Power Trip UCSD

Power Trip UCSD is a satirical interactive fiction (IF) game about abusing your power as UCSD’s latest chancellor.

screenshot
Try it out! (Desktop)

Project Summary

Made as a side project in Twine with memes and procrastination.

Discover

Brainstorming

Once the problem was clarified, we brainstormed questions to help guide development:

Inspiration / Competitive Analysis

screenshot of twine game selections on itch.io

Next, I had the team familiarize themselves with some IF games to have a better idea of where we could go:

Define

Developing and Finalizing the Concept

The team defined 4 main components the game consisted of:

Develop

Team Split

During the Develop phase I had the team split into Narrative and UI subteams (2 in Narrative, me and 1 person in UI) so we could focus on development faster before the deadline.

Scenario

The team decided on setting the game in a surreal UCSD sandbox, where players encounter raccoon uprisings or turn the chemistry department into a meth lab and create their own sub-narratives. The game introduces players as the newest UCSD chancellor and then splits into three routes.

Narrative

The narrative would split into the Parking, Grades, and Raccoon Sagas to build a branching storyline that builds the world for players to express themselves in. Each path would interact with each other to maintain immersion of the game world and allow an engaging experience.

Twine tree screenshot
An overview of the game's branching storyline structure.

Game Design

The core game loop was predetermined by Twine’s capabilities and we aimed to follow conventional IF patterns such as clicking buttons/links and entering text (using SugarCube) to account for the team’s inexperience with the genre.

UI Design

The UI layout followed the default format specified by Sugarcube. However we developed the visual identity of the game by assigning each route a color theme and stylizing the text and links. All visual updates were made using the CSS stylesheet space in Twine.

color variations of UI
UI color variations by Vivian Ta.
Twine stylesheet
The game UI's CSS.

Deliver

Publishing

I made the call to publish as soon as we finished the first iteration of the game due to the quarter ending and half of us graduating. We picked itch.io based on its popularity with indie devs and HTML5 support to play the game in-browser. We then shared the link with our UCSD friends for their amusement.

Ideal Next Steps

With time, we would have conducted usability testing before shipping and reiterate on the game’s narrative to flesh it out with more story and a lengthier storyline.

Aside from obtaining reactions to the narrative, it would have been interesting to propose coding everything ourselves and using the shipped Twine game as a prototype reference.

Reflection

While a tough project, this experience challenged me to learn from my mistakes and become a better listener and leader to my team members. I also had lots of fun making a silly game with friends and having the chance to practice game development.

Final Deliverable

Power Trip UCSD on Desktop Browser