Unity Game: Escaping the Workhouse

I chose to create a Unity game to give the audience a new perspective on workhouse life. The main character of my game is based off of the story of the elderly Patrick Kennedy by Maureen and Jeff. As mentioned in my previous blog post, I am adapting a tutorial provided by Unity. I started with their example I hoped to adapt, Rougelike 2D, but I ran into a number of issues where the tutorial was ambiguous for a beginner. I took a step back and went through two other tutorials, a simple 3D rolling ball and a 2D UFO game. After understanding how those two examples tied their scripts and prefabs together, I started again on Rougelike 2D and successfully emulated their game.

The first change I made was swapping out the character and zombie sprites for sprites of an elderly man and figures of a master and a matron. Then, I changed some core functionality of the game so that the player wins after navigating successfully through three levels (as opposed to the original survival mode game). Along with this, I added custom text screens and level names. I went back and substituted the ground, wall, and obstacle textures with ones I made.

Finding and editing sprites to match the historical setting takes a significant amount of time. Instead of the three levels I proposed earlier, (1) sweeping in the morning, (2) preparing flambeaus in the afternoon, and (3) trying to escape during evening free time, I decided to only implement the last one for this project. In order to maintain the feel of the game, I have this final level come in three parts. The first scene is located by the workhouse doors. The second is the lawn between the doors and the third scene, the gate. Right now, I am working on creating structures to differentiate each part. The first will have a sprite of the workhouse in the corner, the second will only have grass, and the third will have a gate. Looking forward, the most important features I have yet to implement are the items that help the player escape. For example, tools will help get through obstacles quicker. As shown in the image below, the game continues to use food as “lifepoints” that can be gained and lost. I do not intend to keep this functionality; instead, I  will replace it with levels of energy, trustworthiness, and tools.

Current state of game.
Current state of the game.

The larger goal of my project is to foster an understanding between the player and life in the workhouse. After playing through the game, the player will understand the desire to leave the workhouse, how the elderly fit into the workhouse, and the day-to-day tasks and decisions faced by elderly residents. The latter goal includes the two levels I was unable to implement. This project reflects our overall course goals in how it uses digital technology to combine challenging realities with fun. I hope that players of this game understand the gravity of the workhouse and empathize with the desire to leave.