P3 Reflection: Alejandro Cid

My team worked on a digital game which modeled a sensitive planetary ecosystem and put the player in a position where their actions would have a drastic effect on the ecosystem. Modeling the ecosystem was fairly straightforward, as the extraction of different resources affects global parameters which thus cause certain events to happen and affect spawn rates. However, actually programming systems, player actions, and inventory into the game was expectedly complex. Fortunately, since our systems are so modular and generic we can easily extend them to produce emergent gameplay. Based off this experience, I think systems games take a lot of up-front work to get started, but then they become easy to make bigger. It is overall a very satisfying experience to create an organic game that evolves with player actions. In consequence, systems games are very fun to play as a designer, since you can discover a lot about your game by playing it.

I expected our game to be lighter on story; systems games tend to be unpredictable and highly emergent. However, by using quotas for resource collection and an episodic game progression, we were able to insert a lot of narrative content into our game. We found that the story content is especially crucial to keeping the player interested and engaged; the love story we inserted into our game keeps the player focused on their goal and provides an entertaining context to the gameplay.

Our team chose to continue working on P3 for P4… One thing we’ve learned is that the scope for our game is very large and requires a lot of programming work. We are currently working on cutting down features to create a feasible workload for ourselves. It was very satisfying to see others play our game so we remain highly motivated. It was clear most people wanted more content and story/gameplay progression, and we hope to deliver this. A lot of them liked the exploration and discovery aspects of the game and were very keen on our story. Our players want to see it realized so we will focus on working on this aspect of the game.

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