I served as game designer
, project lead
, and programmer (C#, Unity)
puzzle game, where the player is a writer traversing through a novel, assisting
characters by manipulating words on storybook pages.
As a game designer
, I created word puzzles
which experimented with different variants
of the base game mechanic, playing with ideas including words as physical objects
(introduced Level 1), compound words whose component words have different meanings
(introduced Level 2), and words carrying over between levels (introduced Level 3).
Largely, my work as a designer on this project included developing the game's puzzles,
which relied on clever wordplay and puns, developing and testing the core movement and
puzzle mechanics, and conducting playtesting
to incorporate user feedback to improve
puzzles and manage level progression.
As the project lead
, I guided the 13-person team
through the development process,
facilitating communication between art, programming, design and sound teams to
ensure the project’s completion over the course of the semester.
This game was developed as part of Brown RISD Game Developers
, a student game
development organization run by students at Brown University and RISD, with
audio contributions provided by students at Berklee College of Music.
Development took place over the course of 24 hours
, with work spread out
across 4-hour weekly meetings and one 8 hour mini-game jam.
Fun Fact: The handwriting in the game is mine!
This game was one of the projects that sparked my joy for ensuring
accessibility in games
The first level relies on **spoilers**
the use of the word "crown" in
both the royalty and dentistry contexts.
People who didn't grow up speaking English as their first language
might be unfamiliar with the use of "crown" to mean "the part of the tooth
projecting from the gum." Even native English speakers who are less
familiar with practices of dentistry, for financial reasons or otherwise,
would struggle to solve this puzzle.
After user research and playtesting revealed this to be true, I implemented
a hint system
, so that players stuck on particular words could gain the necessary
knowledge to solve the puzzle.
With any hint system, though, it is important to respsect players, and ensure
provided hints aren't condescending
With this in mind, I wrote hints that even someone who solved every puzzle
immediately might be interested in reading. Sticking with the game's storybook
theme, the hints were rhyming:
"That which rests atop the royal head
and that which covers what we use to chew bread
share a name.
Give the first to the dentist,
In this game,
they're one and the same."
I had a lot of fun writing these hints; it's always encouraging to see
efforts geared towards accessibility pay off in multiple, unexpected ways!