Role on Project
June 2019 - July 2019
Play Shelve N' Shift
(Directs to DigiPen Game Gallery)
Focus On Relaxation
When I started work on this game, I had a very specific experience I wanted to get across. The relaxation of taking a spring cleaning day, of slowly perusing and reminiscing through one's belongings as a messy room slowly becomes clean.
To elicit this feeling, I strived to simplify the player's interaction with the space. That way, the focus could be on the content of the books and the act of organizing, not how the space was navigated. I created a small, cozy space with the player sitting in a chair. Movement was unnecessary in a similar sense, so I harkened back to early point-and-click adventures, creating a simple, streamlined menu where movement, book placing, and all other actions were all activated by left-clicking.
The hardest part of the project by far was data management. Books had many pieces of data to keep track of: The unshelved book, the shelved book, the content of the book, the current page, and whether it was sorted in the correct place.
I managed to solve this problem by separating out where the logic was stored. The actual contents resided in the held book, whereas the sorting logic resided in the books on the shelf. This had the books on the floor move to the shelf when a location was selected, where the content of the book merely hid and unhid itself. The use of a consistent model on the books really helped sell the effect, since giving the appearance of picking up the book was as simple as changing the material.
Venturing Into Narrative
With the system in place, it was time to write content for the books. The actual content of the books themselves was written in-game at first but later moved to an external document for simultaneous development with the mechanics. This is a lesson I would carry through to other projects with great effect.
The short snippets of stories gave me the experience of narrative in Game Design I had desired for ages. It also helped sell the experience in question. Reading the whole passage wasn't necessary, but it helped empower that fantasy of relaxation. In total, I ended up writing 33 of these short stories for the project.