The New School Archives Digital Collections

Related people/organizations

Colleen Macklin (thesis advisor)
Nicholas Fortugno (thesis advisor)
Pierce Wolcott (designer)
Parsons the New School for Design. Design & Technology Dept. (sponsoring body)


May 13 2015


Designer's statement: Totem is an expressive FPS, A first person shooter without the shooting where you interact with nature by drawing symbols. Using gesture-drawing interfaces, players cast alchemic reactions that manipulate the environment and affect other characters. Whenever players begin drawing, they receive constant feedback on what gesture will be recognized. Likewise the effects of their alchemy will vary depending on the speed and accuracy of their drawing. The alchemy system’s symbols are designed so that the component strokes have related effects. Logical symbol structure trees give users control over the strength of their alchemic reactions. Through objectives that confront player’s humanity and relationship to nature, Totem’s game mechanics teach players to control the complexity of an untamed power. Step into the wilderness in search of a runaway friend. Uncover why animal spirits are possessing human children. Choose your goals to find out where your powers come from and who the real monsters are. What will you have to sacrifice to help your friend escape? Games create non-player characters that are the objects of our interactions. They are the tools that the system uses to push back on the player. But are human players really so different. These woods are filled with bandits, other runaways looking for their friends and family. Your alchemy will have different effects on bandits with free will and those who are bound by fate. Use your power wisely.



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