Week 9: Reward & Punishment

Prototype Prompt: Game with Rewards

PPP (Pink Poison Punishment)

Week 9 : Rewards & Punishment

Andrew Win

Chereen Tam

A competitive race between frogs. 

Avoid the poisonous frogs and survive to the end. 

Design Waypoint

Create a game where players are punished by tearing apart something they care about. 

Mechanics and Play Design Elements

Concept Phase

In our concept phase, we brainstormed and experimented with time and attachment. We wanted to create a short and face paced game, as our previous game had all been complicated and long. We initially wanted the players to play with time as a currency, but the timers that we found were difficult to work with and they did not fit into our ideas well. We thought of punishments and wanted the punishment to be meaningful. So, we pivoted and thought about having the players create an attachment to an object and ripping it apart as a punishment. 

Prototyping and Internal Playtest

We experimented with several types of origami creatures, as they are easy to create and rip apart, as well as different layouts for the board. For example we experimented with a board filled entirely with organic shapes of only penalties, but found that this took out the small sense of “strategy” we wanted in our game. We chose the frog because it had physical functions that would allow it to be a central part of the game. The frog was also simple and did not take very long to make. Furthermore, if the players were to make and customize their frog, they would create an attachment. We decided to make the game a racing game between two players. If they landed on certain parts of the board, they would have to rip off a certain amount of the body or leg, which would slightly hinder their game play. These elements would cause the punishment of ripping the frog apart to become more severe. So, the reward would be keeping their frog intact by the end of the game.

During the process of prototyping, we tried to keep in mind that we wanted a game that was fast-paced and short. We determined the length of the race course by testing out how long it would take each of us to jump to the end without the other game elements. We decided on two vertical table lengths, as it took an average of one to one and a half minutes to complete. We began experimenting with different elements that would make the gameplay more rewarding and difficult, such as ripping off limbs and making the player wait several seconds before moving the frog again. However, we decided to only include ripping off the limbs as a punishment because we did not want to prolong the gameplay. We decided to implement a gradient of pink poisonous frogs that indicated an increase in difficulty by the location and the number of limbs ripped off. Then, we playtested to determine the number of poisonous frogs needed to make the game difficult but not impossible. Initially, we tried to do less frogs, but because it was not difficult to hop across the two tables, there was little difference with and without the punishments. So, we increasingly added more and playtested until we felt it was the appropriate amount of difficulty. 

Class Playtest and Observed Dynamics

During playtest, we dedicated a good portion of our time to helping the

players build and personalize their frog playing piece. The players were very excited drawing on their frogs and giving it names. When they first landed on a poison frog, and learned that they had to rip a piece of their frog, they were shocked and tried to rip as little of it as possible. During the game we noticed that despite the players competing in a race, they didn’t pay much mind to the opposing player. Rather, they were focused on their own frog and the trajectory. Our game also didn’t have a reward, however after the playtest was over, we saw the players still holding onto their frogs. Players also pressed (or karate chopped) harder on their frogs in an attempt to make it jump further. We observed that players went for distance rather than accuracy.

Aesthetics and Feedback Quotes

Evaluation and Ideas for Next Iteration

For our next iteration, we want to refine the gameplay experience and make it more streamlined. One way of streamlining it would be to experiment with ways to give information to the player. For this current iteration, we wrote the punishments on the penalty areas. We want to aim for a way for this information to be shown without having to draw on the board. In terms of gameplay, while we liked the fast pace of the game, there wasn’t much strategy observed. This may be due to the lack of safe areas and an abundance of penalty areas. We want to playtest a little more to find the perfect combination and size for both areas so that players will still go fast, but have a little more strategy before making their jump.

Documentation Media (See Below)