As we go into the final days of our Centre term class, we are wrapping up our portfolio and have completed a final version of our game Nazi Germany: The Survival of Günter Schmidt. We met after class today for about an hour to put the final touches on our presentation tomorrow and for our portfolio. We plan on meeting again tonight to practice our presentation as a group as well as discuss how we will showcase our game in the presentation.
Today in class, we had a Demo Day where each group’s games were on display for the other groups to play. I enjoyed seeing the work other groups put into their game and how it translated into a functional play-through game. It was also cool to watch people play the game that my group made and observe the pathways through the game that each player took. The original time settings of each of the games made were all relatively close ranging from right before World War II to a few decades after. While we played their games, we also were able to discuss what they were intending to create for a certain portion of the game and how it translated digitally. The RPG maker game was the only one in the class that did not use Twine so was interested in playing the game with a different software than my group. To my surprise, the game was still a very dialogue heavy and text based game. I discussed why with one of the team members and we agreed that for all of the games, we did not have the capability to create videos as a backstory, instead we had to set a basis for the game in text. Despite using different softwares that changed the gameplay experience dramatically, we still faced some similar challenges.
Today was our second to last day of class. This Centre term inside the classroom and out has been very enjoyable. My group along with the class has established a new understanding for the appreciation for the video games that we play on a weekly basis. We have also met a new group of people that enjoy similar hobbies and have established friendships around that commonality. The group work experience that we gained during this multiple week long task has benefitted us all with working as a team. The multiple presentations also allowed us to gain some comfort with public speaking. I along with my team members have enjoyed this class and look forward to the finale of our video game tournament tomorrow!
On our day of no class, our team met up to work on putting information into Twine and to continue to develop our multiple storylines. Most of our storylines will be counterfactuals to what actually happened in Nazi Germany. We have been searching for picture to be able to put into our game to give it a more visual and sensual aspect giving the player are better and more realistic experience.
Our main focus for today was to try and wrap up the storylines and solidify what we wanted the player to go through. Based on the players first decision, he/she will then determine whether they will be faced with the decisions that go into the Valkyrie mission or to stay a regular Nazi solider. The most fun route will be to participate with the mission and this option gives us an opportunity to present what actually happened or interesting counterfactuals to what happened. If the player makes a harsh decision or makes a wrong move such as confronting someone about joining the mission and a Nazi loyal person hears or the person decides to rat on the mission would cause Günter to die or be taken prisoner by the Nazis. In like many of the games we have played ourselves, there are moments that make us laugh or that provide some comic relief to the game. We have added this to some of the endings that are sudden and a little over the top. If the payer chooses the wrong decision and dies randomly, we do not want the player to get upset. We want them to have a fun experience regardless of whether they succeed in the game or die abruptly.
Another aspect of the storyline that we wanted to emphasize is the thought that the player takes in contrasting what happened in the 1940s and what the game is simulating. Everyone in our group finds these ideas interesting and fun to think about and we want to give the player of the game the same experience that we received when brainstorming different endings to the game. When thinking of what could happen to Günter, we got to put ourselves in our character’s shoes and think of what would happen to ourselves if we did certain actions; what would be the effects of our decisions was very thought provoking. The answers we came up with differed and we are working on trying to incorporate the different ideas into the game to add to the complexity of the game because Twine does not allow us to make a very complex and interactive game such as the ones we play on the Playstation or Xbox. We have also realized which areas of the game we need to know more about so we can retrieve more information on those areas, like the details of Operation Valkyrie.
After watching the beginning of the multiple game today, we had many examples of which was to and not to present our background information to the player of our game. We thought that the beginning of The Walking Dead game was an interesting, suspenseful, and interactive way to give background on the main character and the situation that he is in. We also liked the Indiana Jones beginning. The game had a funny and clever way of beginning the game while setting up the plot for the game: catching the Nazi spy that was confronted at the end of the opening scene. It had me interested in playing more of the game, especially since I like the Indiana Jones series. We took these two introductions into consideration when forming our introduction. We agreed to open the game with Gunter at his father’s funeral. Attending the funeral are many fellow Nazi generals that worked with Gunter’s father over the past years. One specific man that is present at the funeral is General Erwin Rommel, who is famously know as being a part of Operation Valkyrie. Rommel comes to speak to Gunter initially to offer his condolences but then brings up the topic of a secret mission Rommel and his father were plotting. He does not go into detail of the mission that he mentions which allows for us to keep the mission a secret but also plant a bug in the player’s mind about a possibility in the future.
Rommel also addresses Gunter about replacing his father in the Nazi ranks. The first decision by the player is whether to accept the proposition or deny it. If Gunter accepts the position, then he will go directly into command of a section of the Nazi forces. When Gunter arrives at Nazi Headquarters for the first time, Rommel is there to greet him and invites him into Rommel’s office. Rommel then explains the mission Gunter’s father and Rommel were working on. The mission is the Operation Valkyrie. Gunter is then faced with the most important decision of the game:whether or not to help with the operation and kill Hitler or momentarily deny the proposition and ask for more time to answer the enormous question. If Gunter denies the promotion, then he will go into the army as a regular soldier that will be send around the world to fight for Nazi Germany. Gunter will then be sent to Africa and will be under Rommel’s command. He will have a coincidental run in with Rommel and the two will have a similar conversation as the other route. This route does offer a firm yes or a firm no as possible answers instead of a request for more time.
After coming up with the beginning our story, we began to start more specific research on the different routes that the characters could take. One specific aspect we are beginning to look more deeply into in the Operation Valkyrie. We have checked out multiple books from the library that offer different sides of the mission and are planning to watch the movie tomorrow night to provide some visual inspiration. We are also looking into the conflicts that Rommel was a part of in Africa and how we could accurately portray a common soldier’s life in Africa, making him want a way out which would be presented by Rommel.
The work that we did in class today set us up well for the next couple days in developing our different storylines. We are in a good position and are looking forward to finishing out our rough storylines by the end of the week!