Radical Game Design: A Knight’s Quest

Levi

Levi Devaux; Not Quite the Knight in Question

My Game, A Knight’s Quest, is not actually about a knight. Instead, it is about a young man, pictured above, who wants to be a knight, and finds himself thrust into a situation which demands him to do so. One evening, as he’s practicing with a training sword, a portal appears before him, seeming to offer adventure beyond its seductive glow. He steps through, and falls into a medieval church where a group of plucky rebels have been pinned down by an evil king. The rebels, in response to this stranger’s sudden and inexplicable appearance at their time of need, decide Levi is a hero and ask him to help them fight back. Naturally, Levi jumps at the opportunity to play the hero, and agrees.

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The Portal

Things don’t turn out quite how Levi imagined, however. Not because he is unable to perform those heroic actions, of course, he is actually the chosen one, and his capability in combat reflects that. What throws a wrench in things is that he has to kill them. Levi’s first encounter with the enemy is punctuated with their blood splashing out from their wounds and covering his hands. Levi, a sensible and modern young man, does what any of us would do in response: he starts flipping out. The rest of the game follows Levi as he attempts to cope with the brutality he must inflict in order to be the “hero” he wants to be.




Levi is a character of mine I have used in a few places before. He comes from a sort of homebrew Dungeons and Dragons style game I play online with some friends, where he has a similar struggle, and has been used in a few different campaigns there, as well as a story I wrote for one of my other classes. So, when I had to come up with a concept for my game, Levi seemed like a natural choice to use.

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My Paper Game’s first area

The paper game went relatively well, I think. I had a bar at the bottom, the purple thing in the picture above, which represented the player’s “Blood” so to speak. The encounters within my paper game would raise or lower it depending on what happened within them. There were three encounters to begin with, one with each of the three npcs.

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From Right to Left: “The General” “The Kidney Bean Person” “The Nun” and “Levi” (I haven’t come up with names for anyone else yet)

Levi starts off at the far right of the church area, so the person playing talked to the bean person first, which is just as well since I’d planned on using him to introduce the blood bar. He told the player that they had to be careful of getting too much blood, or else they would be unable to continue fighting. After the Bean person, the player went to speak with the Nun, who offered to pray with the player. Upon doing so, the bar decreased representing the comfort which the nun provided him helping Levi cope with the blood he had spilled. The player then exited the church room through the door in the upper left to enter the War Room.

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The War Room

In here they went over and spoke to the general, who congratulated Levi on his victory yesterday against the enemy troops, and praised him for his martial prowess. The praise forced Levi to remember the fighting and the people he had killed, resulting in his blood bar increasing. After this, the player left the war room and went to speak with the nun again, hoping to decrease the bar, but found that she couldn’t decrease it any more. I was out of content at that point, so the game ended there. I was rather pleased that I had been able to so quickly establish that blood was bad and they should want to decrease it, while also linking the nun with its decrease and the general with its increase. However, there were some complaints. People didn’t like the general just suddenly increasing their blood, so I think that it not being clear he would do that before he did it was a mistake. Also, at the time, I had assigned numerical values to the blood, and the Nun decreased it by the same amount the general increased it, so overall there was no net change which occurred, which also was cause for some complaint.

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Playing in the War Room

There was a particularly valuable piece of feedback I received from this. My classmates noted that the blood bar was sort of boring and wondered if there was another way I could convey the increase in Levi’s blood. I had been considering other ways to show this myself, though in addition to the bar, rather than instead of it, so I mentioned those ideas to my classmates. My ideas were to have the sky change based on the level of the player’s blood. When you first kill an enemy, a great red gash would appear on the sky, as though the blood you had just spilled had splattered over the sun itself. As more would be killed, more blood would cover the sky until eventually, it would begin to literally rain blood. My classmates seemed to quite like this idea and recommended I drop the bar entirely in favor of the sky blood, which I have decided to do.




At the time of the Paper Game, my build is not far along at all. I have completed the sprite work for Levi, including his walk cycle and idles, and have made it so that he is capable of movement. I have also done up the wall and floor of the church’s inside, however that is all. I still have yet to give the nun and the general their own sprites or move on further to even think of introducing the other concepts I want in my game, such as the changing blood bar.