The profesor has gone missing on an alien planet! Giant Mecha NAO is landing on the planet to look for her. Listen to him report back what he sees through his mini-NAO avatar. Help him search by telling him where to go and solving puzzles!
For Global Game Jam 2013, Angelica Lim and I worked together to create an interactive story and puzzle game using a humanoid robot called NAO.
The gameplay is similar to classic text-based adventure games, but the story is told entirely through speech and sound effects.
Players interact by telling NAO what they want him to do.
We wanted to create a fun proof-of-concept, demonstrating the potential of using robots for interactive storytelling.
By avoiding visuals altogether, the player has to use their imagination. Sound effects and music help them imagine the world.
The total development time was less than 18 hours. I worked on the game design and puzzles while Angelica used the Choreographe tool to implement everything.
NAO's functions can be used together to create a richer story:
Moving to illustrate what he's seeing - looking up to a huge waterfall, down to things on the ground
Miming interaction with items - moving his arms to indicated pressing buttons, opening boxes
Using gestures to show options for interaction - pointing towards paths and items that the player can choose from
Changing lights depending on the environment - green for forests, blue when he's near water
Playing atmospheric music and sound effects for each area
First scene in the game has Nao Landing
We tried to use different methods of interacting with NAO to create a variety of puzzles.
Anagram - Players have to write down letters in the real world to unscramble the password to a lockbox in the imagined world. Then when say the password to NAO, the box unlocks.
Music - NAO maps the sensors on his hands and feet to buttons within the imagined world. When players touch his hands and feet, notes are played. Players have to listen to the melody in one area and repeat it through NAO.
Email images - We used NAO's email functionality to send players an image from the imagined world. Players had to search the image for what to do next. This was the only visual requirement of the game and could be skipped by visually impaired players.
Voice recording - Wake up the professor when NAO records your voice!
Things we wanted to add
Time constraints meant we couldn't add everything in the time. Here's what we wanted to add next:
Walking animation for moving between scenes.
A puzzle involving players posing NAO into the right shape to unlock a door.
More things to interact with in each scene. Similar to point and click adventure games, it would be more immersive if NAO could say a line of dialogue about each item within a scene.
Global Game Jam
We used the Global Game Jam heartbeat theme as the link to the professor who the players are trying to rescue. At the start of the game players hear the heartbeat, and at the end as they get close to the professor it's played again.
We also fulfilled three of the diversifiers:
6. I'm Board: Puzzles inspired by Scrabble and Simon says board games.
12. Approved for all audiences: The game is entirely non-violent.
13. Inclusive: Naovatar is completely accessible to visually impaired players.