Trigger Trials is a small pixel art game I helped develop for a drug abuse intervention program. The participants would choose a character and wander around a park talking to friends who appear and sit on the benches. Faced with different situations, they would choose appropriate responses in a safe practice environment in preparation for more challenging real world scenarios.
We chose anthropomorphic animal characters as a way to further remove the game from the real life scenarios the participants would deal with, and to avoid issues with a lack of diversity negatively impacting participant experience. An avatar builder was out of scope for the project, so this was the best solution to give everyone a character they could embody.
All of the characters had the same animation set, allowing them to sit, walk in all four cardinal directions, and idle. The limited scope of the project influenced the limited animation, but the animations I produced allowed for a pleasing final look.
The character interaction screens were the backbone of the game play in the intervention, so special care was taken in their implementation. Character portraits and 3d boxes made these segments stand out, and animations directed the flow of the conversation. Small emotion tags next to the character portraits indicate how the characters were responding to the player input.
The players were given a small inventory of items, which mirrored real world resources provided to them in the wider intervention program, or taught elements like taking a break or calling for help.
After the game was finished the players were given a score based on how many friends they helped, and how well they helped them. They were offered the chance to replay so that they could choose different paths or methods and see their effect. The game was based on a time trial system, to keep its overall length in line with the overarching intervention.
All visual elements in this game were designed and produced by me, working with the evidence based program developed by the content and research teams at 3C Institute.