About a year ago I posted on gameful about a game concept I was working on to help the homeless. In a nutshell it's a facebook game that puts the player in the shoes of a homeless person. The game awards points that can be traded for real life coupons that the players can handout to the homeless. Coz basically, giving them money isn't always the best way and just plain ignoring a beggar... geez.. it's like denying his/her human existence... The moonshot idea for the game is to create a support network where players will reach out to the homeless and help them beyond just the coupons.
The game concept won third prize in a local 'Play4Real' contest, so if anyone is interested in making something like this, let me know =D
That is not what this discussion is about though! The game above is complicated and I won't even know where to start in creating something like this.
I'm trying to come up with a much simpler version! A package that every do-gooder can just download and do! And here's where I want all of you to throw in ideas :)
Here's what I came up with last night while I was supposed to sleep XD Very rough around the edges!
I want to keep it as simple as possible. You ask the beggar's name and then offer him a fruit with a sticker on it:
"YOU are the man we need!"
"There's a special package - just for you!" (And a map to it)
I want to create some childlike curiosity and a sense of wonder in a person that has been so shattered by the world. I want this small sticker to make them feel special BUT! They can't just sit back and receive! They have to go the mile to get this package. (I don't know if they'll be suspicious and ignore it though >.<)
The package will contain various items like toothpaste, maybe an old hoodie. But also a clue to the next package:
"You are my equal and I know you know that. But you have a special need. What is this need that stops you from achieving the man/woman you want to be?"
They must fill this in and leave it somewhere. I want to make them think about the problem. Be it alcoholism, depression, unemployment, disability - I want them to think about the person they can be! The person they WANT to be. AND! By sending them on a short treasure hunt, I want to bring them in touch with people that can help. Job recruiting, psychiatrists, rehab. etc. But also to show them the wonders of the world again. Let them feel they've accomplished something and show them that first step to getting their lives back.
I can't create a full fledged facebook game, but I can create printable content and if any of you can help me come up with super awesome game mechanic ideas, I believe this one can be pulled off =D
Hope to hear many crazy and exciting ideas!
Dunno, I was asked to make an example minigame. Sorry it didn't abide to your moral standards :)
I'll make more.
Abide to MY moral standards!? Ha! Funny!
Was just telling you that in my neighborhood if a teacher walks out of a bar drunk on a Friday and gets a taxi ride home, he won't have a job on Monday. My first and major point was that your GTA theme was to make a MINI-game....your explanation was for a MAXI-game :)
My bad. Humorous tone sometimes is hard to pass over internet. Too many cynical trolls who ruin the fun for everybody...
On a more serious note, I just think that if we're going to show the homeless reality to other people without alienating the homeless themselves, we're going to break quite a few moral standards there. Homeless reality is not pretty and definitely not for kids. I understand where you're coming from. Is there a way we can solve this conflict of interests between your employers and the educational side of the game?
The only reason I involved my classes was to generate more mini-game prototypes for Pnet. If Pnet desires I am fine to leave them out of it. I am all for promoting homeless reality. I am content to just prototype whatever Pnet desires.
I understand both your concerns.
I am not a fan of 'shock tactics'. I believe one can get the same message across through skillful design rather than bringing something offensive to the table. That said, I also never intended the game to be played by children, since I wouldn't encourage them to take of to the streets to play games with homeless people.
Something like drugs and violence is part of street life and the kids included them in their games themselves. We shouldn't overestimate their naivety. But whether played by children or adults, I don't want the games to promote drugs or make it sound cool to have as many handbag girls as possible (coz that's how I would've played the game mentioned above).
The ideas we currently have are very innocent and I think we can work with those for now. If something comes up that would be better displayed in a game through shock tactics or by breaking moral standards, then we can have another talk :)
There's nothing cool about having handbag girls and there never was! [/humour]
Seriously, GTA is a well successful game and for a good reason too. Think about it.
additionally... I'd LOVE to play that game you describe. Pnet is working with my kids on their "Spare Change" themed entries so we have certain age appropriate guidelines to abide by. Not trying to harsh your mellow :)
I'm starting to tamper around with backgrounds. Here's what I came up with so far:
Scott has also included a new mechanic into the dumpster diving game. When you press space bar it switches to a first person scene where you can go through the trash and look for goods! Check the demo here - http://jnoodle.com/hobo101/demo/
Just an update on whats happening with the demo mini game. You can play it here: http://jnoodle.com/hobo101/demo/
The score counter counts correctly now.
If you double click a full bin you are taken to the dumpster diving screen which looks like this:
Trash can be moved around to find edible things.
You can double click a food item to consume it. Bad foods will take away from your score and good foods will add score.
Make sure you have your computer's sound on for this part =D
The red bar at the bottom marks the distance the nearest cop is from you. If the bar runs out then you have been caught.
Here is what I'm currently working on for the background.
Things to come.
We are thinking about adding a 'dignity level' or 'dignity coins'. At the beginning of the mini game you have a few of them, but as the towns people see you go through the bins, you lose these coins. At the end of the game (when you get caught by the police most likely), the amount of coins have have left adds a certain amount to your score. The more the coins, the more the score.
Stay tuned :)
Anton has hopped onto the team and made some good suggestions for fleshing out the second part of the game. There is a full explanation here - http://jnoodle.com/hobo101/2013/11/12/beyond-the-mini-game/
Another quick update =D
The background is up and our little streetie knows that he should be behind certain objects and in front of others =D
Have a go at it here http://jnoodle.com/hobo101/demo/
Also, there are quite interesting ideas concerning the over all 'mini game' concept. But I'll get back to that a little later :)