Gamestar Mechanic Online Learning Portfolio

mustelidae

Gamestar Mechanic

Hi, I'm Mustelidae! It's pronounced mus-tel-id, and it's the Latin name for the ferret family. Yes, I do like ferrets :) I got into game design in middle school and it's been a great adventure every moment since. Currently I am studying game design and computer science in college and I hope to design educational games as a career. I enjoy adventure games with exciting plots, and I also love games with puzzles and riddles. My favorite games are the Nancy Drew games by HeR Interactive, and I have drawn a lot of inspiration from them. I have won several game design awards, including the National STEM Challenge High School Gamestar Mechanic award, "Best Original Narrative" in the Scholastic What's Your Story? Contest, a national silver medal in the 2011 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and an honorable mention in the AMD Energy Challenge. I am also a state winner and national runner-up for the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award. I was also invited to show one of my games at the White House Science Fair in 2016. Here are a few interviews where you can learn more about my game design journey: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rich-taylor/game-design-takes-teen-fr_b_10005454.html, http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/2015/07/28/meet-the-winners-olivia-thomas/, http://teacherblog.gamestarmechanic.com/2013/10/03/gamestar-girl-reflects-on-experience/ Thanks for checking out my portfolio, and enjoy :)

Not Your Average Joe

14,464 plays, 622 reviews, 216 comments

This was my entry for Gamestar Mechanic's Sprite Tray challenge. I've always had somewhat of a fascination with choices. In most games, the pivotal choices that drive the story happen automatically, but what if that wasn't the case? Not Your Average Joe, a story about the adventures of a hero named SuperJoe, is my attempt at making choices a more important element of a game. There aren't any right or wrong choices, per se, but the choices that players make through the course of the game affect both the story and the gameplay.

Colorless

20,931 plays, 732 reviews, 397 comments

This was my entry for the 2015 National STEM Challenge, and it won! I even had the chance to show it at the White House Science Fair. I was really struggling to come up with an idea for this contest, but I finally found inspiration in a landscape that I had designed in Gamestar Mechanic many years ago but had never done anything with. I pulled this together as the deadline was nearing, and I'm certainly glad that I did! It's interesting because I really did not consider this game one of my best at the time that I made it. It was a bit of a divergence from my usually heavy focus on story and the concept was kind of a crazy idea that I wasn't 100% sure was compelling. It was really a good reminder to me that it's worth it to throw your ideas out there, even if you aren't confident in them. In Colorless, players get to journey through a mysterious forest with different colored stones, each of which perform a specific function. For example, the red stones inflict damage on the player, but the orange ones offer healing. At the end of the game, all of the stones are turned black, and players must use the context to figure out which is which and make it out of the forest alive.

Master of the Track

899 plays, 31 reviews, 31 comments

I spent a lot of time on this game. I was inspired by a racing game that I saw on Gamestar Mechanic. After playing that game, I decided that I wanted to make a combination between a racing and a quest game. The story of Master of the Track follows a young girl participating in races in her hometown and beyond. Between racing levels, there are a few quest levels in which the player has to obtain powerups to help them in the races.

Graph it: Treasure Hunt

10,018 plays, 142 reviews, 63 comments

This was my entry for the 2013 STEM Challenge. It was a finalist in the contest. My main goal in making this game was to teach math -- specifically, plotting points on a graph -- through a fun story. This game was also featured on the BrainPop educators site here: http://educators.brainpop.com/student-made-games-2-game-making/

Iterate: Gold Mine

885 plays, 42 reviews, 22 comments

This was my final game for the Online Learning Program.

Peruvian Adventure

700 plays, 25 reviews, 18 comments

Don't play the game pictured to the left; I created it only as a placeholder. You can download the real Peruvian Adventure here: https://www.box.com/s/tntqndzmqxe4xpaip6na I wanted to put this game in my portfolio because it is the first fully functional, original game I have made from scratch. I made it for a school project. Make sure to take the quizzes by clicking on the question mark buttons in each location.

Which School are You?

6,071 plays, 398 reviews, 462 comments

This has become one of my more popular games, which really surprised me. It's an interactive quiz that uses a web of questions to decide which Gamestar Mechanic school of design the player most relates to. I love personality quizzes like this, so it was fun to try my hand at creating one of my own. The logic behind the sequencing of questions was much more complicated than I thought it would be, and it took quite a bit of figuring out. The system isn't perfect, and depending on your answers it is possible to get a repeat question. But according to reviews, the end result usually ends up being pretty accurate.

Iterate: Stranded

1,893 plays, 72 reviews, 64 comments

I made this adventure game for the Online Learning Program. It features the same dialogue system I used in "Missing!". I have been wanting to use this again for a long time. This is probably one of my best storytelling games. The style of the gameplay was, in part, inspired by the Nancy Drew games. It is one of the first top-down games I have published that is all about exploration, and I really enjoyed creating the island environment for levels three and four.

Iterate: You Have An Idea Entry

567 plays, 14 reviews, 11 comments

This game was for the Online Learning Program as well. It relies more on the action and less on the story, which is somewhat unusual for me. It isn't without a story, though, as you will see if you play it.

Castle Quest

866 plays, 34 reviews, 15 comments

This is a game that I made for an extra credit assignment in Gamestar Mechanic's s Online Learning Program. The goal was to create an action game without a blasting avatar. I enjoyed this exercise a lot.

Iterate: Double Jumper

815 plays, 49 reviews, 21 comments

I made this game as part of Gamestar Mechanic's Online Learning Program. As I was making it I learned a lot about scaffolding and teaching the player, which I had not realized was so important.

The PencilMeister

21,369 plays, 663 reviews, 550 comments

I made this game as an entry for the Scholastic "What's Your Story?" contest. Originally I had a different idea for the contest, but in the last week before the deadline I came up with this idea and liked it a lot better. I had a ton of fun making it. Like Volcano Civilization, the idea for the story came from several ideas that had been floating around in my head for many years. However, the shape of the story (particularly the ending) changed many times throughout the creation of the game. This game won Best Original Narrative in the contest.

Outcast of Caela

6,050 plays, 114 reviews, 88 comments

This was my entry for the 2011 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. I was up late on the last night of the contest finishing it. I enjoyed coming up with Latin names for each of the locations in the game. Originally, Juven was going to go on a side quest to the undersea kingdom of Lympha, but I decided to eliminate this part because it wasn't crucial to the story. However, Lympha is briefly mentioned in one part of the game. Can you find it? This game won a national silver medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Rila's Quest

1,797 plays, 81 reviews, 117 comments

This is another one of my story games. After creating the first half of the game, I couldn't decide how it should end, so I set it aside for a couple of months. Later, I came up with an ending in the middle of the night, and then finished the game.

You're the Ball

5,485 plays, 153 reviews, 60 comments

When I was trying to think of a way to recreate a ball-and-paddle game in Gamestar Mechanic, I came up with the idea for the player to control the ball instead of the paddle. It was an interesting experience creating this game, as it is very different from the games I usually make.

Missing!

4,113 plays, 282 reviews, 139 comments

I have always loved mystery games, so I decided to make one of my own and I had a lot of fun with it. "Missing!" includes a dialogue system that I came up with. This game was featured on Gamestar Mechanic in the summer of 2011, and also in a post on the Gamestar Mechanic teacher blog: . http://teacherblog.gamestarmechanic.com/2011/11/01/games-by-kids-katyas-favs/

Your Choice

2,931 plays, 107 reviews, 81 comments

The idea for this game came from those "choose your own adventure" games. Instead of making choices throughout the game, the player just has to choose a key color and that determines what adventure you go on. So everyone who plays the game has a different experience.

Volcano Civilization

3,015 plays, 106 reviews, 78 comments

This was one of my first games, and I have fond memories of making it. It came into existence because I accidentally deleted another game that I was working on. I was disappointed at the time, but if it hadn't happened it is very likely that I never would have made Volcano Civilization. The idea for this game sprouted from a story that I came up with years ago. This game was featured on Gamestar Mechanic shortly after it was published.