Economics is largely regarded as a boring subject by many people and the accompanying text books and lectures may not sway anyone's opinion regarding that. But what if we could somehow teach people basic economic concepts through a video game? And with that, the idea for Econmica was born. An adventure RPG that incorporates Economic concepts into the foundation of its mechanics and story.
What it does
In this demo, the player plays as little August who is trying to solve their way through a puzzle by placing blocks onto different areas. The blocks are old tech and new tech and the areas are demand and supply. The player can jump and pick up and throw the boxes. If the player places any boxes on the demand, nothing will happen. If the player places an old tech onto supply, the area will turn red. If the player places a new tech on supply, the area will turn green. If the same number of old tech and new tech are on supply, the area will turn black.
The intention of this puzzle was for the player to have a certain number of new tech boxes on supply in order to unlock the "new area". In a broader sense, this puzzle was supposed to illustrate the effects of shocks on supply and demand. Technology shocks don't affect demand, hence the unresponsiveness, however they do affect supply. New technology positively affects supply (increases/shifts to the right) while old technology negatively affects supply (decreases/shifts to the left). Simultaneous technology shocks have an uncertain affect on supply.
How we built it
Jada used Unity to implement the gameplay/mechanics and Nikita used Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint to make the sprite animations, concept art, and boxes.
Challenges we ran into
Jada had never before used Unity 2D, nor had she ever used C#, so the learning curve was a bit high. This was also Nikita's first time animating, so she had to learn how to make short sprite animations that also captured the concept art.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Nikita (and Jada) are super proud of the artwork and animation she has done for the project. Jada is happy to see a concept on the table for later development.
What we learned
Unity is difficult to deal with! Also, making a game in 24 hours is super hard!
What's next for Econmica
In the future, we hope to continue formulating ideas for a more fleshed out concept of the game (decide on genre, general story, mechanics, etc.) and eventually release a demo that'll better reflect what the game will look like and how it'll operate.