We were inspired by the simple, engaging and easily digestible nature of visual novels and dating simulator games. We figured that these type of games would be able to attract and hold the players attention enough to teach them the basics of sign language, while simultaneously presenting them with a sweet and heart-warming narrative
What it does
Signs of Love simultaneously provides users with an educational resource and gaming experience. It provides a fun and engaging way to learn sign language, complete with hand-drawn artwork, immersive music, and a touching story. Players' choices affect their interactions, and they can choose from two possible routes.
How we built it
The artwork (backgrounds, character sprites, UI elements, sign language images, and more) were created in Clip Studio. The game code was completed using Ren'py and PyCharm, with communication and collaboration made possible through GitHub and Discord.
Challenges we ran into
Jada wrote the story and gameplay flow from start to finish within a few hours, and also wrote all the game code while learning to use Ren’py in less than 24 hours. This was a new tool for her and it came with inconsistencies between documentation and public help forums. She also had to pivot from our original plans for some of the user interactions to learn sign language, but was able to come up with variations that allowed for different learning strategies to be applied. However, she was able to apply her existing knowledge of Python, and picked up new knowledge in the process.
Sara had to draw over 27 game elements in less than 36 hours. This included finding a solution to the challenge of drawing the movement of sign language in an understandable way, and coming up with the aesthetics and overall design scheme of the game.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We managed to put together a full chapter of a visual novel game complete with original dialogue and art in less than 36 hours.
What we learned
Game development takes time. Doing it in a limited time frame is not recommended. Also, drinking tea at 4 am is a good way to keep working without sleeping.
What's next for Signs of Love
- Adding additional chapters and sign language vocabulary
- Proper build and release on itch.io
- Customizing more menu and game UI elements