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'Witless Wiz' Character and Game Design Project

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  • Witless Wiz: Character and Game Development
    This project initially started as a character being designed during a masterclass taught by Leavon Archer, but then soon afterwards also grew into a game development project done during personal time. An oppurtunity to advance the idea with a team came up in the form of of the module Games Design 2A, and so I submitted the game concept that I came up with. This game idea was picked as one of the games to be created and thus the work was adapted for a group project. This project is my contribution to the project (both in solo and when working as a group).

    For the full list of work I did, please click the link below:
    Witless Wiz Development Log

    Work for the masterclass begins here:
  • Sample of some of the abilities the character could use through the Swarm Shard Mechanic I wrote.
  • A rough idea for an upgrade system. At the edge of each circle, a unique colour is required to upgrade its associated ability
  • Rough character painting with mug shot.
  • Orthographics. There was something really off about the side view, so the fringe had to be redesigned.
  • Final Hairstyles
  • Final Orthographics (as a solo worker)

    During this time I also produced a very rough prototype for the game in GameMaker 8, used to give a rough feeling of the game.
  •   Several abilities such as sprinting, wall jumping and sliding (on walls:slow descent, on slopes: fast movement) have been incorporated in the basic build. It was the also the last solo part of this project before it was brought into Games Design 2A - High Concept and Pre-Production.

    This was the original pitch I wrote which got the game selected as a candidate for group work. Its very different to the final game that is being handled by the team now however.
  • One Page Treatment forGames to be considered for selection for 2A/2B
    Working Title: Witless Wiz
    Target Audience: 7+/Kids to Adults

    Genre: Platformer

    Camera View: 2D (or rendered in 3D but plays in 2D)

    Hooks – Unique Selling Points:
    • Literally evolve your character, enemies and worlds using the in-game Brainstorm!
    • Dual world gameplay: Research and bolster your character in the day, unleash her newfound carnage in your dreams!
    • Over 8 different elements to use and master, with the added twist of ‘less is more’
    • Outlandish fantasy settings and enemies that can be influenced by the ‘real world’ in game
    • The story about the struggles of writing a story filled with the thrills of triumph and despair!

    Narrative (Characters & World)
    Liz is the creator of her dream character (player named, though default is Wiz) and dream universe. She studies in secondary school and is struggling to prepare for the fatal story writing exam. Her universe is boring and her magnum opus Wiz is full of Mary Sue topes; overpowered, over-nice and overrated. She takes the advice of her English teacher and gives Wiz the weakness of requiring a familiar known as Swarm Shards in order to use her powers for a limited time, otherwise being helpless. Liz must explore the world around her to evolve the universe environments, enemies, bosses and even Wiz herself.

    The ‘story within the story’ evolves as the player progresses. When the exam takes place, the final story is about Wiz’s arrogance towards her Swarm Shards, who then abandon her. She must then earn their respect back in order to save the land from the impending forces of darkness.

    Objectives & Gameplay

    The overall objective is to pass the impending exam. This is done by playing through platforming levels which are broken up with ‘Day’ sequences. These Day sequences allow the player character to take inspiration from the world, unlocking levels, abilities, enemies and bosses. At the exam the player has to pick elements (main villain, enemies and environments) to form a coherent story (which they play as a platforming level).

    Platforming levels, or Dream sequences have several recurring features: the player has an amount of Swarm Shards which fill up an energy bar. The player is helpless against enemy pursuers unless this bar is full, which allows her to use her abilities and Elements against her pursuers for a limited time. Levels may have varying objectives such as A to B, scavenger hunts, boss fights, etc. These levels can be replayed in the Day when they’ve been completed.

    The Day sequence is a quick breather from a platforming level, and allows the player to navigate the world in the form of a series of multiple choice questions. Each choice made may have a relevant reward (went to a museum, unlocked Museum environment level), one of which is a catch all resource known as Inspiration Points (IP). Story events revolving around Liz may also take place. After a certain number of choices the day ends and allows the player to customise the dream character, enemies and environments before proceeding with the Dream level. Whilst no changes are permanent, no changes can be made whilst in the Dream levels.

    The most unique element in this game is the way upgrades are made: In order to upgrade one element, you must neglect another. This tackles the character’s previous state of ‘being overpowered yet dull’ as you get more creative versions of abilities whilst ditching elements you may never use. The philosophy in beating this game is not ‘Use the right tool for the right job’ but instead ‘how can I get past this obstacle using my limited tools and my ingenuity?’

    My secondary school years when I started writing and drawing characters (badly)
    MegaMan (due to stealing abilities from bosses), Pac-Man (vulnerability versus revenge)
    Unbelievably, a process used to generate ideas: Brainstorming
    Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Chroshaw XP Article: What if we levelled backwards?!
    Super Meat Boy (tightness of the control), Reccetear (made schedules and deadlines fun)

  • With this project green lit, work produced from this point was my contribution to the group. In addition to handling the character, I designed possible mechanics, environments, and the logo.

    The group tended to want very radical changes to the project and its design, so I had to be very flexible.
  • Swarm Shard mechanic idea.
  • The group wanted a much more superdeformed cartoony art style to make things easier for them to model/render. So I produced a sheet with the character in various styles.
  • The group wanted a massive overhaul of the overall project, including the character's purpose and design philosophy. I produced a range of designs to meet their requirements.
  • Enemy designs (before the overhaul of the project. It is recommended to read the writing for them on the blog for their tactics, relationship and mechanics.
  • Environments concept: Ice palace.
  • Environments Concept: Volcano level
  • Final Logo for the game.
  •  Due to the nature of the course structure, as a Games Concepts Student I am not able to proceed onto Games Design 2B, and thus am no longer a part of the group.