Shepherdom

Overview

An interactive play experience designed and developed during a 4-day "Sprint Week" for the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital's ScreenPlay system, which is used in their waiting room to keep kids entertained while they pass time before their appointments

Time Frame

4 Days

Engine

Unity 3D

Goals & Requirements

  • Players interact with the game through the ScreenPlay system, which uses a projector screen combined with a 10 x 10 grid carpet that is activated by stepping onto and off of individual squares 

  • Child-friendly themes and easy to learn gameplay for all ages

  • Persistent gameplay experience that can be easily entered or exited; just as fun for new players as those who've been playing for a while

  • Not too engaging so as to prevent young patients from refusing to leave when called on for their appointments 

  • No encouragement of quick movement across the play area or any form of physical violence

  • Players with full mobility as well as those with little to no mobility should feel like equally active participants 

Design 

 

We chose the theme of sheep herding early in our concept ideation as it was both child friendly and a way to intuitively utilize the spatial quality of the ScreenPlay carpet interface. To create a persistent interactive experience, groups of sheep would enter the main gameplay area from a barn at the top of the screen, be herded off into one of 3 pen locations by the players, and then be replaced by another group of sheep after the previous round was herded away. This continuous loop of simple gameplay would be easy for any player to learn, join in on, and step away from. 

The biggest challenge in this project was figuring out how to make sure that players with little to no mobility could be equally active participants in the gameplay. This was a key part of the assignment due to the fact that many of the patients at Holland Bloorview have physical disabilities, and our team was dedicated to coming up with a fun gameplay solution. After brainstorming ideas together, we ultimately decided to have the players not interact with the sheep by doing the herding themselves; instead, the player interaction would be with a team of sheepdogs. 

The sheepdog mechanic involves players placing bones in the play area by stepping on the respective square of the ScreenPlay carpet. The sheepdogs run between the locations of the players, scaring the sheep off in the direction of their movement. Players may choose to work together to herd the sheep into the appropriate pen, or simply choose to enjoy themselves interacting with the dogs and sheep. The sheep flocking AI simulates realistic group movement behaviours in animals, creating a both simple and compelling gameplay experience.  

Team

Calvin Leveille - Concept Development, Play Design, Sheep Herding AI & Gameplay Programming

Klayton Cheuk - Concept Development, Play design, Dog Behaviour AI & Gameplay Programming

Nick Olivieri - Level Design, Dog Behaviour AI & Gameplay Programming

Marina Pimentel - 3D Modelling

Melinne Hay - 3D Modelling

©2020 by Evie Leveille