Every May there is one night, when the city of Warsaw fills with people roaming from one museum to another. Special exhibitions take place, institutions open normally closed areas or organize other attractions. Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, where I’ve studied, uses this opportunity to present students’ projects to the wide public.
I couldn’t miss this occasion, so I gathered a group of friends and we prepared a game displayed on the building façade, which could be played by attendants.
I was an initiator of the project, who pitched the idea to the Academy’s event organiser and who gathered the team. I was acting as a group leader, main designer and decisive person.
I’ve fully developed the entire game, from early mockups and technology tests up to the final game and on-place adjustments.
The game was going to be projected on the building façade, visible for every passerby from a far distance. We created stunning, intricate visuals to attract attention and ensure engagement not only for the player, but also the public. At the same time, game elements had to be distinguishable from the background. Aside from color contrast, movement and light I’ve reinforced the distinction by dividing gameplay area into 3 planes and using parallax scrolling effect.
Because the game could’ve been played by any attendant, using a physical controller was not ideal. Many people wouldn’t be familiar with it, it would be time consuming to give, explain and collect the devices. Because of all of these, I’ve decided to use Microsoft Kinect as an only input device. Thanks to that players didn’t have to take anything into hands and were able to control the game through body movements. While solving the main issue, it provided many side benefits as well, like no risk of theft or destruction of the game pads and increased engagement.
To achieve some level of competition between the players, we’ve introduced the highscores. It allowed for tying the playthroughs together and provided additional motivation for players. It has significantly increased replay value. It proved to be a great idea, as in one moment a big crowd gathered and chanted encouraging the player to beat the highscore and achieve more than 100 points.
Because the game was mapped on the building, the layout had to be carefully designed. Neither the main character or the collectibles couldn’t be displayed over the building’s windows, because it would decrease visibility. However, until the very last moment, we weren’t able to test the game in the final setup. I’ve programmed the game’s UI on a parametric grid that could be adjusted at any moment, without the need to rewrite any code. Thanks to that the game was aligned perfectly.
Game was written in ActionScript 3.0 and it’s engine was designed from scratch. It had some serious disadvantages (memory was leaking like crazy), but there were upsides too: I had full control of image quality, Kinect interface and performance.
The game was a great success, especially among the children. Queues were enormous and excitement was so high, that the game was one of the biggest attractions during the event.
If you want to play the game, I’ve prepared a Windows version controlled with a keyboard. Enjoy!
|Date:||February 2015 – May 2015|
|Role:||Project lead, game designer, programmer|
|Team:||Wioletta Maleszyk (animator)|
|Siergiej Sokurenko (illustrator)|