Jason Eldred

Interaction Designer

Jason Eldred

SkyRyder Labs

SkyRyder Labs was built in the aftermath of another school project that was grievously over scoped. The only two parts of that game that were salvageable were some of that assets and the narrative system. SkyRyder labs was thrown together in 2 weeks, during which time I didn't get very much sleep, and the games theme reflects that. The player, Frank, in SkyRyder labs hires 4 scientists and pushes them to do experiments to earn income and keep the the lab open, however, pushing their scientists too hard stops them from recovering as much when they go to bed. Players must balance productivity with employee burnout, something I was struggling with at the time. A lot of the jokes in SkyRyder specific reference humor, and the script overall is a second draft developed while programming the game, but in many ways it achieves it's intended effect.

There are 4 characters, each of whom has a distinct personality, and who will complain when you push them to work too hard or burn them out completely. The characters have conversations when you hit the Coffee Break button, about trivial daily life stuff, helping humanize them to the player. Humanizing and creating fellowship with the characters, before forcing the player to push them a little beyond their limits, was the intention behind the narrative system.
The Experiment system in SkyRyder needs another UI pass. Each scientist "rolls" an experiment, and then can re-roll the results or effect it's modifiers, producing more subject in their field. While this system fundamentally makes sense, and makes sense if you play through the tutorial screens, it's not immediately obvious from the grey boxed experiment icons whats going on.

But at it's core, the system works. Scientists can each do experiments, each have a style (H-Berg for instance has very uncertain experiments that produce a base roll of 0 or 1), and each scientist has as special ability they can use to help each other. The randomness in this system can provide a real incentive to push scientists past the point where their stamina limits will recover.

2 Week Narrative “experiment” game built to be ported to mobile.

  • Role Sole Creator

  • For School Project – DigiPen

  • Date April 2017

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