The Prototyping Phase – Part 3

We continue with our in-depth look into the conceptual prototype for Jacob. If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2 of this article then we would recommend that you do so.

DSC_000004 - Colour Edit

So far we’ve covered the basic premise of the game and the available pieces offered to the player to assist them. We’ve briefly examined the obstacles, which may hinder the player’s progression. Though these factors may be drawn at random for the player before the start of the game, the reason for including them is far from the sake of adding variety.

We can break down a potential character at the start of the game into 3 separate core components.

  1. Where they were born. (Countryside, Exurban, Suburban, Urban Environments)
  2. When they were born. (1958, 1970 and year 2000)
  3. Their family background. (e.g., Working Class, Middle Class, Upper Class)

These factors are far from simple monikers. The Duck Duck Zeus design team, in consultation with CLS and DARE have decided that these seemingly randomised factors would actually be drawn from the data acquired by the three separate CLS cohort studies.

As well as the character’s background, their lifespan will also be drawn from the data as the total number of ladder pieces given to the player in a single playthrough will represent their life expectancy.

At the start of a turn, the player will be given a set number of ladder pieces. The range, number and quality of these ladder pieces will be determined based on the character’s randomly assigned attributes. This algorithm will be carefully designed with the supervision of CLS to make sure that the play experience accurately represents the findings of the studies.

So, for example, if we take a character from a privileged background the chances of them getting more useful pieces will increase. However, it is very important to establish two major factors of this system.

Firstly, a character with a more privileged background will potentially have a better chance of getting far in a playthrough. However, while their chances of having better resources may increase, the game is still governed by chance and a successful outcome is not a certainty. This accurately represents the fact that while you may be rich or privileged you may still not do well in life. Your wealth may not acquire you happiness or success and your life may even be a fleeting one at that.

Secondly, coming from a poorer or less privileged background in the game will decrease your chances of better resources. This once again would not be a certainty and it may very well be the case that such an individual would do experientially well in a playthrough. This represents the fact that individuals can still go onto achieve great things. That the rags-to-riches story may occur through either luck, determination or through the luck that one has created for themselves.

Hopefully these articles have been able to shed some light as to what direction the game is taking and which aspects of the CLS studies they hope to convey. Understandably in its current state there still may be some confusion as to how the game actually plays, but we will address this when we come to showcase the playable prototype later this month.




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