Sorcerers and Champions is a two versus two competitive chessboard, sword fighting makey-makey game, consisting of several hand made props. During the third round of the two-week rotations for a course named “Building Virtual Worlds” a team of five was tasked at creating a world with Makey-Makey in one week. This round was called “Lightning round” due to it’s fast turn around time.
Role: Game Designer
- Concepted and paper prototyped with play-testers different design ideas, and infrastructural layouts planning the physical design of the makey-makey.
- Brainstormed and design player interactions, game rules, and turn phases.
- Created physical assets by manipulating Styrofoam, cardboard, metal, and other materials within a wood shop.
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Wood Shop
Below follows a detailed description of the entire process.
- Task, Goal
- Game Design Document
- Concepts & Paper Prototypes
- Designing the physical map
- Sorcerer’s and Champions Chess
Create a game using Makey-Makey technology in one week.
Create a fun game which utilized the physical capabilities of the Makey-Makey.
During this one week sprint, I was tasked of creating a game. After talking within my team and roles we’d take throughout the project, I started working on concepts and the first thing that came to mind during our brainstorming was knights, and sword fighting. The team loved the idea so I went and devised a quick backstory for our game.
Once upon a time there ruled a fire god who ruled the land and a water goddess who ruled the sea. They lived in perfect harmony until humanity was born. During the conception of humanity, the humans loyalties were split, for they could not honor two gods. Because of this, war broke out throughout the humans due to perceived superiority and lives were lost on both sides. The gods being caring of their followers grew angry once they discovered their own blood had been bled. They decided to rise up and thus a war was born. God against God. But, the gods were too evenly matched. Their human mages devised spells for each god to strengthen their arsenal but it did not help. The war still continues today, but there is a prophecy. If a god can procure all of the spells throughout the world and deliver them to their god, a scepter will be born. A scepter powerful enough to create a new world, or erase an ancient one.
After coming back the following day, I pitched my backstory to the team. They loved it. The pitch session brainstormed a multiplicity of new exciting ideas and we decided to move onto concepts and paper prototypes for the idea.
The first day, I experimented with different layouts of the map. The team and I knew we wanted the game to be physical which involved body movement around a large map. We also knew we wanted the game to be multiplayer. We decided on four people so I started experimenting with maps to facilitate four players.
Rules – Play Test 01
- Players start on the corresponding areas on the maps. (Player 1 starts here)
- Players each start with one random spell. Other spells are distributed randomly on the map, unbeknownst to the players.
- Movement can happen any direction, except diagonally.
- Movement is decided be rolling one six sided die.
- Each player will start the game with a weapon with a range of one space in order to fight other players.
- Once players are next to each other they must attack each other on the count of 3, 2, 1, Go. The first player to either step off their space or get hit in the stomach loses and must give up their spell to the other player. One spell per battle.
- When battling players can be diagonal to start a fight.
- In the middle of the board is the magic scepter, which the gods need to use the spells to obtain the scepter and have the most spells for three turns (not in a row) is the victor.
- Players start the game with 3 health and can only go up to 5.
Spells: What we learned
When play-testing we learned one of the weakest and most frustrating aspects of the game were the spells.
- Some spells were too overpowered
- No spell cooldowns
- When a player has a lot of spells, there aren’t a lot of game mechanics in place to help other players catch up. Who ever steps on the right tiles first wins. A little random. Doesn’t feel that good.
- Not enough spells?
After play-testing the various map layouts and the spell combinations we discovered that the square version not only worked the best but would be the easiest to build. We started to design what the finished map would look like and so we continued our research into the strengths and weaknesses of the Makey-Makey platform.
Makey-Makey Strengths and Weaknesses
- Inanimate object connectivity compatibility
- Cheap $
- Single Input Interactivity
- Loose and weak wiring
Half way through the week and the team and I started to work in the workshop provided to us. We started conception for how big the tiles would need to be, how much weight they needed to hold, how many makey-makey’s we needed, and how much conductive material we would need. The results were way more than we originally anticipated.
First set of problems
We discovered that our original designs would take too long to create and too much money to procure so we had to go back to the drawing board. We thought for the next day about how to alter the design to a way smaller scale. We needed to decide quickly because we needed to create the board and then test to make sure everything was working as intended. Due to the time limitations we quickly concluded how to make the game smaller.
We decided to boil the version of the game from a full human scale to a chess board. We would still include 4 players but in teams of 2 vs 2. Two people would be playing the chess board with their perspective pieces and the other two players would fight when the chess pieces are next to each other. They would fight with made sword fighting equipment. Keep in mind that everything is connected to makey-makey which is connected to a computer.
What we had to remove
Unfortunately, due to the time constraints we needed to remove quite a few things for ease of transition to our new design. We removed, monsters, spells, traps and boons. We replaced them with treasures. All of the same rules apply except now the objective of the game is to retrieve and retain the most treasures. Treasure can be procured from opponents the same way as originally, through battle.
Final problems and solutions
The rest of the week went by extremely quickly. We finally had made the chess board, discovered how to wrap each individual chess piece with conductive material for the makey-makey and we solved how to attach the makey-makey in a neat way while at the same time making the game moveable without breaking all of the connections. During our final presentation at the end of the week for this game, we had a few connection errors but were able to locate the problem and we overall we received a good grade!
Sorcerer’s and Champions Final Video
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this game journey!