The latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide presents a postmortem
of Savannah College of Art and Design student game Temple Dash
, an Egyptian temple-raiding board game inspired by the object-combining inventiveness of MacGyver.
In this excerpt, the team member Harrison Pink explains the genesis of the project came from experiments in narratology, and the desire to create a game that embodied 'freedom':
"Before receiving our final assignment, the four of us had worked together on a previous project in the same class. In that project, we created a board game from an existing video game IP. We came away with some pretty fun gameplay which we wanted to implement in our next game, but sadly the final project guidelines specified it had to be an entirely different game from any previous project. Refining our IP game was out. Luckily, we had other inspirations to draw upon.
During the course, Professor Brathwaite detailed the difference between Ludology (the study of games as rules) and Narratology (the study of games as narratives). To explain the difference, the class participated in a narrative driven game created by the Professor. There were no rules, only narrative. The purpose of this was to show how rules could appear and be defined more and more as the narrative progressed. The class each played the role of a character devised at random, and were free to roam the game world and interact with anything as we saw fit. Want to toss your shoe at the restaurant manager? Steal chainsaws from the DIY store? Just enjoy a nice meal and stay out of the way? The choice was yours.
This, we decided, is what we wanted our game to be. Freedom. Freedom for the player to make up their own solutions to the world. Freedom to use their own creativity to circumvent other players. How could we create a game where you were free to come up with your own solutions to problems the game would throw at you? Too much freedom could be a very bad thing. The game would never have a clear cut "winner" if there were no goals and nothing to achieve. Complete freedom was too free. What we wanted was freedom with limits. How could we create such a thing?
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature
on the subject, with more from the students concerning the development successes and difficulties that went into creating Temple Dash
(no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).