SHRINK by suchenfz

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									SHRINK Game Design Document Page 1




                            SHRINK

    “U SING ONLY THEIR WITS AND THE ABILITY TO SHRINK OR GROW ORGANIC
    LIFE , PLAYERS MUST DEVISE CREATIVE AND STRATEGIC WAYS OF ESCAPING
           FROM THE MOST DANGEROUS PSYCHIATRIC WARD IN HISTORY.”




                                     D ESIGN D OCUMENT




                          E XECUTIVE P RODUCER : B EN M OSHER




                A liberating discovery leads to a desperate
             escape from one of the most dangerous mental
               facilities of all time. Players must use their
                abilities in creative and strategic ways to
              overcome the vastly superior military guards,
                     and clear a path to safely escape.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 2

Section One – INTRODUCTION

              SHRINK is an action packed puzzle game which focuses on the themes of

exploration, interaction, and navigation through platforming. That primary emphasis will be user

interaction strategies with items and the environment. The player starts each level at a

predetermined spawn location. From here, he or she will have to devise a way to reach the exit. In

order to reach this exit, the player will have to use the environment, items at his or her disposal,

and a clever overall strategy to overcome the level's obstacles.

   The player will be able to interact with characters, items, and the environment itself in many

different ways. Additionally, items will be able to interact and combine with other items to create

unique conditions or events, and can also be used to attack guards, or other NPCs. For example, a

player who combines matches and flammable chemicals will be able to start a fire either in a room

in order to attract attention or on an NPC in an attempt to “kill” them. In addition to items, the

environment will also be able to interact with items and NPCs. A player could use a wet mop on a

flight of stairs, for instance, and then lure a guard down them so that he’ll slip and be “killed”. Items

may also be used to interact with different triggers in the environment. For instance, a shower

with a missing handle could be able to be activated with a wrench in the player’s possession.

Among all the aspects of the game, the varying levels of interaction will be the most important part

of development and gameplay.

   Interaction in the game will change based on how the player uses their special abilities. In

SHRINK, the main character has the ability to shrink or grow organic life-forms. This means he

can control his own size, or the size of other NPCs. This ability opens up many different

possibilities for item usage and interaction with these NPC characters. Items picked up when the
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player is shrunk grow in relation to the player. This way, say the player picks up a magnet in his

shrunken state. While the magnet is small in comparison to the world, it will be quite large in

comparison to the player. When the player then grows back to normal size, the magnet’s size will

remain relative to that of the player, and will therefore be much larger than it was before. A large

magnet could have many uses, such as the ability to disarm a guard by ripping the gun right out of

his hands.

   In terms of NPC interaction with the shrinking ability, players will be able to change the size of

other entities in the world. This opens up many more opportunities for variant gameplay. For

instance, a player could grow a smaller animal in the environment, and then watch as it hunts

down the guards one by one. Otherwise, the player could shrink a guard, and simply step on him

instead of having to face him in a fair fight. Combined with the use of many different items, there

will ideally be so many different possible outcomes of any given level that each player will have a

completely different gameplay experience.

   With there being so many possibilities for ways to complete a level, the player will need to be

able to come up with various strategies depending on the circumstances. If two guards are

watching a certain area, the player will want to come up with a method of either separating them

to pick them off one by one, or luring them both down one passage at the same time, and then

sneaking around a back passage to bypass them. The ability to think quickly, make good decisions,

and adapt strategies to ever-changing conditions will be highly important.

   Finally, players will also need to have a good grasp of spatial awareness so that they can

navigate through the various paths of a level. In segments where the player chooses to play in a

shrunken state, the feel of the game will switch from an exploratory focus to more of a platforming
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focus. Logically, in order to navigate the surfaces of desks, beds, cabinets, and many other

household objects as a three inch tall guy, there’s going to involve a fair amount of jumping from

place to place. In addition to simply being a logical transition, this will also add variety to the

gameplay.


Section Two - GAME PLAY

        I. Overview

        SHRINK is a part action, part puzzle game, which will focus on the themes of exploration,

interaction, and navigation through platforming. The primary emphasis will be user interaction

strategies with items and the environment. The player starts each level at a predetermined spawn

location. From here, he or she will have to devise a way to reach the exit. In order to reach this exit,

the player will have to use the environment, items at his or her disposal, and a clever overall

strategy to overcome the level's obstacles.

        Our goal for the game-play of SHRINK is to provide the player with a vast number of

variables and variety in each level.This will ensure that virtually every play-through will be a

unique experience to the player. For instance, imagine the player was trapped in a hallway and

there was a guard hunting him or her down. A small crack is visible in the wall. The player could

shrink down and hide inside while the guard passes by. Alternatively, the player could quickly

engage the oncoming guard, and use his or her powers to shrink the guard down, and simply run

past. Beyond even these two options, the player will have a number of items strewn throughout

the environment which can be used in conjunction to create innumerable and imaginative routes

to safety.

        II. The Start of a Level
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        Each level will begin with the player starting from a predefined spawn location. The spawn

point of each level will be contextually congruent with the exit used in the previous level (the door

you exited through in the previous level will be there at the start of the new level, but it will be

impassible). However, any items attained or pursuing enemies the player might have attracted at

the end of the previous level will be removed. This allows the player to start with an empty

inventory, effectively starting the player anew. All timers and cool-downs will also be reset at the

beginning of each new level.

        The player's progress will also be saved at the start of each level. This way, if the player

meets his end, or becomes stuck and unable to continue at any point throughout the level, he can

restart at the beginning of the level. In addition to being re-positioned at the start of the level, all

the elements in the level reset, including items, guards, and other environmental entities. Any

items the user may have picked up during their previous "life" are removed from their inventory

and returned to their original place in the world. Any effects on the environment these items may

have had are reset as well (a wet floor from a mop becomes dry again). The AI in the level returns

to its initial idle / patrol behavior, in its original position.

        III. Movement

        The player's primary modes of movement involve walking, running, and jumping. Moving

to the left and right will allow the player to navigate through the environment room by room.

Though he will be able to jump at all times, players will find that jumping comes more into the

game-play strategy while in the shrunken state.

        When the player is in large form, the on-screen avatar will navigate through the rooms in

the current level. Interactive environmental factors in the large state will include such features as

doors, stairs, and elevators. Non-Playable Characters (NPCs), will be of greater concern to the
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player when in full size form. While the avatar is in his large state, the player will form strategies

that must include engaging in simple combat, completion of spatial puzzles, and item-environment

interaction. In large form, the player's strategies will be based more upon brute force. Using items

to affect the nearby terrain, fighting guards with equipped items, and navigating through large

rooms are examples of the core skills that can be utilized while in the large form.

       Shrunken mode, on the other hand, focuses more on platform jumping, item collection, and

avoidance of NPCs rather than outright combat. In shrunken mode, the player will have the ability

to traverse not only the floors in the rooms, but many of the other surfaces as well. For example,

where a large player would run past a desk, the smaller version would be able to either jump on top

of the desk or hide under it, depending on the needs of his current situation. In other scenarios, the

player may need to execute a series of accurate jumps in order to reach a certain area. An example

of this could be a series of awkward shaped bricks jutting out from a wall. The player would have

to jump from brick to brick in order to reach an alternate passageway near the ceiling. In some

cases, if a player just barely missed a jump, he may be able to grab onto the edge of a platform and

pull himself up(this feature will depend on time constraints of the project).

       IV. Interaction

       The player will be able to interact with characters, items, and the environment in many

different ways. Additionally, items will be able to interact and combine with other items to create

unique conditions or events. These item combination's can affect nearby ground, or can be used to

directly attack guards or other unfriendly NPCs. For example, a player who combines matches and

flammable chemicals will be able to start a fire in a room. This fire could be used either to attract

the attention of a guard, or could be used in an effort to directly set the guard on fire. The

environment will also be interactive when using certain items. For instance, a player could use a
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 7

wet mop on a flight of stairs and then lure a guard down them so that he'll slip and be "killed."

Among all the aspects of the game, this varying interaction will be the most important part of

development because it ensures unique and fun game-play.

       Interaction will change based on how the player uses his special abilities. In SHRINK, the

main character has the ability to shrink or grow organic life-forms, as well as any items in his

inventory (though indirectly). This means he can control his own size or the size of other NPCs, as

well as items that are scattered through the levels. This ability opens up many different

possibilities for item usage and interaction. Items picked up when the player is shrunk grow in

relation to the player.

This way, say the player picks up a magnet in his shrunken state. While the magnet is small in

comparison to the world, it would seem huge to the diminutive player. When the player then grows

back to normal size, the magnet will remain the same size in his inventory (relative to the player),

and will subsequently be much larger than it was before. A large magnet could have many uses,

such as the ability to disarm a guard by ripping the gun right out of his hands.

       Players also have the ability to shrink and grow other unfriendly NPCs in the world around

them. What if the player was faced with a guard and guard dog? The player could use this ability to

shrink the guard (or grow the dog) and then watch as man's best friend hunts down his next meal,

and a clear path would present itself. The use of this ability, combined with the ability to shrink

and grow objects, opens up a plethora of opportunities for variant game-play.
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     V. User Interface – Cause & Effect
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            Control Pressed        Conditions                       Outcome
            Move                   Direction + unobstructed         Player moves in the desired
                                                                    direction
                                   Direction + obstructed by wall   Player is unable to move in desired
                                                                    direction
            Jump                   While in normal size             Player jumps 1/4 of total height off
                                                                    the ground.
                                   While in shrunken state          Player jumps 1 1/2 of total height off
                                                                    the ground.
                                   While holding a direction        Player jumps in the direction
                                                                    indicated, if not obstructed.
                                   Obstructed from above            Player jumps as high as possible
                                                                    until collision with ceiling.
            Use / Interact         In front of item                 Pick up item / add to inventory.
                                   In front of non-usable item      Item not added to inventory,
                                   (some items are too big to be    remains in original position.
                                   picked up in shrunken state).

                                   In front of item with full       Currently selected item dropped in
                                   inventory                        exchange for new item.
                                   In front of dynamic              Context-sensitive animation and / or
                                   environment                      interaction.
                                   In front of exit                 Progress to next level.
                                   In front of nothing              Nothing.
            Attack                 Directed at enemy within range   Enemy takes damage or dies
                                                                    depending on health / weapon.
                                   Directed at other NPC            Kills the NPC, making noise.
                                   Directed at wall                 Makes noise (used to alert guards).

            Target (Used to        Single press                     Target nearest NPC on same floor
            shrink NPCs)                                            as the player.
                                   Additional presses               Target next nearest NPC on same
                                                                    floor, then NPCs on other floors.

                                   No enemies present               Nothing happens - sound
                                                                    indication?
            Grow / Shrink (Self)   Unobstructed & fully charged     Toggle player state, reset cooldown
                                                                    timer.
                                   Obstructed either horizontally   Grow as much as possible, then
                                   or vertically & fully charged    return to small size, reset cooldown
                                                                    timer.
                                Cooldown timer not yet              Nothing - sound indication?
                                recharged
            Grow / Shrink (NPC) Target in range & fully charged Toggle enemy state, reset cooldown
                                                                timer.
                                Target out of range & fully     Nothing - sound indication?
                                charged
                                No target selected              Nothing - sound indication?
                                Cooldown not yet recharged      Nothing - sound indication?
            Switch Items        Left on D-Pad                   Select weapon on left of current one
                                                                in inventory, or furthest right if at
                                                                end of inventory.
                                Right on D-Pad                  Select weapon on right of current
                                                                one in inventory, or furthest left if at
                                                                end of inventory.
                                No items in inventory           Show empty inventory, do nothing
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        VI. Artificial Intelligence – Cause & Effect
Behavior           Specific Triggers                            General Trigger
Exhibited
Patrol (Guard)     None                                         Lack of stimulus
Become Alert       Frighten or kill a neutral NPC               Do something that alerts the guard to
(Guard)                                                         your presence in some way.
                   Interact with audible envoronment (sink,
                   radio, door, etc.)
                   Alert other guard (he will call for help)
                   Get within sight of guard in large state
                   Move very close to guard as shrunken
                   player
                   Shrink the guard
Flee / Regroup     Run at guard with weapon out                 Do something that will make the guard
(Guard)                                                         fear for his life.
                   Shrink guard
                   Start fire in front of guard / in his path
                   Much larger animal begins pursuing guard

                   Kill other guard in front of him
Pursue (Guard)     Approach guard with no weapon out            Do something that will REALLY make
                                                                the guard want to kill you.
                  Run away or attempt to hide from an
                  alerted guard who approaches you
                  Shrink yourself in front of an alert guard
Frighten (Animal) Get too close as large character              Do something that would scare the
                                                                NPC
                   Start fire on or near NPC
                   Chase
                   Grow NPC to large size
                   Approach with weapon out
Hunt Player        Approach when player is small and animal     Do something that will make you look
(Animal)           is normal size                               like a tasty meal for the NPC.
                   Grow animal to large size without
                   shrinking yourself first
Hunt Guard         The player is shrunk when the animal is      Make the guards look like a better
(Animal)           grown (it will look for a larger, more       meal than yourself.
                   appetizing target)
                   Make sure a guard is closer to the animal
                   when theyre grown if you are still normal
                   sized
                   Shrink a nearby guard to turn them into
                   prey
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       VII. Combat

       Combat may take place between the player and NPCs, as well as between NPCs exclusively.

For instance, while a player may choose to attack a guard head-on with a handheld weapon, he may

also choose to indirectly attack the same guard by shrinking him in the presence of a cat. The

massive cat will then proceed to engage and mutilate the guard. However, guards may also attack

the player by means of shooting at him. Even animals, such as the cat, may attack the player should

they pose a valuable target (or meal). While combat may be either direct or indirect, each style will

still deal with the same properties of health and damage.

       Health is dependent on the amount of damage a player or NPC takes from a specific attack

or action. For example, being shot might kill the player instantly (since he is wearing no protective

armor), whereas falling from a moderately high perch might simply deplete a portion of the

player's health. Similarly, while a single swipe from a cat would disembowel a tiny guard, a single

smack from a giant toothbrush isn't likely to kill the guard with a single blow. Instead, it will only

remove part of his health.

       When any entity, player or NPC, fully depletes its health, it will be "killed." In the player's

case, this means that the level will reset, and he will have to start back from the beginning. If an

NPC is "killed", a death animation will play, ending with a static "death pose" which will remain for

the rest of the level (or until the level is restarted). Aside from having a graphic to represent his

deceased state, any artificial intelligence algorithms for that particular entity are frozen and will

cease to run from then on. The player must remain weary though, because other NPCs in the area

may or may not have been alerted to your presence depending on who or what was killed, and its

proximity to other NPCs. Essentially, NPCs who are killed are removed from the level in every
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sense, save for their mangled cadavers which remain until the player either advances to the next

level, or has to restart the current level.

       The guards main weapons will be guns. The player will be limited to using the weapon

classes listed above. If at all possible, we want to discourage or even prevent the player from using

guns. The core gameplay in SHRINK will revolve around the player's creativity and

resourcefulness. We want the players to think of new and interesting ways of defeating enemies,

not simply grabbing their weapons and easily shooting everything else in the level.

       Aside from indirect attacks, the general forms of combat involve a static group of weapons:

           Weapon Types     Examples                          Effect of Weapon
           Bludgeoning      Riot stick                        Beats back enemies with a powerful
                            Crowbar                           bashing attack.
                            Match
                            Toothbrush
                            Spoon
           Skewering        Toothpick                         Stabs through an enemy, dealing a
                            Fork                              great amount of damage, but without
                            Pencil                            any knockback
                            Dagger
           Projectile       Nailgun (modifiable)              Shoots out stuff to deal damage to
                            Throwing knives                   enemies at a distance.
           Special          Flammable chemicals               Special weapons are rare and each
                            Magnet                            have their own unique effects on the
                            Helicopter                        enemy.



       VIII. Finishing a Level / Victory Conditions

       The level will end when the player reaches the Exit Door. The Exit Door will be labeled so

that the player can easily locate the end of the level. To ensure that players get a full experience,

level exits will be generally placed as far from the player's spawning location as possible. In

addition to this, the Exit Doors will often be locked or inaccessible at first. This will force the player

to confront the other entities in the level in order to proceed. For instance, the key for the Exit

Door in a given level could be on a guards desk in his office. Since the guard will be patrolling near
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the offices, the player will need to find a way to bypass the guard in order to finish the level.

       Once the player gains access to the exit, the game will immediately switch states and load

the next level. Even though players are encouraged to openly confront the guards, they are not

required to "kill" every last thing in the level in order to move on. A player who simply wants to

lure the guard away from his post so that he can sneak past and escape will be able to beat the

level regardless of whether or not he actually "killed" the guard.

       IX. In-game User Interface

       The user interface will give the player a persistant summary of every aspect of the game in

real time. Health, items, targets, and cool-down timers for player abilities will all be visible on the

screen. Despite the number of viewable components, the GUI will not obstruct the player's view of

the on-screen action.

       The inventory will be displayed discretely in the top left corner of the screen. Because the

size of the inventory is limited to three items, all three item slots will be displayed in separate

boxes inside a single container. At the beginning of a level, when the inventory has spaces available,

each new item picked up will be automatically added to the next empty inventory slot. When the

inventory is full and the player attempts to pick up an item, the currently selected item will be

swapped out of the inventory for the new one. Selected items will stand out from non-selected

items by "popping out"of the inventory screen. Essentially, the tiles where the item images and

labels appear will be larger for the selected item, and smaller for the non-selected.

       The player's health bar will also be displayed at the top of the screen, opposite the

inventory. The health for the player will decrease when injured, and will slowly increase over time

as the player's health recharges. As health runs out, the health lost will be indicated by a decrease
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in length of the health bar. A red graphic will display over its previous position indicating the

amount of damage taken thus far. In addition to indicating health status, the health bar will also

indicate whether or not the player's shrinking ability has recharged. When fully charged, the

health bar will glow blue, whereas it will be green while the ability is recharging. As soon as the

player uses the shrinking / growing ability, the bar will change from blue to green (with red still

indicating the amount of health lost to damage).

       In order to shrink or attack enemies, the player will need to target the enemy he wishes to

shrink or attack first. In order to show the player which enemy is currently selected, there will be a

series of four small arrows surrounding him. Every time the player switches targets, the indicator

will also switch to the new target that has been selected. In the case that there is no target selected,

the arrows will simply be absent from the screen.


       X. Camera

       The in-game camera will keep its focus on the player at all times. The field of view will be

great enough to see upcoming threats, and as such will not need to reposition in order to properly

frame what is happening. Since the camera will be static in relation to the character, the player will

be able to “see through” into the next room when approaching a door or wall. This will assist the

player in forming a viable strategy to complete the level.

       When the player shrinks or grows, the camera’s field of view will stay relative to the player.

Essentially, it will appear as if the level is blowing up around the player instead of him appearing

to shrink to several pixels in height. After being shrunk, the player will understandably not be able

to see as far, but will be able to investigate details which might not be evident to the large player.

       XI. Music
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       Time permitting, dynamic musical scores will indicate to the player different conditional

changes in the game’s environment. For instance, if the player alerts a guard, the background

music might change from a more relaxed tone to a tenser one. Auditory indications would alert

the player to many different changes in gameplay. There could be different music clips for when a

player alerts a guard, is being pursued by a guard, is taking damage, is attacking, or is dead. This will

add a great deal of atmosphere and immersion to the game, as well as another level of strategy,

where the player will be able to react based on the tone of the music being played.
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Section Three – GAME ELEMENTS

       I. Game Mechanics

       The Primary Mechanics

       Shrink will be based around a special ability to shrink and grow the characters avatar and

other entities in the virtual world. Alongside the ability to shrink and grow, the player must

navigate through a labyrinthine world, solving puzzles and platforming.

       The Secondary Mechanics

       After using unique talents to traverse levels, the player will discover that there is much more

required to play. The player will have to use items strewn across the world in order to further

advance through the levels. Items will also be used to help sneak past, distract, or eliminate enemy

characters. There will be a simple combat system in which several items can be used as weapons

to fight. (Note: While most guards can carry guns, the player will not be able to use them. This is to

discourage players from turning SHRINK into an easy first person shooter, and bypassing the

challenging puzzle elements.)

       The Tertiary Mechanics

       Lastly and finally, there is a critical path for the player to follow while completing the levels.

There won't be any specific quests or guidelines to follow, however, for a player who has read the

story, there is a certain critical path for them to follow, should they choose to. There will also be

special awards and rewards given to players who achieve special cases during the game. An
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example of a special case, would be obtaining every item in a level. Another case could involve

completing a level, without killing a single guard.

       List of Mechanics

     The ability to shrink and grow will be on a cool-down timer to avoid overuse. The recharge

       time for this timer will decrease over the course of the game as the main character hones

       his ability.

     The player will be able to shrink enemy NPCs as well as himself. However, to shrink an

       enemy, firstly, the ability cannot be on cool-down, secondly, he can only shrink and grow

       enemies when he is in his large form.

     When you are shrunk, you cannot shrink or grow enemies.

     In accordance with the above mechanics, there will be TWO states each entity in the game

       will have (shrunken or grown). This way, you may not continuously shrink or grow any

       item or entity.

     When fully grown, there will be certain surfaces the player will not be able to stand on, that

       as a shrunken man he would (like a desk, or bookshelf).

     The player will be able to traverse the levels walking or running right and left, and will be

       able to jump, but will be subject to the laws of gravity.

     When navigating through the levels, the player will have to combine running and jumping

       to navigate. Most levels will have no direct path, and the player will have to platform or

       climb on objects to complete the level.

     The player will advance to the next level when he reaches a designated exit for the current

       level. These exits may be physically accessible but not active (locked). The player must then

       solve several puzzles in order to make the door active (find key, unlock).
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     Items which are picked up must be placed in the inventory or discarded.

     The inventory is limited to 3 items. In most levels there will be more than 3 items, and if /

       when you want to pick up a 4th, your current item will be cycled out.

     Some items cannot be picked up depending on your size (a three inch tall man CAN NOT

       pick up a three foot long crowbar).

     You may only pick up items (shrunken NPCs are not items).

     Items may be used at any time, and will not necessarily be removed from your inventory

       after use (this depends on what the item is and how it is used).

     The player will have a health bar displayed on the screen. Players can lose health by being

       shot, bitten, or falling from high platforms. If a player takes damage, it will be displayed on

       his health bar.

     A player's health will recharge over time, if he does not take damage after a certain time.

     If the player's health bar runs out for any reason (being shot, or falling from a high

       platform), he will die. He must then restart the current level.

     The enemies will also have a certain amount of health. This depends on what type of enemy

       they are. Enemy health does not recharge.




       II. List of Game Entities

       Environment Entities

       Entities in the environment can be used by the player to aid them throughout the level. Any

object in the game which glows can be used at one point or another. Items in the environment fall

under several categories.
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      Background Layer

      Doors

      Platforms

      Stairs

      Terrain

       Usable Entities

       One of the most important parts of SHRINK is the item interaction. Throughout the levels of

SHRINK there will be many usable items. Each item will be able to be picked up by the player, and

can be used with other usable items, environmental items, and characters.

      Broom

      Cigarettes

      Crowbar

      Fork

      Match

      Lighter

      Magnet

      Screwdriver

      Wrench

       Character Entities
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       In SHRINK, there are a number of characters that you will encounter. You are the only one

that can interact with the usable items. However, the environment entities and the character

entities can all interact with one another.

      Player

      Enemy

      Cat

      Dog


       IV. Entity States

       Environment States

       Flammable – Environment can be set on fire.

       Walkable – Environment can be walked on.

       Open – Environment can be opened.

       Closed – Environment can be closed.

       Broken – Environment can be broken.

       Movable – Environment can be moved.

       Immovable – Environment cannot be moved.



       Item States

       Usable – Item is usable.

       Used Up – Item is out of usable charges.

       Picked up – Item has been picked up.

       Flammable – Item can be set on fire.
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     Shrunk – Item is in shrunk state.

     Normal – Item is in normal state.

     Active – Item is the currently equipped item.

     Able to be Thrown – Item is able to be thrown.



     Character States

     On Fire – Character is on fire.

     Dead – Character is dead.

     Alive – Character is alive.

     Shrunk – Character is in shrunk state.

     Normal – Character is in normal state.

     Armed – Character is armed.

     Disarmed – Character is disarmed.

     Drunk – Character is drunk.

     Mini Boss – Character is a mini boss.

     Boss – Character is a boss.

     Player – Character is the player.

     Active – Character is engaged in chase/combat.

     Inactive – Character is not engaged in chase/combat.

     Jumping – Character is jumping.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 22




Section Four – STORY AND NARRATIVE

       I. Critical Path

       The Critical path in Shrink will ideally have many different variations. Our intention in

designing the game progression is to provide the player with many different choices in order to

encourage variant gameplay. As such, the specifics of the critical path are subject to change

depending on the choices the player makes. That said, the fact remains that no matter what

decisions the player makes, the same basic structure for game progression will be present.



       Objectives

       Generally speaking, the player will have to complete a partially linear sequence of levels

from start to finish. Each level will cover a certain area of the facility which the main character

must escape from. Time permitting, some levels may have more than a single exit which will lead

the player along two different paths. For instance, a crack or hole in a wall might lead the player

into another level which turns out to be a storage closet infested with vermin. The primary

objective of a level such as this could be to locate a key in a mess of cleaning equipment in order to

unlock the door and leave. As the player would enter this level in their shrunken state, the level

would focus more on the players’ finesse with the shrunken character.

       Alternatively, a player could simply bypass a hole in the wall in favor of exiting the level in

the traditional way such as leaving through the ‘exit’ door at the end. This might lead the player to a

level more focused around combat as the full-grown character, as opposed to the stealthier style of

play encouraged with the shrunken character. Ultimately, any side path such as this which the
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 23

player decides to take will converge back to a central course where they may once again be offered

the choice of multiple paths to take.

        Eventually, the players’ path will lead them to the last level where they will face off against a

final boss. This battle will take place in an arena-style level. During the showdown, the user will be

forced to effectively use all the skills they mastered over the course of the game in order to win.

Following this battle, the player will escape from the facility, and will have beaten the game.




 Figure 1: A general idea of how the overall level flow will operate. Note that this design easily allows for the modular

                                                 addition of new levels.



        In addition to a successful game completion, the players’ death will also be a possible ending

point to the game (though players will be encouraged to restart and retry instead of simply being

forced to quit on the first death). There will be many different ways a player can “die”. These

include being shot, eaten, stepped on, mauled, burned, drowned, skewered, beaten, poisoned, and

falling to one’s death. For every method there is for defeating enemies, there will be an equal

amount of methods for the player to perish should he or she make a poor decision.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 24

       Inside each level in SHRINK, the primary goal will be to solve the puzzle inherent in each

level in order to reach the exit. In many cases, solving this puzzle with involve having to find a way

to bypass or confront enemy NPCs between the character and the exit. Since the enemy AI will

logically react to whatever the player does, he will have to gauge his actions in such a way that he

or she is able to overcome the odds and make it to the exit.

       Very often, in order to overcome the obstacles in any given level, the player will need to

utilize items scattered throughout the level, as well as environmental triggers and his ability to

shrink and grow. Though there is obviously a certain degree of variation in the way these elements

can be used, a player will be unable to complete any levels without using them in some way. For

example, a player who may be determined to kill every last guard in a level would use these items

and triggers in a violent manner to attack the guards and exterminate all opposition. Alternatively,

a player with a more quiet and stealthy style of play may want to use these items and such to

create a diversion for the guards while they slip away unnoticed in the shrunken state.

       Essentially, regardless of the choices the player makes in the course of beating a level, he or

she will be forced to interact with the various obstacles in that level in order to advance. The way

in which they interact with these obstacles is determined by which items and triggers they choose

to use, as well as the way in which they use their shrinking / growing ability.

       In order for the player to be able to accomplish any of the mid-level or high-level objectives,

they will have to complete the low-level objectives first. The low-level objectives essentially include

the most basic actions the player will have to do in order to reach the end of the game. While the

low-level elements of gameplay may not seem as relevant on their own, they form the foundation

upon which the entire rest of the game is built.

       First and foremost of the low-level objectives is the necessity for the player to collect items
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 25

and add them to their inventory. Without first collecting items, the player will be unable to use

them to beat the level. The act of adding an item to inventory involves moving “over” the item in

the world, and pressing the correct button to pick the item up. Once added to the players inventory,

the new item will automatically appear in the player’s hand and replace any other item the player

may have been holding in that inventory slot.

       In order for the players to collect items, they will have to find them first. This will require

players to explore as much of the level as they possibly can. During this exploration phase, the

player will also discover environmental triggers they may like to use. All of this will contribute

greatly to the strategy the player will form for beating the level.

       At the very base of all the primary actions the player will have to perform in order to

successfully reach the end of the game is the mechanic of shrinking and growing. Without

alternating their play style, the user will not be able to fully explore the world, and therefore will

find completing any given level virtually impossible.

       Summary

       Simply put, the overall path the players will follow through the game will be a partially

linear sequence of levels which culminate in a final boss battle, after which they will have won.

Given that, it is important to note that although the player will have many different options

concerning how they go about beating the level, they will still need to accomplish all of the low and

mid-level objectives in order to beat the level.

       When put in order (from high to low level), the primary objectives which make up the

critical path of SHRINK are as follows:



• High Level Objectives        •Mid Level Objectives      •Low Level Objectives
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 26

    Complete the full sequence of levels from start to finish.

    Reach the specified exit door in order to complete a level.

    Solve the puzzle inherent in each level in order to reach the exit.

    Confront the guards and other game entities in order to solve the puzzle.

    Use items in order to confront the NPCs.

    Collect items and add them to inventory in order to use them.

    Find items in order to collect them. (Also find environmental triggers and alternative

       pathways).

    Explore the world in order to find items and other areas of interest.

    Alternate shrunken and grown state in order to fully explore the world.

       II. Script and Dialogue

       In-Game Dialogue

       Spoken dialogue in SHRINK will be presented as auditory sound clips recorded by

professional voice actors within the development group. These sound clips will be used as both a

narrative device, and an indication to the player of changing factors in the environment. For

instance, should a guard notice the player’s presence, he may shout something along the lines of,

“You there! Stop!” Additionally, when the player encounters an NPC of import, they will ‘shout’

something more elaborate, adding more flavor to the game.

       During the final encounter, the warden of the facility will have the most elaborate taunts. He

will fill several minor holes in the story, but also answer the ‘why’ question. Because the battle

with this final boss will be the longest, we feel that it will have to most elaborate script. During the

battle, there may be only taunts and jests. However, at certain, specific times, the battle will pause

as the warden explains or describes more of your predicament.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 27

      Below is a list of the shouts for the basic guards, the four minor bosses, and the player:




              Character           Conditions                    Dialogue
              Common Guard        Guard spots the player        Hey! who are you!?
                                                                What was that?!
                                                                Hey, you there, stop!
                                  Guard begins chasing player   Prisoner escape!
                                                                Over here, over here!
                                                                Come here you bastard!
                                  Guard becomes alerted         What's going on in here?
                                                                Is someone there?
              Chief Surgeon       Greeting                      Ahh…You were a brilliant specimen.
                                                                It will be a shame to put you to rest.

                                  Player defeat                 You could have been magnificent…

                                  NPC defeat                    Killed by my own pet…
                                                                You've…disappointed…me…
              Security Director   Greeting                      Heh heh heh… I should commend
                                                                you for getting this far from your cell.
                                                                I'll have to hire more guards. But no
                                                                matter, you will not be going any
                                                                further!"
                                  Player defeat                 That's as far as you go!
                                  NPC defeat                    Impossible…Nobody escapes…my
                                                                reach!
              Chief of Staff      Greeting                      You're trying to escape? I cannot
                                                                allow that to happen. My superiors
                                                                do not allow failure! I will remedy
                                                                this situation!
                                  Player defeat                 You were just a number. You will be
                                                                replaced.
                                  NPC defeat                    My superiors…will finish...the job…

              Ullrich Wulfe       Greeting
                                  Player defeat
                                  NPC defeat
              Main Character      Unable to use item            I can't use that item here!
              (Franz Heidrich)    Unable to use ability         I have no energy!
                                                                I don't have a target!
                                  Unable to use gun             This gun has no ammunition!



      Tutorial Dialogue

      Additional in-game dialogue will occur in the first tutorial level in order to guide the player

through the fundamental concepts of the game. This dialogue may be represented in written
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 28

format on the screen in addition to being read by a voice actor. What follows is a draft of what the

script for this level may consist of:



       *Level starts*

       “Welcome to the world of SHRINK. As you can see, your character currently has limited

       movement. Let’s begin by walking around the cell. Use the joystick to move right and

       left, or press ‘A’ to jump.”



       *Player moves around and jumps*

       “As you walk around you cell, you can see where the exit to the level is. Before we can

       reach the exit, we need to free you from your straightjacket. As you walk through your

       cell, take a look at any items you can use. Above your bed, you can see a sharp edge on

       a broken bar. This is the perfect time to use your special SHRINK ability.”



       “Press the ‘right bumper’ to shrink yourself. Notice that the outline of your health bar

       has changed from blue to green. This means that your SHRINK ability is on cool-down.

       Once it turns blue again, your SHRINK ability is recharged, and ready to be used.”



       *Player shrinks*

       “Now that you are small, you need to make your way up to the bed. Try jumping on

       top of the books to reach the bed.”



       *Player manages to jump up onto the bed*
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 29

      “Now that you are on the bed, you are almost there. You can see several bricks sticking

      out of the wall that you can jump on. However, these lead in the wrong direction. Let’s

      try jumping on the chains, and then jumping onto the bar sill.”



      *Player jumps up to bar sill*

      “Excellent. Now that you are on the bar sill, we can use the sharp edge of the broken

      bar to cut the straightjacket off. To use an item, first run up to it, then once it begins to

      glow, press ‘Y’ to use it. This also works to pick up items that you can use elsewhere in

      the levels. Run up to the broken bar and ‘use’ it to free yourself.”



      *Player is freed from bonds*

      “Now that you are free, you can try to escape. Let’s grow back to our normal size, and

      try to open the door. Press the ‘right bumper’ again to use your SHRINK ability, and

      walk over to the door. Again, once the handle begins to glow, press ‘Y’ to use the item.”



      *Player tries unsuccessfully to open the door*

      “Oh no, the door appears to be locked. Most levels in SHRINK contain locked doors, and

      you must find a way past. Remember those bricks we saw earlier? Try shrinking down,

      and see where the bricks lead to.”



      *Player reaches the high shelf next to the door*

      “Very good! You have found a shelf with access to the open bars in the door. From here,

      it looks like you can just jump through the bars and be free! But wait, you can also see
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      that there is a guard outside the door. You’ll need a weapon to fight with.”



      “Try picking up the fork that is on the shelf. Items that you pick up are displayed in

      your heads up display, in the upper left hand corner of your screen. Items also follow

      the same SHRINK pattern that you do. If you grow with an item in your inventory, it

      will grow with you.”



      *Player acquires fork*

      “Now you are armed and ready to escape. Jump onto the bars in the door. Be careful

      though, if you fall that distance in your shrunk form, it may kill you. Try jumping

      through the bars, then quickly using your SHRINK ability to grow to full size.”



      *Player escapes from cell*

      “Good. But you aren’t done yet! Now that you are outside your cell, a guard has been

      alerted to your presence. The only weapon you currently have is a giant fork, which is

      a melee weapon. Run up to the guard, and press ‘B’ to attack the guard.”



      *Player kills the guard*

      “Very good. Now you have successfully completed the level! In SHRINK there are many

      different ways to use items and the environment to achieve your goals. Now you are

      ready to solve puzzles on your own!”

     III. Narrative

     Character Back Story
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 31

       Franz Heidrich was just an ordinary doctor, practicing psychiatry in northern Austria, close

to the German border. Franz's clients were generally well-mannered, aristocratic Germans and

Austrians, just living their lives. Soon though, the German populace became more aggressive and

upstart; telltale signs of the war becoming more and more obvious. Franz held firm in his belief

against the war, and wasn't afraid to voice his opinion to his clients.

       Before long, German soldiers were alerted to Franz's vocal opposition. In order to silence

any dissent against the war effort, the Nazi SS set their sights on Heidrich. They invaded his

workplace, and in a brutal public display, forcefully removed Franz from his job. A young German

doctor working for the Nazi SS named Ullrich Wulfe caught word of Franz's capture, and

immediately attempted to enlist his aid. Franz accepted Ullrich's offer, on the condition that he

would continue to work as a simple psychiatrist, and not be sent to a death camp.

       As Franz began his work for the Nazis, Ullrich found himself more and more impressed

with the results Franz wrought. Months later, in an effort of appraisal, Dr. Wulfe promoted Franz to

work at a questionable new facility in southern Germany. Ullrich made no specific mention of his

new duties, and detailed little of the experimental procedures Franz witnessed during his visit to

the facility. Franz again accepted the offer, without knowing exactly what his new position would

entail. Not long after his arrival, Franz began to question exactly what was occurring in this new

facility. His outbursts quickly became more frequent and more emotional. Ullrich made many

attempts to quell his riotous subordinate, which only exacerbated the quandary.

       As Franz's objections became louder, Ullrich's leash tightened. He began to deprive Franz of

many freedoms he had previously enjoyed. Before long, Franz was little more than a prisoner of his

own office. Despite these restrictions, Franz continued to contend with Ullrich, and the situation

worsened. At last, Ullrich snapped. He had security escort Franz to a holding cell. It soon became
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 32

apparent though, that not even a holding cell could quell his voice. In a final act of desperation,

Ullrich had his former assistant subjected to the very experiments he himself had been

performing.




       Game Prologue

       Dr. Ullrich Wulfe paced in his office. The soles of his shoes were already worn, and this new

incident with a man (whom he wished to become his protégé) was infuriating. As he paced, he

pondered his curious predicament.

       His hand suddenly twitched…. again….

       Dr. Ullrich’s hand had been twitching and trembling, freezing and burning, ever since his

last experiment; the near fatal experiment that he performed on his latest lament, Franz Heidrich.

       Ullrich stopped pacing. He looked down at the notes scattered on his desk. “Failure” read

one title. “Experiment Terminated” read another. “Lack of Results” read a third. But still one gave

him hope; “Awaiting Response”. His latest subject, Franz had finally been a key link in his work.

Ironic? Or befitting? Ullrich grasped the two thoughts, and then softly chuckled.

       Ullrich’s latest work involved mutating cell structures. His first test was to attempt to

modify the structures, making them smaller. Once a successful experiment was carried out, he

would attempt other manipulations. Super strength, resistance to chemical and biological

weapons, these were but a few of the mutations that Dr. Wulfe was attempting. His latest

experiment had gone awry. During the cellular deconstruction, he carved a small crevice into his

own finger, and unknowingly allowed his blood to transfuse with Dr. Heidrich’s. Ever since,

infrequent spasms plagued his hand. He had yet to perform a single experiment since.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 33

       Ullrich began to pace his office again, pausing every once in a while to glance at his

doorway. The door was not quite closed, and not locked. It was always locked, except for now, whilst

the doctor awaited results.

       Suddenly the door screamed to its fully open state. A young guard nearly toppled, took a

breath, and righted himself. “Sir, Doctor.” He gasped, taking another deep breath.

       “What, what is it you fool! What is so important!?”

       “Doctor Wulfe, sir, subject 744 is missing.” Dr. Ullrich gaped, words not enough to describe

his current rage. The guard then lay down Ullrich’s worst fears, “Franz Heidrich has gone missing.”



                                           *      *      *



       Franz Heidrich opened his eyes. He knew he had made a mistake. After all, he had a knack

for not stopping when it was required of him.

       He attempted to sit up – a feat made more difficult by the straightjacket that encompassed

his body.

       It had been more than three years ago that he had signed his contract with a strange young

upstart doctor by the name of Ullrich Wulfe. Really, however, he had no other choice. Once the Nazi

SS had captured him, it was either working for the enemy, or dying for the enemy. Franz knew that

his day had not yet come. He signed a contract to work as a mid-level psycho therapist. His work

was slow and boring. He conversed with soldiers who were having trouble staying focused, soldiers

who had trouble following orders, even officers who were afraid of their soldiers ignoring them. It

troubled Franz, being forced to work for those whom he spoke out against, but he was motivated

enough to deprive himself of emotion as he carried out orders.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 34

            Soon, his work paid off. Ullrich kept constant tabs on Franz, a silent eye constantly over his

shoulder. One day, a face joined the eye, and a mouth offered Franz a new position, away from the

soldiers, in a brand new facility. Franz requested a tour of the new facility, and it was granted.

Ullrich walked him through the concrete floored building, the walls littered with windows and

doorways. Some of what Franz saw that day frightened him more than the soldiers. However, with

no further description from Ullrich, the experiments were left to torment his mind. Reluctantly,

even with genetically modified horror, and experimental drug trials invading his dreams, he

accepted the new position.

            Franz was still at the new facility. He had been here for over a year. His current room,

however, was smaller and colder than the room in which he started.

            His office was in the far corner of the west wing of the building. It was only a short distance

from that of Ullrich Wulfe’s office, and the concrete walls carried his constant dissent far. Wulfe

had tried to modulate Franz’s impedance of the experimental work occurring at the facility. One

day, Ullrich finally snapped. Franz had been summoned to meet with Ullrich and discuss his latest

outcry. This time however, two armed security guards met with Franz, and few words were

spoken.

            Three weeks ago, Franz had been dragged into his new cell by the two guards. After a brief

visit from Ullrich, Franz had bargained to obtain several books to read while in captivity. Ullrich

agreed to give him some books, and in return, Franz doctored several of the support staff of the

facility.

            Now, as his eyes finished adjusting to the darkness, he looked over the walls again. The

books still lay in the corner under his wooden bed. The bricks on the outer wall were still broken

and jagged. He looked down at his own body and closed his eyes. His stomach hurt. His arms and
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 35

legs were sore. His eyes had bled, as had his nose, and ears.

       He had been drafted to join several tens of other subjects in experimental trials. After his

first experiment, he knew exactly what he was being prepped for: experimental genetic mutation.

This was the third time now that he had awoken from a blackout. Always back in his cell, and

always back in the plain white straightjacket.

       He felt his hand twitch slightly, the movement subdued by the taught jacket.

His hands had twitched before, but only since his second trip to the operation room. He tried to

focus on the pain. His hand twitched again. Franz closed his eyes and focused on his hand, feeling

the pain switch from coldness, to burning heat. He felt blood start to form in the cavities of his

nose, but kept his thoughts on the pain. Suddenly, as if a switch had been turned, everything

stopped. The burning in his hand ended, and encompassed his entire body. He opened his mouth

to scream as the walls and floor began to grow around him…



       Game Epilogue

       Franz inserted the large brass key into the keyhole. The greased lock made little sound as

Franz turned, the mechanism clinking and clanking as the gears rotated. In a rush, Franz threw the

door open, its wide maw silently groaning as Franz stepped through. Franz glared down at the key,

and with another fit of fury, snapped the key shaft, still half in the latch. He swore under his breath

and looked out, breathing in the almost-fresh air. The stench of the facility pursued him, and as he

gazed out across the field, he knew his task was not yet complete. The bleak skies were in turmoil,

as the dark clouds battered against one another. The only light visible to Franz streaked out across

the grass from the turrets and guard posts littered amidst the hills.

       Franz sighed, his freedom not yet satiated. He looked back over his shoulder, reliving every
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 36

minute of his captivity in a single moment, and shuddered. He turned back around to face the field,

and the fortified courtyards beyond. The dirt road stretching into the distance was hardened by the

footsteps and vehicle treads. The grass alongside was crushed and dry. Signs of the death wrought

by this place had escaped into the ground surrounding.

       For any normal person, the task of evading guards and sneaking out through the courtyard

would be suicide. For Franz Heidrich, it would be yet another test of wit and determination. With a

grim look on his face, he closed his eyes and thought. With all that he could now accomplish, was it

really worth it? Was his torment and suffering equal in part to the gift that he could now control?

Franz opened his eyes. That would be a question for another time. For now, he had to secure his

freedom. He leapt out across the field, his feet padded by the soft grass. His determination drew

grim, as he approached his quarry. With a burst of mental energy the world around him grew as

Franz began the next chapter in his ultimate quest for freedom.


Section Five – TEST PLAN

       I. Test Goals

              In testing SHRINK, our main priorities will be to obtain feedback from players

regarding each aspect of the game, as well as obtaining ideas for how to improve interaction and

navigation of the game levels. In analysis of the feedback we receive, we will specifically be

looking for qualitative and quantitative responses on how to improve or modify the overall

gameplay, the individual game components, the technical aspects, and the artistic look and feel of

the game. This will be done through live play-tests followed by either an oral interview or a

written survey. In each play-test session, we will attempt to bring new faces into the mix, in order

to get a more comprehensive pool of results.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 37

       In our play-tests, it is also imperative that we not only get suggestions on how to improve

the already-present aspects of gameplay, but also how to provide the player with results he or she

may expect from certain actions. To elaborate on this, one of our main goals in producing SHRINK

is to provide the player with the means to do virtually anything in the world that they can conceive

of. As such, we will constantly be using our players’ expectations to help shape our level design

and gameplay experience.

       Of course, internal testing will also take place to ensure product quality. This process of

quality assurance will consist of three phases; testing, revising, and refining. These three

processes will be applied to technical and artistic aspects alike. Before the outside play-testers are

given a version of the game to test, the internal play testing will have already gone through several

cycles. Our goal in outside play-testing is to acquire feedback on unanticipated events and features

that users would like to see incorporated into our product.

       II. Test Components

       General Components to Test

       As stated earlier, each play test will focus on different features or sections of the overall

whole. For the purposes of SHRINK we have defined several key groups of features that will need

individual testing. The chart below lists the macro scale categories, and the micro scale features in

each category.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 38

Macro                                Micro
GAME COMPONENTS                      Shrink / Grow
                                     Lateral Movement
                                     Jumping
                                     Ledge Grabbing
                                     Attacking
                                     Item Usage
                                     Win conditions
                                     Lose Conditions

GAMEPLAY ASPECTS                     Platforming
                                     Exploration
                                     Item Collection
                                     Combat
                                     Interaction (Items / Environment)
                                     Level Flow
                                     Level Progression
                                     Overall Difficulty
                                     Item Placement

TECHNICAL ASPECTS                    Game Bugs
                                     Control Schemes (Keyboard, Controller)
                                     AI
                                     Physics
                                     Game Screens / Menus
                                     Sound
                                     Collisions / Clipping
                                     Level Loading
                                     Performance

ARTISTIC ASPECTS                     Color Scheme
                                     Art Style
                                     Animations
                                     Character Designs
                                     Sound Design (Music, Effects)
                                     GUI Design

        Specific Testing Aspects

        •Technical

        First and foremost, the game will need to consistently be combed for bugs stemming from

logic errors in the code. While each new feature added will go through extensive testing in-house,

the implementation of the core mechanics will go through testing beyond the initial debugging. In

particular, player movement, physics, and collision will need to go through many stages of testing
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 39

in order to ensure that it is all fully functional. The reasoning that lies behind this is that these

particular game features will be used much more than any others, and are absolutely essential to

the gameplay. As such, the chances of a player discovering an unforeseen exploit in these

mechanics are higher than would be in a less used game feature. Additionally, the impact that a

bug in the collision and physics systems would have on the overall gameplay could be potentially

catastrophic.

       In addition to the main mechanics of the game, we will be gauging the games’ performance

by load testing the engine at given points during the development process. With so much content

going into the final version of the game, it is important that the game be able to run well despite

the level of intricacy. This will require benchmark tests on a wide variety of machines to ensure

reliably comprehensive results. As part of these load tests, we will perform operations such as

loading the environment with hundreds of different renderable objects which will collide with

terrain surfaces, giving us an idea of how effective our collision system is at conserving system

resources to provide a seamless gameplay experience.

       Other technical issues may have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. For example, if

part of the program that loads the level breaks, development will likely have to focus entirely on

the immediate problem, as any other testing cannot be completed when the game itself cannot

even be loaded up. For the most part, issues such as this should be corrected during the debugging

phase, but in the case that something unforeseen happens, it should be dealt with before any

further testing is done.

       •Fundamental Gameplay

       The first round of dedicated outside testing for SHRINK will need to focus on the basic

game controls. Without an intuitive control scheme, the players will be focusing more on how to
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 40

make the character move around the way they intend it instead of how to accomplish more

advanced game objectives. The idea here is to get the controls to a point where a player can just

pick up the controller and go instead of having to spend time deciphering the control scheme first.

Having these controls perfected as much as possible will give us more accurate results in the play-

tests.

         Following the refinement of the controls, the primary game mechanics must be tested.

First and foremost under this category is going to be lateral movement and jumping. Also

inherent in this stage is going to be refinement of camera behavior. We will be looking for

feedback here on how well players can relate to the movement model, and how effective they find

the camera in framing the scene. Similar to controls, we want the main mechanics of the game to

come to players naturally rather than have them sit and ponder the most basic aspects of

gameplay.

         Once the movement has been refined, we will be able to start testing the more unique

aspects of the gameplay. The inventory system, for example, will be vital to almost every aspect of

gameplay save for movement. There are several aspects to the inventory and item systems which

will need to be tested. First off, we want to make sure the player can distinguish items from non-

interactive background objects. This will require some basic implementation of the artwork in

order to test. Once we are satisfied that the items are distinct from the environment, we will test

methods of item pickup. For instance, should an item pick up as soon as the player moves over it,

or should he or she have to press a button while over it to pick it up? Does it make sense to the

player if their currently selected item is replaced by an item they pick up? Questions like these will

only be answered through feedback from the play-testers.

         Once item implementation has been refined to our liking, we will need to test the dynamics
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 41

of actually using these items. In the full version of the game, items will most often be used for

combat purposes. For this reason, testing combat with item usage would be reasonable. As part

of this, it would also make sense to incorporate lose conditions, level restarting, and a heads-up

display into the test. This would give the players all the components they would need to fully test

the core combat mechanics in the game. From this test we should get an idea of the level of

difficulty needed to make combat fun, as well as help us understand how the players instinctively

intend on confronting opponents.

       •Usability

       Once the fundamentals of gameplay are nailed down, the testing process will grow to focus

on the more advanced levels of gameplay which the fundamentals make possible. Building on the

movement mechanics, platforming, falling damage, and win conditions will be introduced first.

This begins to get into fun factor, rather than a simple, “is this working?” Questions begin to come

up, like, “Is this fun and intuitive? Does it seem fair?”

       From there, it expands to level/room navigation. This is where the testing becomes more

unique to SHRINK itself. The player needs to navigate the level. This further expands into a larger

scale level flow. The player now has a beginning and end and he must traverse the level.

Exploration is introduced. Here, we can begin to test puzzles and SHRINK-specific elements. Was

the level design fun? Were the mechanics fun when put together?

       The final element of basic gameplay is the item system and how it interacts with the player

and environment. We can place items and have the tester use them and grow/shrink with them.

Was it intuitive? Did the items stand out enough? Are the items vital to the mission easy to find?

Are the secret items challenging enough to find without being frustratingly so?

       On top of this is the menu navigation/GUI. Although this isn’t directly part of the gameplay,
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 42

it will be vital to have a menu which the user can find agreeable. Were the menus navigable? Did

they make sense? Our aim is to have menus that not only are visually appealing to users, but

inherently intuitive to them as well. Even a computer illiterate should be able to find their way

through our menus.

       •Art & Sound

Art and sound, while admittedly not part of the actual play experience, will be important in

immersing the player in the world of SHRINK. As part of one of the other tests, artwork,

animations, sound effects, and music could be added in for possibly an exclusive test of the design

work. What we will be looking for in feedback on the artwork is that everything fits together

thematically. For instance, do our visuals fit in with the feel of the sound design? We want all of the

design elements to build on one another, not contrast to each other.


       III. Test Plan

       In house testing has already begun, and gone through much iteration in order to make sure

that the core of the gameplay works (aka. the code compiles). However, as we start to add more

functionality and playability to the game, we will need to obtain feedback from our possible

consumers as soon as possible, in order to actually use the results and modify SHRINK as

necessary. Our starting play tests will occur as soon as we have a functional “game”. In an effort to

assure fun gameplay, the first external play test session will be on the macro level, getting feedback

on the overall feel our game actually communicates. We want to make sure that the atmosphere

in our game is actually being presented the way we intended it to. After we are assured that the

core is delivering the level of immersion we are looking for, we will implement and test more of the

details that make SHRINK unique.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 43

           As each new feature and component is added to the game, it will be tested in house before

being released for external testing. This is a preventative measure that allows the maximum

possible time for our external play-testers to provide feedback. The reason that in house testing

provides better out of house testing is simple; if we present broken code to an external play tester,

they will focus merely on the large scale problem that is inherent in the code and not focus on the

more minute details that we wish them to review. A situation such as this would effectively render

any outside beta testing entirely useless.

           In beginning play-tests on the public, the first round should simply be to make sure the

basic controls of movement are intuitive. A test like this could be as simple as sending out a survey

to a group of people and, giving them a brief description of the game, have them fill in which

buttons they imagine being bound to which functions. After having configured the controls in a

way which the player is familiar with, they can then be given working versions of the actual game

to test.

           Essentially, we want to release the components of the game bit by bit as they are developed,

and get feedback on each individual one. In addition to reporting their own opinions about

gameplay, we will encourage players to report any bugs or errors they come across in their game

experience. Each time one of these errors is reported, it will be dealt with immediately and

distributed to the testers over an internet repository.

           After the bugs have been worked out and the primary elements of gameplay tested, the

focus of testing will switch from a technical focus to a more “usability” oriented one. In the

usability play-tests, we will be looking less for suggestions on how to fix things like the running

and jumping (though we will still be open to people’s suggestions at this point), and looking more

in favor of ways to make the game more fun. Testing on this level would involve sending players a
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 44

working version of an entire level, and having them navigate it themselves without any outside

assistance. When the player solves the puzzle and reaches the end, we will both interview and

survey them for their reactions, and modify the game mechanics accordingly.

Also important in the process of play-testing levels will be taking into account the players’ personal

suggestions of different ways to complete a given level. Since it is unrealistic to expect the

developers to be able to come up with every possible scenario for beating a level on their own, we

will let the players themselves contribute to the list of possible scenarios. In doing this, we will

need to find clean, conservative ways of integrating interaction into gameplay with a minimum

amount of hard-coding. Given enough players, the number of possible scenarios should eventually

grow to a level at which the vast majority of people will be able to complete a level in any way

conceivable to them.


       IV. Test Results

              A test response application (TRA) was created in order to glean responses from

play-testers which would assist us in improving the overall gameplay experience. The questions

on the application covered control schemes, level flow, difficulty, and fun factor. We asked the user

to both rate each of these factors on a scale from one to five, and then provide us with as much

written feedback as they could. Once they had filled out all the information, they submitted their

responses, and the program output a text file containing formatted responses to all the questions.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 45




      Below is the list of responses from the play-test:



User 1:

********** PAGE 1 - Expected Mapping **********
Movement:         1
Jump:          6
Pick Up Weapon:       7
Attack / Use:     8
Shrink / Grow:      9
Switch Previous Item: 10
Switch Next Item: 11

********** PAGE 2 - In-game Controls **********
Clarity of in-game controls: 5
Response of in-game controls: 4
Response to physical button mapping:
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 46

       They felt pretty good since i actually made the controls myself
Button Mappings to be Changed:
       It felt like I should be able to move the right joystick to pan the camera around and look at
the rest of the level. I would have liked to be able to see where the rest of the map was so i could
plan out the rest of my adventure, and being able to drop small items, shrink, then pick them up in
big form would have been nice to have

********** PAGE 3 - Gameplay **********
Navigation ease:
       Kinda, the platforms were not easily distinguished, but once i found the path it was kinda
easy to follow
Platforming identification:
       not that easily, some kind of outline or more distinguished feature would have been useful
Exploration ability:
       every level can be explored more, i wanted to go outside between the bars when i was little,
specially through the broken segment, but i would have liked to hide in the pillow or knock over
the candle or other things like that
Shrink ability relevance:
       yes, it gave me a huge advantage to have a huge fork against a gun (cause forkz beat
gunz??)
Fun factor:
       yea all in all it felt pretty natural and the flow was fairly well, once again tho, the platforms
were kinda hard to find/the paths through the level were kinda hard to find

********** PAGE 4 - Additional Comments **********


User 2:

********** PAGE 1 - Expected Mapping **********
Movement:         3
Jump:          6
Pick Up Weapon:      8
Attack / Use:     7
Shrink / Grow:      12/13
Switch Previous Item: 10
Switch Next Item: 11

********** PAGE 2 - In-game Controls **********
Clarity of in-game controls: 4
Response of in-game controls: 4
Response to physical button mapping:
        Yes
Button Mappings to be Changed:
        grow and shrink to the the shoulder buttons
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 47

********** PAGE 3 - Gameplay **********
Navigation ease:
       fairly, wish i was easier to gain speed
Platforming identification:
       Most of the time
Exploration ability:
       The available level, yes
Shrink ability relevance:
       Yes, it also killed me
Fun factor:
       Yes

********** PAGE 4 - Additional Comments **********
       gaining speed needs to be a tad faster, was hard to get to certain platforms without being at
the very end of the brick


User 3:

********** PAGE 1 - Expected Mapping **********
Movement:         1l
Jump:          6
Pick Up Weapon:       8
Attack / Use:     13
Shrink / Grow:      7
Switch Previous Item: 3
Switch Next Item: 3

********** PAGE 2 - In-game Controls **********
Clarity of in-game controls: 5
Response of in-game controls: 4
Response to physical button mapping:
        I died too often. Yes they were physically comfortaable.
Button Mappings to be Changed:
        no. Maybe. I am unsure.

********** PAGE 3 - Gameplay **********
Navigation ease:
       Yes
Platforming identification:
       Yes
Exploration ability:
       Sort of.I will NOT elaborate on this.
Shrink ability relevance:
       Yes...because the level was designed so that it would...so I would hope it would help.
Fun factor:
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 48

       I guess. This is a somewhat limited experience as there is only one "level" and there are not
really multiple solutions beyond a certain point so it can only bge so fun right now.

********** PAGE 4 - Additional Comments **********
       wek'udcvkjsvcjk/bsdjkljkscbnjkkldflofklfekdfbjksjksbnCVLKSJDBCVKLSB>


User 4:

********** PAGE 1 - Expected Mapping **********
Movement:         1
Jump:          6
Pick Up Weapon:       8
Attack / Use:     13
Shrink / Grow:      7
Switch Previous Item: 10
Switch Next Item: 11

********** PAGE 2 - In-game Controls **********
Clarity of in-game controls: 4
Response of in-game controls: 5
Response to physical button mapping:
        Jumping, Moving, and switching between items were really good. Ishrank/grew myself a
couple times when trying to use items.
Button Mappings to be Changed:
        I don't think they really need to be changed. If I played for more than a few minutes I owuld
have gotten used to the shrinking.

********** PAGE 3 - Gameplay **********
Navigation ease:
       Yeah
Platforming identification:
       Yes, the different shades are very effective in differentiating between usable and non-usable
platforms.
Exploration ability:
       Pretty much, I was hopin I could break the window in the room, but I was able o get to all
the places I wanted to.
Shrink ability relevance:
       Definately, you can't complete the level (I think) without shrinking.
Fun factor:
       Yeah, shrinking down and exploring what I can pickup and where I can go was more fun
than you'd expect.

********** PAGE 4 - Additional Comments **********
       I know this was a demo level, but more options to complete the level (more items, more
paths, etc..) would really improve the game.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 49



User 5:

********** PAGE 1 - Expected Mapping **********
Movement:         1rllllll
Jump:          6
Pick Up Weapon:       7
Attack / Use:     8
Shrink / Grow:      9
Switch Previous Item: 10
Switch Next Item: 11

********** PAGE 2 - In-game Controls **********
Clarity of in-game controls: 5
Response of in-game controls: 4
Response to physical button mapping:
        yes
Button Mappings to be Changed:
        nah

********** PAGE 3 - Gameplay **********
Navigation ease:
       for the mos part yes
Platforming identification:
       most of the time
Exploration ability:
       no, some bricks i couldn't reach and a door in my way at the end
Shrink ability relevance:
       yes
Fun factor:
       yes

********** PAGE 4 - Additional Comments **********
       Inventory seems kind of small, will he be able to increase it later?


User 6:

********** PAGE 1 - Expected Mapping **********
Movement:         1
Jump:          6
Pick Up Weapon:       7
Attack / Use:     8
Shrink / Grow:      9
Switch Previous Item: 10
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 50

Switch Next Item:    11

********** PAGE 2 - In-game Controls **********
Clarity of in-game controls: 5
Response of in-game controls: 4
Response to physical button mapping:
        Yes -- they were essentially what I expected and they responded relatively well.
Button Mappings to be Changed:
        None.

********** PAGE 3 - Gameplay **********
Navigation ease:
       Yes, though the acceleration required for some jumps seemed unneeded in the beginning.
Platforming identification:
       Mostly; the one exception is the windowsill.
Exploration ability:
       Yes.
Shrink ability relevance:
       Yes,
Fun factor:
       Yes.

********** PAGE 4 - Additional Comments **********
       It's hard to determine what is collidable and what is not. Consider identifying some other
objects (windowsill!) much like you have with specific bricks.


User 7:

********** PAGE 1 - Expected Mapping **********
Movement:         1
Jump:          6
Pick Up Weapon:      10
Attack / Use:     8
Shrink / Grow:      11
Switch Previous Item: 13
Switch Next Item: 12

********** PAGE 2 - In-game Controls **********
Clarity of in-game controls: 3
Response of in-game controls: 3
Response to physical button mapping:
        they were easy enough to figure out.
Button Mappings to be Changed:
        I would have perfered if he attack was mapped to one of the bumpers rather then x
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 51

********** PAGE 3 - Gameplay **********
Navigation ease:
       you dont jump high enough
Platforming identification:
       yes
Exploration ability:
       sort of, it guided you rather well
Shrink ability relevance:
       yes, it was the only way to complete
Fun factor:
       it was moderately fun

********** PAGE 4 - Additional Comments **********
       interesting art direction.


       From the play-test, we were able to get a better idea of what players were expecting both in

terms of gameplay and controls. Many people found the platforms to be difficult to find and

navigate. Since the player picked up speed at such a slow rate, some of the platforms which were

further away were very difficult to reach. In addition to this, some of the platforms were outside

the player’s viewing range. This made certain platforming sequences even more difficult. Players

also complained about how health could not be regenerated. Once the player took falling damage,

they were stuck with that damage for the remainder of the game. Even more frustrating was the

fact that the final segment of the level forced the player to fall from halfway up the map,

automatically docking them a good deal of health. This way, if a player lost a certain amount of

health, it was virtually impossible to survive the fall at the end of the level.

       In addressing these issues, we added several features to the game. First off, we made the

player’s speed increase much faster. We also added a feature which makes the camera move

around the player, essentially extending the player’s viewing range. These two additions combined

with a revamped level background made the platforming sequences much easier. We added

scratches on the wall leading the player to the correct platform. Furthermore, shadows were added
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 52

underneath the bricks to imply that they are platforms and therefore interactive terrain.

       In terms of interaction, we made the player able to both get drunk off of the broken bottle of

liquor on the cell floor, and set themselves on fire using the candle on the shelf. To indicate to the

player the objects and items in the game which were interactive, we added a glow which activates

when the player gets within a certain range. Once the player had caught themselves on fire, the

player is able to run past the guard and set him on fire. To extinguish himself, the player can use a

wrench found in the third room to activate the shower and douse the flames. Adding deeper levels

of interaction is one of the primary focuses in the development of SHRINK.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 53




Section Six – TECHNICALITIES

       I. Technical Features

       The key feature for SHRINK is clearly, the ability to shrink and grow. It is the primary

mechanic for the game, so it must be intuitive, flow well, and be fun. Our original plan was to

simply grow the level around the player. This is designed to help immerse the player and make

them feel more attached to the world’s scale. They feel more like THEY are shrinking, and not just

watching their avatar get bigger and smaller. In reality, creating a background that will look good

at both scales is very difficult. It is easier (and actually looks more interesting visually) to have the

player slightly scale up and down to a smaller factor. So when the player is growing, the level

increases in size and the player decreases in size by a smaller amount. The 2D camera then zooms

according to the new scale.

       In order to account for terrain and collision, we use separating axis. This system works by

taking a polygon and projecting it onto another one. If a collision is detected, it provides us with

the minimum resolution vector. In other words, it gives us the easiest way to make the objects not

be colliding anymore. Every entity has a polygon that may or may not be collidable with terrain.

The terrain also includes doors and stairs.

       Items are broken down into environmental items and items that the player can pick up.

Both have a distinctive glow around them, to help the player see what can be interacted with.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 54

When not picked up, items are drawn at the level’s scale, thereby drawing them at the correct size

whether big or small. When picked up, they are drawn at the factor that the player himself is

scaled by. This lets the item be drawn at the correct scale, regardless of when it was picked up, and

the player’s current scale. This accounts for all situations, whether it was picked up big/small and

the player is currently big/small.

       Environmental items are really just items that can’t be picked up. They can either be

directly interacted with, or via another item. For instance, the wrench can be used on the shower,

to activate it. To do this, an item is noted with an action. A counter-action can then be set, which

is the optional result for the item/environment interaction.

       Our back-end is handled with an XML serializer. This elegant system makes it easy to add

in new entity types and properties. A new property is added into the XML file, and a line of code is

added to the property in the code, to tell the serializer to look to the XML for that property. This

makes it very easy for us to add new default properties for different entities. The XML then puts all

of the objects into our EntityGraph, the full list of entities in the game.

       Another feature of the XML is that it is reloaded with every game reload. Due to the game

scale, this is quick. And a great benefit is that we can edit the XML with tweaked numbers, and

reload the game with the new properties applied. So it’s very quick and easy to do things like

change the player’s spawn point, move items, etc.

       Finally, this XML system can also write XML. So we have an in-game map editor that was

very easy to write and is easy to use. Once the polygon is defined with three points, it is added to

the XML file and is immediately collidable.

       AI works with a conditional system. When the player disrupts an enemy’s normal state,
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 55

such as being within his view, he begins his pursuit algorithm. After a time of not finding the

player, he drops down into a more basic investigative mode, and then resumes his normal

patrol/activity.


       II. Technical Roadblocks

       In order to implement these features, there is the possibility that potential roadblocks will

slow down the development. Hopefully, by anticipating some of these problems, the severity of the

issues will be lessened. As far as the shrink mechanic, we must make sure everything

shrinks/grows, everything must stay in relative position when changing, and items that are being

held must now change with player, not environment. To work against these possible problems,

there must be constant testing and debugging. In the end, the shrink mechanic must work

flawlessly since it is such an integral part of the game.

               When it comes to the interactivity of the game, there are near limitless amount of

interactions possible, limited only by the imagination of the user. Another possible problem is that

users may not understand what can/cannot be done with certain items. To alleviate some of these

issues, we must allow for many different people to play test and get feedback on what interactions

should be added from the different player perspectives. In addition, we can signal to players with

arrows and glowing objects as far as what can interact with each other.


       III. Control Scheme

     'Left Joystick:' Move Left / Right

     'A:' Jump

     'B:' Attack (with item)

     'R. Trigger:' Attack (alternate)
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 56

    'Y:' Shrink self (toggle)

    'L. Trigger:' Jump (alternate)

    'X:' Pick up item

    'L. Bumper:' Switch item left

    'R. Bumper:' Switch item right

    'Start:' Pause (toggle)

    'Select:' Quit

      IV. Keyboard Control Scheme

    'Arrow Keys:' Move Left / Right

    'Q/W:' Item Selection

    'E:' Pick up Item

    'Space:' Jump

    'D:' Attack/Use (with item)

    'S:' Shrink self (toggle)

    ‘Esc:' Pause (toggle)

    'Numpad:' Camera

    ‘Home:’ Get hint

    'F1:' Quit

    'F2:' Enter debug mode

    'L. Shift (Debug mode):' Activate draw mode/ commit polygon

    'L. Click (Draw mode):' Place vertex in polygon

    'R. Click (Draw mode):' Toggle between shrunk and grown collision.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 57



       We have chosen to map the buttons to be as comfortable and ergonomic as possible. Most

of the button functions have been copied from many other games, such as movement and jump.

Other buttons specifically for this game have been thought out and placed logically. The right

thumb buttons have been mapped so that there will never be an extraneous reach to get any

buttons. The triggers are convenient alternatives to right thumb buttons should the player wish to

use them instead. The bumpers have been chosen to hold the most important buttons, the

shrinking and growing of yourself and your targets. This is because of how easily it is to reach and

press these buttons, they will be used quite often throughout the game, and have been placed

accordingly.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 58




Section Seven – BUSINESS CASE

       I. Development Scope

       In order to develop the game, a strict plan is in place to maximize our time and resources. As

a prototype, our team will consist of eight employees. Two level/game designers, this position is

key. Given the strong puzzle and interactivity components of the game, the level designer is the

heart of the development team. Based on numbers provided by GameCareerGuide.com 2006 Are

You in Demand?: Game Industry Salary Survey, the average annual salary for someone in this

position is $65,000. Additionally, two programmers will be needed. These workers will do the core

grunt work and should ideally have a strong background in both artificial intelligence and human

computer interaction. Their average annual salary is at $85,000.

       Two art personnel will also be necessary for the development. The art will be very

important since it must be equally complicated and detailed for both small and large versions of

the level. The average annual salary of a video-game artist is $65,000. The game will also require a

dedicated sound specialist, whose job it is to create fitting a soundtrack and additional auxiliary

special effects. Their average annual salary is around $50,000. The final person of the team is will
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 59

be a quality assurance tester. We can additionally employ part-time testers as well, but given the

highly interactive and experimental nature of the game, it will be important to also have someone

at the position full-time. The average annual salary for a tester is around $40,000.

          We envision that with this team in place, the development schedule should be able to be

implemented over a four month time frame. By pro-rating the salaries above over a third of a year

span, employee costs will be around $175,000, depending on what insurance and financial benefits

the employees will be offered. Additional expense will come from marketing and physical

development costs. Also, given the fact that these estimates are from 2006, the average salary is

slightly higher at this time. Factoring in each of these additional pieces, the overall budget should

be around $350,000.

          II. Business Case

          SHRINK works on several levels. These levels are the following genres: Adventure,

Platformer, and Puzzler. They are all potential selling points for the game. It works as a puzzler,

because an entire level is a puzzle. Players must ask themselves, How do I get past the guards and

beat the level with what I have? In that regard, it's similar to popular games like Resident Evil and

Portal.

          It works as an adventure game, because players walk around, collecting new items and

abilities to solve aforementioned puzzles. This puts it in the same vein as games like the recently-

rebooted Sam and Max franchise, and The Legend of Zelda franchise. Finally, it works as a

platformer, primarily when shrunken. Players navigate through the level by jumping along

platforms. Other games in this genre include the primary Super Mario games, Braid, and the

Castlevania series.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 60

       We feel as though our key demographic is males ranging from 17-25, with the upper bound

being around 35. Because the game will likely be rated M for Mature by the ESRB, gamers below

17 are excluded. Above 30, many gamers will probably be turned off by its content, and a large

percentage of females will be turned off by its content as well. This isn't true in every case,

however. Grand Theft Auto IV is a very violent game (and part of a very violent series) that sold

over 10 million copies as of August 16, 2008. Although primarily played by roughly our target

demographic (18-35), it is popular for females and older gamers. SHRINK's violence is not

necessarily a stumbling block for it, as other games have shown, and it can support a healthy

demographic range as well.


       III. Competitive Analysis

       We can pick out one key recent game from each genre. First, the puzzle genre. A great

example of a recent successful puzzle game is Portal, by Valve. Portal was an interesting game for a

large number of reasons, and created something of a cult phenomena around itself very quickly.

We can learn a lot from Portal for many reasons. Firstly, like SHRINK, it was a new IP. And like

SHRINK, each map is like a living puzzle. It also has some complicated mechanics, and manages to

do a terrific job of teaching the player these mechanics without a clunky tutorial system. In other

words, great pacing and level design. It also had a fantastic story that the player really plays, rather

than following the typical [game-story-game-story] that games usually follow. Clearly we can learn

a lot from Portal. We can look at all of these things, and change and build on these mechanics.

       What Portal did wrong, frankly, is that there isn't enough of it for some gamers. We attempt

to avoid this by offering as much interactivity as we possibly conceive and implement. In Portal,

solving a puzzle is solving a puzzle, and all the player can improve upon is a speed-run. In SHRINK,
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 61

players can explore all the different levels by beating previous ones differently. As noted earlier in

this document, there are multiple exits to a level, leading to multiple other levels. Players will want

to not only beat the game, but re-beat it.

       As of December 3, 2008, The Orange Box package, including Portal sold 3 million copies

worldwide (http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/56193). We are unsure as to whether this

figure is PC-only, or includes the Xbox 360, but we can assume it does include the console.

However, this great figure does not include sales from the Steam download service, where The

Orange Box is still within the top 10 Steam sales as of February 17, 2009

(http://kotaku.com/5155504/pc-sales-charts). This is a game that was released October 10, 2007,

and is still on Steam's top charts. SHRINK falls within Portal's genre, because as previously

indicated, they share a common puzzle mechanic, trying to escape a particular level using what's

available.

       Onto the adventure genre, we can talk about The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. This

was a recent Nintendo DS title that has sold 4.13 million copies worldwide as of March 25, 2008

(http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2008/080425e.pdf#page=6). We can also mention a more

pure adventure game, Sam and Max, which has recently been rebooted and stayed on top of

GameTap's top-played games for at least a month

(http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1270). But focusing on Zelda, we have

a game in which the player goes around the world, collecting new items and weapons to access

previously unaccessible areas, solve new puzzles and defeat new enemies. SHRINK shares in some

of these elements. Like Zelda, the player's inventory is persistent and is used to solve puzzles.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 62

       Phantom Hourglass did many things right. It was a lot of fun, sold well and scored well with

critics. Much of its greatness comes from the largeness they were able to pack into a smaller

package. SHRINK shares in that too, because we also have a smaller scope. We hope to draw on

this and have a very rich world, even though SHRINK is level-based, even though our scope is

smaller than many games today.

       But we can succeed where Phantom Hourglass did not. Reviewers had two primary

criticisms. One was that the touchscreen-only control scheme was decent, but seemed forced at

times. SHRINK has a more traditional control scheme that aims to be responsive and intuitive.

Another was that the game felt too casual and the puzzles too easy. We will avoid this by drawing

on the previously-mentioned Portal, which has been lauded for its level design and difficulty curve.

We hope to have simpler puzzles in the beginning that teach the player, and more complex puzzles

later on that expand on what they learned in the beginning.

       The final genre we fall under is platformer. Here, we talk about Braid. Braid, like Portal, is a

new IP, but is also from an upstart developer and was only released via the Xbox LIVE Arcade

download system. This is where SHRINK falls. It is partially a platformer, like Braid, and is a

smaller-scoped game, like Braid. The developer suggests that about 55,000 copies of the game had

been sold in its first week (http://braid-game.com/news/?p=323). A low number compared to the

previous ones, but this is a small, independently made game only available via DLC for one console.

From the linked blog, we can tell that the developer was actually fairly pleased with this number,

showing that a profit has been made on it.

       Braid was successful in many ways. It was a very solid platformer that had some difficult

and interesting puzzles on it. Critics and players alike responded positively to these mechanics.
SHRINK Game Design Document Page 63

They go well together, which bodes very well for SHRINK. There is a lot of potential in this genre,

because it is so basic. It can easily be merged with others, as Braid and SHRINK both do. We can

draw on strong puzzle and level designs, as well as a detailed and unique world.

       But Braid, like Portal, loses much of its replay ability after one play through, and it is short as

well. SHRINK strives to offer the player more playability through its high level of interaction. We

can take what these two somewhat similar games have done, and build on them and attempt to

address the length issues that seem to persevere.

								
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