jesszhanggames.com Toronto Ontario Freelance Game Designer Narrative Designer

©2019 by Jessica S. Zhang

 

 

5 stars

OVERVIEW | DESIGN PROCESS | DESIGN CHALLENGES | NEXT STEPS

Recalculating is a soft thriller visual novel about an Uber ride gone wrong, illustrating how women can be taken advantage of through daily social pressures, of which men may be unaware.

Our team found that women reacted to

Recalculating with stress and anxiety, as it mirrors the paranoia they constantly feel, while men tended to require more obvious hints to realize what was going on.

This vertical slice was initially built with a team of 6, and the project is being continued with a team of 3.

The current build is a vertical slice of the final project. Download it here.

Players navigate through conversations by launching a ball at moving words. This visually represents their avatar’s thought process as the situation deteriorates.

Our design goal for this project was to evoke the sensation of anxious conversation through player interactions with words of various orientation, movement patterns, size and location.

The driver starts off by making with normal, awkward, unwanted conversation but quickly progresses to uncomfortable and inappropriate comments.


The player has opportunity to respond in different ways to what the driver is saying.

 

Multiple branching paths lead to a single conclusion, highlighting the lack of options available to women during dangerous situations. Depending on several factors such as their ability to interpret warning signs that they are in danger, they can either escape successfully or not.

 

My main role was narrative designer. On top of designing and writing the non-linear narrative, this involved heavy communication with the level designers, as the events that transpire inform each level's design.

"Levels" refer to the visualization of words onscreen every time the player must make a choice.

Our first steps included conducting tests to determine the metrics of our mechanic.

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