Making a Game: Good days and bad days…

Classes, Dev, Games

First my board…

Oh and I set up a GameJolt page:

Nothing playable yet. Although, because I did that, I made a header for the game, also it’s now called “Depression Simulator” semi-officially.


Okay about good and bad days…

The point of my game is that sometimes there are good days, and sometimes there are bad days. And they are unpredictable.

Last week was not a good week for me.

But today is the start of a new week, and tomorrow the start of a new month. And also the last month of my Masters program.

Also before I turn 30. Eep! It’s funny how the last day of my program corresponds with my birthday. It was also like that for my undergrad degree actually (that was not a fun day, rushing around getting our thesis one last check, submitting it and saying good bye to a year’s worth of hard work).

Anyway, I added a whole bunch of stuff to my TO DO board, with new ideas I got when I was sleeping. Oh yah, part of my thing, is I sleep a lot, but at least I still generate new game ideas when I do. I just can’t bring myself to get up and actually code them. Yah… that’s a problem.

Also I got a lot more contributions on HitRecord, which are really good and really inspiring and I want to include all of them.

But no, part of production is knowing when to say no to feature creep. Or at least enough to have something playable that can be released at the end of this Module and then keep working on it after.

Here’s to foolishly hoping the rest of the month will only bring me good days.


Making a Game: Choosing to go alone and wearing many hats…

Classes, Dev, Games

Why did I decide to make a game all on my own… As in own art, own code, own design, not my own sound and music though… Also I have less than 3 months of dev time (only 1 month left…).

I think because at the beginning I didn’t know what I want to do. I just know that I wanted to make a game. What game? No idea. And that’s dangerous territory. And I didn’t want to drag anyone else down with me. It’s not as if I don’t have any artist or code friends that I can bribe. I do, I just didn’t want to bribe them.

It has never been about how I can do everything myself. I mean, I can to some degree, but you know, my art will always be a little programmer art-ish and rough around the edges. My design will reference a lot of existing designs and now tropes. And actually production wise, managing myself is actually… Bad, really bad.

I have problems with motivation. I sleep a lot, and I don’t want to get out of bed ever. But I’m trying. People who don’t understand me and what goes on in my head, will think that I’m lazy. Okay, maybe I am. But it’s more complicated than that.

But choosing to go alone means that I have to wear many hats. Last week I had my programming hat on (which means that I find excuses to go out and not work on it). I am by practice a programmer, but I think of programming or coding for short, as a process, a means to and end (yes, in a Nietzsche manner, I think of the means as pretty bad).

This week I have my artist hat on and I actually don’t have a tablet, I have pencils and paper though. But I actually draw in Flash and I don’t even own a mouse, so it’s just the touch pad of my beat up Macbook Pro, and me, manipulating vector shapes until they resemble something. The whole, the game is only in gray scale helps too, ‘coz color… That’s another hurdle.

Anyway, I am not a fan of GDDs (Game Design Documents), because I don’t believe in design written on paper. You’ll never really know if a game is fun, without playing it. And there’s no way for you to play it unless you have a game. You get it. Rapid Prototyping for the win!

One of my only plus points is that I’m a relatively fast coder. At least once I have a clear idea what I need to create. So with this whole no GDD thing, it’s actually a lot of experimentation and a lot of trial and error. And that’s alright, because whatever code I scrap is well, my code, and I have no hard feelings.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, because I work alone, it is tough at times, but at least the only person that I’m letting down is myself.

Although for this project, I’m not entirely alone, I actually have a HitRecord project where I do ask for ideas from other people. So when I do get stuck, I just issue another challenge and the lovely people contributes and I am inspired again, and I keep moving.

Also since this game is about depression and having more voices make it better and in a way in makes me feel less alone. Because I know now that other people also go through the same thing and other people can beat it. So, so could I.

One month to go! Good luck to me~!

Random Note: “Haunt” by Echos describes how I feel everyday quite accurately.

Making a Game: Looking for Ingredients and Cooking Breakfast

Classes, Dev, Games

Part of the mundane every day life is cooking breakfast and well eating.

So in my game, in the kitchen level you can open all the drawers, cabinets and fridge and scavenge for all sorts of ingredients that you then can cook in a “Cooking Mama” style.

Today I have my art hat on… and I still draw my assets in Flash, even though it was recently announced that support for Flash will soon be gone forever… 😦

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Making a Game: More puzzles…

Classes, Dev, Games

I’ve been focusing on adding as many puzzles and interactions in the game the past few weeks, and I’ve also added new rooms.

So the evolution of the puzzles is from the mundane to the surreal.

So you have a normal closet, where you need to rearrange the clothes according to it’s gradient color. Okay, this is a bit difficult. This idea came from ferdonkers from HitRecord, he wrote:

My closet is filled with shirts. I have so many t-shirts, that every day when I go to pick one out to wear it takes me about three to five minutes just to choose the right one. My sister taught me, when I was in high school, to hang my shirts up in color order. It is quite helpful when trying to match my shirt to my other clothes or even to how I’m feeling each particular day. Let’s say I need a red shirt, I sift through the red shirt section until I find the right shirt for the day. More than 50% of my closet is filled with t-shirts, the rest is made up of fancier clothes that I mostly don’t wear.

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Another closet interaction is, you sit in the closet in the dark with only a light. And this idea came from 53mph from HitRecord, he wrote:

In response to the challenge, I can tell you about some moments in my life when I’ve had to confront fears (which for me are demons), and perhaps you can weaponise them.

1) Claustrophobia

As a child I suffered from terrible claustrophobia. I hated small rooms, confined spaces, and had a reoccuring nightmare of falling into a hole in the ground that turned into a smooth metal tube which slid all the way into a smooth metal stomach from which I couldn’t escape.

I hated being a victim of my own fears, so I decided to fight fear with acclimitization. I made myself a cubby-hole inside my wardrobe, in which I would sit for hours with nothing but a torch. To get over my nightmare, I used a rolled up yoga mat of my mothers, which I would press up against the wall, then I would squeeze myself into it, arms pressed against my body unable to move, and keep myself there until I could take it no longer. Gradually I got more and more used to it and got over my fear.

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Another one is where this anti-character, or this shadow of yourself jumps out. And then when you return the to room scenes, the anti-character now follows you around.

The new room that I added is the bathroom. And you go through the normal routine of using the toilet and brushing your teeth.

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The brushing your teeth puzzle is like Simon Says, just follow the direction of the arrows.

Another is looking at yourself in the mirror. In this one, you can just draw on the fog, it’s not really a puzzle that you have to solve, it’s more like a toy.

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And of course, you need to take your bath in the bath tub. And there are different scenarios as well in the bath tub, the mundane to the surreal.

Like flooding in an Alice in Wonderland Pool of Tears kind of way.

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That’s it so far for these past week.

More puzzles to go! Deadline is also in a month, so… Aja! I can do this~!


Making a Game: Other Games about Depression and Mental Health

Classes, Dev, Games

Another Day



Fractured Minds

Winner of the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition, made by 18 year old, Emily Mitchell.

“Fractured Minds is an immersive puzzle game that uncovers the daily struggles of people living with anxiety or any mental health issue. It is designed to give the player a genuine insight into the experiences of those quietly living with mental illness – the feelings of isolation, of being trapped, of everyday situations being distorted beyond recognition.

“The game has multiple puzzles for the player to solve with an interwoven storyline. The player uses the WASD keys to move around and must work out how to move on to the next level – this usually entails solving mini puzzles or collecting certain objects to open the door. Each level symbolises a different emotion or experience associated with anxiety/mental illness.

“I realise the game is provocative and at times uncomfortable – but I felt that it was so important to be honest and true-to-life – confronting mental illness is extremely challenging and uncomfortable.”



Making a Video Game: MVP

Classes, Dev, Games

Okay, I realize that I only have a little more than a month to finish the game… o.O

So it’s time to be realistic and de-scope.

The MVP according to my lecturer is:

  • 3 rooms (yes, I originally, ambitiously planned on 12), so there is a beginning, middle and end.
  • there should be an evolution of the puzzles
  • integrate sound and music ASAP

So for the rooms, it’s going to be Bedroom, which I’ve already done, Bathroom, Kitchen and Foyer (yes, I added one).

Between each room is a door that can be unlocked based on a happiness-sadness meter, based on kmarushige‘s suggestion on HitRecord.

As for your game, my gut says to have a “happiness/depression” meter as the scoreboard. As the player moves through a typical day, they are presented with choices that will either shift them towards happiness or depression. These choices could be actions, mental choices/interpretations or interactions, including being receptive to help from others.

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And the evolution of puzzles and interactions will be from the mundane to the surreal. You start of with normal day to day interactions like waking up, putting a smile on your face, making food, then it shifts to the surreal.

The surreal, like when a shadow of yourself appears from the closet (I call her anti-character, like Anti-Helena from “Mirror Mask”), and she starts following you around and these whispers of “you’re worthless and no one likes you” plays, but you can fight her, you can win, but you can also lose.



Also note to self: I need to buy more IRL Post-Its.

The foyer represents the ultimate (yes, ultimate) door that is standing between you and the outside world.

And thanks to the lovely people at HitRecord, I have a lovely background music for the game.

Competitive Analysis: “Windosill” and “Feed the Head”

Classes, Dev, Games

Best part of doing a Masters degree in video games? Research is playing games…

Image result for feed the head

What can you do with a head? Apparently a lot. You mess about with the head, removing its nose, its eyes, opening up the head… Quite surreal and a little Dali-like. Totally my thing.

Image result for windosill

Image result for windosill

Each room in Windosill is self-contained, but the objective is always the same, find the cube and insert it in the door. But how to find the cube that requires some messing about with the surreal environments and objects.

It’s relatively short, with only 11 rooms, but you can mess about in it for as long or as short as you want. According to their app description:

Designed to be experienced in a single sitting (anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours), Windosill is suitable for clever kids and imaginative adults alike.

I finished it in 2 sittings and it is a delight.