Homunculus Love

This game was created as a submission to the Foundations of Digital Games conference with two other Graduate students. The game is a dating app simulation that was meant to be a commentary of online social interaction. In our design process, we wanted to take a specific online interaction, online dating and designed a specific interaction that would take it to absurd levels. We wanted every aspect of your interaction to be ridiculous, such as making the player’s suitors monsters, in an effort to break down a person’s hesitation and make them pick uncharacteristic options.

Click here to play in your Firefox browser! – http://boncreate.com/hom/

The role I played in making this game was UX/UI designer, Programmer, writer, and logo designer. The artwork was created by other members on the team.

In working on the project it was important that the UX/UI felt immersive, allowing players to dive deep into the story. To do so, I did a copious amount of research on Messaging and Chat apps online such as Facebook Messenger, Google Chat, and various dating platforms like OK Cupid. In looking at those interfaces we found various elements that felt similar and put them all in a mock-up. That mock-up was tested through a paper prototype in order to find any missing pieces. In doing so we found that the process for setting up the players name, description, etc was an important feature that was needed to make the player feel immersed.

After reviewing the playtesting notes and the survey data, we were ready to start building the game. Once we had a prototype ready, we conducted more research in both playtesting the game, watching players as they interact with the program, and with a quantitative survey afterward. With this we made changes to the size of the chat and created a minimize function for the chat, allowing users to minimize it and read the profile.

Through repeating this process multiple times we were able to create a game that felt like using a messenger app website, allowing for users to dive deeper into the narrative, rather than feel like they are trying to understand how the program is laid out.