Attached to Singapore Management University (SMU), our team’s goal is to design and develop a game that aids the teaching objectives from different SMU faculties. We were given the problem statement ‘Strategic Management Change’ – players have to constantly re-assess their decisions and strategies while reacting to a dynamic and changing game environment.
University students who play the game should also understand the following learning concepts:
- Resource combination – managing a pool of resources to achieve objectives in a changing environment
- Consumer scope – understanding different markets/target groups
- Special advantage – investments with the same cost value may have different derived benefits
With these requirements in mind, we set out on a 4-week ideation phase.
During the first 2 weeks (Sprint 1), we came up with a few unique game ideas:
Dead Bait is a chess-like game where players are pit against each other as zombie VS survivors. Players control their units indirectly through the use of a limited pool of ‘baits’.
Co-Founders of the North is a town building game where players unscrupulously build/tear down one another’s buildings to become the ultimate ‘mayor of the North’!
Chimera Discord is a real-time action arena game where players fight for resources of different values to build and summon customizable fighting monsters!
Double Edge is a strategic arcade game where players make use of bi-directional cards, consisting of a ‘projectile’ side and a ‘mirror’ side, to destroy other players in chaotic fashion!
No Honour Among Thieves is a game where players work together as thieves to retrieve treasures from the lair of the evil dungeon dragon. However, only 1 of them would survive to reap the rewards. Who would it be?
Iron Salesman is a direct simulation of a throat-cutting sales environment, players have to read and anticipate current trends in order to compete and become the ultimate IRON SALESMAN!
Over the next 2 weeks (Sprint 2), we narrowed down our game ideas based on the following criteria:
- Fun – Does the game induce a sense of excitement among the players?
- Originality – How innovative are the story and gameplay mechanics?
- Suitability – How closely does the game match SMU’s objectives?
After several paper prototyping sessions, we chose to work on ‘Co-Founders’ and ‘Double Edge’. While both games were rated highly during paper prototyping sessions, each of these games has their own unique design and technical challenges.
‘Co-Founders’, while matching SMU’s learning objectives, is a big technical project that involves many layers of back-end support (i.e. managing a PHP server, structuring a mySQL database, and integrating them with the Unity game engine).
On the other hand, ‘Double Edge’ is a simpler project to be implemented, with a first playable prototype built and a promisingly fun gameplay. However, it is ‘cognitively disparate’ from SMU’s learning concepts.
After more rounds of paper-prototyping sessions and discussions with play-testers, facilitators and SMU advisors, we decided to focus our design and development efforts on ‘Co-Founders’ due to the game’s potential adoptability across different SMU faculties.
With that, we went ‘full-force’ into production mode.
During the first few weeks of GIP, the team drew inspirations from many sources, with ‘Settlers of Catan’ and ‘Citadels’ being the more notable ones. Not only did these games give us valuable game design insights (i.e. the importance of having that fine line drawn between player collaboration and decimation in multiplayer strategy games), they also provided us with much-needed reprieves from our intense brainstorming sessions.