Assignment: Character design and control

In this assignment you are matched with another student with somewhat complementary skills but you’ll be acting as both “artist” and “programmer”.

1- Without communicating, you have to come up with a novel control system for a character/avatar, delivering an actual playable program with placeholder graphics.

2- You will also come up with a novel design for a character/avatar, delivering usable visual assets and sounds. It has to be unrelated to the control system above.

3- Now you exchange your productions and you switch roles. Design a character based on your partner’s control system and implement a control system based on your partner’s designed character.

4- Work together to merge code and assets and deliver two playable things.


– Limit the communication to practical matters, the idea is to let a visual design dictate a control system and vice versa. You can negotiate in advance whether you want to work in 2D or 3D.

– By “novel” I mean: the visual and the controls don’t conform to established tropes and genres. Of course nothing is entirely new, you can build upon or subvert traditional tropes (a platformer with a twist, an orc on a unicycle…).

– You can add only the parts of the environment that are strictly necessary to activate the character. Don’t focus on level, world design, and goals yet.

– By character/avatar I don’t necessarily mean a creature with eyes and mouth but anything that embodies the player’s agency in the game world: a spaceship, an emergent ecosystem of plants, puzzle blocks, an indirect control system count as characters for the purpose of this assignment.

-Focus on the affordances of the character more than the narrative characterization. What are the verbs that identify the character?

-If you are uncertain about your designs and prototypes, you can produce more than one an let your partner pick one.