I thought I’d give an update on the progress of the White Cane.
As you might have guessed, we did not make it into the final round of IGF. That said, the team is still very proud of the work we’ve done, and were all surprised and happy to see so many people playing and enjoying the game. It was great! In fact, it’s probably what motivates me the most to work on this. Speaking of which.
So as of right now, there is no actual White Cane team. Since TWC was part of a two-semester school project that is now over, the team has kind of dissolved. Zach, Daniel, and I are all hard at work finishing our last few semesters and looking for jobs, which for me at least, is about a 12 hour work day. Unfortunately also, since there’s a lot of intellectual property issues with working on a side project while holding a job, we’re really not going to be able to all work on a dedicated scale on it after college either.
That said, I am still working on the game personally! Work is slow since I’m having to learn Blender and GIMP (significant but free downgrades) to make all of the assets now. It’s not exactly what I wanted to be doing, and I’m definitely not as good as Daniel, but it’s all necessary. Once I have a normal job my time will actually free up a bit and work will go faster, but even so, I’m getting a bit done as it is. Luckily, the game is for the most part completely programmed, and Zach is still okay with helping out every now and then. I’ve trimmed as much of the design fat as I could and prioritized all of my work, so that worst case I can deliver a slightly smaller game, rather than getting overwhelmed and not delivering anything at all.
Again, thanks for all of your support, and I will hopefully post again soon.
So evidently when you upload a submission to IGF, they actually let you keep uploading new builds as long as you want. No guarantee the judges will see it if they already got to yours, but still, that’s really cool.
Needless to say, I’ve been panicking and reuploading small bug fixes ever since. This will probably continue until January.
Just in case anyone gets confused as to why the IGF download ends in 3 now instead of 2, this is why. I want to keep this site as updated as the IGF one, just in case people like it. Less frustrating bugs is good, right?
Enjoy, and if your previous download zip ends in 2, totally go replay it.
We have completely redone this game.
So here’s the rundown: we finished last semester with a team of about ten people and a playable game. After that, eight of our ten people graduated. Since our game was class-based, there wasn’t much incentive for most to keep working on it, save for four people: Zach Barnes, Daniel Havens, myself, and a new student named Chris Miller. We also ended with, well, what you can download as our “Game Lab” build. It’s pretty shoddy. There’s a lot of bugs (a ten year old kid broke the game within five minutes of our booth opening), the art and style is everywhere, the puzzles are confusing, and it didn’t actually end (whoops).
Over the course of the summer, we decided our game needed some serious rethinking, and concluded to overhaul everything. Daniel has redone our art entirely in a consistent(ly awesome) style, Zach unified all of our individual stages into one big seamless hub, and I wrote a pretty camera script to bring it all together. We’ve done way more play testing this time around, and have made sure everything is not only beatable and understandable, but fun. And scary. We worked a lot on scary.
We’ve compiled our new version, and have put it up for everyone to play. We’ve also submitted it to the 2014 IGF and IGF Student competitions, and are exited to see what happens. As always, the download can be found here.
We definitely plan on continuing this into December, so expect more up here. After that though, things might get a bit tricky. This is still a college project, and people will be moving around. I personally, will hang on to it and continue to work on it, but without other people it might not get too far.
We’re also currently considering a Kickstarter campaign, especially if we can gain some recognition at IGF. It’s going to be interesting either way, but we all definitely want to see this get off the ground, so anything is possible.
As always, thanks for playing, and please give us feedback below!
It’s been a while since we’ve updated anything on this site; it’s been a busy and frantic semester. Despite this, I am happy to announce that we have completed out quota for Game Production Lab and have created a fully-working five level demonstration of The White Cane, in the way it will hopefully look and feel upon completion.
Our team has been awesome and has worked hard. They’ve done an amazing job and you should check out their work.
That said, we will be continuing this with a slightly different group over the summer and into next fall though UTD’s Game Pipelining Methodologies class. Which means that within two semesters, we should have something really awesome to show everyone.
Download the release here.
Our Alpha game download is officially up on our Downloads page!
We’re super stoked to get everyone to play it and give us some feed back. So head on over, download and play!
Alpha’s on Tuesday, and we’re hard at work fixing all the minor bugs in the last minutes of production for milestone one. Mean-while you’re sitting there patiently awaiting a new playable version of The White Cane. Well fear not, it’s almost here, but to keep your appetite up we’ve prepared some sneak preview screen shots for you guys to take a look at.
These screen shots encompass the first room that Cieco will find himself in. The last shot is of game-play, while the first two are production shots from in Unity’s GUI.
So get ready, because it’s almost here!
Till next time,
A Brief Understanding
To understand the concept of The White Cane (TWC), it is important to note a few things about the game. Firstly, The White Cane is an experimental game project being built in The University of Texas at Dallas’ Game Lab and explores a players lack of “eyesight” as a mechanic and thematic influence.
Blindness as a Mechanic
The White Cane is a game which revolves around a player’s inability to see their surroundings as a mechanic. In a pseudo-blind world players must explore their surroundings by “feeling” objects to reveal their presence. Players must rely on their memory to more effectively traverse the environment and solve the various puzzles that populate the game.
A Third-Person Explorational Puzzler
The White Cane puts players in the shoes of Cieco, our confused, and sometimes senile, protagonist. Cieco is trapped in a pitch black environment, with nothing but his remaining senses to guide his way through this unknowable world. A 3rd person adventure and exploration game, TWC forces players to use the senses that the game provides to solve puzzles and explore their surroundings. By forcing players to explore the darkness, each step forward is a new discovery. Players uncover their surroundings by walking and bumping into objects. Objects will remain visible while they are being touched by the player, but will fade out of frame when Cieco is no longer in their proximity. Players will be forced to play a game of advanced “Memory” to traverse the 3d surroundings in sometimes unsettling situations.
Inherent Issues with Blindness
Blindness causes some inherent issues with game design. In a world that doesn’t exist until you touch it, players can easily lose their bearings if they have nothing to grasp as a point of reference. It is easy for the player’s avatar to feel as though it’s not moving. When everything is black, there is nothing for the player to use as a point of reference to judge things like movement, distance, and direction.
To solve this TWC implements
- a player avatar that represents Ceico’s imaginary representation of himself,
- a soundscape which uses positional 3d sound,
- a trail of disappearing footsteps which shows where the player has traveled, as well as
- objects which appear once touched and disappear in a fade out to provide a temporary point of visual reference.
A Lack of Knowing Leads to Understandable Disbelief and Fear
As Cieco explores the levels of TWC, Cieco takes stabs in the dark at what he’s feeling, interacting with, and surrounded by. The objects of TWC are represented almost entirely by mixed forms of typography. Cieco will spell out what he thinks he is interacting with in the form of typography based objects. These objects provide a sense of story and character, that can sometimes lean towards the insane.
Remember where you are.