02

Thought Police

Overview

Name

Thought Police

Category

Puzzle - Narrative - RPG - Dystopia

Platform

Mobile horizontal screen

​Perspective

2D Third-person

​Art Style

Cartoon

Screen Ratio

16 : 10

​Definition

Thought Police is an interactive narrative role-playing adventure game with nonlinear gameplay and some puzzle elements. Player would play Winston, a new civil servant in the Ministry of Truth, and will continue to reach four endings through the branching storyline within the game.

Story Background

In 1984, the whole world was caught in Oligarchic totalitarianism. In this world, even the most ordinary citizens can expose the "ideological mistakes" of others. At the same time, a special secret service agency, Thought Police, was born.

​In this game, thought police can discover and punish "Thought crime" with ubiquitous monitoring equipment. The game can also combine the characteristics of modern society to discuss the propaganda and control of thoughts in social networks and public opinion. With the help of science and technology, centralized government can allow only one voice left in the public opinion of the whole country for the first time in history.

Experience

Everyone in this society is alienated. They do absurd and incredible behaviors to survive.
Everyone you meet could be a Thought Police.
Let's see if, under your control, Winston is going to be a government's accomplice or a rebel.

Features

In this game, you can search the homes of neighbors, classmates, colleagues or strangers for evidence and think about whether these trifles are Treason, Enjoy, Love or Thought crime.
You can choose to expose neighbors, colleagues and even people you love secretly; or quietly protect them but slowly walk towards death yourself; or cleverly find a chance to survive but sacrificed a lot for it.

Sep 2019

Game Design

​​Individual Work

Background
 

Source of Inspiration

In the first half of the 20th century, human society experienced World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and the start of the Cold War. During this period, totalitarianism blossomed in multiple parts of the world including fascism, Nazism, Stalin's dictatorship in the Soviet Union and McCarthyism in the United States. Many outstanding dystopian novels, like 1984, were born in this context, and the theme focused on the ruthless suppression of people by social machines.

Thought Police also considered how terrible it would be to convict a person with access to all personal information and the power to judge it if the government or organization had the authority. Players can experience the pleasure of playing the thought police, manipulating public opinion, abuse of power and voyeurism in the game. At the same time, players are also expected to be warned about the danger of thought control in real life.

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Research

  • Globally, the number of smartphone users will reach 3.2 billion in 2019 (+8.3% year on year) , mobile will again be the biggest segment.

  • Consumers between the ages 18 to 29 spent  the most time playing games.

Conclusion

Main Audience

People aged from 18 to 35 years, who are familiar with the current situation about fandom, or have concerns and doubts about the fandom phenomenon.

Gameplay
 

Camp Relationship

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There are two opposing camps in this world - The Party and Brotherhood. The Party reigns the whole country, while Brotherhood - a rebel group stands the other side.

Rough Storylines

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2 Branches, 3 chapters, 4 endings

Trigger condition of Brotherhood ending:

Player's thought assessment dropped below 20%
Player found out how to join the Brotherhood beforehand

Flowcharts

For Chapter 1 to 3

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Character Design

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Winston

  • Age: 29

  • Height: 179cm

  • Weight: 67kg

  • Hobbies: Reading current affairs and collecting information.

  • Habit: Observing EVERY MOVE OF OTHERS

  • Appearance: creepy

An ordinary civil servant in the Ministry of Truth. He often feels that this country and this society should not be like this, but doubts whether his mind is reliable. He wants to find the underground organization Brotherhood to ask them how to change the country.

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Julia

  • Age: 27

  • Height: 168cm

  • Weight: 51kg

  • Hobbies: Consumption, shopping, dating

  • Pet phrase: "It has nothing to do with us."

  • Appearance: Beautiful and vigorous

An ordinary civil servant in the Ministry of Truth. She seems to be ambitious and is a loyal soldier of the party. But below the appearance, she won't miss any chance to break the rules and rebel against the Party. She doesn't care about the whole country, only her own circle. She is an indifferent egoist and hedonist.

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O'brien

  • Age: 45

  • Height: 176cm

  • Weight: 71kg

  • Hobbies: Drinking wine in his luxurious office

  • Habit: Holding glasses

A real and true member of Thought Police. He looks polite, gentle, wisdom and full of personal charm. Not many people know that he is very wily and holds high positions. He saw his shadow from Winston and wondered which way Winston would go......

Attribute Design

Every character has a file including head portrait, name, thought assesment, intelligence (social relations, itinerary of the day, speech (public, private, social networks, reports from others), etc.), and intelligence can cause the addition and subtraction of Thought assesment.

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​Performance

Similar to Level, which measures your performance from the perspective of the government.

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Thought Assessment

Initial : 60%

Thought Assessment

2 elements to determine Thought Assessment :

plot and performance.

 

Thought criminals would end up dying as raw materials for power generation after torture.

How to increase it

  1. Informing against others (framing possible)

  2. Making a patriotic speech at the rally with praising the country and leaders

  3. Activist of party

  4. Active labor, outstanding performance

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How to reduce it

Four kinds of crimes :

  1. Thinking -40

  2. Treason -30

  3. Enjoy -20

  4. Love -10

When one behavior belongs to multiple crimes it will be superimposed for final settlement.

The most serious Crime. The Party does not need independent thinking from individuals. It is enough for the Party to have one mind to think for all.

  • Books related to thinking and philosophy except for technology

  • Be interested in literature and wisdom

  • An "inappropriate" expression on the face

  • Sympathy for criminal

Be unpatriotic and complaining about the government

  • Dissatisfied with the country and the big brother

e.g. Joke about big brother

  • Eager for the rebel group Brotherhood or foreign countries

  • Cover up criminals

  • Illegal assembly

e.g. Badminton club, picnic, etc

Indolence, covet enjoyment

  • Expensive consumption

e.g. wine, tobacco, jewelry > 10 dollars

  • Lazy in work, not serious in study and work

Sex is only allowed to produce excellent offspring for the country.

  • Unapproved dating

Think

4 types of Crimes

Treason

Enjoy

Love

Search System

Rules

Find all evidence of "crimes" within 5 minutes and classify the charges.

Rewards

Performance + 5 for each evidence found and Performance + 5 for each correct classification.

Step One : Search

There is a book in the bookcase, the cover of which is Postpartum Care for Sows, and when the cover is torn down, it is 1984.

Find the knife and take out the fish in the tank, before cutting it and opening to find a key inside. After opening the cabinet with the key, there is a bottle of wine.

The computer has a password. When the information of their family was found from the family file, the password of computer is proved to be the child's birthday. Unlock the password, he is complaining about the government and the low salary with others.

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Step Two : Whistleblow

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After finding all the "criminal evidence", the player clicks Whistleblow to enter the report page. The player needs to classify each piece of evidence found before according to Crime description, and evidence can violate multiple Crime at the same time.

Chapter One's Flow

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Project Retrospective

Intention

What went wrong

Thought Police was heavily inspired by Dystopia culture. In the first half of the 20th century, totalitarianism blossomed in multiple parts of the world, caused many outstanding dystopian novels, like 1984, were born in this context. The concept of dystopia has expanded and changed by the changing hidden dangers in society. In Thought Police, not only did it focus on the ruthless suppression of people by social machines, it also included social opinion manipulation and information security, all of which helped players considered how terrible it would be to convict a person with access to all personal information and the power to judge it if the government or organization had the authority.

At first, I just want to influence the plots by dialogues, which is too narrative. The plots had better be influenced by numerical values and players' achievements too. I want to show the government's control of thought and the media's control of public opinion, including black humor and absurdity. But it is very difficult to transfer my idea into gameplay (not just in plots). 

What I Learned

Gameplay plays an extremely significant role in a game

Games like Detroit: become human, which basically rely on dialogues and choices, depend on the film industry, and need the support of lots of characters and images. As for individual projects, Designers should keep their game playable.

In the beginning, I designed some multiple-choice questions as below, but I found that this wasn't connected with my plot, and the experience was interrupted by these small puzzles, so I removed these from Thought Police. I learned from it that the operation and behavior of a game should be unified and standardized, with a consistent experience and a complete way of playing. 

The gameplay I gave up: Mind control Practice

How to doublethink

E.g. Today is Monday. Here is the question,​​ pick up the only wrong answer.

A. 2 + 2 = 4

B. The Earth is spherical.

C. The sun rises in the East.

D. Computers use binary.

The answer is B. Because on Monday, "The Earth is flat".