The game I have in mind is too complex for the midterm. It will be possible to pull back a bit for the sake of having something done in two weeks, but for now I’m going to employ blue sky thinking in my description.
The issue I want to build my game around is one that I explored as a part of my final project last semester: the desire of folks who have left the military to return and, for those who have experience with deployed environments, to return to them. It seems crazy, and is really hard to vocalize, but there are many examples where people have attempted to do it. Jenny Pacanowski did a great job in her poem We Are Not Your Heroes. Natalie Lovejoy’s musical, Deployed, centers around this tension as it plays out for one soldier. Ben Fountain wrote about this issue, and how civilians contribute to it (oftentimes with good intentions), in his novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I’d like to try and capture it in an arcade game.
Here’s a sketch of the game. Forgive my limited artistic ability:
It’ll have several elements: the character, a crowd chasing him, a plane dropping yellow ribbons on him, and a background. I’ve been playing with the idea of a progression through the sprites I made:
These took FOREVER, so I don’t have any additional sprites this week. I envision the background slowly shifting from suburban America to the desert, and congratulating the player on making it home when the transformation is complete. This seems complicated to implement, but the message is pretty dependent on being able to create this in the game.
For a controller, I may make a more polished version of my bag. I’m also playing with the scrubbing of a boot controlling speed of the player. We’ll see what works out before the midterm.
From the beginning, I knew I was not going to constrain myself only to the Leonardo and breadboard for a controller – I wanted to play with making controllers out of objects too badly, and so did that. My inspiration comes from the end of this video, courtesy of The Onion:
Take Your Pills is a static 2D game that looks to critique the healthcare system veterans navigate. There are lots of things I could do to expand this out. I’d like to add audio. The reason there isn’t sound this week is as much conceptual as technical – though we haven’t really learned much about including audio, I’m also not yet sure what kind of audio would be most appropriate to this project. I’m also interested in somehow portraying the consequences of overmedication through game mechanics – perhaps speed could slowly decrease with each pill caught, or the movement directions could randomly remap between the four arrow keys each time a pill is caught.
I wanted to implement a scoreboard that would keep track of the number of each of the six medications the user had caught, but got very frustrated as I tried to set it up and eventually decided to leave it for a future week.
Play it here.
Prior to starting this scene, I had tried to go through the “Survival Shooter” tutorial on the Unity website. It went smoothly until near the very end, where it kept telling me one of the variables referenced an instance of an object that didn’t exist or something like that. I spent a long time trying to fix it, and got the same error when I scrapped it and rebuilt it using the finished scripts they included with the assets. It was incredibly frustrating, and did not make me want to spend a bunch of time on Unity creating my own project this week.
I used the desert environment from the movie ‘The Fall.’ The entire film is very environmental, and there are lots of other scenes that would have worked great and been more complex. As it is, I put together what I could. I plan to devote more time to my own creations in the future.
Play through the scene here.