Aesthetic: Pixel Art; Mystery; Hacking; Computer Security; Educational
Platform: PC, web-based
App Development Engine: Unity
Project Length: 4 Months (Spring 2019)
Client: CMU CyLab, picoCTF 2019 team
Team Size: 4
My Role: Producer, Game Designer, UI/UX Designer
Leading team in concept and pre-production phase in researching and ideation.
Managing production including process, branding, scheduling and meetings.
Taking charge of communication with client and community, arranging playtest sessions.
Leading designers toward precise design decisions, keeping the team in high efficiency.
Designing the structural flow of the main experience, developing emotional moments and theories to create the moments in the experience.
"Mind Game", code named "Aeneas", presented by team brute4s, is a 2.5D Top-down, story-driven adventure game. We worked with CMU’s CyLab to develop a game that will be used in the crowd pleasing nation-wide high school computer security competition, picoCTF 2019.
The goal for this game is to keep more players in the competition and raise their interest in computer security. We aim to make the best combination of our game and the competition itself, so the players will have a great experience through the story while they learn and solve problems along the game.
By May 2019, our team finished the development of the game and handled it to our client, CMU CyLab. Currently it is under a further consolidation with the competition and will be released with the opening of picoCTF 2019, scheduled on September 27, 2019.
More information can be found in it's website: brute4s
Also check out the game trailor below:
Working as a full-time producer
With more experience in production through the two years in the ETC, I gained a big interest in producer's work. Thus, I chose to work as a full-time producer in my last semester-long project. Since our team has only 4 members, I also worked as a game designer.
I had to say I really had an enjoyable semester. Although we lacked of human resource, although we didn't have an artist from the beginning, although we had to face the comparison among many past picoCTF projects, we did our best and had produced the best picoCTF game ever. What's more, the new findings and lessons learned will always help me:
Story 1: Smallest team
Through my experience in this and other projects, I realized that the size of a team could
make huge differences in many aspects. In this project we have a 4-people team, which is the smallest among all ETC projects. And I could tell it is totally different from my first project Enigma, which had 6.
My No.1 feeling about that might be an advantage. With less team members, We didn't have any title shared by more than one person. So the responsibility distribution got very clear since the first day, saved us a lot of time on communication and development of pipeline.
When we were making the RACI chart, it was very easy and clear for us. I really appreciate the fact that our team members' skill set covered all needs for a small game like this.
But from that we also were very much challenged. Since everyone in the team has more than one title, time and scope become harder to estimate. Many times, we had hard time deciding what features to make and what not, mainly because everyone had many tasks to finish and no one knew if we had enough time for the new features.
Story 2 Coolest team
A really special part of this project is our small team became really strong and our team members got very close. The size of the team did help, but I think we made a lot of good decisions to build that as well.
As an example, our branding is very different from bottom to top. In general, an ETC project will not sell themselves too much about theme or their own characteristic, but we did so. Since picoCTF is a "hacking" competition about computer security, we made everything of us "geeky". Like the retro style and font on our website, and our team photo, even our team name is homo-phonic to hacking term "brute force".
That built our own confidence and belief of "the geek team", which really made other people remember us more and understand our project in the correct way. Whenever people mention us, they didn't use "the picoCTF team" but "brute4s". In my opinion, it's all about insisting on the team's style, being very committed to what we do, and respecting our own work.
Another activity that really helped the team become united is called "the game hour". Every Friday, we reserved 2~3 hours to do activity other than our work together. Sometimes I brought boardgames to play, sometimes other team member brought movies to watch, and sometimes we just had dinner and chatted. With this special 2~3 hours, we got to know each other outside of work, and that really made us friends. In later semester, everyone was more willing to share and we established more and more team tacit understanding.
We built a very special team, and we were very confident in what we do. As the team's producer, I was so proud and very grateful to say that we had made the best picoCTF game.