So, the university year has begun again and projects abound once more. I recently completed a game I titled PULL. This game was developed solo over the course of a single week. Now, the whole point of this particular project was to create a game capable of conveying an idea or message, one about something personal to us in some way. I myself decided to try and convey a message about the importance of science in modern civilisation.
Overall throughout the course of the week, I manage to implement everything I intended to implement, which is something my projects haven’t managed in a while. However, the game was still not perfect, in part due to insufficient communication, and a prioritisation of the art and the message.
First, let’s take a look at the communication. The main issue with the communication was that the links and portrayal of science were unclear. Whilst the main character was a scientist, his artwork was too small and lacking in detail to get the message across. Other than the main character, there were no more representations of science, another flaw in the game’s design. On a more positive note, all players managed to get the theme of perseverance, of having to advance despite countless people trying to hold you back, but that was typically viewed as a more personal struggle.
As for the game’s mechanics, they were simple and few, you pull and you shake. That is all. The mechanics were kept to a minimum to allow as much time as possible to get appropriate artwork done, as art is far from my strong suit. However, these simple mechanics left much to be desired by the player. One play tester described the experience as ‘tedious’ as there was no real motivation to continue pulling forwards. This lack of motivation not only stemmed from the simple and repetitive mechanics, but also from the lack of a win state (the idea being that the march of progress is endless). This meant that the player can only lose, which did not exactly coincide with my message about the value of science.
Through it all, it is clear that my next game needs to focus on having fully fleshed out mechanics that better coincide with the overall theme and message of the game. Hopefully, this should be much easier if I’m working with animators and audio students as that means mechanics will be the core of everything I have to do.
You can play PULL here.