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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Literary Inspirations

    [10.20.09]
    - GameCareerGuide.com staff

  •  Nicolas Barrière-Kucharski, 3D Artist, University of Québec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Animal Farm

    Animal Farm, a novel written by George Orwell, stands as a powerful dystopian commentary on how human societies can be shaped depending on the men who lead them. The novel tells the tale of a society of British farm animals revolting against a negligent caretaker and then having to come to terms with their own freedom and eventually a corrupt leadership.

    It can also make for a compelling single player farm-simulation game with an emphasis on resource and unit management, simples puzzles and story.

    At the outset of the game, the animals revolt against their neglecting owner. During the introductory tutorial sequence, they wrest control of their farm and are now free. Afterwards, the story can branch depending on which character is selected. There are two choices available: Jessie the sheep dog or Napoleon the pig. Choosing Jessie will lead the player across the game as one of the normal animals that directly follow the leadership of the Pigs. Choosing Napoleon will allow the player to enforce strict laws upon the animals of the farm and command them with an iron hoof. Both story paths give access to all the same game mechanics, but feature different story perspectives and endings.

    The game takes place over 3 years of a fictional calendar. After the last year the game ends with the appropriate ending depending on the results of the path taken. Story moments happen on different days depending on the success of the farm and are mainly conveyed through cut scenes, in-game voice-overs and text.

    The player controls his animal avatar directly in a third-person perspective and navigates the farm buildings and territory by running, jumping, using tools, interacting and assigning tasks to non-player characters.

    The main resources to manage are a "Food" and "Fatigue". "Food" is the standard resource and his consumed by animals at the beginning of the day and restored by a certain amount at the end of a successful day. "Fatigue" is a personal rating to each animal type and affects how much food will consumed each day. Animals with higher fatigue consume more food.

    Each day of the calendar, the player needs to complete tasks to assure the continuing success of the farm such as milking cows or harvesting fields. Almost any group/type of animals can contribute to any task, but some animal are better than others. In sufficient numbers a flock of chicken could very well repair a stone wall or with cooperation, milk cows. Want your animals to be stronger? Feed them more at the start of each day. Want them to be faster? Upgrade them by making them study books.

    On some days, angry farmers or wild animals will attack the farm and the game shifts from managing tasks to strategizing combat for the day. Each animal can be sent in to fight. For example: horses and donkeys act as heavy damage-dealing units while a flock of flying geese can blind enemies temporarily with droppings.

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