Protober is a design challenge that occurs in October where developers need to make one prototype a day. The main purpose of Protober is to develop rapid prototyping skills and design within scope.
I decided to modify this challenge and make it one prototype a week so I could put a bit more into each piece.
I also chose to use word prompts to inspire the design of each prototype.
WEEK 1: HUNGER
Try to satisfy your ever-growing hunger by sucking blood. Just be careful not to get too close to the end on the person's arm or you'll scare them away.
Tip: If you get closer to the middle of the person's arm without scaring them away you will suck larger amounts of blood.
Word Prompt: Fangs
How To Play
Repeatedly press "D" to move the mouth towards the arm
Once you feel like you've got the right area on the arm, press and hold the Space bar to bite down.
To suck blood press "A"
Design Goal - Game Feel
I really wanted to focus on making the game feel satisfying. Since the concept revolves around sucking blood and maintaining speed and flow, the controls needed to be relatively simple but still have impact.
To solve this, there needed to be visual feedback for when the player is biting down on the arm. Since I was working with simple graphics in a short period of time, my solution for this was to add a bit of screen shake. The same was true for when the player had sucked up all of the blood in the one area and release the bite.
Challenges & Solutions - Less is More
The main challenge of this prototype was trying to make a game that felt like the player was sucking blood.
The initial mock-up of the prototype showed the internal veins and blood vessels of the arm. There would be red blood cells and then toxic cells (green) which would cause the player's hunger meter to go up instead of back down. However, having the same type of suck functionality as in the final prototype lead to issues of how the player was supposed to avoid sucking up the toxic cells without changing the integrity of how the game felt.
My solution for this problem was to get rid of the toxic cell mechanic and just to focus on the blood-sucking aspect. Ultimately this allowed for more versatility with the input functions and also gave me more time to add the visual feedback that I wanted.
WEEK 2: CONSTELLUSTRATIONS
Word Prompt: Moon
WEEK 2: CONSTELLUSTRATIONS
Enjoy a relaxing and atmospheric constellation creation simulation where you can create constellations according to the moon phases to be sent off into the sky.
MOON PHASES EXPLAINED
🌑 NEW MOON (GET STARS) 🌑
You will receive stars! The next time you hit the new moon phase you will receive more stars than the previous time until you hit 24 stars total.
🌒 WAXING MOON (MAKE STAR FORMATIONS) 🌔
You can spawn as many stars as you have into the sky. Click and drag them to whatever location you desire. If you don't choose to use all your stars they will still be available during the next moon cycle.
🌕 FULL MOON (CONSTELLATIONS) 🌕
Constellations will be drawn through your star formation. You will no longer be able to edit your constellation from now on.
🌖 WANING MOON (CONSTELLATIONS FLOAT AWAY) 🌘
Watch as your constellations will now float off into space.
Word Prompt: Full Moon
How To Play
Mouse-Only: Use the mouse to click the button on the bottom left during the waxing moon phase to spawn stars into the sky.
You are able to manipulate the stars by clicking and dragging them to various locations to create your constellations.
You WILL NOT be able to edit your constellation after the waxing moon phase has passed.
Design Goal - The Moon as the State Machine
My design goal for this prototype was to make an interesting game or interactive toy that revolved around the cyclical nature of the moon phases. Each phase of the moon would have to be a separate game phase as well.
I also wanted to have spiritual correspondences of the moon be incorporated into what the player was doing during each phase.
For example, during the New Moon phase the player is given new stars to work with to represent new beginnings.
Challenges - Making the Game Phases "Meaningful"
The challenge for this project was figuring out exactly what I wanted to happen during each phase of the moon within the game. Since the phases were going to work cyclically and always have the same duration from phase to phase, I needed to make sure that whatever action was occurring during each phase was still engaging enough without being too difficult to accomplish tasks.
The toy had initially been designed to be a plant growing simulation according to the moon phases, in order to fit the spiritual correspondences of the moon phases (New Moon - New Beginnings/Planting New Seeds, Waxing Moon - Growth/Nurturing, etc). However after considering the potential outcome for the Waning phase, I didn't like how the player would be forced to have to get rid of plants at some point or if the plants would have to end up dying. (HOVER OVER GAME LOOP TO SEE ORIGINAL GAME IDEA)
For that reason, I decided to go with the constellation concept, as it made the Waning phase seem more whimsical and less like the player was putting the work into caring for plants that would end up dying or need to be removed. Having the game revolve around making constellations also instilled the purpose of the moon phases with the core game mechanic more as well, instead of it just being an excuse to grow plants.
WEEK 3: SMUDGE LITE
Cast away all of the negative energies by lighting your sage and smudging them away.
Be careful! If you let the energies in they may start to blow out your flames.
A common practice in Witchcraft is to burn dried sage (often seen wrapped in a smudge stick fashion) to spiritually cleanse a space of negative, impure, or toxic energy.
Word Prompt: Witchy
How To Play
Move your smudge stick towards one of the candle flames to ember the tip
Move your smudge around the dark spirits to gradually get rid of them
Tip: You will need to re-light your smudge stick as it will occasionally burn out
Design Goals - Gamify and Demystify Concepts in Witchcraft
Since Witchcraft is a topic that I'm very interested in, I thought it would be an interesting idea to gamify a practice that I've commonly seen and used myself. A lot of games commonly use witchcraft in the context of evil or something that is whimsical and fantasy. For that reason, I wanted to create a prototype that gamifies smudging, since it is a very simple yet powerful way in which many practitioners spiritually cleanse their spaces.
While the visual of the dark spirit isn't something that you would see in real life, it acts as a representation of what energies can linger around a space.
Challenges - Establishing the Game Loop
When trying to figure out how I wanted to gamify smudging, the first challenge I came across was that the first proof of concept didn't have an incentive for why the player would want to be smudging away the dark energies to begin with. When the energies came into the room, they didn't do anything other than invade space visually. There needed to be a repercussion when the player didn't smudge the spirits. I initially thought to have them come together and summon a bigger toxic energy, however I couldn't help but feel that would make the game become more of a horror game and less of a gamification.
My solution for this was to have the spirits go towards the flames and if they got close enough they would blow them out. I was able to establish a proper incentive for the players and a lose state for the game being that if all the flames go out then the player loses the game. This made me consider how important it is to look at what you already have going on in your game and to use that as a way to create incentives for other mechanics in your game.