Currently, there are numerous programs and resources to learn about various mental disorders and mental health issues. While these resources are great, they are often from an impersonal perspective. With the majority of resources designated for mental disorders being largely impersonal, the difficulty of simple aspects of life is often overlooked for those with mental disorders. These resources tell you the symptoms without telling you how the symptoms actually impact day to day life. We wanted to provide a glimpse into how those symptoms actually affect people, a way to show life from someone else's shoes.
What it does
This game consists of 3 levels - each one putting you in the shoes of somebody who suffers from a different mental disorder or mental health issue. In level 1, you experience the challenges of a person with OCD as they get ready for the day. Level 1 simulates the unavoidable repetition that can affect one's flexibility in scheduling and ease of life. Level 2 involves a dyslexic person as they read a passage from a book with the challenge of reading words and the ability to recognize incorrect spelling. Lastly, level 3 takes you through what it is like to struggle with the combination of body dysmorphia and eating disorders. In level 3, you can witness the character struggling to enjoy a simple outing with friends as their mental disorder impedes on their life.
How we built it
We used the unity game engine to build the entirety of the game with corresponding C# scripts.
Challenges we ran into
One challenge was making sure the experiences were authentic. To accomplish this, various team members put in their personal experiences alongside research to supplement some gaps in knowledge. Furthermore, it was most team member's first-time using unity - and there was a learning curve associated with that. Moreover, we had to have clear communication with one another while simultaneously working on our project to ensure we were not overwriting others' work.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of our representations of the daily manifestations of these symptoms. We spent a lot of time making sure that we did not fall into stereotypes and accurately portray these people's daily struggles by communicating with those who wanted to share their stories and struggles. Additionally, we are very proud of the passion that went into the project so that the combination of storytelling and gameplay visualization has come to life to create an immersive experience of perspective.
What we learned
All of us really had fun learning unity and making a game. This was almost everyone's first foray into game development and the experience gained was invaluable. Creating a story and translating it to gameplay was one of the foundational aspects that we learned along the way. Additionally, we learned ways to create interactive experiences that were clear enough for a player of the game to enjoy - learning where hints on how to play were needed and where they were not.
What's next for A Different Perspective
Perspective of daily life is invaluable in creating awareness and understanding especially for disorders that may be often overlooked or assumed have little impact. Looking forward we are looking towards adding more levels and consulting with more people suffering from these problems so that we can accurately represent them. A Different Perspective will be further developed to provide insight on more disorders.
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