Paper Crane

Paper Crane is a webcam controlled game that gives guests the freedom of flying around a japanese style room as a paper crane, save other paper cranes who are locked in jars, and eventually fly out of the window to the broad sky.

Role: Designer/ Sound Designer
Team Size: 5
Development Duration: 2 weeks

Design Challenges

The limitation for this round is that we are not allowed to give any specific instruction to the guests who experience our world. We can only tell them the input device we are using. And we are only allowed to choose from mic input, webcam input, or both.We decided on making a webcam based, some sort of flying simulating game after our first brainstorm. Then, we gradually brainstormed to the idea of a magical paper crane.

The using of paper crane is out of two considerations. First, it is easier for aritsts to model. As both artists we have in the team this round focused more on 2D art rather than 3D modeling, having a relatively simple character will help them a lot because the modeling and rigging will be easier. Secondly, we wanted to give guests much freedom, but we don’t want the scope to be too big. Thus, we wanted to limit the space within a room. Because of that, we were choosing between this paper crane and a toy plane, because they make sense with flying in a room. And we thought that the paper crane can be more immersive than a toy plane, so we went this direction.

A big challenge we were facing for designing this game was about the sing/ open mouth to save other paper cranes part. I proposed two ways of designing, one was to keep using this 2D art, and the other was to slow guests down when they enter the interactable area and give them visual & audio hint for them to sing / open the mouthes.

We did a lot of playtest with different people. Some of them are our second year students at ETC, some are our friends, and some are people in the industry. From the feedback survey we got, most players preferred the 2D scene better than the slowing down because they felt less confused. Thus, we eventually decided on keep using the 2D scene.

Speaking of the saving other cranes part, an interesting design choice I made was to have the mic icon as the UI. And although we didn’t actually implement voice detection, we are telling our guests that mic is a way of input we are using. The mic UI is actually filling up as you open your mouth for a while. With that UI, no matter our guests sing with the hint choir pattern I created, say some random words, or try to speak up because they think that as a volume check, they can all pass the task we set for them.

A great way of indirect control our guests when we are not allowed to put any specific insturctions is through postive and negative feedback. We used lots of them in our world. I created a sound effects for successfully saving a crane vs. miss that jar. And we have little paper cranes following you if you manage to save them. Also, I designed the BGM to add layers gradually based on the number of paper cranes you saved.

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