Results From Game Design Challenge: Get Organized!

By Danny Cowan [04.24.18]

 With spring comes spring cleaning, and with spring cleaning comes the monumental task of organizing your excess junk. Luckily, there are many ways to declutter your home, and there are plenty of books, manga, and even entire store chains dedicated to helping you stay organized.

Organization doesn't exclusively apply to knick-knacks, however. Activists organize their communities, museum curators organize historical materials, party planners organize celebrations, and zoologists organize the animals that they care for. Certain game mechanics like Resident Evil 4's clever inventory system also manage to tap into the satisfaction that comes with proper organization.

For Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, our readers designed games about organizing people, places, or things. Here are our top picks!

Best Entries

Virginie Corminboeuf, Game Artist Generalist, Big Head (see page 2)

Xavier Ekkel, Experimental Game Developer, Syntax Scramble (see page 3)

Guillaume Benoit, Game Designer at ArtFX, La Mule (see page 4)

Thibault Leblan, Student at ArtFX, Secretary Madness (see page 5)

Kendall Johnson, Student at University of Montevallo, Untitled (see page 6)

Hue Lorène, Student at ArtFX, Conflicting Teams (see page 7)

Zane Wilson, Student at University of Montevallo, Collation Salvation (see page 8)

Jase Goodson, Student at University of Montevallo, Clean Up on Aisle 3 (see page 9)


Virginie Corminboeuf, Game Artist Generalist, Big Head

Concept

A 2D tetris-like game for mobile phone and PC when the player must organise by hand the thoughts of his/her character during a successions of playtime representing the days of the characters, with a storyline starting at a day at work to a trip to the pit of Hell. The player will have to choose between good and bad thoughts, how to organise them to keep the worst one from influencing the others, and finish the game session without having the character collapse.

Gameplay

The character is walking in an area. It can be common (street, mall, beach, forest, a date, a party, at work, ect...) but more unusual locations will be unlocked during the "story mode" (spaceship, the moon, underwater, a haunted house, the jungle, a medieval wellfare, a dream, a mushroom inflicted badtrip, the pit of Hell, ect...)

"Thoughts" will appear one after another on screen around the character, propelled by what is happening around him (a cute girl passes by, his boss screams at him, his mom calls, ect...)

There are 3 types of thoughts: disruptive thoughts, pleasant thoughts and bad thoughts , with standardised color and shape. they can be a phrase or an image. Some of them will automatically go into the brain and can only be removed by surrounding it with contradictory thoughts. They can be made smaller, bigger or enhanced depending of the other thoughts surrounding them.

The chosen thoughts have consequences during a play session.and possibly to the story overall. For example, if we link "She must like me" and "I am dressed like an idiot", the thought" I should ask her out" will not pop up next. If we link it to "I have time tonight to go drinking", it will appear and the next playtime could be the date.

At the end the player must keep space to put an obligatory last thought which is to choose an action (go to the left, enter the shop, answer this question, ect...) before the timer is out to finish the play time session and go to the next.

Level after level, the character's head will inflate, to accommodate more thoughts but they will become more complex, raising the difficulty.

Features


Xavier Ekkel, Experimental Game Developer, Syntax Scramble

Syntax Scramble is a game where lines of code have been scrambled by a malicious virus, and it is up to you to rearrange the code back into a logical and syntactically-correct order!

The levels start simple, with simply rearranging parts of individual lines:  

#include

int main()

{

   )   World   ;   "   (   printf   "   Hello

   return 0;

}

Solution: printf("Hello World");

Then the levels get gradually more complex, with words/punctuation within individual lines being out of order AND the order of the lines being out of order as well: 

{

stdio.h   include   #   <   >

  )   World   ;   "   (   printf   "   Hello

  return   ;   0

}

main   (   int   )

Solution:

#include

int main()

{

   printf("Hello, World!");

   return 0;

}

You complete a level when you rearrange the code to its original state. Each level will award you stars based on your completion time, number of swaps, and (in some levels) rearranging the code in a creative way for a secret solution.

This game can be used as a fun way to develop (pun intended) the programmer side of your brain, and could be adapted for any programming language!


Guillaume Benoit, Game Designer at ArtFX, La Mule

La Mule is a mix between Diablo 2 (or Two World), 2048 & Tetris.

You play a mule, a follower of a hero during his dangerous adventures. You have to organize his inventory as it helps him defeat foes during battles, gather treasures during loot phases and trade with the merchants. All that for the eyes of the prince(ss) and his/her reward.


1.      Organize the inventory

The hero goes on a journey fighting various creatures on the way. As his follower, you have to organize the items dropped by enemies after being defeated. But be careful the inventory's size is limited.  

Items drop automatically into the inventory : they have a shape & slots occupation.

You have to rotate the inventory by pressing either the anticlockwise or the clockwwise rotation buttons, to stack them correctly. If an item cannot be stored, it's destroyed.

You goal is precisely to save space for the new loot to come.

2.      Cast « spells » to help you

The mule has various «spells at his/her disposal to help him organizing the inventory : ex : Drop the item on the floor, Slow time, Auto-sort, etc.

But spells also could be used on the hero itself : ex : Heal, Double Damage, etc.

They are selected at the begin of an adventure by the mule (number and keybind)

3.      Level up Items

When a item met the same item in the inventory, it « level up » meaning it gains value, property.

An item could be used by the hero in his quest to defeat a foe, to heal, etc. But it is also consumed or broken during the battles

However, by leveling up, some items grow in size and shape in the process. So be careful.

4.      Satisfy Travellers

You meet travelers on your journey that ask you for specific items. They reward you by another more valuable & unique items, or spells, or temporary buffs.

5.      Impress the Prince(ss)

At the end of an adventure, the prince(ss) evaluates the ‘treasure' brought back aka your inventory. (s)he rewards you according to the value of the items, their quality, their category, etc.

But beware, penalities are given for waste space (empty slots) in your inventory.

The destroyed loot could also be taken into account.

Depending on the adventure and encounters with enemies & travellers, keeping their trophies or prizes add bonuses to your reward.

6.      Buy from Mercands

With the reward from the prince(ss) and before a new adventure, you can buy :

-        Level for the hero ;

-        Spells usable by the mule ;

-        Space upgrades for the inventory ;

-        Specific contracts for the adventure ;


Thibault Leblan, Student at ArtFX, Secretary Madness

This is a top down arcade game up to four players.

Four secretaries are set in a room with a pile of documents to organize on shelves.

The documents are in piles in the middle of the room, the shelves are each placed on one of the four sides of the room and partitions are placed to hinder the movement of players.

Shelves and partitions are randomly placed at each beginning of a game by the system.

Each player have a respective shelf, indicated by a symbol, where he will put the documents he have taken.

The documents have four colors: Blue, yellow, red and green.

Above each shelves, a combination of documents is indicated.

Their purpose is to do the combination indicated on theirs shelves to gain points.

The player will have to pick up a document and place it on his shelf in the correct order to perform his combination.

The combination change whenever the previous combination is made.


The documents are given randomly and if the color of the document does not go to the player he can then choose to get rid of it by throwing it. He can either throw it on the floor or throw it on a player. In both cases the document is destroyed.

When a player carry a document everyone can see it and what color of document he have and decided to stop him from putting his document on his shelf.

If the player throws one of his documents on another player, the target player loses his document.

Each secretary can put a document on any shelf but can only take off a document on their own shelf.

Each game last for five minutes.

The secretary who have the most points win the game.


Kendall Johnson, Student at the University of Montevallo, Untitled

I think it would be interesting to design a game where you organized people and the cons they would enjoy attending the most. It would be a simulation game similar to something like Style Savvy. You would get a list of people complete with a picture of what they would wear to a con (Be it cosplay, merchandise or just street wear).

You would also have the option of conversing with said people along with being told their different hobbies and interests. For example, If someone seemed to prefer things with an abundance of anthropomorphic animals, then the player should organizes them with a furry based con. If someone likes to play a lot of video games, the player should organize the to a con like the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

The difficulty would rack up with people having more varied interests, thus making it harder to pinpoint what con would be the best for them. Like for example, someone having at first glance what seems to be an even amount of interest in Furry culture and video games, the player would need to do some deeper digging and trust their better judgement to find out where to place them.

Peoples' clothing and style choices could also trick the player. You would have to pay attention to what the person says as they may say something like "I don't really care for ____ but this is my significant others jacket".


Hue Lorène, Student at ArtFX, Conflicting Teams

Pitch: Conflicting Teams is a top view spatial puzzle with scoring in a 2D cartoon universe.

Inputs: Mouse (right click) to select and set employees.

Synopsis:

You play a team manager and you must organise teams in work rooms. But, employees possess positive or negative links between them. The manager must decide in less to 2 minutes how to organise a balanced work room in function of links between employees.


Gameplay:

1.       Employees:

Examples: Red and Green have positive working link, but a negative social link. Black have positive working link with all colors, but negative social link with all colors. White have negative working link with all colors, but positive social link with all colors.

Colors

Social Positive

Social Neutral

Social Negative

Work Positive

Work Neutral

Work Negative

RED

Magenta, White

Yellow

Green, Black

Green, Cyan, Black

Blue

White, Yellow, Magenta

BLUE

Cyan, White

Magenta

Black, Red

Red, Yellow, Black

Green

White, Cyan, Magenta

GREEN

Yellow, White

Cyan

Black, Blue

Green, Magenta, Black

Red

White, Cyan Yellow

 

2. Score:

Examples: Red employee is associated with magenta employee. Player win Social score. But, if he associated red and green, player loose social score.

Examples: If Yellow and Green employees with lines are associated, the player win a social bonus score.

Examples: If Red and Blue are associated, Red don't have negative link with Blue. But, Blue have a negative link.


3.       Work room:

Player set employees in a work room. Each work room have a limited number of desks to set employees. Around desks, red limited area is visible and crossing other areas. Player organise employees setting to avoid to cross negative areas to another employees. Works rooms are modify after each round.

4.       Timer:

Player has 2 minutes to decide the better organisation of employees in the room. At the end of the timer, round end. Another round begin with a new spatial organisation to desks.


Zane Wilson, Student at University of Montevallo, Collation Salvation

Collation Salvation is a procedurally generated puzzle game. The game follows an eager young architect during the 70's in the United States trying to find, collect, and document a variety of strange and valuable artifacts. They can range from the ordinary such as, arrowheads and pottery to more exotic thins like buried treasure or strange and colorful rocks. The first aspect of gameplay would be sending yourself out into the field to look for artifacts. This would work similar to the planet scanning mechanic in Mass Effect 2. In game the player will have to pick from a location and choose for how long and what kind of tools they will take with them. Once everything is decided and the search started, it will all take place automatically and artifacts will be immediately gained or not.

This part of the game will be relegated to a mini-game status. However, this does not mean that it is not important to progression. After artifacts have been collected and catalogued, the first part of the puzzle mechanics come into play. Now that the artifacts are ready to send, the player must pack them themselves. But, different recipients require different packaging for different artifacts and so the player must adhere to these guidelines. There would be a wide range of packaging options, like normal cargo boxes or glass display cases. Also, containers could be three-dimensional or flat enough to where it would be considered two-dimensional from a gameplay perspective.

Then players can start to try and figure out how to piece together the artifacts from a top down or side perspective. It would be akin to Tetris and 3-D Tetris except the pieces will be free standing instead of falling, and the player can choose to remove an artifact from the container if they so desire. There would also be a time limit that the player must package the artifacts by. If completed phase two starts. All the artifacts that the player finds, no matter how strange or seemingly useless, is valuable to someone and they will want to acquire them for themselves. This is where the second part of the puzzle mechanics come in. If a player completes packaging the artifacts, there will then be a robber that will come and try to take every artifact.

Now being a young and enthusiastic archaeologist, you are not very organized and there is stuff everywhere in your work quarters. However, you can use this to your advantage and hide the artifacts amongst all your junk. During this section of the game the player will enter a first-person perspective and needs to go around the room and find places to hide everything. Again, their will be a timer and once the player has hidden all the artifacts they must hide themselves, similar to Amnesia. After this the player will move on to the next level. It is assumed that the PC puts all the artifacts back in the container.


Jase Goodson, Student at University of Montevallo, Clean Up on Aisle 3

Clean Up on Aisle 3 is a first-person VR game that places the player as a manager of a big-name grocery store. The player must organize the grocery store so that it is the most efficient (ie. Placing the cold food together, or the cereal next to the milk). Once the player has finished the layout, they must run their store for a series of shifts. Every shift, they must perform a series of tasks, such as restocking shelves, cleaning up messes, or dealing with unruly customers. If the player fails a certain number of tasks that day, they don't get paid. Once the player has gained enough money from working, they buy a car and drive off into the sunset.

Of course, the player is not left to manage the grocery store alone. They have a team of a.i. employees who can be assigned to carry out the daily tasks. The player simply walks up to an employee and selects a job for them to carry out. However, there are not enough employees to carry out all the tasks, and the a.i. perform actions slower and might not even complete them. A mess might get cleaned only half way, or the bananas could be left out in the loading area.

As any employer knows, if you want something right, you must do it yourself. The player moves around the grocery store, making sure everything is running smoothly and constantly picking up the slack. Since the player is not omniscient, they receive notifications over the store's PA system, indicating an issue in a particular part of the store.

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