Games are a fantastic way to get people excited about keeping themselves healthy and happy! "Pawsitive Tales" is built with busy people in mind, and the main goal of the game is to promote mental well-being by encouraging people to pursue healthy habits and write in a daily journal. We built our game to be visually appealing, engaging, and to adjusted for mobile format. Our "quest system" allows the player to pursue simple daily tasks they may otherwise forget, such as calling a loved one or getting some exercise after a long day of work or play. Our journal system also is an important part of the game, as daily writing has been shown to improve people's well-being.
What it does
There are four main stages of the game:
Character Creation: The ability to customize your own 'cat' is not only fun but helps players connect with their character, which is important for the journal aspect of the game.
Exploring Town: Needful townsfolk will give advice and offer quests when you talk to them! Quests are logged in the upper corner, and once you accomplish a task in real life, you can click the button next to task to mark it 'Complete'. When a quest is marked complete, you move to the minigame stage.
A partially developed feature of the game is the ability to customize your town. As you complete quests, you can unlock different outfits, NPCs, areas of the town, and other various aesthetics. One of the incentives to return to the game is a small gardening aspect, where each day you write in the journal, the plants in town grow. In the current version of the game, the plants in the town grown on a timer so that we can demonstrate how this concept should be put into use.
Minigames: Several minigames are planned for the project. The one we chose to show off at MadHacks was the "Yarn Bounce" game, where players' cats have to bounce a ball of yarn off their heads a certain number of times. We also laid groundwork for a platformer, point-n'-click game. Everytime a quest is completed, a minigame is played, to signify the parallel between the user accomplishing their task in the real world and their character completing a task in the 'game world'.
Journal: Each day after all three quests are complete, the user is directed to write about their day around a campfire. We hope that users take this time to reflect on their daily adventures, both in the game and in real life. Users can scroll through each day's writings once they are saved.
How I built it
We used GameMaker studio for the majority of the coding for this project.
Challenges I ran into
We had a difficult time integrating code together, since we continuously partnered up and implemented stages before small bugs were fixed. Catching an error after integration was difficult and required backing up files and making sure all new files were present. However, we learned to work with this challenge by having multiple people look over newly integrated code and tracking which new objects could be affecting others.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The physics for the yarn-ball minigame involved custom collision handling, which took a large amount of time but payed off well at the end. Altogether, we were able to get a minimum viable product for each person by midnight, and a minimum viable product for the overall team (runs from start to finish) by the 3/4 mark in the Hackathon.
What I learned
We all gained a greater understanding of how to integrate code when no integration support is available. The teamwork which my group demonstrated made what could have been a crisis into a learning opportunity for everyone, and a smooth yet challenging climb to success. Our java-based language skills have improved, as well as specific skills tied into each developer, such as mathematics behind animation, text handling and wrapping skills, GUI building and scope, as well as prioritizing deadlines and goals.
What's next for Pawsitive Tales
Our plan is to finish scaling graphics and changing controls for mobile use, adding more minigames, displaying each day's completed tasks in the journal, and adding a story to the town as well as other fun features to encourage users to reach their goals!