Design Lead

The Project

SnowDown is a memetic snowball fighting game made for the design competition Dare To Be Digital 2015. Basically, two people are standing in front of each other with their phones wirelessly connected. They can look around with their phones. If they look 'down', they see snow and can drag on the snow to make snowballs.

They then take out a snowball from their inventory, and throw the snowball by 'throwing' the actual phone. Imagine it like using a wiimote. Despite the fact that it was shown to the public in a festival, none of the phones were thrown onto a person or broke. Amazing.

the work

  • Design Lead
    • Experimental concepting focused on use of gyroscope and memetic play capabilities of smartphones.
    • Rapid iteration through prototyping and playtesting.
    • Helped with pitching team and concept to university and to competition.

What I learned

This was a huge experiment in exploring memetic gameplay. We first pitched the concept to the university and was chosen to represent the university and got chosen to be part of Dare, it was incredible to demo your game a large public audience that are not game-savvy.

Because of the nature of the game, we always had to stay and show off exactly how to play it but the fun thing about a competitive game that uses a nonstandard interaction is that both parties are, at first, on an even playing ground. I watched grandmothers beat their children at our game, it was incredible.

Ultimately, it was a success. The interaction chosen was very easy to pick up and by showing it once, both adults and children immediately understood the memetic nature of the interaction and can play very quickly. Whilst the game can seem shallow, some of the players did grasp the subtle details that we left such as the Spin mechanic and how direction of throws can change the ball. 

A handful immediately understood that the game was actually about watching your opponents in real life. Since the phone acted as your window to the game world, it is impossible to create snowballs and watch out for attacks. What a good player needs to do is to watch the opponent to see if they are attacking or creating snowballs whilst they are creating snowballs themselves.

The game exists in this liminal space, both digital and physical. This allows for mindgames and tricks impossible by the rules of the digital world to flourish and create a richer experience for both players. 

additional information

The gameplay trailer for SnowDown.

The original pitch video for SnowDown. May be better at clarifying mechanics but slightly different than final product in interactions.