A few weeks ago I made a prototype for my 482 class, and I can't believe that I have yet to post it on my blog. The prototype is called See, and it is an exploration of violence in interactive entertainment. My inspiration for the prototype came from Brenda Brathwaithe's IndieCade keynote. One line of her talk stood out to me in particular: "Where there is human-on-human tragedy, there is also a system." It is almost sickening to break down a tragic event into formal procedures and elements, but it can always be done. Video games have proven to be particular adept at creating entertaining interactive systems around the backdrop of war and tragedy, but the tragedy of the event is usually hidden behind mountains of positive feedback. Did you really think about the implications of modern warfare when you were on your last kill streak in Call of Duty?
I could write pages on why I chose to make this prototype and why I will most definitely continue to work on it in the future, but I will leave that for now and encourage you to play it for yourself. It is not perfect, in fact, 99% of the time it fails to properly communicate its message. However, the 1% of the time it worked was rewarding enough to warrant further revision. I will post my next revision of See as soon as it gets done.
Please leave your feedback in the comments section of this page. Here's the feedback that my instructor, Peter Brinson, gave me. Like most of the feedback I received, it was tremendously helpful.
"You have a nice visual mood and I like the contrast of text and voice. Rather than giving us a thorough 'about' page I would brainstorm a really good title for the game that essentially achieves the same goal. And the MLK quote may be too much...you could be more concise with these opposing 'voices'. The use of light is a great take on the assignment.
The sound design is both great and bad. The parts where people say "enough", "i have a daughter" is a good try but people are going to laugh. Again, you can be more minimal.
I know Brathwaithe called her work a prototype or experiment or whatever, but she shouldn't qualify it and you should just let yours be a project.
One of the strongest parts is the connection you're making between games and war. It's in the foreground of games today (and the American experience) so that comes out easily, with just the gun and voice commands to the soldier. I like the music and the MLK speech, but not the quote at the beginning. I like where the sound design went when I waited and didn't kill many guys.
And keep making projects. Finding the right balance with serious subjects in terms of the subtle and the overt is hard. Just because it is serious doesn't mean there can't be some levity with the overall tone."
You can download See here.