P3: Reflection

P3 was a really crazy ride because we had two weeks to create a concept and turn it into a digital game. And we started late. But it turned out really cool!

It was much more difficult than I anticipated to come up with a system that we were interested in modeling. We could come up with all kinds of ideas but whenever we started thinking about how it would translate into a game, it all fell apart.

Since we just had completed p2: interactive fictions, we found ourselves thinking of our system game in that lenses. From that, the tax system and the desire to create a game that helped teach people a confusing concept, we came up with Tax Hero. Tax Hero teaches people how rich people evade taxes by playing as an accountant to a rich client and actually applying those techniques to their tax returns. The whole point was to lower taxes while balancing the riskiness of the tax evading techniques. We became really into the second and third order effects of the tax system. All the mechanics were born from actual tax evasion techniques. We used them to reverse engineer what the user would HAVE to interact with to keep it as simple as possible.

It was really interesting seeing the ways players could move through the game as we built out the capabilities and playtested it. Since the tax system comes with a high learning curve with all the different techniques, we spaced them out and gradually introduced new ones. We also did our best to reduce user memory load and frustration levels by providing user help tips and instruction guide. It was interesting to see how players were really anxious to play something related to taxes, but they were able to really get into the system and the flow of the game. People seemed to enjoy going through different tabs and feeling like a good accountant, while at the same time learning how people avoid taxes.

I think making Tax Hero really demonstrated how complicated and scary systems can end up being fun and chill. I’d love to keep working on Tax Hero and refine it, but not for P4! Just on my own time.


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