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Narrative Designer - Sound Designer - Game Writer
Moon Rock Café
4 weeks (2022)
A chaotic restaurant simulator set in space. The player takes on the role of Penny, an aspiring waitress equipped with no less than four arms. The player must handle the tasks of a restaurant server in such way as to ensure her boss's reputation remains intact in this lighthearted, but hectic experience that is Moon Rock Café.
EARN AND SPEND
Spend your earnings on unique upgrades.
Keep up, the customers have limited patience.
How far can you get until you get overwhelmed?
Seat the customers at a suitable table.
Take their orders based on their food allergies.
Make sure to serve the correct dish!
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Writing the story and characters for this game presented specific challenges, since the narrative aspect of a game like this was limited. This was in no way something negative as it gave me new understandings of how to work as a narrative designer. Since there was no need for complex story outlines or plot twists in this project, I had to adapt and be efficient in other ways. For example, dialogues had to be kept short, to the point and of course relevant to gameplay. Working on this was a great challenge as it pushed me to evolve as a story teller.
"No longer than 3 lines"
This was a rule I set for myself when writing out the dialogues in order to stay true to our design pillar, FAST PACED.
It was important to keep the dialogues lighthearted and in tone with the artstyle and audio design of the game.
Tutorial as a trial run at work
The purpose of the tutorial is not only to teach the player the mechanics of the game, it is also designed to effectively tell a story. With this in mind, I decided to make the tutorial into a trial run at work for the main character.
In terms of gameplay experience, this involves the player learning the mechanics under the pressure of their boss constantly ordering them around and only hiring the player if they are able to go a full day following his instructions and managing their tasks.
Making the music for this game required alot of adapting. I was working closely with my team, constantly seeking feedback to ensure that the soundtracks would match the visual feeling of the game. Key words we agreed on was mellow, calm and "spacey". After many iterations, I finalized two soundtracks which the team felt enhanced the game experience.
While the first iteration of the Ingame track met the "Mellow" and "Calm" requirements, the team expressed some concerns about the track not sounding "spacey" enough. I took this feedback to heart and reworked the soundtrack, keeping the same vibe but replacing some of the instruments. For example, I removed the guitar and flute and added synth pads instead.
Cutting the low end frequencies on the synth pads and adding some reverb shaped the sound in the direction I wanted and added that "spacey" vibe we were looking for.
Allergies as a unique touch
As we didn't want this to just be another restaurant simulator, we came up with the idea of the alien races being allergic to different ingredients. This steered the gameplay in the direction we wanted, although the process of designing the allergies and conveying them to the player required some iterating, especially on the UI.
In the final iteration we decided to move the allergies bar from the bottom to the top of the allergy panel popup, since playtesting showed us that the allergies was the first thing a player would benefit from noticing on the screen in a hectic game like this.