You can now compare what you think is the “correct” decision to thousands of other players. Are they wrong? Are you wrong? You can now see stats on decisions you make in-game. We want to know which ones players agreed on and which ones generated differences in opinion.
We also added more problems for you to address! 20 new dilemmas which will get you thinking what should I do? More moral problems! We’ve added more scenarios where you have to make tough choices about what’s right and what’s wrong, so that we can keep expanding on this aspect of gameplay and give you more difficult decisions to make.
Honestly, just check Steam everyday from the 7th to the 14th to check out some great games made in Ontario. There’ll be deals and streams all week!
I’ll be hosting two bonus streams about another game Sept. 12 5pm and 13th at 4pm (more on that later).
Data Collection Privacy
We also care about privacy, so we had to build our own custom system to track all the trolley problems.
We’re committed to making sure that our trolley problem game is as safe and secure as possible—we don’t track or store any personal information about our users. Only you see your decisions and how you compare to others. When you make a decision it’s recorded anonymously without any data attached to you.
If you’re interested in this we’ll talk about it on the first stream.
Play as the protector of animals, Potnia Theron, and save the life force of creatures from the ever-expanding presence of human settlements.
TOJAM 2021: FEELS LIKE A RERUN
TOJam’s theme for 2021 was “once more with feeling” and like with many game jam themes one can go anywhere with it. I chose to go into the past. What if we could replay history, but feel more for animals?
For the jam, I made a game in which you guide animal spirits to safer places over the course of hundreds of years. You are Potnia Theron, protector of animal spirits. who awakes when animals need guidance and protection.
Early development in the game
Whenever humanity builds permanent structures the local animals get pushed out of their natural habitat. It’s Potnia’s role to get those homeless animals to a safer place, away from the growing sprawl of humanity.
Animal spirits follow Potnia Theron in the game to get to safety, unless the animals get killed by human activity of course. As time progresses the obstacles to animals change, starting with snares and ending with vehicles and invisible pollutants.
The game asks: can animals stay safe despite the unsustainable suburban expansion in North America?
Motivation for the game’s theme
TOJam, like most game jams, are best done with a team. I went solo for this jam, which meant that the theme was entirely up to me.
I looked back at game ideas I’ve had in the past and combined one of them with the theme of the jam. The original idea was to create a corridor for humans to travel through as if they’re animals stuck in a preserve corridor. This was directly inspired by a day trip to Mono Cliffs outside of Toronto where I saw the sign pictured below.
The other idea stemmed from growing up in the suburbs where developments are named for what they destroyed (Deer Meadows, Glen Field, Forest Walk, and so on). As a teen I was told a benefit of the suburbs lies in the fact that it’s all nature around us and it’s not polluted like “gross” cities. That was so wrong.
I won’t go into all the reasons why modern car-based suburbs are so problematic so here’s a quick list to other resources:
So I decided that I would revisit the suburbs “once more with feeling” and make the player protect animals.
The start of the 1920 level in the game
The game spans hundreds of years, from “long ago” to 1820 all the way up to 2020 (and beyond!). Players show up at an increasing rate, at first it’s 100 years, then 50 years, then 25, and so on. This captures the increasing rate of environmental damage done to our planet from suburban expansion.
From ambitious experimentation to… walking
On this front, I’ll admit that my experiments failed (or worked, since I got results). I set out to try:
to make escort missions interesting;
integrating real-world geographic information;
trying some new toys from the Unity asset store.
Potnia Theron game level 2009
Escort missions are a slog for a few reasons, one such reason is that the NPC being escorted is always a slow idiot who does all the time. Sounds like ducks or rabbits right? I wanted to try making an escort mission that used shortcomings to its advantage. The followers in the game respawn on their own, so follower death only impacts the measurement of success and not failure of the mission.
I spent time making obstacles which eliminate the followers and even building a death counter. These were more of a hassle than something that enhanced the game play. Just like in escort missions.
Using real world data is something I’ve done before with Lethal Strike; this time I wanted to use it on a more human level instead of hundreds of meters in the air. My original thinking was to use actual suburbs from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA); however the tool I used to create the maps lacked the fidelity needed. I compromised by only using real-world topographic data.
So yes, the game is set in the Toronto area using real world map data.
New neighbourhood in the suburbs.
I went too far with the “toys” I got from the Unity asset store, so many that the project size balloon to be too massive to package for HTML5. I thought using existing assets would make up for doing the jam solo, but I think it would have made more sense to just start from scratch next time. Of course, some of the assets are useful for other projects I’m working on.
After all of this experimentation and failed game play outcomes I chose to categorize the game as a walking simulator on Itch.io.
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