A while ago we published our twelve so-called “Design Principles“. In a perfect world, a perfectly crafted game would fulfill every single one of these principle, but when we produced “A Fragment of Her” for the Point & Click Jam 2014, there were several constraints which prevented us from fulfilling all of them. Let’s check and see which principles were fulfilled and which were not. Have fun 🙂
1 – RESPECT THE GAME.
AFoH is mostly reading texts, clicking on a couple of obvious things, and reading texts again. Because not much “game” made it into the title, we called it an “Interactive Short Story” instead.
2 – CUT THE CUTSCENE.
AFoH is basically one big cutscene with loads of texts, connected by some light interactive elements.
3 – DON’T TAKE CONTROL AWAY.
Control is constantly taken away from the player. Most of the time the player character even walks around and leaves the scenes on her own.
4 – GRANT QUICK ACCESS.
AFoH has no classical title screen and the game starts instantly after clicking “START”. There’s even a web-demo where interested players can test the game withouth having to install it. On the other hand, there’s no save and load options, so players who quit in halfway through have to start over.
Verdict: Passed. (More or less)
5 – FUN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ART.
We tried to make a fun, short, interesting, and also a bit demanding experience, but it wasn’t our goal to create an artistic masterpiece the academics would still talk about in years to come.
6 – FUN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN CHALLENGE.
Telling a story straight forward was more important to us than challenging the player with tricky puzzles.
7 – CHALLENGE IS OPTIONAL.
The only challenge in AFoH is to get as many information about the game world as possible. Going back to Selina’s department more often than necessary to examine everything can be considered as optional.
8 – DON’T PUNISH.
There’s no fail state and the player can’t do anything wrong. For the few easy puzzles in the game, we tried to give as many hints as possible.
9 – DON’T LOCK THE PLAYER.
In AFoH, the player is locked all the time, she has to read a lot of texts and she has to solve the (easy) puzzles in an strictly pre-defined order.
10 – BE SHORT, BE FUN.
AFoH is very short and players seem to like it.
11 – GAME ENDING FIRST.
Right from the start of the production, how the game whould end was very important to us.
12 – SOUND. USE THE POTENTIAL.
We tried to achieve the right balance between athmospheric, quiet sequences, and dramatic sequences accompanied by leitmotifs. We also created and used many sounds, some of them have even several different variations.