March 2018, 4 Days
Crabcake collection contains 2 games. They were made for Holland Bloorview Children's Hospital's waiting room. They use a floor pad system they call Screenplay to allow kids with various disabilities to play games while they wait for their appointments.
In a Pinch!
In a Pinch! is a survival tower defense game. Build sand castles to fight off oncoming crabs by blowing bubbles at them. The longer you stand in one place, the stronger your tower gets!
Hit the ball into the opposing team's net! The Screenplay Floor Pad divides itself in half to separate the teams. Stand in place to make your player appear. They grow larger over time allowing them to defend better.
I designed the tower system and enemy AI.
I programmed the tower systems and enemy behaviors in In a Pinch! as well as the game flow management for both games.
Designing for Accessibility
The most difficult challenge our team encountered making Crabcake Collection was designing to be accessible for everyone. We had to make a game that could be played by active, mobile players as well as players that were immobile. This at first presented a huge challenge, but with some creative thinking we managed to take the challenge and use it to design a game that's best if everyone plays.
In both games, being immobile or mobile is a viable strategy. In In a Pinch! the longer you stand still the bigger your tower gets. This means that immobile players can upgrade to become literal tank walls to prevent crabs from getting through. It even works for wheelchair restricted players, as they cover up multiple tiles which causes them to make a massive blockade.
Mobile players can run around, which allows them to reposition strategically. This in combination with some immobile players can allow the players to form various strategies for defeating the crabs.
Another thing we took into account was players dropping in and out of the experience. Instead of making the difficulty ramp up over time, we made it scale dynamically to the number of active players. If a player drops out, the crabs become weaker, and if more jump in, they get stronger. The spawn rates still increase slowly over time, but it's always fair no matter how many players are playing.
We also had to take into account fail states for the game. We found most of the other teams were shying away from having a fail state since it could create negative emotions in players. We didn't want to remove a fail state, so we tried to think of ways to present it as a "good" thing. Our solution was to make the cute crabs dance when they win. It's a funny little reward for losing the game, and often makes the player forget they just lost. Combining that with the ability to get back into the game quickly and we made a fail state that is hardly noticeable.