August 11, 2008

Week 2 – High concept for educational game “Nutrition – the winning choice”

Filed under: ECU MInT,GDT3102 Writing for Games — steve @ 7:05 pm

Image source: food4life.org

i. Game concept (including genre)?

Educational game to teach children (and adults) the values and rewards of selecting and following a nutritious diet. Target age group is primary school ages of 6 to 12.

ii. Player goals and victory conditions (how do you win)?

Players are to learn about food groups and devise an appropriately balanced menu that will enable them to be competitive in virtual races depicting ‘physical challenges’ such as running and/or swimming. The object of the game is more about learning to make wise choices in food selection than ‘winning’, however poor food selections will mean that the player does not perform well in the ‘physical challenges’ therefore motivation to win a race will be ultimately the player’s goal and reward through their choice of nutrition.  

iii. Features, including interface, play modes (travelling, combat), gameplay, important rules etc?

The game will take place in two environments: (1) where the food groups are studied and resulting food selections made, (2) where the ‘physical challenge’ takes place to determine whether the player has selected a healthy food choice:

1. 3D environment resembling a small, local supermarket where food choices may be explored, studied and selected: 

    • Pop-up windows describing nutritional information of various foods that are activated when the player approaches/clicks on a particular food product
    • Player may select or discard the food from each food’s pop-up menu
    • Basic maths skills may be required to tally up nutrition components of the various foods though strictly is not necessary if the player bases their food selection on visual metaphors
    • Once a selection of food is made the player may choose to undertake a ‘physical challenge’ to determine whether their food selection was a healthy one or not

2. 3D environment where the ‘physical challenge’ takes place such as a sports stadium:   

    • Players may choose from a selection of physical challenges including running, jumping and swimming
    • Players performance (speed of movement) in the ‘physical challenge’ is determined by food selection in the supermarket
    • Player may elect to revisit the supermarket stage to select a different diet
    • Player may compete against the clock or in a multiplayer online environment
    • Rules are very minimal – the player must select some food in the supermarket stage before undertaking a ‘physical challenge’.
    • Levels of increasing difficulty that require greater problem solving in the selection of the food which become unlocked after making a balanced selection of food and then successfully completing a ‘physical challenge’ – the reward will be that the ensuing ‘physical challenge’ will be longer and visually more interesting and appealing
    • The 3D environments themselves will have a cartoonish surreal quality which will be aimed to provide a visually stimulating experience that the player wishes to explore.
    • Voice-overs pronouncing the name of the food items as well as for positive feedback at the end of physical challenges.
    • Interface items will consist of:
    •  the Player’s ‘health’ based upon amount of and selection from the 5 major food groups:
      • Meat s
      • Vegetables/ Fruit s
      • Fats/sugar/salt
      • Cereals/ grains
      • Dairy  
    • Timer for physical challenges when the player races against the clock
    • Indication of the level the Player has achieved in the game

iv. Basic story?

This game does not contain a narrative except for “you are what you eat”.

v. Basic characters?

There is one character, that of the player, though the player may meet other players in multi-player online ‘physical challenges’

vi. Unique selling points (why would anyone want to play it)?

In an ideal world, this game would be free and be based upon an open source game engine so financial barriers to obtain and play the game would be minimised. For the player, the main selling point will be the ‘physical challenges’ which are aimed to be visually intriguing from a slightly surreal aspect.

vii. Target platform (are any special hardware, e.g. steering wheels needed or optional)?

Windows, Unix, Mac

viii. Design goals (for each desired quality of the game, such as “simple”, “fast”, “scary” etc, indicate how your game intends to realise it)?

Goal is to keep the game very simple from a gameplay perspective. Navigation will be via WASD keys (move forward, strafe-left, move backward, strafe-right) and mouse (look-up, look-down, look-left, look-right) as well as left mouse click for selecting options on pop-up windows.

1 Comment

  1. [...] 2 at at the High Concept tretment for a narrative based game as the previous game concept did not enable significant development of the game’s characters, nor did it provide for the [...]

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