During week 7 of our Thesis project, I spent the week trying to figure out the dynamics of our game, now that I have a general idea of what the context and arts of the game make players feel. During this week, I came up with a few storyboards and scenarios that could possibly implemented in the game. Due to having many projects for other courses, Parth and I decided to work individually, as our schedules did not match up. A tip I received from Parth was to come up with a few questions, and to answer them as a brainstorming method of generating ideas. Some of the questions included:
- What values of the game are we trying to convey?
- What is the key role of the player?
- What is the theme we are trying to highlight?
- What is the mood of our game?
- Why do flowers grow? How to they help our environment?
- How can we use flowers as a method to heal the island?
I was also asked to think of the 5Ws and how our game works. However, I came across the problem of generating these ideas to be difficult while not knowing what our preferred set of mechanics are. To create ideas for the game, I turned to storyboarding.
The first storyboard acts as a story before the game takes place. The story begins where the game character, currently named Fleeva, sits under the stars with her friend, currently named Harp. Harp presents a scrapbook of flowers to her, telling her about how incredible these flowers are, and how incomplete the book is. Harp and Fleeva decides to go to the island to explore more of these flowers. One day, Harp falls ill and become bedridden. Their journey was put on a halt. Not long after, Harp passes away from the illness, leaving behind the only two mementos to Fleeva, such as some seeds, and the scrapbook they built together. In attempt to fulfill her friend’s wish, she returns to the island to complete the book, only to find the island grieving for Harp’s death. Knowing Harp would be upset seeing the island is sad and decaying, Fleeva takes on the responsibility to heal the island, as a last gesture to her dear friend.
Following the intro, I brainstormed further into potential narratives for the game. Since we have yet to decide the course of the game, I came up with scenarios based on what Parth and I have discussed about prior to this week. I created two scenarios: one which the story has a linear progression, and the other where the user has the freedom to explore different tasks within the island.
In the linear narrative version, the character starts near a boat that’s docked on the island. She walks towards the entrance of the forest, where she would find a caterpillar being blown off the tree by the winds, falling onto a stump. Fleeva moves towards tree, and takes the caterpillar as her companion. The caterpillar requests for a leaf, one which it can eat and sleep on. The character finds a soil patch, grows the flower and leaf, and gives it to the caterpillar. The caterpillar then requests for a berry, seeing how nice they look on the tree. Fleeva walks up to the tree, shakes the tree, and berries would fall down. However, the berries are fragile; thus splattering on the ground. Fleeva grows a grass as a cushion and shakes the tree again to get the full unbroken berries. The birds see the berries and flowers Fleeva grew, and requests them for their nests. After delivering the flowers to the birds, Fleeva realizes that the water in the pond is low, as she has been taking water from it to grow the plants. The game introduces the multi-finger action where if the player runs four fingers downwards on a screen, the player can make the island rain for more water. The caterpillar will then find its nesting area, where the player is required to grow flowers and plants to surround the cocoon. The caterpillar then hatches into a butterfly, and flies away, as the shells decay and act as nutrients for the island’s soils. This acts as an introductory level to the user to understand some of the mechanics before continuing the game.
The non-linear version of this game would incorporate all of these small quests, but the player would have the choice of which quest to do first. As a side thought, this also allows us to design possible consequences for not helping certain animals in the island. Originally we wanted to have a consequence system depicting that if a life event is missed, there is no chance to undo the actions the player has taken. This mimics real life, where when a person has made a decision, sometimes there is no way to go back to it.