Hina Macmaster, Sam Lindsey Ghostdoku

  • Tauira / Students
    Hina Macmaster, Sam Lindsey
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Morgan Oliver, Lisa Blakie, Edwin Mcrae

Ghostdoku is a 2D mobile game in which you play as an old woman visiting her husband's grave and discovers that she can communicate with the ghosts in the graveyard. Play sudoku to help ghosts remember their pasts and move on. The more memories unlocked, the more the graveyard restores itself and the closer you get to unravelling a murder mystery.

Ghostdoku was created by Anthony Mellon, Samantha Lindsey, and Hina Macmaster. We created the game, Ghostdoku, for our major studio project, with the intent of creating a peaceful and relaxing game experience for the player, while also getting the player to exercise their brains by playing sudoku.

We started the project by brainstorming ideas for a game and brought together the ideas of a story and puzzle games. The process of getting our game loop defined and what we wanted included in the game took a lot of discussion. We based these discussions on research we conducted on games of a similar premise, and this helped in deciding what would be suitable or appealing to include in Ghostdoku. The research process ended up looking at a wider range of games- some visual novels, some sudoku and puzzle games- as there were no other story based sudoku games that we could find, though there is a niche of mobile puzzle games that reward the player with story. We also had to consider what was viable in the time frame we had, as well as the resources and skills available to us. Once the game loop was decided we started planning what we needed to create. We split up the work and assigned roles. Samantha Lindsey created the narrative, UI and environment art, Hina Macmaster created character art, animation and also did environment art, and Anthony Mellon worked on all of the programming.

Samantha wrote the stories of each of the ghosts and created an intricate web of connections between characters and how each of them interacted. She started with the murder- the end of the story for the ghosts- and then worked backwards to feed bits of the mystery to the player. Once the story was decided, she wrote the dialogue and created the dialogue boxes and other UI needed. Hina designed the characters and then created a few expression assets for each character. She created various animations for each of the characters and worked with Samantha on creating the environment art assets. Anthony programmed the most important aspects of the game first- getting movement, navigation and interaction working, then adding other features such as the visual assets, sound and dialogue text. Over the course of the project we tested Ghostdoku and made iterations based on the time we had left and if we discovered a better way to execute a part of the game. We recorded and maintained sprint goals and communicated well together as a team, which allowed the process of creating Ghostdoku to go fairly smoothly, and for it to be an enjoyable and valuable experience.