software I attempted not to break: illustrator, photoshop, fusion 360
hardware I attempted not to break: tbd
I've had arthritis since I was born and have also been diagnosed with dermatomyositis (an immune disorder affecting the skin and muscles), lupus, and scleroderma. I spent a lot of my time in hospitals growing up and quickly realized that they're not exactly the best place to spend time as an eleven year old, especially because friends were only very rarely able to visit me because of my immune system deficiencies. Online co-op games or video calls can slightly help relieve some boredom and loneliness, but it still really feels like you are just sitting in a hospital room by yourself. So I've had an idea for a while of creating some form of a multiplayer game that feels local but actually is not, so that kids in hospitals can play games and feel like they are hanging out with their friends without actually physically doing so. My current vision is having several screens/surfaces that feeds from video calls can be displayed on so that the child can see all of her friends playing, and then have one larger surface that consists of the virtual game that each of the players could interact with and have the updates be propagated to the other players.
I was initially going to try to work on this project throughout the entire semester. However, after the first few weeks, I realized that I also kind of wanted to have fun and try doing a bunch of different fun things instead of spending the entire semester doing work only for this project. I still have time planned each week to think about my final project and make some updates to my plan, but I wanted to limit the scope of it a decent amount so that I could do other things on a weekly basis.
----updates to initial plan----
Oddly enough, I quickly realized that my initial plan was way more difficult and time intensive than I could feasibly do in a semester, especially since I didn't want to spend every single week solely working towards it. Here are some of the changes/updates I've made to my plan:
- less specific to hospitals: I was getting hung up trying to figure out how exactly to design something around a hospital bed. So instead of making my final project all about designing some weird physical thing that could be placed around a hospital bed and moved, I decided to focus more on the actual game and experience instead of the physical design.
- more tailored to user interaction: After the first few weeks, I realized that all of my weekly projects (bowling pins, bobblehead) were extremely tailored to being interacted with and played with. That's really what I like about making things - having people actually use the things and play with them and have fun. So my goal has shifted to having a multiplayer game that can be played both locally and online, but that still feels like you're playing in person even if you're playing online.
- digital physical board game: I've been thinking about games a lot recently. It seems like board games haven't changed in a very long time - they are still things you buy in a box that contain one board, some cards, pieces, and a rulebook. Then you sit around a table and play the game with 4-8 people. I've been playing a lot of board games recently that challenge the typical style - like jackbox party pack, betrayal at house on the hill, and ultimate werewolf - but even those games are just one single game that pushes the boundaries a little while still retaining most of the aspects of normal board games. And, most importantly, they are all still made to be played in person.
----similar games + inspiration----
There are a few types of games that have slightly similar gameplay to what I'm envisioning that I can learn from.
- secret werewolf (individual hidden role type): In these games, each player is dealt a card that has a specific role and the players are then trying to accomplish some goal that corresponds to their secret role. The main purpose of both of these games is to kill one or more of the secret roles, but since the players don't know anyone's role but their own, they have to question each other and try to figure out who is what. There are some more complications in these games, like roles that can see or switch other players' cards, but overall it's a secret role game where each player is one of a number of roles and they're trying to figure out who the other players are and who they should kill. One of the coolest things about secret werewolf is that there is actually an app for it. After the cards are dealt to each player and each player looks at their own card, one person presses start on the app on their phone and then the phone directs everyone to close their eyes so the secret role actions (like switching cards or looking at other cards) can be performed. The app directs this portion of the play, and then continues to keep a timer for the part where people are arguing over who to kill. This is a pretty cool use of both physical cards and electronic game components. The physical cards are nice so that players still have that physical component they can interact with (and the company can sell something), but the app makes playing the game much easier and removes the need for a non-playing narrator character who would have to perform the app's actions otherwise.
- cookie clicker/paperclip game (super easy repetitive game): Because I want this game to be able to be played by anyone, anywhere, I don't want it to be too complicated or take too much thought or time. I'm not sure if I would consider Cookie Clicker a game, but basically the defining characteristics of games like these are that they really just require repetitive clicking and the end goal is basically just to click a lot. There are extra things thrown in (maybe after you click n times you can buy x thing that lets each click count for 10 clicks) but overall these games are super simple and easy to play, which I would want to apply to my game. I would want to extend this idea too, though, because these games are all just basically singleplayer where you are just playing for the fun of it and because they're oddly addicting.