Minzi is an adventure game I created with four other people for an online game jam held by Netease Games.

Role:Designer, Composer, Producer
Team Size: 5
Development Duration: < 1 week

Design Challenges

I saw the game jam info online, and it was already pretty close to the due date. I talked with some of my friends and four of them were interested in the jam. This was the first time for me to create a game within a group of 5. It became harder to come up with an idea that is acceptable to all the members.

The theme of the jam was “door”. We brainstormed lots of ideas and eventually decided on my design of making a game with the usage of door as a radical. Chinese characters are composed with two graphical components, a radical and a fundamental character. Radical is the component for the general meaning of the character, and the fundamental character usually works as the hint for pronounciation.

In the beginning, we were thinking of creating a world with many many doors. Player’s interaction will be to put characters on the doors to create a new character and interact with the door. For example, in Chinese, door is written as 門. When it combined with a simple 一, which means one in Chinese but works as the graphical meaning here, it became 閂, which means the latch of the door.

The intention was to create some really cool interactions like this in the world of Chinese characters, but as we were so short in time, and we were facing finals in our undergraduate at the same time, we ended up to change the design to the RPG world that we have currently. And we intepret the meaning of those Chinese letters in our way to make it an element that can be used in a RPG world.

Hindsight & Lesson Learned

I should admit it is a realtively failed work, but I still want to put it in my portfolio cause I learned a lot from this failure.

First of all, I found out it is interesting to work in a relatively small team rather than work alone or with one other person. Although sometimes your own idea will not be used in the final production, the brainstorming is super interesting and enjoyable.

Secondly, I learned the importance of organizing and having a clearer task list/ timeline for the team. When we were making this, we were basically doing our works with passion and love only. There was no scheduled iterations, nor a specific timeline for turning in a certain demo. I took that lesson and brought it with me. In the BVW course at ETC, I worked as the producer for several times. And I always tried to help my team build a strong, specific timeline that help the team organize.

Last but not the least, the scope. If we were more aware of the scope and the time limit we have, we can start by designing the game in the RPG way so that even it is not having interactions that are as cool as we thought in the beginning, it will be a better RPG experience, rather than the current rough draft we have.

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