When Rivers Were Trails

Roles: Level Design, Gameplay Design, Writer, Programmer

Tools used: Unity, C#, Ink Narrative Software

  • This game was contracted by the Indian Land Tenure Foundation to create a game based on the 1890’s Allotment Act. In it, an Anishinaabeg is forced to leave their home in Minnesota and travel to California. The goal was to bring awareness to the history of Native Americans as well as follow the K-12 Curriculum provided by the foundation.
  • My first task was to play a lot of The Oregon Trail. I took notes on how it worked and what made it work in the first place. Considering this game was more turn by turn instead of a steady rhythm like The Oregon Trail, it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for.
  • My next assignment and my main goal for the entirety of the project was to help create levels for a canoeing mini game that would be used for transportation within the game. 12 levels were made originally, one for each map in-game, but that was changed to just being cycled randomly throughout the game so that a chance at seeing a more varied set of levels was possible.
  • Each level has a different theme, such as:
    • One that focuses on trying to avoid beavers which can move back and forth
    • Or another that focuses on restricting your path so that its more of a test of quick skill
    • Or even a level that was a group of obstacles that were long and not wide so that making sudden left and right movements were harder because obstacles weren’t as short.
  • When Rivers Were Trails was curated for the “Narrative Innovation Showcase,” Game Developers Conference, March 18-22, 2019, San Francisco, California, United States.

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