Marsiling Yew Tee Town Council
Singapore Institute of Building
Mobile Game Development
Scope of Work
User Experience Design
As the idea of sustainability and Singapore Green Plans 2030 began to pick up momentum, we were approached by MYTTC to create a sustainability game for the residents of Marsiling and Woodgrove.
The game needed to be an educational game that taught residents and the general public about sustainability and climate change. As sustainability is a personal passion of mine – I really enjoyed this opportunity to contribute creatively to my passion.
I led the project, working on the design and development for the mobile game together with a small team over a period of 6 months.
/ The Challenge
There were multiple challenges faced in this unique and exciting project.
With only basic experience in Unity coding, and relying on my C# experience from University, I worked on the development of the game and programming the levels and functions, learning as I went along. A game developer joined us at the finishing stages, 1 month prior to launch, for bug correction and game optimisation.
I also particularly enjoyed the game design, asset creation and character design. As a mid level gamer, it was very interesting for me to peel back the layers on something I enjoy personally.
Starting from story conceptualisation, the inspiration for the game was based on my Master’s research on speculative design. I wished to transport the player to a far future where they investigate an alien planet that has become unsustainable. Slowly through the story, they actually realise that the planet is called Earth and humans are the antagonists who have destroyed it. It’s a dark tale which serves as a cautionary warning while also being extremely plausible in future.
Following the concept, we worked on brainstorming various game formats such as side scroller, top down, rpg and decided upon a platform game as the easiest to implement and play.
/ Level Design and Storyline
Next stage was the story flow, and level design wireframes. Much of my expertise with user experience design was useful with game level design, in terms of guiding players, making objectives clear, creating an engaging pathway through the level and making the game enjoyable.
After client approval we proceeded to concept art, character design and asset creation. The style of art chosen was illustrated, without seeming flat. I wanted the textures to bring a certain darkness or grunge feel that conveyed the apocalyptic nature of the game.
After another round of client feedback and approval, we proceeded to work on creating the levels in Unity, working on the development and functions of the game.
/ Challenge 02: Dialogue System
This game was heavily story and dialogue driven. The main educational purpose of the game could only be achieved through a complex dialogue system that was linked to the scoring and achievements.
I had around 20 dialogues planned for each level – resulting in a few choices that had impact on the story.
However the Corgi Engine didn’t support the complex choice driven dialogue system that I wanted, therefore I had to jailbreak the Engine and integrate it with the dialogue system. There were triggers in the player system that I linked to the dialogue system, creating an unconventional call up between different systems so that the dialogues would be launched when players interacted with NPCs.
Additionally another challenge we faced was creating replayability, which is a key indicator of game enjoyment. To do that, questions the players received from NPCs had to be random or different each time. The dialogues before the question appeared could not be changed as they followed a storyline. Hence there was a string of conversation that was non variable, with an variable ending. Such a function was not available.
I came up with a solution to create a compiled list of all possible questions, as a global question bank for the entire game. The NPC dialogue would end with random number throw, which would load the corresponding numbered question from the question bank.
This allowed for the questions to be different each time the player talked to the NPC.
The completed mobile game was launched through a live event – inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, and Member of Parliament Hany Soh. Quite an exciting day for us!