The Wall: a game about Berlin during the Cold War

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The Wall is a stealth game based on the political climate of Cold War Germany and its effect on the citizens of Berlin. The game’s four levels reflect the structural evolution of the Berlin Wall and its “Death Strip”, with the addition of fortifications and improvements from a simple wire fence to the intimidating concrete structure that was razed in 1989. Players attempt to move as many East German defectors across the wall as possible without being detected by the guards, using historically accurate methods that were used to cross to the West. These methods include running, jumping from windows, ziplining, swimming, ballooning and tunneling.

The game uses more than 50 historical facts and real biographical portraits to gain a more personal insight into those who were successful and unsuccessful in crossing the Berlin Wall from its inception in 1961 to its fall in 1989.

It is our hope that The Wall will not only serve to educate and inform others but allow them to connect with and learn from the people and events of Germany in a time very different from how it is today.

Process

Development Time: Approx. 2 weeks
Team of four, including Wenyu Jiang, Artist

  1. Initial Concept (27 Nov. 2014)
    • After stuffing ourselves full of Thanksgiving dinner we, instead of passing out like any group of responsible people, returned to the ETC to design a game for change. We brainstormed and paper prototyped late into the night and by morning we had the initial concept for The Wall. The Wall is a stealth game in which players try to sneak East German defectors across the Berlin Wall.Our chief design goals are to educate our audience about the structural evolution of the Berlin Wall and the various means by which defectors crossed it via an engaging core mechanic.

      An early paper prototype of The Wall

      An early paper prototype of The Wall.

  2. Digital Prototype (9 Dec. 2014)
    • We’ve gotten the digital prototype up and running and are exploring our core mechanic in earnest. We are refining our team’s workflow as we do so, as Akshay mainly programs discrete parts of the level that Julian can manipulate in his working design. Scripting the guards’ vision cones to provide an engaging gameplay experience is currently our top design priority. We are also faced with the challenge of layering, since there are multiple ways across the wall but a limited amount of space on the screen that makes it cluttered when everything is shown at once. Balancing the difficulty and timers of each level is something else Julian will be considering as we refine the game.

      A screen shot of the digital prototype

      Digital prototype with placeholder art.

  3. Release (12 Dec. 2014)
    • With Wenyu Jiang on board, he came up with the clever idea of having the characters be like board game pieces, giving our game a unique style and removing the need for complicated character animations. Wenyu’s creative problem solving and amazing art really gave this game polish, style and finesse. This is a screenshot of our final version.

      thewallfinalart

      Final version of The Wall with art by Wenyu Jiang.

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