In this alternate world, you play as Fungy, a mushroom who realizes their plant friends are dying in a world with rapidly changing climate. Armed with the ability to several rhetorical strategies, Fungy travels to the capital of the USZ to convince others to do something about climate change. Empathize or flame characters. Provide real facts or alternative facts. Do whatever it takes to persuade people to join your cause!
Fungy was created during my time as a game designer at Fourcast Lab with a wonderful team. I was the designer and programmer. The initial goal of our project was to have players engage with climate change from a new perspective. What we came up with was a 2D RPG that revolves around rhetoric, persuasion, and a deep understanding of how people's perspectives impact their environmental decisions.
Fungy is constructed around the complexities of conversation and cooperation, two of the most vital pieces of progress towards overcoming climate change issues. More specifically, Fungy with complex concepts such as personal interests, stereotypes, stale-mate arguments, etc.. The premise of introducing the mushroom as a main character is to convey the experience of being an individual alienated by its community, but nevertheless affected by their environment. As an insignificant mushroom attempts to convince their peers to help combat climate change, players are inclined to find relevance by using various communication tactics such as empathy, facts, anger, etc. Different tactics stimulate different outcomes, and different outcomes reveal different perspectives.
Fungy is the biggest project that I have worked on thus far. It started off as just a twine game, and then we asked, "why can't this be an RPG?" It was a good learning experience to practice with tilemaps, pixel art, and building large scale architectures and systems.
There are a few things I wish had gone differently, of course. First of all, as the programmer, I didn't bother setting anyone else on the team up with Unity collaboration. Since the game started small, I thought that teaching everyone how Unity works would not have been very useful. As the project became larger and larger, I was very wrong. Towards the end of the project, I was being sent tons of art and dialogue to implement since I was the one with Unity. This was definitely my fault. Lesson learned!
The other thing issue was that as the architecture changed, I did not change the way that code was structured. I could practically hear my Computer Science professors scolding me! Things that used to connect and could reasonably go in one script no longer connected. Overtaken with the urge to progress rather than restructure, I continued and ended up with a 1,000+ line file that definitely should not need be that long. Finally, as our project's ideas expanded, we started reaching for more and more. I wouldn't exactly say that feature creep kicked in, but we were definitely unrealistic about our deadline. We only had a month, and towards the end of it, I was working 12 hours straight and even through weekends on it. As my boss said, “you guys need to learn how to say no to yourselves.” Lesson learned again! Hopefully we can bring all those ideas to life in the future.