For our final, Corbin and I continued to build out the world of HEIST. We added several new features and components to enhance our vision of what the game could be in terms of narrative, navigation, and aesthetic.
We added in a phone component that assisted the player in journeying through the space. Each time the user clicks on the phone it prompts them to visit a specific location in the world. The phone guides the user through a linear narrative, beginning in their apartment, going to speak with friends and visiting a protest at the bank.
We also prototyped dialogue in different scenes, such as the protest and a meeting with a neighbor. Ideally, we’d use an interface/plugin such as Twine to organize the narrative and dialogue. For now it’s written out as one large image file so it can be read through.
A few days before our final presentation we had the opportunity to meet with an employee of SOS Brooklyn, David Grant. We spoke with Davoid for several hours, learning both about this history and work of SOS Brooklyn as well as his personal history and relationship to gun violence. Dave does a lot of outreach for SOS Brooklyn and was able to fill us in on various components of the program. We showed him the game and he was very excited about the possibility of collaboration. We discussed working with their youth group, YO SOS and doing workshops where we teach them about game design, working in Unreal and ultimately creating a game together. David talked about how there’s a lack of educational and positive games out there for kids and was interested in using the aesthetics and gameplay of something like Grand Theft Auto but altering the message. We discussed centering the story on a teen who learns about mediation and positive actions through a branching narrative. He would encounter different situations based off of real experiences that youth have had and the user would have the opportunity to choose how to get involved, or not.
We originally were planning on filming David in 360, but decided in the end that we should use this first interview as an opportunity to get to know him and the work he does with SOS Brooklyn better. Rather than including 360 video in the game as we had previously prototyped, we decided instead that it would try to scan people to create a 3D modeled version. In the latest version of the game we prototyped this by using Mixamo and Adobe Fuse.
Corbin and I hope to continue this collaboration with SOS Brooklyn, possibly as an XStory research project.