Two player networked role playing educating through conversation and conflict resolution
Enter the Cave was a prototype developed for a client at Champlain College's Emergent Media Center. Developed in three major phases during the course of 2015; the end product is something I am very proud of and the client was satisfied with. Enter the Cave is educational - it uses the game experience to teach in coming college students about sharing a room, conflict resolution and communication.
"Steven worked, through the Emergent Media Center, on three phases of the design of my game ENTER THE CAVE. He was the only student who worked on the entirety of my project, and over that time I felt his feedback and opinions became very valuable in the process. Steven's impact began with receiving my general goal and ideas, and progressed to a prototype with two playable scenarios, a general marketing plan, and a template for adding additional scenarios to the game. He was a dynamic member of the larger team, as well as a contributor to individual aspects of the process. I think he will be an asset to any creative team!"
- Genevieve Griffin, Enter the Cave Client
One of the guiding principals that led the development of Enter the Cave's educational content was the idea of education through experimentation. The most lasting lessons are the one's that players teach themselves. As such, it was necessary to create system that did not punish failure - a system that encouraged the player to experiment and come to their own conclusions. To do so, Enter the Cave used a branching narrative to encourage the player to experiment in different ways. Educating the player is not detached from the core of the game, but instead worked into it. With every interaction, the player learns about themselves and their partner. This combination of academic content and branching narrative created meaningful, educational interactions.
Because of the heavy emphasis on narrative and role play, Enter the Cave needed to have affordances that sold the emotional state of having a roommate and sharing a space. UI/UX were necessary for this as each small interaction informed the whole of the emotional experience. To best create the feeling of shared space a modal interface was developed: emphasize on the room to link the players to a shared space and a scenario set up that encourages role play. Key to each interface are how the player initiates with their partner. In the room, scenarios are tied to objects strengthening the bond between players and space. In the scenario, the conflict is displayed between the two characters as a way of demonstrating the relationship between them.