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Two Flew Over the ETC Nursing Home

First Penguin Award in CMU ETC Festival

keyboard version

Tags: Physics + Co-op + Wheelchair Controller (Arduino)
2 weeks
Goal: 3 min gameplay for the festival & naive guests
Team: 5
Platform: Unity 3D, Arduino

Role: Designer & Programmer & Producer
     Iterate level design and related C# coding
     Adjust the 3C related to the wheelchair in Unity
     Lightning & Post-Effect
     Play Tests, Feedback & Notes, Schedule meetings


Two Flew Over the ETC Nursing Home is a 2v2 racing game where each team plays as grannies and grandpas that try to escape their nursing home on a wheelchair built for two.

Guests need to control the physical wheels to drive the avatar, avoid nurses and barriers.

Only the leading team can escape!

3C & Gameplay Design


Deciding the direction as a team:
This game is made during the Building Virtual Worlds Round 5 in 2 weeks, we need to make a game on a special platform or with different controls. Since our programmer has experience with Arduino, we came up with the idea that two players control one wheelchair with physical "wheels".

Keep questioning myself. Iterating design & prototyping in Unity:
#1: How to simulate the wheelchair movement by using wheels in the game?
--> Using Hinge Joint to make the wheel able to drive the wheelchair as a whole. Each player will control the wheel on his/her side to rotate forward or backward. 



#2: Anything else could be interesting since we are using joint already?
--> Make every piece of the wheelchair connected using joints, so the wheelchair can be in a "broken but still able to move" state during the game. It will be more physical, and fun.


#2a: It only sounds fun. If Any part of your wheelchair is lost, it changes the whole behavior of your wheelchair when rotating the wheel. If one of your wheels goes off, there is no way you can continue playing the game. So now what?

-->  Adding a key for each wheelchair to reset it.

Adding checkpoints for each wheelchair.

​#3: Anyway to reset the wheelchair better?
This is a physical-based game, we will have a host for the incoming players. But is this experience good enough to have the player asking the host to reset the wheelchair --> host press the key --> respawn?
#4: Is this interesting enough? How to make the game feel different? 
--> Do we really want the wheelchair to be in a broken state and keep driving by players?
    --> What makes the wheelchair able to be broken?
        --> Collide with other colliders, and then the joints between parts get broken.

--> Add extra Force, break it harder and kill it !


One day later...

#5: Recognize the difference between a keyboard and Arduino.
After the programmer matched the rolling of our cardboard-made wheel with the in-game wheel on the 3rd day of the development, I did not test it thoroughly with a partner using our "wheel controller".
I am very regretful that I tested the level with only the keyboard with a partner, and alone with Arduino.
During the Interim (Playtest Day after one week's dev), we got feedback that the game was too hard.
I will talk more about the iteration of levels in the Level Design part.

FAQ: Why 2v2

I think the core fun of our game is 2 players trying to control 1 single wheelchair. The decision made for making a 2v2 game is only because we had only 2 weeks in total to make the game, and we need to have sth playtestable in only 1 week.
So how to keep the fun of chaotic without making more level mechanics? Adding another chaotic wheelchair that can explode : )


Level Design:

#1: Iterate the level size & difficulty so our guests in the festival can enjoy the game in around 3 minutes.
From Interim (week 1) to Final (week 2), make the game easier for more naive guests to enjoy the whole journey of our game, as well as maintain the fun of play I wanted to give to the players.


Level 1

"Tutorial Level".

For guests to be familiar with the control of our game, know what will happen if collide with obstacles & nurses, learn how rotating the wheel forward / backward can affect our two-user wheelchair avatar.


The shorter path is always narrow, combined with our physical-wheels controller and the hard collaboration of two players, I want players with skill & teamwork can be awarded in the racing part of our game.


Level 2

Level 3

This is the last level and the outdoor part of our game.
Feature 1: The wheel that is on the road will move faster.
Feature 2: The tree will fall down and smash the player if the trigger zone is activated by the player. This one is for fun and surprisingly successful, this makes the audience who is watching other players playing this game keep laughing. When the audience & player see the nurse near the tree, they will laugh again. 

​Speed Up & Surprise.

Play safe & slow or 
Play risky & fast?


Whole Level

The whole map is smaller, deleted the repeated part of the outside scene.

#1: Can control the interest curve.
#2: Guests during the festival can finish the game faster.


#2: Use visual components to guide the guests and tell the story.


Using night scene instead of day scene to fit the "Escaping" theme.

Yellow and Green Spotlight for the endpoint in this dark scene is obvious, used to attract the player.

Red Spotlight on the nurse, give the player a sense of "danger".
Players may focus on the nurse first, when they realize there is a tree, it is too late : )

Leading lines and deep space show the endpoint at the beginning of our game.

This is for naive guests during the festival to be able to know where to go.

Leading Lines.png
Contrast of color.png

Using contrast color of winning team and losing team. 

The winning team's post-processing effect is warmer.

The losing team's post-processing effect is colder and twisted.

Producer part responsibility:

Took notes and collected feedback from professors & classmates, made new plans and assigned works. Did retrospective with the team to see what we can improve for the festival.

Huijie Bao: Gameplay, 3C and Level Design, Producer
Jingyuan Fang: Artist, Animation, UI
Shicai He: Hardware (Arduino), UI Programming
Eiko Qu: Artist, Modeling, Texture
Weilin Yuan: Sound Design, Co-Producer, Prop Design

Team Responsibilities:

Our game during the ETC Festival


Festival Live


First Penguin Award

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