Game Pillars, Buyer Persona & other Project: Freedom updates

As many of you know, we are making a game. For now it is called Project: Freedom, and we are doing what no indie should do, which is, we are not talking about it. Don’t do like us! And… Here are some updates!

Ze Pitch: Lots of you dear friends were kind enough to iterate with me for this game’s pitch. While we certainly progressed, we’ve still got lots to do for this pitch thing. Here is what we’ve got – the word jigsaw does a good job expressing a lot about the game’s look and feel, but I am not happy with how the entire sentences sound.

An exploration (jigsaw) puzzle game about nationality, borders and freedom

A jigsaw puzzle game about exploring nationality, borders and freedom.

Ze dev update: We try to meet every Tuesday. For the most part its working fairly decent, though the Nordic Week kinda messed up our plans. However, we managed to recoup and while we don’t have a build yet, there is stuff we can actually do in game, now. I’ll post some screenshots as soon as I Fix My Very First Graphic Bug.

Ze personal update: Howly mowly am I a n00b. We are all quite n00bs despite being in the industry for over a decade, and we constantly bump our heads to stuff like, the f*ing textures do not fit, how do we tackle scalability, why oh why can’t we calculate the “difficulty” okletsassignitmanually and – perhaps most of all – the panic of getting it wrong. We need to get over that.

Ze title of this actual blog post

Defining our Game pillars

…is what we did today, in an effort to nail down the soul of the game and use it to guide us. We also started on sketching what Emmy taught us a Buyer Persona is. This is useful for a multitude of reasons, but generally because your pillars will constantly refresh your vision of the game, and they will serve as  guidelines when making decisions. Of course, the persona is drafting an actual person your are developing for.

Our game design pillars are:

Optimism: this game is a light hearten reflection on a serious issue, which is this extraordinary frustrating mix of travel, privilege  and freedom of movement, with a hint of migration debates and the struggle for a better life

Balance: While its nice to prospect and plan travelling, its also a constant issue of choosing and balance, much like a puzzle where you need to analyse and fit what you have with what you need to give to satisfy your thirst for exploration.

A sense of achievement: Travel is about collecting memories. This is the end goal of our game, too, and of course, the gameplay is the most exciting part, the road you took to get there. Our game addresses the explorers and the achievers as defined by Bartle’s diagram, and will not catter much for killers and socializers (unless we get wildly successful and we get to develop multiplayer, don’t you think I haven’t thought about it 😀 )

Curiosity: I don’t know about others but one thing that draws me to travel is curiosity and my shameful lack of understanding that leads to ignorance, I do not want to live an ignorant life. Similarly, the game will convey a sense of mystery and curiosity, allowing you to discover unlikely benefits  in unlikely places, and the occasional sadness for the unexpected ill take when all conditions should have yelded something better. Remember, this is an optimistic game, but it is well known, that the poorest are oftentimes the most generous of souls, too.

Statement game: this is a game that we deeply believe in, and we develop it as a media product aimed to make people think about very real, very actual issues like migration, nationality, racism, judgement, privilege, unfair advantage, safety and the struggle for a better life. In our case, better means well travelled, but in real life, it is sobering to internalize that some dreams are not for everyone.

A kickass article on simplistic design docs focused on pillars is Natural Selection 2 post mortem.They call their pillars design pricnipels and I simply love the way they presented the concept of empowered design. Hear hear!

Buyer Persona

While designing our pillars we realised, more than designed, our buyer persona. I actually know her, and what did it to me is actually her Facebook profile page, which expresses the core of our game:

Michela

Her name is Michela and she is an avid, dreamy achiever who likes to collect exotic stamps on her passport and exotic stories to keep in her heart. However, she recently became a mom, so travelling is on hold a bit. I think she lusts for it, and I think she lusts for sharing those experiences with her kid. I want to give her a little bit of taste of that, a pretext to think and dream about that.

 

Your feedback is MUCH APPRECIATED! Friend, tell me especially if you find something weird with this little project of ours <3