It is not a common occurrence that a game developer wishes to work on the same project as the Centre of Communicable Diseases and AIDS (ULAC), and yet, this is precisely the client we are more than proud to have worked with. Working together, we have managed to craft a heartfelt story that will help to improve the knowledge about the challenges and difficulties we have to face when dealing with a case of tuberculosis in our social circle.
The game we have crafted is called [Un]defeated. It is a comic-book-style interactive computer game where the player has the agency to make the choices and determine how the story will develop. Sometimes we say that it is not just a game. It is a story about becoming an adult. About responsibility for yourself and the others around you. Such a message became even more relevant during the first years of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even though the topic of the game is rather serious and sometimes even difficult to talk about, that did not dissuade us from picking up a cartoon-like style to tell it. Such a decision, in part, serves two purposes. The first one was rather pragmatic; the budget for the project was not endless, so artists’ renditions let us optimize the budgets and use them for the most important part of the game – story writing. The second reason for picking such an art style was our target audience. As we focused on teenagers, we worked on an insight that comic books might be a familiar medium for them to get involved with. Elaborate, colorful images help find empathy for the main characters in the game, which we were looking for while working on the game.
We could call the technical side of the project a plain sailing – we have decided to work on the Unity game development engine, our go-to choice within the studio. Unity lets us quickly adapt the game to Android and iOS systems, proving to be a significant reason to choose it. While there were small nuances to getting the project up to speed and running, the main challenge for the project was creating an elaborate and coherent story that would provide a basis for the critical client messages regarding tuberculosis to be broadcasted.
This was our first developed game that had multiple story endings. As players, we love games that empower players to make the decisions and steer the game towards the desired ending, so we wanted to create such a project ourselves.
For a story of such magnitude, we needed additional help from the professionals. In order to better understand the views, experiences, and problems current youth face, we have hired a theatre director to nail those essential story beats and fill in the blanks. The client was also actively involved in the scriptwriting process, helping to cover the focal points regarding transmittable diseases.
Looking back retrospectively, a more fluent writer in the way youth speak and understand their current jargon would have improved the script, as none of the people who wrote the script were teenagers. Yet, we could confidently state that the creative freedom of such a project was not a first in our projects and the past experiences helped immensely. Long-term clients trust our craftsmanship and ingenuity to provide engaging content and game design, so it is nice to see players positively reacting to our decisions to create several game endings.
TECHNOLOGIES AND TOOLS
Game Engine: Unity
IDE: Visual Studio
Other tools: Git, Jenkins, AppCenter, Figma