A serious game that played with traditional Real-Time-Strategy (RTS) tropes developed over the course of 7 weeks as a University project, to be on display at a public showcase alongside other games. The team consisted of a game designer, two programmers (myself included), and two animators.

The design of Bleakwood strove to force the player to take the role of the mayor of the medival town of Bleakwood as it is under a week-long siege from other-worldly forces. They must weigh their options, balancing between sending enough fighters to ward off the enemy, while not sending too many volunteers such as to tire them out and lower their performance for future battles. If the defending forces suffer heavy losses, or are defeated entirely, the town loses morale, and less citizens will trust the player enough to stand up and fight for them.

An additional intentional point of design was to steer away from “micromanagement” aspects that traditional RTS games put a heavy focus on. By placing the player high up in the mayor’s manse and deny them any ability to interact once the battle begins, they are forced to watch helpless as other villagers do the fighting for them. This weighs on the player, and adds gravity to the decisions that they do have control over.

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(A caveat – this game was designed & developed to be on display at a showcase with supplementary posters/guides around areas of play and the developers discussing with players. Without these aids & aides, the game can seem very obtuse and strange. Which it is.)

Created 2014

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