We have decided to work on this game under the working tile of Woodland Chaos and we will refer to the game as such until such time that we decide to change it if we come up with a better name.
As well as designing visuals, Tomas and I have been trying to ideate tasks that the owl will carry out through the course of the game. Tomas and I are designing this very much with a view to further developing it after this unit is completed but as far as the vertical slice is concerned, we need to narrow it down so that we only had one or two tasks to work with, but in a way that we are still able to showcase the gameplay.
We had brainstormed a wide range of tasks that the owl could carry out for different animals, which were documented on our Miro board (2021. Miro.). We ultimately agreed upon a task in which the owl needs to source some honey for a bear who has become depressed, but this poses a challenge because the nearest beehive was in a tree that has been knocked down by machines.
This task needed to be fleshed out to include plenty of challenges for the owl as well as characters and objects for the owl to interact with. We needed to make sure that the task was challenging enough for the player to enjoy but also concise enough that we could fit it into the demo.
We started a document on Dropbox to start writing out the idea and developing it further (Dropbox, 2021). As we started collectively writing up the task idea, we began working out locations where these would take place, as well as the characters involved. What started out as an initial task about an owl finding some honey started to become more complex as more animals became involved and then we found that this was going to offshoot into other tasks and subtasks. We started to find that if we make this game for real that there would be a lot of cross over and overlap between various tasks that the owl is assigned, which would mean we needed to work out they dynamics between each of the characters and how they relate to their environment.
Tomas and I took a call yesterday to tweak our idea further (Korec, T and Waters, J. 2021. ) and to resolve various plot holes within the narrative. We soon finalised the task and we discussed how each new task would open through either the completion of a previous task or during the course of another task. We made sure that we wrote down our ideas for this using the Dropbox document.
Once we had done this, we created a diagram on Miro to break down the gameplay and to work out how each part ties into each other.
This walkthrough can be viewed in more detail here.
I have colour coded each element of this diagram, according to whether it is a location, task, character or item.
I organised it according to locations and then within each location box, I would include further colour coded boxes to indicate what characters and items the player will find in this location, as well as what tasks they are assigned at this location.
The task that we had initially written up in the Dropbox document has now been broken down into four distinct tasks that overlap with one another. In the diagram, we highlight the scenario behind each task, what the objective of the task is and what the owl gains upon completion of the task.
We have used arrows to indicate the specific relationships between characters and certain items, as well as between items. We have also used arrows to highlight how each of the tasks are interconnected.
As this is a vertical slice, we have decided to be strict and establish a cut-off point in one of the tasks, so that it does not further lead to another task and make this process more complicated. One task consists of the owl attempting earn the trust of the squirrel by ensuring its protection from other predators. We have labelled on the walkthrough that this part will not be fully developed for the purposes of the demo, but that if we get to make the final game in future, we will aim to develop this further.
I am now confident we have a fully developed narrative that can showcase the game itself, while leaving plenty of room for further development. We are now going to focus on the design and development of this game so that we can get a working prototype done before January.
2021. Dropbox. Dropbox, Inc.
Korec, T and Waters, J. 2021. [Discussion about tasks] (personal communication, 2/10/21)
2021. Miro. San Francisco, CA: RealtimeBoard, Inc.[Software]