This week was all about words. I wrote the first draft of my thesis body, generated a more detailed narrative, and made lots of diagrams and charts!
Accountability buddy meeting
Lauren and I scheduled weekly Slack check-ins on Saturdays to make sure we can catch up every week. This week, she helped me improve my outline. You can read it as a PDF.
So far, almost 3,000 words have been written in my thesis. Feel free to have a peek at the current status on Google Drive or download it as a PDF. It’s still largely a work in progress. I even continued to modify the outline as I wrote. A lot of sections don’t have many words yet, but the content is beginning to feel more solid.
I need to nail down the actual number of words needed for the paper. Some have said it’s between 10,000 and 15,000 while others don’t know. I’m currently not sure I heard that number from my professor or read it in a book. Stress is ridiulous, y’all.
I fleshed-out the environment and characters in the game through research, wireframing, and good ol’ spreadsheets. I specifically focused on designing the environment first, knowing it’d heavily impact the characters.
The story of SenseU takes place in an imaginary town off the northwest coast of Washington with a population of about 5,500. The town consists of a rural area, a small downtown area with several shops and large mall, as well as an undergraduate college with a 30-acre campus. The town’s median age is 31.
The main character’s college is a private, secular, national-level undergraduate school called the University of Sustainable Engineering, Natural Science, and Education. The school is colloquially known as “SENSE U”. A large portion of the town’s population consists of SENSE U students.
SENSE U’s campus has 10 educational buildings and 5 dorm buildings. The ten educational buildings include a lecture hall, one building for each field of study (Sustainable Engineering, Natural Science, and Education), a library, a research center, a common building for student unions and clubs, a gymnasium, a dining hall, and a medical facility.
According to recent studies, SENSE U is the 15th-most prestigious undergraduate school in the USA. Approximately 10,000 people apply to attend the school each year. The acceptance rate is quite low at 600 freshmen per year for a total of approximately 6%.
Students attending SENSE U can choose to major in Psychology, Biology, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Art Education, Science Education, or Mathematics Education. Because of the rigorous courses, approximately 350 students out of a 600-person class will graduate from SENSE U.
Before refining character conflicts, I created a spreadsheet containing a list of primary, secondary, and tertiary characters. The spreadsheet includes various information about characters. Some examples of included information are name, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, appearance, and biography. This exercise helped me create well-rounded characters.
The game’s primary and secondary characters are:
- You (primary character), an American sophomore from a city outside Washington. You are studying Psychology. You use grants and scholarships to pay for tuition but also work as an RA to pay for the remaining education costs.
- Efe Turay, a bisexual second-generation Nigerian sophomore. Efe was born in New York City and is studying Mathematics Education. She gets through school mostly through a scholarship but works as an RA to pay for the remaining tuition and education costs. In addition to her study, she learns Japanese and attends the Japanese culture club.
- Ahanu “Han”, a straight American freshman of Algonquian descent. Han’s family lives in Massachusetts. He plans to become an active member of a fraternity. In addition to his Civil Engineering studies, he plans to continue pursing sports after winning a scholarship for playing football.
- Gaiya Brose, a straight white American freshman from Montana. Gaiya’s parents are strict Christians. She strongly believes in waiting until marriage. Gaiya is studying Biology and actively participates in the Japanese culture club.
- Louis Hayford, a gay Trinidadian sophomore. Louis moved to the United States with his family in 1996. His family doesn’t know about his religion or sexuality. In addition to studying Mechanical Engineering, Louis is also in a jazz band.
- Jade Sepulveda, a gay freshman. Jade is a second-generation Bolivian transwoman from Virginia. Her family doesn’t know about her religion or sexuality. In addition to studying Computer Science, Jade sings for a band and organizes a monthly feminist roundtable.
- Noah Matsuoka, a bisexual freshman. Noah is a third-generation Japanese-American student from California. His family isn’t particularly religious, but they are quite well-off. In addition to his Science Education studies, Noah participates in a gaming club.
- Griffin Cooper, a pansexual freshman. Griffin is a Black-American genderqueer student from Georgia. They won a business undergratuate scholarship to attend school. In addition to studying Mechanical Engineering, they participate in the LGBTQ club and host dance parties.
- Javier Barraza, a gay freshman studying Computer Science. Javier is a third-generation Dominican transman from the New York City. He is an avid yoga practitioner and organized LGBTQ events at his high school. He hopes to find less discrimination in college and plans to continue participating in LGBTQ events.
- Rishika Pradhan, a straight sophomore. Rishika is from India and majors in Biology. Her family sent her to school in America in order for her to get “the best education”. She has previously studied in Britain, Germany, and Australia. Her family prepared enough money to send her to international schools, as they own a manufacturing company. She aims to work in the United States or London once she graduates.
- Nolann Rheem, a straight sophomore. Nolann is a bi-racial, Black-identified student from another small town in Washington. He was the constant focus of racial insults as a child and feels strongly about racial equality. He funnels events from his past into his artistic work. His parents completely fund his education. He is unsure of his future, but he wants to continue to be artistic. Nolann is studying Art Education.
Next, I created a diagram based on the list of conflicts I mentioned last week. This diagram shows character relationships as well as the conflicts they will experience.
See the larger version of the diagram for more in-depth details.
After diagramming the characters, I then proceeded to write conflict descriptions for each scene in the game.
Scene 0: Introduction
The semester is about to begin and you move in.
Scene 1: Health & Human Development
- Jade failed to find anyone to hook up with at a welcome party and is frustrated. She needs help figuring out where to go to find people.
- Louis and Noah hooked up after the welcome party. Noah disappeared afterward. Louis and isn’t sure how to deal with the situation.
- Gaiya met Han at a party and found him attractive. She is starting to question her choice to wait until marriage.
Scene 2: Neuropsychology of Behavior
- Nolann is feeling frustrated about both school and his appearance. He is finding it difficult to cope.
- Gaiya needs advice regarding ways to deal with sexual thoughts.
- Griffin wants to come out about their genderqueer identity.
- Noah wants to come out about being bisexual but is afraid of being judged.
Scene 3: Human Genetics & Biology
- Gaiya is excited because she and Han made out at a party. It got a little awkward because she isn’t the best kisser. However, he asked her on a date and she said yes. She needs advice regarding ways to get better at kissing and how to move forward with their relationship.
- Rishika is unsure of how to make Nolann feel comfortable with his body. They were going to have sex after meeting after a party, but he backed out because he thought she wouldn’t like the way he looked naked. She wants to understand ways to make him feel attractive that involve the chest, back, ears, and neck.
- Jade met Griffin at a party and they hit it off instantly. Some close dancing and touching ensued before she found out that Griffin doesn’t identify as female. She’s not sure what that means and needs help.
- Javier and Louis are interested in each other after briefly meeting at a party. They plan to go on a date soon, and he knows that will probably lead to sex. Javier is nervous about being naked in front of Louis and wants advice.
- Han thinks he might have a minor lower-body STI after hooking up with someone a few weeks ago. He needs help dealing with it before things get serious with Gaiya.
Scene 4: Writing Seminar: Love and Trouble
- Gaiya was touching herself when her roommate (Rishika) came in. She feels ashamed.
- Noah and Efe started seeing each other after running into each other at the Japanese culture club. He wants advice about safe oral sex, especially after hearing about Han’s STI.
- Louis is about to have his first experience with anal sex and is nervous.
- Rishika needs advice about vaginal sex to prepare for her date with Nolann.
- Griffin needs advice regarding sexual activities they can do with Jade.
Scene 5: Language and Law
- Rishika wants to ask Nolann to have sex with her but is unsure if he’ll say yes. She needs encouragement.
- Gaiya and Han slept together. She wonders if she did the right thing.
- Nolann wasn’t in the mood to have sex. He wonders if he should’ve said yes just to please Rishika.
- Rishika asked Nolann to have sex with her. He said no. She’s unsure if she should ever ask a guy for sex again.
- Efe is unsure if she consented to sex with Noah at a party. She was very drunk.
- Louis is hurting after a sexual encounter with Javier turned violent.
- Noah is unsure if Efe consented to sex with him at a party. He was drunk and assumed she’d said yes.
Scene 6: Anthropology
- Rishika is angry because Gaiya keeps sexiling her without advance warning.
- Griffin had a negative interaction with Gaiya and wants to make her understand what identifying as genderqueer means.
- Jade decides to break up with Griffin when she can’t reconcile the fact that Griffin is sexually attracted to other people on campus. She’s not ready for a polyamorous relationship.
- Gaiya decides to reflect on her beliefs after her experiences with Han and a discussion with Griffin about gender.
- Nolann is angry because Rishika made an assumption about his sexual proclivity. She assumed he’d want to have sex because he’s Black, but he’s not interested in sex at all. He wants to break up with her and needs help figuring out how to communicate.
- Javier is furious after Jade breaks up with Griffin. He thinks it’s partially because Griffin doesn’t identify as a woman. Javier thinks Jade should know better than anyone that gender isn’t set in stone.
- Louis finds out Noah is bisexual. He doesn’t believe Noah since they slept together.
Scene 7: Ending
The semester ends.
You can see a timeline of these events below:
See the larger version of the diagram for more in-depth details.
That’s all for now. Next, I’m writing out the first conversations and putting them into the game. Peace out!