Submitted By:
Poof Productions

Watch Their Video
Game Type:
Cause
Game Platform:
Windows (Flash 10)
Class:
Non-Professional
Credits:
Rik Ederhardt

Team Leader

Chuang Xuejin

Producer

Anna Loparev

Designer

Wong Chang You

Programmer

Lin Yuanqin

Programmer

Brandon Cebanka

Artist

Rini Ong Zhi Qiuan

Artist

Steve Setiawan, Jap

Artist

Rich Vreeland

Audio Engineer

Eunice Khoo

QA Lead

Kevin Driscoll

Research Assistant

Game Title:
Waker




“Poof Production’s Indie
Game Challenge Experience
WHAT WAS THE IGC EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR POOF PRODUCTIONS?

It was an amazing experience. Being an IGC finalist not only gave us a chance to get word out about the game, but also provided an opportunity to meet other game developers. I really enjoyed my time at DICE and at the IGC awards ceremony. I met a multitude of amazing people, I went to several enlightening lectures, and I got to do an interview with Adam Sessler. I’ll never forget this great experience.



WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO 2011 IGC ENTRANTS?

I would say believe in your game, believe in your team, and believe in yourself. If you think that you have a great game, then show it to some people. If they think it’s a great game, then go for it and enter the contest. There’s little to lose and lots to gain. Even if you don’t get chosen as a finalist, don’t let it discourage you from continuing to do what you love.



WHAT UNEXPECTED BENEFITS CAN FINALISTS EXPECT?

Networking. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I learned that I was going to DICE to show off the game. However, once I got there it became clear that there were a lot of people in the industry willing to talk to me. Everyone has their own story and opinions and most are willing to share them with you. In addition, it’s a great way not only to show everyone how awesome your game is, but to also show off how awesome you are.



AS PLAYERS YOURSELF, WHICH 2010 FINALIST GAME DID YOU ENJOY MOST?

I really enjoyed Miegakure. I’m a fan of puzzle games and this one really caught my attention with its unique manipulation of space.



WHAT IS THE LATEST NEWS FROM POOF PRODUCTIONS?

Since the team was put together for GAMBIT’s summer program, we are currently not working on any new games. However, Waker and its counterpart Woosh are currently being used in research to see if narrative helps kids learn.



Game Background
Game Description:

Waker is an arcade-platform game that weaves players through dreams of a child trapped by her own dreams. To break the child free, players need to solve puzzles by creating ‘platforms’ to get to unreachable places. Assisting players are various devices (orbs in the game) that change the nature of how these platforms are drawn. Players are required to use some of their wits, as well as creativity, to figure out how to draw these platforms. Of course, it is not as simple as it seems. Players will find it a challenge to control the devices to draw the platform. In addition, players are tested in their reflexes in which they have to avoid obstacles laid in their paths. Players are rewarded with a finale of the story after completing all 3 worlds.



Despite the challenging game play, the main aim of the game is to teach or expose players, particularly high school students, to certain science theories. If one were to seat back for a moment and think about the game mechanics, he/she will realize that it is actually displacement and velocity behind the drawing mechanics. Once players understand the mechanics, drawing the platforms will be a breeze. Hopefully, with this knowledge, high school students can help digest these science theories easily in classrooms.



What was your inspiration for making the game?

Our inspiration actually came from our product owner, Scot Osterweil. His instruction was this: teach these science theories in a manner that players can infinitely repeat without time limit and can have multiple ways to solve the game. That was it. And Waker was born based on these principles from Scot.



How is your game unique from others out there?

It is an educational-game hidden in a platform-arcade & puzzle game! I don’t think there are many educational games out there that are NOT like your traditional educational games. Players’ jaws drop when they are told Waker is actually an educational game. It’s actually very rewarding when we see their reaction!



How long did it take you to make your game?

It took us 2 months, or the entire Summer internship programme at MIT GAMBIT Labs.



What was the hardest part about making it?

I guess it was making the game teach players on displacement and velocity, without being explicit. It was also a challenge to include hints, since a handful of players could not figure out the way to draw the platform. These hints can’t be too obvious for players to figure out the mechanic straight way, or too subtle for players else they will still the clueless.



Any other unique or interesting facts about your game we should know about?

I personally think it will change the way we think about educational games!



How did you pick the name of your game?  Did you have any others in mind?

We had a handful of names to choose from, but after we saw our artist’s interpretation of Waker in the ‘logo’ form, we just stuck with it.



Questions for the Team Leader
Hometown?

Port Charlotte, FL, USA



College?

Wellesley College



What is your gaming background?

My first video game was the original Doom. Since then I have acquired a NES, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, PS2, PSP, and PS3. I used to be into shooters, but within the last couple of years I have embraced the RPG and puzzle genres.



How long have you and your teammates known each other?  What’s the story behind how your team got together?

Our team was formed through the summer program at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, so most of us didn’t know each other until orientation. Our first task as a team was to tell a story based on an existing video game IP through 20 photographs. It was a fun way for everyone to learn about each other and get a feel for the team dynamic.



What game or games are you playing right now?

My roommate and I have been working through the Metal Gear Solid franchise for a while now, so I am mainly playing Metal Gear Solid 4. I also tend to play Guitar Hero or Rock Band on Fridays. Besides these, I’ll sometimes just look through my game collection and see which unfinished games I feel like playing.



What is your favorite all-time game?

This is a tough question, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Starfox 64. The gameplay is addictive. Plus, the game itself is short and highly replayable. It’s great because you don’t need a lot of time to finish it, but it’s still rewarding and fun.



What is your least favorite all-time game?

I can’t think of any games that I have played that I disliked enough to stand out in my memory. I’ve seen reviews for some pretty bad ones, but I can’t really say which I would consider the worst.



First video game system you owned?

If you don’t count my old MS-DOS computer, then it was an NES. I only had two games for it: a Disney game and Mario Bros. 3.



Current system you spend the most time playing?

I mostly play my PS3. Since it is fully backward compatible, I use it for my PS1, PS2, and PS3 games.



When you and your team aren’t making awesome games, what other hobbies are you involved in?

Since many of the people on my team were from Singapore, we did a lot of sightseeing around Boston, including lots of eating out and a trip to a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert. There were also plenty of Rock Band and cooking nights.



Team Photos