Since my rapid prototyping efforts seem to be steady. I have decided to write monthly summaries for my rapid prototyping efforts from now on. This means that I’ll be writing about all of my idea conceptions I come up each month and compare them to the previous ones. For the beginning I will write a summary for current month, but I may write a summary or two for previous months as well sometime in the future.
The model I’ll be using to represent rapid prototyping process is as follows:
Step 1: Idea conception
Step 2: Phase I prototype (optional)
Step 3: Idea design
Step 4: Phase II prototype
The moment my efforts become public is when they reach step number 4 – phase II prototype. Also, step number 2 is not always present during the development of my games. For this reason I marked it as optional.
April Summary Part 1
Last month was busy. There were plenty of idea conceptions, much more than in previous months, but the number of releases remained fixed. The quality of releases as well as the publicity they received did not increase. Let’s take a closer look at first three idea conceptions.
I made some decent effort to make a game for TIGSource Cockpit Competition. Emtoicubes makes larger part of that effort.
Partly influenced by my older experiment MICA: The Prototype, Emoticubes is an attempt to make a game around interpersonal communication. My goal was to make a game with about ten levels each representing unique social situation. Each level would consist of one emoticube (emoticon but cube) with whom players could interact using special dialogue interface. The goal of each level would be to drive the social situation to desired state.
I got pretty far with it. From idea conception to incomplete phase II prototype. I was done with assets, interface coding and basic AI algorithm, but I wasn’t able to script the situations and their different outcomes. Part of the reason was my will to build agency using broad input.
I spent about two weeks with it and gave up several days before the competition deadline.
I had high hopes for it. I fell in love with it. This gave birth to few other idea conceptions which followed this one.
If you want to check out the incomplete phase II prototype:
I really wanted to enter TIGSource Cockpit Competition. And I really wanted to make a MICA-influenced game. So I tried to simplify Emoticubes. The first derivate was Emoticraft.
Emoticraft was supposed to be a game about controlling disabled emotional machines. Each level was supposed to be one emotional machine with one specific disability or a problem. Your goal was to bring each emotional machine to desired state by manipulating various emotions in real-time using knobs.
I loved this idea almost as much as the original Emoticubes idea, but somehow wasn’t able to come up with interesting levels.
On a happier note, Stephen Lavelle has released a game which looks like what Emoticraft was supposed to be. The game is called Untigrand and you can download it here for free.
Quackpit is the second derivate of Emoticubes. At first, the idea sounded so good that I was quite sure I will have it finished by the end of the competition. But it didn’t turn out like that.
The idea was about a doctor, a quack, who reported that he can cure several diseases using unconventional methods. You were placed in the role of the doctor and you were given several options to interact with patients. Each level consisted of several sessions with one patient who suffers from specific disease. The game was supposed to come with very basic manual written by the doctor himself about what’s supposed to work, how it’s supposed to work and when it’s supposed to work. At the end of the game you were asked to replay the game (experiment) without using several options. The point of the game was to make you aware of your methodological flaws. Namely, none of your patients improved because of your specific assistance. This can be seen by replaying the game several times using different combinations of given options.
Although it was interesting at first consideration, I didn’t really like it at second. Because of this the idea didn’t make it to the phase II prototype step.