Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Project Proposal - not an essay

For my final project I would like to construct an online puzzle game.I want to do a creative project as opposed to an essay because I want to do something interactive. I love puzzles and I have some experience with coding, so I think this would be a good time to implement some of my skills and creativity. Plus, this is the only class in which a final paper is optional, and after writing so many other papers, I’m dying to do something else, regardless of whether it takes more time and effort.

The argument of the game is that while it’s important to escape, the goal is not simply to escape, but to escape using the best path possible. That being said, some levels will have repercussions or will take the player backwards and there will be dead ends and shortcuts. This is not meant to be a game with a linear path; the player is going to have to backtrack, remember important information from other levels, and maybe even have to take notes in order to be able to get all the way through to the end.

I want this game to be intellectually based, drawing from the texts we have read and applying them to a problem solving game. I intend for this online maze to be a collection of riddles, puzzles, code, and common sense. The premise of the game is to make it from start to finish, the catch being that there is not a singular ending. I’m debating on whether I want the game to be one in which the player is physically trapped in a strange space, like in House of Leaves, or if the entrapment will be more cerebral and jump around to random but connected images, much like what happens in the game NotPron.

Essentially this game will be a combination of Zork and something creepier and difficult like NotPron. Moving from page to page to get to the end of the game will entail decoding messages, much like the morse code in House of Leaves, finding a solution that does not result in a dead end (or death if you will) like in Cup of Death, using frames like that of which Marcuse uses to determine what the best possible path could be. The game is centered on the player, and much like the choose your own adventure book, the player is responsible for the outcome of the game.

It’s hard to describe exactly how I will be incorporating our readings into riddles and puzzles, but I will say it won’t simply be fill in the blank or anything remotely conventional. One idea I have in particular is using images and image mapping to highlight certain words of the text, in combination with using internet user names and passwords to be able to reach the next level of the game (This is hard to explain without visual aid, if it’s not clear, I apologize).

To some degree I want to use flash to create something like this digital media student did. He takes us through a tour of an abandoned house, navigating primarily through keyboard functions to get from room to room. I would like some element of my game to operate similarly, perhaps in the beginning, and there will be hidden links to escape this level and move on, but I also want there to be some fear from the player than he/she will be permanently stuck in this level.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I like this a lot; there are interesting ways in which it interacts with various themes of the class, while being clearly your own vision. Excellent!

Because this is a little hazy ("The argument of the game is that while it’s important to escape, the goal is not simply to escape, but to escape using the best path possible." - it sounds great, and can lead to great things, but its more ambitious than clear), and because this could be a lot of work, it's important to begin coding *now*, and also to have a fallback plan.

In other words, if you're a couple days away from the deadline and you know it wont' be done (or not in a way that fully satisifes you), then you need to present what you have in combination with an essay about it - concerning, e.g., how it relates to the themes of the class, why it's incomplete, whether there is a structural reason for its incompleteness, or ways in which we can turn incompleteness into a merit.

Your argument does a good job of showing us how a game can involve thinking - so don't be afraid to turn it around and do some of the thinking outside the game as well as inside it, if there isn't world and time enough to finish the game itself as much as you'd like to.