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GAME OVERVIEW

Solve challenging and high-stakes environmental puzzles through the use of awesome abilities you obtain from a set of dice.


Pitch

Take control of chance and change how the dice rolls in Altered Conduct, a challenging strategy game with numerous possible solutions. Use your wit and determination to maneuver through intricate environmental puzzles and uncover the secrets of an elaborate corporate conspiracy you threaten to destroy.


General Overview

Altered Conduct is a three-dimensional bird’s eye view strategy game that will challenge players to solve intricate and high stakes environmental puzzles through the use of a series of special abilities determined by the roll of a set of dice. The mechanics challenge the player to incorporate elements of chance into their solutions and to think of creative ways to solve problems regardless of where the dice land.

Through unprecedented technological innovation, humanity now has access to Alteration Implants, allowing genetically compatible individuals to wield one fantastic ability such as Telekinesis, Teleportation, Flux Energy and so much more. You play as Zeta, a talented and clever compulsive gambler, who has managed to crack the mystery of using multiple powers at will. Zeta is naturally Telekinetic, but through her ingenuity she has successfully mastered the use of Teleportation, Flux Energy, and Morph, all of which have a variety of applications and uses. By infusing these additional abilities in a set of three dice and using her own Implant as a conduit, Zeta can gain access to them by rolling. As one could imagine, this has been immensely beneficial in her gambling career.

In terms of gameplay, Altered Conduct is a PC three-dimensional strategy and puzzle-solving game with a fixed bird’s eye view camera over the character and their environment. The game is only suitable for PC or potentially tablet devices, because of the necessity to precisely select a target location onto the environment. By rolling the set of three dice, players will be presented with three abilities they would be able to use based on the roll. Initially players will be able to change how one of the dice rolled by using their natural Telekinetic powers and as the game progresses, they would have the potential to change two die, and eventually all three. This means that players would have to carefully evaluate what they could do with the random set of abilities they rolled, and which one they would like to change in order to solve the level as efficiently as possible. The powers have also been designed to provide the opportunity for different play styles, namely more direct or stealthy approaches. Levels and environmental puzzles would be designed in a way to allow for a multitude of solutions with all of the different tools at player’s disposal.

Example of the Camera Angle

It’s important to note that none of Zeta’s abilities are lethal and this game would not feature instances of blood or gore. The most aggressive ability the player will have access to is a stunning ability that has the potential to affect multiple targets. However, those targets would simply be knocked unconscious as though they were struck by a taser gun. It was important to make this distinction because excessive violence is not necessary in this narrative-driven strategy game that aims for players to focus on solving environmental puzzles and applying their fantastic abilities in a careful and thought-out manner. Similarly, if the player were to fail to complete a level, they would simply be captured by the enemy as opposed to executed, which is the case in many titles of the genre.


Game World

In the late twenty-first century in a world not too dissimilar to our own, humanity has invented one of its most astounding creations, the Alteration Implants. There are a multitude of Alteration Implants or Alters for short, all of which give their users fantastic special abilities, such as Telekinesis, Teleportation, Flux Energy, Control Over Time and more. All of the Alteration Implants developed immensely benefit society, they have helped it thrive, unleash its full potential and are used in the workforce constantly. For example, the transportation industry has never been more punctual since the introduction of the Teleportation Alters. Each individual is genetically susceptible to only one type of Alter, which means that one person can only use one ability based on their unique genetic code, much like Blood Types. It is important to note that getting an Alteration Implant is perfectly optional and not everyone in this society has one. However, because of the biological predisposition, certain professional fields such as medicine and engineering are practically only accessible to candidates with the respective Implants, as they are the best qualified for the job. The entire society is structured upon this principle that one human can only have one Implant, and the great scientific mystery of this time is to try and figure out how to enable people to use multiple abilities.

The player acts as Zeta, a bright and ambitious young woman who has managed to crack this mystery. Zeta is also a highly-skilled and compulsive gambler. She lives in this universe’s equivalent of Las Vegas and plays competitively at the largest tournaments in the city. However, as skilled as she is she could never defeat the top players in the city, which is why she was looking for a way to gain an edge. Through her advanced mathematics and engineering skills, she figured out how to infuse a Poker Chip and standard six-sided die with some of the Alteration Implants available in this universe. After this breakthrough, she could use the Chip in games and gain an advantage over her opponents. In regard to the dice, having a Telekinetic Alteration Implant herself, Zeta can also change the way the dice rolls, having freedom to pick and choose which side it would land on. Activation of the ability is dependent on the first side it lands on, which is why telekinesis is essential in controlling the results. Occasionally, Zeta also takes great pleasure in figuring out how to utilize any abilities that have landed from her dice, as it poses a challenge and stimulates her intellectually. Unfortunately one of the players eventually catches on to what she is doing, starting a thrilling chase and mystery for Zeta, that will provide her with her greatest challenge yet, testing her ingenuity and wits.


Visual Style

Altered Conduct a three-dimensional strategy and puzzle-solving game with a fixed bird’s eye camera perspective over the environment. This is crucial to many decisions about the game’s visuals and aesthetic, as it is important for players to see the entirety of the scene in order to solve the level most efficiently. Since the camera would be pulled back to showcase the entirety of the level, this means that environmental details are likely to get lost or unnoticed by players. That is why a low-poly style that only retains essential characteristics and features would be ideal for Altered Conduct. Additionally, a low-poly style has the benefit of being easier and faster to work with and model, thus fitting into the limited time frame this project needs to be created in.

In order to give the game more personality and make it more memorable, I also believe it would benefit from slightly caricatured character and environmental designs. These would include exaggerated proportions, strong silhouettes, and clear vivid colors. Going back to my research into geometric shapes, the Platonic Solids, and Generative Art, I think the overall visual style would immensely benefit from similar strong geometric shapes and constructions. Not only that, but I also intend to employ principles such as Desargues’s Theorem into the architecture of the game and even in elements of the level design. To better illustrate the entire style and overall feeling of the game, I have created a series of Mood Boards below, that will hopefully help visualize the concept.

This Mood Board illustrates the type of 3D Modelling I would like to employ in Altered Conduct. The style of the models would consist of basic shapes and texture would be used to achieve vivid colors and add some detail.

Low-Poly Style regarding the Characters and Construction with Basic Shapes.

Low-Poly Style regarding the Characters and Construction with Basic Shapes.

This Mood Board Illustrates what the city would look like during dusk and night time. It would be quite colorful and illuminated as the city the action takes place is is a rather popular tourist destination.

These are some examples of what the casino would like. It would be very luxurious with predominantly white and gold colors with the occasional red lighting.


Design Goals

Altered Conduct is a large and ambitious designed and crafted from a place of passion and genuine interest in its universe, characters, and mechanics. Therefore, the project’s design goals are also equally ambitious and diverse. Altered Conduct aims to create an exciting world, with new opportunities to use chance in gaming and to incorporate gentle elements of mathematics in its architecture, geometry, level design, and narrative. The following are some of the design goals Altered Conduct hopes to achieve:

  1. To create a fun game that would be entertaining and memorable to a large audience. I would love to create a piece that people can come home to, enjoy, even feel powerful in. I hope that this game will get people happy and excited, that it will form friendly and competitive discussions just because of how fun it is.

  2. To challenge modern notions of level design and to provide an experience with a series of possible solutions based on the idea of controlling chance and using it to your advantage.

  3. To allow players to explore a lovingly crafted world that has its own complex characters, problems, and structure without taking anything away from the strategic and challenging nature of the game.

  4. To deliver a thrilling context and narrative that ties all of the environmental puzzles and problem-solving scenarios together, so that they make coherent sense and motivate the player to explore the story and universe further.

  5. To challenge people to think critically about problem-solving and to analyse the level and environment in order to complete it. Hopefully, this would lead to an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience as it would be the player’s ingenuity that helped them complete the level rather than brute force and button-mashing.

  6. To create a powerful and exciting female protagonist that will inspire other women and to help them believe in themselves, their own strength and intelligence. To give younger girls a role model to look up to and to motivate them to be the best version of themselves.

In addition to all of the Design Goals listed above, I have a few key Personal Goals I would like to work on through Altered Conduct. These include to improve my own skills in the fields of Level Design, 3D Modelling, Programming and to efficiently incorporate Mathematics into both the mechanics and narrative elements of a game.


Target Audience

Altered Conduct is aimed at a rather large audience, with very few restrictions. In terms of Age, as the game will contain no instances of blood and gore, with only mild violence, which would qualify it for an ESRB Rating of Teen and a PEGI Rating of 12+. According to the definitions of both of these authorities, games rated as Teen or 12+ are permitted to contain non-realistic violence towards human-like characters, and depictions of gambling in casinos and gambling halls. Altered Conduct does not really need anything more extreme that that, which would therefore set the lower age limit of the game to 12+ or Teen. There is no upper age restriction, although I imagine there would be very few individuals above 50 who would be interested. This sets the overall target audience between the ages of 12 and 50. If I were to narrow that down even further, I believe that people between the ages of 16 and 36. This is partly based on research into the overall age of gamers worldwide, placing over 60% between the ages of 15 and 35.

In terms of gender, the game would be aimed at both males and females, however, hopefully more women than average would be motivated to play because of the strong and significant female protagonist. An audience of any ethnicity, race, and social background is also ideal for Altered Conduct. The only requirement in order to play Altered Conduct would be for the player to have access to a reasonably strong PC, meaning that the device does not need to be particularly high-end. In terms of personality, Altered Conduct will likely be favored by players who already have some form of gaming experience, regardless of the type of games they are traditionally fond of. Altered Conduct features an exciting narrative, a new universe to explore, intricate puzzles, enemies to outsmart, and more. This diverse nature of the game makes it ideal not only for the niche strategy player, but also for those interested in challenging puzzles, an exciting story, and anything to do with supernatural abilities.

Below I have listed a series of Player Profiles of people who may be interested in engaging with Altered Conduct. These Player Profiles were also constructed with Player Personality Types in mind, specifically the models of Keirsey, Bateman and Bartle (For more on player personality types, please review Week 7: Project Proposal 3, which contains an exploration of their models, as well as this fantastic Gamasutra Article). In terms of Personality Types, Alice would most likely classify as an Achiever or Guardian, Archie would be an Explorer or Rational, while Lora would be a mix between an Explorer and an Achiever.

Note: Some of the profiles below refer to the game as As It Lies, which used to be a placeholder development title for the project. The final title for the game is Altered Conduct.


Why Should This Exist?

Altered Conduct was conceived and designed from a place of passion and personal intrigue in everything it is shaping up to be. The whole process started with nothing more than the desire to incorporate mathematics and some of its principles into a fun little game. However, this then grew into a massive endeavor to tackle manipulation of chance and probability in a way the industry has not yet explored. It became an adventure of incorporating building up this brand new universe, and basing a thrilling story on the Riemann-Zeta function. I set out to create a love letter to a field I am fascinated by and that turned into this exciting and fun concept, with a fast world to explore that will hopefully brighten people’s days. To me personally, Altered Conduct holds the potential to bring something new into this world, to show people a mechanic they haven’t interacted with before, and to help them believe that no matter how the odds are stacked, they can still come on top of any hurdle and challenge.

That is the basic message of Altered Conduct. No matter what hand live gives you, no matter how tough things may seem, with enough passion, determination, and wits, any challenge can be overcome. One may wonder how this idea is different from any game about super heroes or empowered beings. What makes Altered Conduct unique is that the player does not have constant control over the abilities they will be working with. Players will need to take the situation as it comes, with the abilities rolled from the dice, and come up with a creative solution based on the what they rolled. It is precisely this element of chance that will prove to players that they can take advantage of any set of circumstances and still win. All would be conveyed through game-play. I appreciate that the idea may seem a little idealistic and unrealistic, however, I believe that kind of optimism is necessary. In times when depression and anxiety are on the rise, people need something to help them feel powerful, to give them self-confidence, and to help them prove to themselves that they are good enough. Every challenge they overcome in Altered Conduct will be evidence that they can solve problems, they can use their intelligence to their advantage, and that they can outsmart any enemy.

In addition to all of the above mentioned reasons about why I think Altered Conduct is important and why I am enthusiastic about it, it should also be pointed out that Zeta is a clever female lead, who uses her intelligence and wits to solve her problems. The gaming industry has made great improvements in representing strong and three-dimensional women, however, there is a lot more work to be done on the matter. Zeta is not violent, and she has no training in combat, making the only weapon at her disposal her own ingenuity, rather than brute force. That is why I believe Zeta could be in inspiration to both young girls and women and hopefully further show them that they can be just as strong, smart, and confident as anyone. Of course, Zeta also has her flaws, but if anything that makes her more realistic and relatable.