Yesterday we began the newest iteration of our Aboriginal Video Game Development Workshop. The participants are a mix of people from the first and second workshops, as well as a few new people. This first meeting was all discussion. Jason and I, in our role as producers, wanted to go over our goals for the workshop, and we wanted to hear the participants goals. Happily, the two were nicely aligned: we want to finish the two games we’ve started. The first, for those of you who don’t already know, is called Otsì:! Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka Legends. It’s a first-person shooter in which you play a hunter whose village is about to be attacked by the monstrous Flying Head. The second, entitled Skahion:hati: The Adventure of the Stone Giant, is a third-person platformer in which a young warrior named Skahion:hati attempts to best a Stone Giant who is scaring away all the fish.
To refresh our memories, we did a play-thru of each game as they are now. This brought us to the big question: what was the best way to finish these games given our resources and what each game required to be complete? The story for Otsi is quite dark and the look-and-feel of the game was designed to reflect that. Skahion:hati’s tale, on the other hand, about a boastful young man who is taught a lesson, is more playful and the game looks it. But despite these differences, the two games share some important attributes. For one thing, both stories take place in a time before European contact. Their settings both included forest, water, and an Iroquois village of longhouses. Both games feature a male hunter/warrior protagonist and an elder who gives him important information. Many of the props that were built for each game –including a canoe, Iroquois clay pots, lacrosse sticks, bows and arrows and a hatchet – could easily fit into either game.
We realized that we could integrate the two games nicely if we set Skahion:hati as the hero in both. In level one, he is the same boastful young man who is sent to face the Stone Giant. He must use his smarts to best the enemy. If he succeeds, he moves on to the next level, in which he has grown up to become a strong warrior capable of facing the Flying Head. We will use the cool game mechanic from Skahion:hati in both levels. This will minimize the time spent on programming, where we have fewer resources. Two cut-scenes will be created to bridge the two levels. This will maximize time spent on storytelling, sketching and modeling, where we are resource-rich. We will also work on creating more animations for the characters that we’ve already created.
The discussion ended with everyone taking on a task to be completed by our next meeting, in two weeks. It was a very satisfying session! Next time, they will get back on the computers to work on Blender!