Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crazy Idea for a School Project (PWAA Forensics Report)

I love the Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney games.
     The final project for my Forensics & Criminalistics class is a report about a crime scene and how evidence was collected and analyzed to reach a conclusion. It's a pretty straightforward project but also a time consuming one. Given how much I hate school I was calculating ways to meet the project's requirements and finish it as quickly as possible until something the teacher said on Tuesday clicked with me. The information in my report could be submitted in any form of my choosing.

     What if I made video game out of it? She said that's fine. I suddenly cared a lot about this project.

     Phoenix Wright has been popping into my head every class throughout the semester because I'm such a nerd that I can't think about law without a mental image of "OBJECTION!" forming. This project could start a trend that will make school much more interesting for me. an even warmer and fuzzier idea is the teacher showing this to future students in my major and getting them excited about game development and ways they can make projects more interesting to do.

    So far this is a half-baked idea and I'll be making a powerpoint presentation with the same information just in case I can't bring myself to do this. I think this is a great idea because by focusing on the game and thinking of the report's information as an important asset for it, I'll be motivated to go above and beyond because it will be fun instead of painfully dull.

    I want to keep this thing simple and avoid having to learn any new tricks. Simple dialogue trees, button selection, sprite animations, and fading effects are things I've done in the past and understand completely. The sprites are already made and ripped (courtesy of Shoda on Spriters Resource) so I should be able to make this thing faster than I made Feed The Plant.

     Since I'll be limiting the game to just the courtroom scene, making it so that the story constantly progresses, and preventing the player from reaching a lose condition, it should be a simple matter of organizing the text that will appear and what to animate along with it. It'll be more like an interactive movie than a game (more so than the actual Phoenix Wright games).

     These are copyrighted characters but I'm using them in an educational work with no intention of profiting so I think I'm good to go legally. You won't see me making an app out of this but I think I could dump a zip file with everything in it somewhere so other people can play with it, improve it, or modify it for their own projects. I might even put up DBZ Brawl in the same way so maybe someone else can pick up where I left off.

     It won't be a polished game and I can't promise the writing will be perfect with only two weeks to make this whole thing. There may even be loopholes that I'll just have to try to cover up because of the massive time constraint. This is more about getting the basics out there than perfectly replicating the Ace Attorney games.

     I'm also using this opportunity to get an early look into how to do RPG text boxes in Unicorn Quest. If I find something that works I can use it here for practice and in Unicorn Quest later. If I don't find an easy solution I'll just have hard-coded text for this and make my own text scripts for Unicorn Quest when I get to that point.