Author Archives: Adam Weiss

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Master Cube

d1fd2907396e9a36752890bc8745a4c8 Master Cube is a game about an unlikeable man named Davis that uses the story of a hero’s journey to point out the flaws in typical game protagonist behavior. Davis is a man with no friends, that argues or mocks anyone he speaks to, but lacks the ability or skills required to leave his small town, and so he is stuck as a store greeter. If he tries to leave work early, he won’t be able to return for the rest of the day to get earn money, but will be able to explore the town more and do more odd jobs for different townspeople per day. These tasks will be typical fetch and deliver quests that will be purposefully repetitive. If Davis tries to leave the town the guards will not let him because he is too weak and ill-equipped to handle the outside world. The guards say they’ll take a bribe, but it is a steep price. After speaking to the guard, a strange figure in a robe and wearing a paper-mache cube head will beckon him over. The strange robed man tells him he’ll pay the bribe for Davis if he signs a contract that he will find the Master Cube’s domain in the next week for perish. He is presented with two options, earn an honest living slowly and painfully in town through work and odd-jobs, or sell his soul to a cult for an easy way out to a real adventure. If he works his way out he will have more time to explore and be able to return to town and live his life normally. If he takes the easy way out his time will be limited and therefore more goal-oriented. Once in the world, it becomes clear that Davis is not ready, and the only safe place will be the cult headquarters. From there, Davis’ selfish behavior will take him far until he’s finally able to realize his dream of being important. He is able to complete the trials of the cult and sabotage them for others, until he is confronted by the leader of the cult for having more affinity for the Master Cube than him. He defeats the leader in a debate and is brought into the realm of the Master Cube by sacrificing the other members of the cult, and everyone in his hometown. In the Cubeiverse, Davis converses with the Guardian of the Master Cube, and debates it to death. Finally, Davis speaks to the Master Cube, who agrees to change the entire universe in any one way to Davis’ liking. Davis asks the Master Cube to make everyone adore him, for him to be the hero of this universe. There’s a great flash, and Davis finds himself back in town. He is able to walk around and converse with the townspeople and explore the world, but everyone in it now is Davis. IMG_20170502_145539 In the dev cycle I’m working on implementing the mechanics of play into the build of the game, and finalizing the overall large outdoor world and adding collision and interactions to that. Overall for this game making the sprites was easier than I expected it to be, and sticking to a single idea was harder than I expected it to be. The game ended up falling to feature creep and a lack of a written narrative and so the game right now is all over the place. The Unity work was also rather difficult as the YouTube tutorials I felt were so specific to making a specifically generic RPG that trying to find online resources on how to do anything else was either too advanced or hard to find. At this point I’m honestly just going to bin this project and in the future write out the design of the game before going into art development and such because without a solidly thought-out plan this entire thing just fell apart into a mess of ideas that don’t all fit together and most of my time was just spent rethinking the beginning of my game over and over and over again without making any progress on how the mechanics, level design, or narrative of the game would work after the beginning, and in the end the beginning changed so much that a lot of what I thought would be the core element of the game changed over and over.    

Master Cube: “Consequence vs Conflict”

My dev cycle is going rather slowly, the amount of art assets required is a bit overwhelming and the scale of the world I want to create is much larger than I anticipated. I’m often running into the issue of “feature creep” and will at some point need to cut a lot from the game in order to make it a more cohesive play. Not many major advances, my most major advance is the outside of the Cult HQ is essentially complete and I’ve redesigned my player character. The most major setback is adding to many ideas of features for the game and I’ve really over-complicated it. The idea of creating a game where the player wants to join a cult because they think it’s a good idea, and the result of it is it ends up destroying their relationship with the world. People read into the character what I designed them to so that was nice. Simplify the narrative in a way that makes sense and doesn’t draw attention away from the critical path and concept for the game. The player has the most autonomy when he leaves the town and joins the cult. There’s also the most conflict/choice in how to leave the town, join the cult, what to do in the world. I think I must over conflict and choice to leave, join, and how to interact with people in the world. Whether or not they want to sacrifice everyone to meet Master Cube. I don’t think I should offer choice in whether they’re allowed to leave work on the first day. The player will also have to complete the trials of the cult upon joining.

Radical Games: Master Cube

d1fd2907396e9a36752890bc8745a4c8 Master Cube is about a young man named Davis. Davis is a store greeter sick of his work and the people in town. He envies the heroes he sees pass through the store, taking what they please for their quest. Davis has very little for him in town, and tries to venture outside but the guards won’t let him, they say it’s too dangerous. He can leave if he can pay off the guards by working tirelessly as a greeter for hours and hours, the thought of which makes Davis want to blow his brains out. A robed figure calls out to Davis and promises to pay the guards for him if he signs his soul to him. He agrees and is told to seek out the great cube center, in the forest. He travels to the center, and is initiated into the Master Cube Society. To do so he completes 3 trials and then is sworn in by the leader. The leader tries to kill him for aligning with the cube better than he did. Upon defeating the leader Davis is summoned to the cube dimension where the master cube will change the universe for him in one way. Davis chooses to make the universe a universe where people will like him, and the cube makes everyone in the universe him.   IMG_20170306_155223 My game is radical because my goal with the game is to make the player feel that joining a cult is their best option.  Most people view cult members as aliens or freaks that must have been insane to give in to a cult’s ideology. I want my game to play with the idea that anyone could be put into a situation where they view joining a cult is smart of them. The life of the character Davis is unfulfilling, and players play games to fulfill needs. Basic needs such as wanting to have fun, or needing a distraction from every day life. This game initially does not offer the player what they want in the world to proceed or explore the world, and the fastest way out is to join the cult. Development is tricky. I’ve never been an artist with visual arts like drawing or painting and so the art design aspect of development has been tough if not overwhelming at times. Getting everything to look and feel right visually can be very frustrating. Luckily I’m used to using programs similar to Unity so that portion of development has been smooth. Unfortunately development rarely gets to building in Unity as the art still needs work! The ability to make pixel art that looks anything like what I want it to be has been the most surprising about my abilities to make the game. From paper game in class I’ve learned that my ideas are clearer than I thought they were visually, but I need to learn to better express my ideas so as not to confuse people as to what’s going on or going to happen. The biggest way my game says a lot with a little is the design of the player character. One look at him and you know he’s miserable and bored with his life and the people around him. I’m also trying to get the player to feel the way the character looks in the rather small space of a simple town store you’d find in most RPGs but rather than being the hero that comes and gets cool gear, you simply greet the heroes as they come in. The player can clearly see that there are others more important than themselves and so hopefully they will want to be more like the heroes and quickly realize how nearly impossible it is to do without some sort of outside help, or rather extreme patience.