. Also, this score determines how much the player will be attacked and attacked. In ordinary games, these scores change. Therefore, it might take quite a while for players to feel the change on their stats.

  • 1 supplemental ZIP