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SUVAE'S ADVENTURE

A digital storytelling about acculturation

 

My Role:   Story Design, Scene Design, 3D Modeling & Development

Project State: Proof of Concept & Development

Special thanks to Ruoran Mu for illustration support!

 

"WhO WILL YOU BECOME when you ARE IN A different culture?"

 

             If we imagine acculturation as the intersection of two rivers, as one tiny drop of water, are you the one that is caught in the whirlpool and loses yourself, or the one that is having fun with the challenging waves? Raising this question to the public, Suvae's Adventure takes the form of an interactive storytelling, attempts to reflect the problems, the struggles, and also the great advantages resulting in the process of acculturation.

            The narrative where the protagonists must utilize different skills learned from different cultures to collect her book, illustrates the process of experiencing acculturation. Users explore in the world, collect objects, and decipher riddles in order to push the plots.  By depicting the process into an adventure story, I want to give those experiencing acculturation my understanding and sincere encouragement.

Because life itself is an adventure, and everyone is the hero in their story.

 

CONCEPT

This narrative discusses Acculturation which is about how people change when they encounter another group with a different culture.

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The story reflects the main stages in the process of acculturation. Audience will experience the changes from acculturation and start to question themselves that what does it really mean when we face another culture.

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*Spoilers Alert (Not much)*

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To find her book pages, Suvae wanders in the foreign land. 

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Changed by another culture, Suvae picks up a new skill and discover a new way to observe the world.

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Utilizing her skills, Suvae finds the entrance to the secret kingdom. 

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Changed so greatly, Suvae is not accepted by her original culture.

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In the endless darkness, Suvae's skill learned from the acculturation experience helps her find the way.

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Meeting herself at the very end, Suvae accepts who she is gladly.


KEYWORDS

"Eyeball"

In the first world, Suvae picked up an eyeball which gave her the ability to see the world differently. This is a metaphor of how we understand things in another culture’s way, which also brings the question: which world-view is real?

One plot I designed here is that Suvae needs to find pearls, which is something very precious to the locals in Kingdom Under The Sea. She can not find any 

Some rare and precious things the local creatures desire are actually in their world,  but only can be seen through an outsider’s eyes.

 

"Scroll"

Figure out the history from the book page.

Figure out the history from the book page.

Use the book page you find to help solve the puzzle.

Use the book page you find to help solve the puzzle.

Find out the big secret when finishing collecting every page.

Find out the big secret when finishing collecting every page.

The inspiration of the Book is from the palm-leaf manuscript, one of the ancient writing materials in South Asia.

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"LANGUAGE"

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"SHADOW"

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Seeing a different world through the eyeball is a metaphor of how we understand things in another culture’s way,which also brings the question: which world-view is real?

Some rare and precious things the local creatures desire are actually in their world, but only can be seen through an outsider’s eyes.

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Development Process

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Paper prototype 1

After doing the initial research about culture shock and the third-culture, I focused on how people make decisions and how people choose when they face cultural conflicts. I created a paper-based adventure game where the protagonists need to resolve cultural conflicts by solving puzzles. They collect objects and try to utilize the objects to avoid creatively violating both their own cultural values and the new cultural values.

The playtests received copies of feedback about game mechanics. My players were confused about their goals at the beginning and gave unexpected solutions. For example, every player I tested chose to kill characters to achieve their goal. The cultural values such as the local people can not touch apple, did not make sense to them. The paper prototype cannot show clearly the clickable area and limit players’ actions. The freedom to let players choose their cultural values at the beginning of the game created a lot randomness and made the game hard to control. A detailed narrative was lacking from the game, as result many elements in the game were very random and ambiguous.

Paper prototype 2

In order to create an interesting play experience, I started to study game design. At the same time, I found the perfect word “acculturation” that expressed the situation and the changes taking place when and after experiencing several different cultures. Digging deeper into this domain, I changed my adventure game into a card game with two types of culture cards and function cards like “Assimilation”, “Integration”, “Separation”, and “Marginalization” which were based on Berry’s fourfold mode. Players need to use function cards to impact the culture cards in other player’s hands. Testing it with several people, I learned that my users found it difficult and tedious because of the extremely abstract academic rules. Most testers considered the first prototype more fun to play and also highly related to my concept of acculturation. I believe the format of digital storytelling is more suitable for this theme.

Visual Prototype (2D)

Prototype1 (3D)

Prototype 2 (3D)