Simplify simplify simplify

Dev blog Nov 24
I bought a used MotoX 2nd gen phone, got better service and loaded up WordPress. Now I can make good on my promises to keep our supporters up to date with our development.

We have a game mechanic that lets you control some significant and meaningful aspects of cells… But doesn’t overwhelm players. I think people learn best when in the driver seat and so I spent a long time creating a way to be in the driver seat for molecular cell biology. We as a team spent a lot of time creating and recreating prototypes in Unity to test whether we could make a game with our driver seat system.

We are pretty sure that our system is promising, and that it needs a nicer, slower, more user friendly intro. We modeled ourselves on George Fan’s Plants V. Zombies from the beginning. However, George Fan’s premise is that a player should know how to use a game object by watching it. That is, the behavior and appearance of the game object should provide clues for what the game object is used for. Fan says that this way players can jump in the game easier. And he means all kinds of players, even his mom! (GDC vault talk)

I wanted to do this with cells and receptors. However, the problem is that people don’t know what cells and receptors look like, or what they might do. So we created our driver seat biochemistry game, and then we simplified it. And we have simplified it many many many times. I didn’t think it was going to be possible to makes cells and receptors intuitively understandable to players. However, I think now we’ve created such a simple game that players can really learn by doing and understand the nature of cells and molecules.

The demo that’s available now draws in many players, but only I think about 50%. The rest are confused by what they’re doing, though they manage to make it through three levels but they don’t have an intuitive feeling for what receptors do. For this reason we are designing lots of levels that build you up slowly to the point where the demo starts.

Posted in Development Blog

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