These weeks our project focused on interaction design and our brief was to design a multiplayer game that can be played within our world and out of it.
My team consisted of Michelle Beggs, Bethnay Maguire and Lorna McFall. I greatly enjoyed working with these girls as they each brought valuable skills to this project and just made the work so easy and enjoyable.
We were working on Paradox World which is made up of different cultures from Earth’s history, coexisting together.
A book I’m currently reading at the moment, Digital Storytelling, has a chapter on games including their origins and their role in stories, which I’m finding quite useful for this project. It also talks about communication, which is a huge part of interaction. Games include a massive amount of communication, whether it be between an other player or a screen.
So is there a way to play a game with someone without any communication? Or at least with very little? Being on Paradox world with it’s many cultures made us think about if there will be a dominant language or if communication will be via other means such as actions, sounds, drawings or objects. Of course there are games already out there that involve no speaking and make use of actions (like Charades) and others like Pictionary that only use drawings.
This game has to take place within our world and there has to be a history or culture behind it. The good thing about paradox world is that there’s so many cultures that we could look into to develop our game.
We are focusing on eight cultures/eras for this game;
These “clans” were split amongst us (I got cowboys and futuristic) so that we could design concepts for the stadium/physical game “board” based on two clans each. However we soon decided against this idea because we all wanted to focus more on the physical game.
We loved Jonny’s previous work on the Paradox World where he designed symbols for each of the clans, so we decided to work on them and simplify them down so you could easily identify each one and also appoint them colours.
Lorna designed the symbols and we liked them so much we didn’t work on with them because we didn’t want to make any changes!
(For some random reason, out of everything in this project – that cowboy symbol is my favourite thing, it’s so cool!)
We thought about the goal of the game; is it just for fun, for education, to escape reality (roleplaying) or for gain (gambling!) etc. Michelle thought of involving questions about the different eras that the world covers so with Lorna’s help researched into the history of each clan and came up with questions for each.
We didn’t want to have cards so we have “tokens”
totally different that are octagonal and have one of the clan’s symbols on the back with a clan-related question, that Lorna and Michelle created, and answer on the front.
To make the tokens I arranged them on photoshop to line up with the text and so all we had to do was cut them out and stick the backs on.
Michelle had a great idea of a spinning Egyptian eye that you would spin to choose the token the player would have to answer (someone else would read it).
I love the spinning element within the game. This Bambaram toy set is played by spinning all the counters within the circle and trying to knock out the other players’ to be the last one left. The underlying violence of this game would fit our world really well because all the clans would be fighting for control.
We were looking at the Egyptians as a starting point and came up with the idea of i
nstead of a flat board a pyramid with steps on it that players can ascend or descend to win.
This is a 3D board game, basically a mix of Tic-Tac-Toe and Connect Four
that I would so play:
Lorna ran with the 3D game idea and found this game which I really loved the look of:
We discussed that what if we had to earn each piece and the first to build up to a certain shape would win. The little cubes in the photo look hollow inside but what if they had a slope in them so you could drop in a marble and it would travel inside until it either got stuck in/landed in a player’s area. This would make the first part of the game pointless as in the end it comes down to chance…a cool idea for a paradox world?
Another thought that spawned from this was that it could be used as a universal thing. By this I mean that you could play whatever game you wanted to win a piece: Tic-Tac-Toe, rock/paper/scissors, spin-the-bottle etc. the many game possibilities would represent all the many cultures of paradox world.
Based on this I came up with a concept for the in-world event:
Lorna drew up a concept for the pyramidal board game and incorporated the spinning Egyptian eye:
We couldn’t agree on what shape we would build or how to make it into a fair game so we settled with making the cubes assemble into a jigsaw puzzle instead. One face would have the clan symbol whilst the puzzle picture would be on the face opposite. Throughout the game the picture face of each block would be hidden so you would only see the pieces you had when you collected all the same pieces – making it a race to then assemble the jigsaw.
For the puzzle pictures we collaborated on photoshop:
Then we stuck them on card and cut them up into pieces:
To get one of these puzzle pieces, you would have to answer a token correctly. If you got it wrong you would lose a piece to the puzzle bag or if you passed the token onto the next player and they got it wrong, they would lose a piece to the bag – however, if they got it right they would then win the piece up for grabs.
To choose which token you would be answering, you would spin a wheel! Bethany drew up a concept and we made it:
Bethany designed the title and cover for our spinning wheel and they’re so cool (she did them using just an app on her tablet and her finger):
There was a slight spelling issue with the title of the game, “Puzzling Paradox”…
At first Bethnay designed and spelt it this way:
Although apparently it was missing an “E”… So she had another go:
Then soon realised it was spelt correctly the first time a
rt students, so we used her initial design!
At the start of the game, each player would be assigned a clan. This is decided by picking a pebble out of a bag. The symbol painted on the pebble would represent the clan you would be a part of and which puzzle pieces you would aim to collect. The pebble idea spawned from the building block concepts and we thought they were a nice rustic touch.
It was Lorna who came up with the bag idea and even made the adorable little pouches herself!
Bethany wrote out the game rules for us:
After all this we put our game to the test! Thankfully it went down really well with our classmates.
While we were designing this game we kept in mind the backstory that the game had evolved from. Michelle’s idea for the possible backstory:
We wanted there to be a big event in a stadium so we started by designing the stadium and hoping that ideas would come to us that way.
Lorna’s stadium concepts:
Instead of basing our stadium in the Roman colosseum
as you would expect we opted for a pirate ship! Lorna drew it up on photoshop and it inspired me to try and model it…
So the game inside the world is going to be a massive event held within a stadium. The backstory is that the clans are fighting for territory to expand their cultures, so they have this game to decide who is worthy of more territory. Michelle made this animatic of the in-world game to explain the story:
So from this our board game evolved and the inhabitants of Paradox World play it to this day!