Partial

An audiovisual team adventure game where strength isn't measured by the tip of a sword, but by the size of your heart.


The Objective

Create a game that allows visually-impaired players to enjoy a game alongside video-game players.

The Players

A person who likes/wants to play with friends. They want a game that's widely accessible, well-polished, and optimistic.

 

Read Full Case Study -- Contains complete details on my design process.

Read Game Design Doc -- Contains game design specifications and marketing strategy.

 
 
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Concept Research & Methodology

I started by researching two areas of interest: audio and visually-impaired play. I learned about music theory and history to aid in brainstorming. I also visited blind-supported forms like AppleVis to speak with one of the main communities I'd be designing the game for, and in doing so I better understood their needs and wishes from a game like Partial.

From there, I outlined a list of core design tenets to act as the guideline for the game's creative direction.

 
 

Game Design

Using the core design tenets, I cemented a few early level design decisions that involved sound design, collectibles, and the game environment-- primarily that every in-game object needed to exude life and that something in the game world always needs to be moving. I designed the core game mechanics to fit within these constraints by deciding the game should involve:

  • Working together with others,
  • The ability to manipulate the environment, and
  • Easily recognizable components.
 
 

Art Design

I designed the main characters to draw attention, be immediately recognizable, and could be easily drawn on pen and paper by those who don't draw often. They were also designed around my inability to draw detailed faces, appendages, poses, and apparel.

I contracted an Art Director to give her complete control over the game's art style, while using the original characters and story-line as a base for inspiration. Our budget was only enough to work on promotion art, so we focused on that to get the game's atmosphere across.

 
 

Production

I estimated the development costs for the game which would cover the salary of a four-person team over the course of 3 years, in addition to miscellaneous legal fees, events, software, and unexpected emergencies. While an angel investor turned down my pitch while attending Atlanta's 2016 SIEGE Conference, he'd send the prototype forward to a few publishers if it met his expectations.

I set the following goals to meet the two-month deadline:

  • Iron out player movement and HPM mechanics
  • Design one demo level from start to finish
  • Prepare a promotional art piece to help envision the final product
  • Revise the High Concept Document and Business Plan

While the HCD, Business Plan, and promo art were taken care of in time, I was dealing with a few troublesome bugs in the prototype. Soon after, I chose to put the project on hold while I gained more experience and practice.

 
 
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Takeaways

While the concept has a lot of spirit, I kept attempting to cover up my weaknesses to save time and resources. If my skill set is lacking, I should find a mentor who can push me toward a viable solution. I also shouldn't reach out to a publisher or investor without a working and proven prototype.

I could have also simplified the game design much further, so the player (and myself as a dev) can worry less about so many moving parts. Writing a C# script to mimic audiovisual play would've also gone a lone way in learning how my community experiences a game. A smaller scope and an improved narrative would've helped as well.

 

© Copyright Robert Desrosiers 2018.