Tiny Choices

*ೃ༄ Inspiration ´˗

With climate change becoming more and more of a rising issue most choose to simply ignore the severe consequences of humanity's poor environmental choices throughout the centuries because it's such a daunting question: How can we stop climate change? There is never a clear cut answer and ultimately it's the current youth and future generations who'll have to lead this fight for a greener planet before it's too late.

Therefore through Tiny Choices I was inspired to create a mini interactive story game where even the tiniest choices matter towards bettering the world and how solving climate change is ultimately impossible on our own but through making even the tiniest changes to our routines, we can save the world we all call home.

*ೃ༄ What is Tiny Choices? ´˗

This is an interactive story game featuring the main character: you. It goes about it's day but it's the user who makes all the decisions and depending on your decisions it can impact the three different unlockable endings along with different paths to take depending on the outcome of your choices.

*ೃ༄ Building Process ´˗

I spent hours upon hours drafting the basic outline of the story and connecting the choices to different paths of the story depending on what the user chose. Next, I focused on organizing all the assets I needed in order to fit the pixel art aesthetic I was going for into separate files and I'd have to manually photoshop and edit assets along the way to stay within Tiny Choice's design theme. Finally, the coding and debugging process took up a majority of the design process as this was my first time fully working with Code.org which utilizes JavaScript. I had to undergo many learning curves as I experimented with time loops, defining functions, and countless if statements to properly simulate the animations and outcomes of the user's choices.

*ೃ༄ Challenges ´˗

The top three challenges I faced during the development of Tiny Choices was story, gameplay, and time.

Story - There was just so much storyline and so many more routes I wanted to explore through this game. I wanted to give the user the freedom of going down a path of their choosing but narrowing down the choices and staying realistic with myself and what I could accomplish in a single weekend was necessary.

Gameplay - The gameplay design came hand in hand with the coding process and which program I decided to go with. So, I decided to settle on a free program called Code.org which had an AppLab feature that allowed me to fully experiment with JavaScript for the first time through this project. I faced many challenges in the coding process and as a result I had to search up many YouTube videos and online resources to properly fix and debug my code. As a result of spending so much time on the debugging process, I had to settle for simple side scrolling animations and unfortunately couldn't implement as much gameplay was I had hoped besides making choices in the game.

Time - This was the most significant challenge I faced. During the duration of the of the hackathon I realized how quickly time passes by and how time management is key when faced with many time constraints.

*ೃ༄ Accomplishments ´˗

I'm proud of the progress I made despite ultimately not being able to code a conclusive ending like I had hoped to. I sacrificed many hours into this project but it made me realize how spending a little time each day researching new ideas and topics can be very rewarding at the end.

*ೃ༄ Lessons Learned ´˗

A lesson learned should always be a lesson shared. While I may be proud of the progress I made through Tiny Choices, I ultimately regret not taking more advantage of all the wonderful workshops provided or taking time to socialize and bond with a team. I hope in future hackathons I'll have enough time to properly explore and connect with other fellow beginner coders.

Another important lesson I learned was to take advantage of the unlimited amount of free resources online. I never realized I could prototype a video game, convert images from Google into pixel art assets, or learn so many different programming languages in one weekend just by taking the time to actively look for it.

*ೃ༄ What's Next for Tiny Choices? ´˗

I had ultimately hoped to empower future generations and other young people like myself to simply make a change for the sake of the environment. By ourselves such a feat would be borderline impossible but through everyone's united contributions it becomes more more possible.

I plan to finish coding more choices for the user and to add a conclusive ending screen filled with links to websites and resources that the user can access to further educate themselves on how they can make a positive impact on the environment. From switching to an occasional bike ride to work, or simply conserving electricity by turning off the lights, everyone can make a difference because even the tiniest choices matter.

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