Early on in development there were certain things I knew my game must have; one of these things is relatable player characters. I remember playing Monopoly with family and friends and there being arguments about who got to be the car or the top hat. I wanted my player pieces to be memorable and for the people playing to have a vested interest in them. That meant developing personalities and back stories. The challenge came in crafting these characters, not so much as stereotypes, but people you could either relate to directly or know of someone who the character would remind you of.
In my first round of prototype development I cannibalized a $20 Ludo game I saw when I entered a game and hobby store looking for dice. I used those player pieces to work out and develop the initial game mechanics.
While testing was in full swing I approached a friend of mine to help with the character illustrations, I told him what characters I wanted and what they were supposed to represent and he went to work. After he completed the line work, I then added the colours and backgrounds. I am very pleased with the result of our collaborative effort. I wanted to work with other talented artists to bring this project to life. The goal of the game is not only about preserving Trinidad and Tobago culture, but showcasing the huge talent pool we have here. With groups like We Does Draw, we have access to some of the best artists in the country who are are more than capable of producing work of an international standard to compete in the global market. Why look any further?
By the time I got to this current iteration of the game, the player pieces had taken on lives and personalities of their own. With the help of a very intelligent and enthusiastic 12 year old, we developed stats and attributes based on the characters' personalities and back stories; this added a whole new dimension to the game and game play. I think that story is an important part of game design, (at least in my game), I believe this adds so much more to the overall gaming experience. While observing play tests, I’ve seen people build on the initial stories and create hilarious scenarios for their chosen characters, making the game infinitely more enjoyable and memorable. The game is not just about Carnival, but also about the people associated with the festival as well. At least, that’s my goal… time will tell.