Make A Change is a project about teaching students how to deal with oppression, bullying, and sexual harrassment from many different perspectives. It teaches these tactics through puzzle gameplay which guides the story through a visual novel narrative.
Puzzle creation on 2 of the puzzle types in the game
Designed proper difficulty curves for both puzzle types
Responsible for conducting QA sessions on my puzzles
Collaborated with engine team to coordinate tools to help deliverables
Present and collaborated on design meetings on puzzles outside my own
On Make A Change I was responsible for the puzzle games in Time Out and Change of Heart.
Time Out is a puzzle game built around rotating multiple points around similar to the hands on a clock. The puzzle begins with choosing one of two hands around the clock, which move a specific number of points around the clock face in either direction. The puzzle is completed when the player has arrived at each point on the clock once.
Change of Heart is about seating students around a classroom based on their preferences in other students and likes or dislikes. Players are given a small blurb about how each student is feeling and must seat each student in such a way that pleases everyone. These likes and dislikes change with each level.
As an early designer for both of these puzzle types I was able to lay a lot of the foundation for how the puzzles would work. Time Out especially was not well fleshed out as a puzzle concept, so I was able to come in and set the ground work on documentation about how puzzles should be structured and the types of thinking involved in the game, as it was mostly spatial reasoning.
My main goal with each of these puzzles was to set a fair difficulty for puzzles given the target demographic. Since this game is targeted as a casual educational game it was important that no level was too difficult. I designed each level with multiple win conditions, with at least one or two being an "easy" one and at least one considered either "medium" or "hard" difficulty.
Because the games were ultimately seen as minigames to drive a narrative, I tried to tie some fun in Change of Heart especially, as it had more room for some character. A lot of the game deals with handling abuse or trauma, and so I was able to weave in small hints at this with the characters and how they respond to each other’s presence near or away from them.
An early level of Time Out, where no movement on the clock is made.
Time Out after one move made, where the player is able to unlock the blue icon and has not moved the red icon.
A Change of Heart level partially completed, where info on an unplaced student is shown, as well as the different states of happy or unhappy students already placed into the classroom.