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Rush Hour Parking

Rachel Rucker

Table of Contents
Introduction................................................................................................................................1 Design History.................................................................................................................1 Vision Statement.............................................................................................................2 Logline......................................................................................................................2 Synopsis...................................................................................................................2 Game Description...........................................................................................................2 Formal Elements.......................................................................................................................3 Objectives.......................................................................................................................3 Gameplay Description.....................................................................................................3 Conflict/Argument.....................................................................................................8 Challenge/Procedures..............................................................................................9 Outcomes...............................................................................................................10 Dramatic Elements..................................................................................................................11 Game World..................................................................................................................11 Characters.....................................................................................................................14 PCs.........................................................................................................................14 NPCs......................................................................................................................15 Story..............................................................................................................................15 Reflection.................................................................................................................................17 Dissoi Logoi...................................................................................................................17 Composition..................................................................................................................17

Introduction
Design History
The history of this game originated as a project for my Advanced Writing class in which we were assigned to design a game that would have a purpose, or meaning beyond simply playing a game. Rather than trying to form something that takes a specific stance on a more broad, global issue, I wanted to create a game that would have purpose on more of a personal level. As college students at the University of South Carolina, we are forced to repeatedly circle the Carolina campus to try and find a place to park, so that we are able to attend our classes. Unless a student is fortunate enough to have the means to provide

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their own spot in a parking garage, students are given two options: repeatedly circle the parking lots at the Coliseum, Bates, or Barnwell or try their luck at finding a parking meter. I want to design a game that displays this issue in a very obvious way. The purpose of the game will be to showcase how ridiculously difficult it is to find a parking spot as a student, and how that issue can create other issues related to the student’s performance in school, as well as issues of finance.

Vision Statement
Logline Rush Hour Parking is an arcade-style computer game which showcases the difficulty for University of South Carolina students to park their car in order to make it to class without being late, receiving a speeding ticket, or receiving a parking ticket. Synopsis The basic idea of Rush Hour Parking is trying to find a place to park the character’s car without making the character late for class or receiving a ticket. This will be showcased through the difficulty in finding and securing a parking spot before the time on the clock runs out for the character to make it to their class. The argument of the game is that not only is the effort required to find on-campus parking unfair to ask of students, but that it is also unrealistic. The core targeted audience of Rush Hour Parking is high school to college aged students. However, the mechanics of the game will be simple enough for anyone to be able to understand and benefit from playing. The game is foremost an interactive fiction game that will be accessed from a laptop or a computer system, though it’s mechanics will be slightly reminiscent of an arcade game.

Game Description
Though the game will be accessed on a laptop or computer screen, it will have an arcade-like design and artistic structure. The elements of cars, parking lots, parking meters, trees, etc. will all be slightly techno in detail and simplistic. Rush Hour Parking will include two different versions of how the game will be able to be played: Play it “Safe” and Take a Chance. The location of the game will be set at the University of South Carolina. The parking lots in the “Play it ‘Safe’ scenario will be at the Carolina Coliseum, Bates, and Barnwell. The parking meters in the “Take a Chance” scenario will be in well-known areas around the Close/Hipp Building as well as along Assembly Street. These two scenarios will provide the character with chances to attempt to find a parking spot in a parking lot, which the character has paid to have a spot in, or try and find a parking meter closer to their class. In both scenarios the character will be competing with other NPC student characters who are also trying to find a place to park, in addition to competing with the clock, as to not be late for class. The player will be given sixty seconds to try and secure a parking spot. In the case that they are unable to

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find a spot or unable to secure a spot away from the other NPCs, they will have failed the game, and their class. These actions will be able to be made simply by using the up/down and side-toside arrows on their laptop or computer keyboard. If the player has mastered this more simplistic approach to playing the game, the game functions can also be played using various techniques of the mouse or laptop touchpad. Using a mouse, the player must continuously left-click to accelerate, or right-click to reverse or stop. Using a touch pad, the player must continuously swipe forward to accelerate, or swipe backward to reverse or stop. However, if the player taps too quickly or too much, the car can be increasingly difficult to stop and park, making it hard to park the car. When a parking spot is spotted by the player, the space bar should be used to park their car. It will be important for the player to be quick in securing their parking spot before another NPC can spot it; if the player waits too long to press the space bar, the other characters will have a chance to take the spot, and the player will have caused a wreck and failed the game. Rush Hour Parking will be reminiscent of the game “Drivers Ed,” in which the player is expected to maneuver a car through different tasks using the basic mechanical tools of a computer or laptop, one of those tasks being parking the car.

Formal Elements
Objectives
The objective of the game is for the player to park their car in an empty parking space before the time runs out.

Gameplay Description
The first screen that will appear for the player will be a blank screen with two optional buttons. These buttons are the two options of how the player will intend to play: “Play it ‘Safe’” or “Take a Chance.” The screen will look similar to the image below.

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Play it “Safe” In the “Play it ‘Safe’” scenario, the character will begin the game in a car set in a parking lot. All of the parking spots will be filled and there will be other cars, NPCs, who are circling the parking lot also trying to find a spot. The player will be given sixty seconds on the clock to try and find a parking spot and park the car so that they won’t be late for class. Until the player sees an empty parking spot, they are forced to circle the lot. Boundaries for the player will be found in “off limits” zones. These zones will be marked as either “Professor Parking” or “No Parking Zone.” The zone “Professor Parking” will be outlined in red to inform the player that those parking spots are off limits to them. The zone “No Parking Zone” will be outlined with diagonal lines in yellow, similar to real life no parking zones. If the player runs out of time and parks their car in either of these zones, they will risk a chance of receiving a ticket before their class is over. After the car is parked the player will either receive a message reading “FINED! PAY UP $100” or “Snuck by them today!” These messages will be selected completely at random, according to no systematic sequence, and will appear similar to the images below.

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The player will also see characters walking in the parking lot without a car; these characters are leaving their class and so, will be leaving an empty parking spot. The player should try to follow these characters before the NPCs have a chance to spot them. If the player should find an empty parking spot, but hit another car on either side of the empty spot, they will automatically fail the game. Similar to these images, the game will not look exactly as if you are looking through a camera, however, it will not look completely out of a cartoon either. The visual imagery of the game is portrayed this way to enforce the feeling that what students are required to do to find parking at the University of South Carolina is childish and seemingly senseless. University students are required to compete with other students to find a place to park, when that competition is completely trivial and contradictory to the intelligence in which the university promotes.

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If the player finds a parking spot before another character and before the time runs out, they will make it to class on time. If the player does not find a parking spot, they fail the game and fail their class. Take a Chance In the “Take a Chance” scenario, the character will begin the game set on a street lined with parking meters. All of the parking meters will initially be full, and the player will be forced to circle the block in attempt to find an empty meter. While circling, the player will go through traffic lights and stop signs, and if the appropriate behavior is not used at these traffic signals, they will automatically fail the game. In addition, there will be pedestrians on the road; any contact with a pedestrian will result in an automatic game failure.

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There will also be other characters in cars who are trying to find parking meters to park their cars. The player must find and secure an empty parking spot before the other characters have a chance to. In this scenario, parallel parking will also be available to the player. Rather than simply pressing the space bar to park their car, the player must maneuver the car into the empty spot by using the arrow keys. If the player hits the the car in front of the empty parking space or the car behind, they will automatically fail the game. These images display how the player will see parallel parking. The game will not include the yellow box with “PARK HERE” seen in the first image.

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If the player finds a parking spot before another character and before the time runs out, they will make it to class on time. If the player does not find a parking spot, they fail their class, and fail the game. Lastly, the player will be given the option to put $5 in the meter to cover the entire length of their class time or put only $2.50 and risk receiving a ticket. Again, after the player makes their choice they will receive a screen either reading “FINED! PAY UP $100” or “Snuck by them today!” The “FINED” message indicates to the player that they have failed the game despite having found a parking space to park their car. The “Snuck by them today!” message indicates to the player that they were successful in leaving their car in an unfilled meter. These messages will be selected completely at random, according to no systematic sequence. Conflict/Argument The argument embedded in Rush Hour Parking is that it is both unfair and unrealistic for students at a university to be forced into situations in which they become unable to attend class because they cannot find a place to park their car. In turn, it is unprofessional for a school the size of the University of South Carolina to not have adequate space for their admitted students to park their cars and be enabled to attend the classes in which they are required. The main conflict the player encounters is of time constraint. The player is given sixty seconds to find an empty parking spot so that they can park the car, if they cannot find a space in that given time period they fail the game. As Fullerton addressed in The Structure of Games, the procedures required of the player make it difficult to find a parking spot in sixty seconds. The difficulty with the time constraint lies in that all the parking spaces are either filled with cars already, or quickly filled with other NPC cars. The player must wait for a student to remove their car and then park quick enough for the empty spot to not be taken by an NPC.

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The conflict of time constraint enforces a player vs. player conflict within Rush Hour Parking. Because the player is crunched for time to find an empty space for their car, they are forced to compete with the other game characters to secure and win the parking spot.

Challenge/Procedures The conflict of racing to beat the clock will be both challenging and addictive through the several roadblocks that the player incurs while attempting to secure a parking spot. The player is initially faced with a full parking lot or street with cars at every parking meter, and must find a way to get an empty parking spot before their class begins. The few empty parking spaces readily available to the player will either be in “Professor Parking” or a “No Parking Zone.” This will not only tempt the player to park somewhere they should not, but it will also make it increasingly difficult for the player to find a legal parking space to park the car. Not only must the player find an empty parking spot, but they must compete with other characters to secure an empty parking spot before they do. This becomes difficult due to the pair of conflicting obstacles, time constraint, competition with other characters, and the restrictive set of game controls the player has on a computer keyboard. The obstacle of time constraint is set at sixty seconds to find and secure an empty parking spot. Though this is unrealistic for in real life situation, it will likely produce the intended results from the given argument. By giving the player little time to find an empty parking space, they are forced to realize and confront the extent of difficulty in which students are faced with in parking their cars at the university. Not only is this time constraint difficult to accomplish, but it is even more so when coupled with competing driving characters. Competing with other driving NPCs with the same task in the same given time period is probably one of the largest difficulties of Rush Hour Parking. Immediately after the player sees an empty parking space, the competing driver NPCs are extremely quick to see and park their own car before the player acts upon their opportunity. This competition greatly reflects the real life situation of competing with other students to make it to class on time at the University of South Carolina. The player can drive the car with the up/down and side-to-side arrow keys on the computer keyboard and may park their car either with the space bar, or maneuver it into a parallel parking spot again with the arrow keys. These keys are not necessarily forgiving, in the case of nearby cars or pedestrians. It will also be difficult for the player to ensure that they do not hit another car or pedestrian, in so doing, failing the game. The player must park their car in the given time amidst other competing characters while also ensuring they do not touch their car to another car or pedestrian in the game. If they apply to much gas with the arrow keys, it becomes likely that they will hit one or the other. However, the mouse or trackpad on a laptop may be used to function the car. If the player chooses to use the mouse or laptop trackpad, the game difficulty will again be significantly increased. By continuously left clicking the mouse or forward swiping the
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track pad, the car will accelerate. When the clicking slows down or stops altogether, the car will stop and begin to move into reverse. In order for the player to successfully use these two resources to steer and park the car, they must find an almost impossible happy medium between swiping or clicking too fast and swiping or clicking to slow, in order to keep the car at a pace that is safe from hitting other cars or hitting a pedestrian. To park using these functions, the player must click or swipe while simultaneously using the left/right keys on the keyboard to maneuver the car into a parking spot. It will undoubtedly be extremely difficult to balance these two mechanics and successfully park the car. Lastly, the player must be careful not to hit a pedestrian character or another car while trying to park. This may become problematic when the player becomes rushed to secure a parking space before the time runs out or before another character steals it. In addition, the task of not hitting another car becomes difficult given the limited movability of the computer keyboard keys, and increasingly so when using the mouse or laptop trackpad. Bearing in mind these conflicts and roadblocks faced by the player, the favorable outcome of securing an empty spot before the time runs out becomes what Fullerton describes as an uncertain outcome, which is likely the player’s key motivation for playing the game. Outcomes The two possible outcomes of Rush Hour Parking mimic the scenario of winning and losing. If the player finds and secures an empty parking spot within the sixty second time constraint, they will have “PASSED.” The passed message is a university version of winning the game, in so doing, passing their class that the player is attempted to attend.

The message will look similar to the image below.

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If the player does not find and secure an empty parking spot within the sixty second time constraint, they will have “FAILED.” The failed message is also a university version of losing the game. If the player receives the failed message at the conclusion of the game they will have done one or more of the following actions: • Did not secure a parking spot within time constraint • Hit another car • Hit a pedestrian • Received a “FINED” parking ticket All of these actions made by the player result in the player’s automatic within the game.

The message will look similar to the image below.

Dramatic Elements
Game World
The basic elements in the world of Rush Hour Parking are in fact similar to a realworld system as noted by Fullerton. Rush Hour Parking will contain cars, parking lots, streets, parking meters, traffic lights, stop signs, people, and natural scenery. These things, however, will be slightly morphed into looking as if they were in an arcade-style game. This arcadic representation is based in the argument that what is being portrayed is a requirement by the University of South Carolina for students to participate in a real life game in order to be eligible to attend class. The player will be able to see their car and other cars that they are trying to park around, as well as small pedestrian characters. The physical appearance of these characters will not be important, because their details will not be able to be seen, due to
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their intentionally insignificant size. The cars will be similar to the one in this picture. This picture also illustrates the parking lot in the scenario “Play it ‘Safe’.”

The road with stop signs in the “Take a Chance” scenario will be similar to that of this picture.

The road with street lights in the “Take a Chance” scenario will be similar to that of this picture.

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The player playing the game will be able to choose between three types of automobiles upon the start of the game. Rather than choosing between different types of PC’s, or choosing between varying types of physical appearances, they will be choosing between automobiles. The three choices given will be car, SUV, or truck. These three options are chosen to give the character a connection with the type of automobile that they are already accustomed to, and may have already have trouble in parking on campus. The car, SUV, and truck options will look similar to the ones given in these images. These images are not perfect, and will be subject to minor changes to enhance and perfect the intentional appearance of Rush Hour Parking.

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The choice of a moped or motorcycle is intentionally left out of the three given options because of the different availability of parking that these types of transportation are given. In most cases cars, SUVs, and trucks are required to find a parking spot given a set amount of space and set place to park. However, many times it seems that the availability of parking spaces for mopeds and motorcycles are more abundant than the former. In order to push the point that the availability for parking at the University of South Carolina is scarce and reaching nonexistence, I aim to sidestep the notion that parking for two-wheeled automobiles is less problematic. Though I want the world portrayed in Rush Hour Parking to be a sort of semirealistic version of the real world, I don’t want it to look as if you are looking through a camera, or window of a car, for example. There should be enough animation involved in the design of the cars, characters, and landscape that make it look as if the game is for play. The basis of my intentions in wanting this is to enforce the argument that the parking situation at the University of South Carolina is one that should be played out in a make believe game, not on a real university campus by students who have enough, outside of parking their car, to worry about.

Characters
PCs There is only one PC that the player will be able to function as in the game, and there will be no other options for choosing a character. The PC will not be able to be directly seen, but it will be inferred that there is a character in the car. The main player will control a car that they are trying to park, and in their given car is the PC. In the case of Rush Hour Parking, the car will be the main focus of the player, rather than the character in the car. Again, there will be three choices for the main player of the game to choose from in automobiles rather than PC appearance. These three options are car, SUV, and truck. It is inferred that the player will choose the the car that they are already accustomed to driving and parking.

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NPCs The NPCs are in Rush Hour Parking to serve the purpose as either pedestrians walking to move their cars or competing drivers also trying to park their cars. In the case of competing drivers, the character in the car will not be seen. Similarly to the PC, the automobiles that hold the competing drivers will be all that the player can see of those NPCs. These competing driver NPCs will also be in a car, SUV, or truck similar to the ones from which the player chose as their own car at the beginning of the game. The other NPCs are the pedestrian characters who are walking in the parking lot to move their car and leave, in so doing, leaving behind an empty parking space. Though their detailed physical appearance is not important to the gameplay, their appearance will be in the same manner as that of the automobiles in the game. The pedestrian NPCs will not look completely realistic nor completely cartoon character; there will be a happy medium between an arcade character and real-world appearance for these NPCs. In turn, there will be a boy and girl pedestrian profile that will be used repeatedly throughout the game. As to not distract the player from the main purpose, there will not be multiple appearance versions of the pedestrians. The following images are extremely loose interpretations for the design of the boy and girl pedestrian NPCs.

The only purpose of these pedestrian NPCs is to walk to and remove their car, leaving an empty parking space. They will serve as alerts to the player to follow the pedestrian NPCs to their cars and park in their left-behind parking space.

Story
At the start of Rush Hour Parking, it is likely that the player will think that the game will be a quick and easy win, finding a parking space and parking a car. Simple and easy. However, the story that is embedded in this game is that which is an everyday real life example to the majority of students at the University of South Carolina. The story of this game is, for the most part, one with which a majority of students will have literally taken part in at some point in their lifetime. The first dramatic element of Rush Hour Parking lies in the player choosing the automobile with which they will try to park in the game. By selecting a car, SUV, or
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truck the player is automatically emotionally attaching themselves to the game elements. As Norman points out in “Three Teapots” it is not always the function of objects that cause people to choose them. Rather, it is likely that the player’s reasoning for choosing one of the three automobiles is due to their personal connection with that specific one. By identifying with the car, the player is immediately embedding themselves emotionally within the game. After an automobile is chosen, the player must begin the play of the game by looking for an empty parking spot. In most cases, this process is begun simply by making circles of the parking lot of circling the street with parking meters. Again, the player is likely to feel an underlying connection to these processes, especially if they are in fact students at the University of South Carolina. These motions are undergone every day in the life of a Carolina student, and by playing them in a game-like situation, the player is likely to feel more in tune with the game procedures. If the player does find an empty parking space, they must act extremely quickly in order to fend off other competing drivers for the space. I would contend this process as an unnecessary competition that is forced between drivers attempting to attend their classes. The player is likely to not only know how this feels personally, but they are also likely to know how it feels to have a parking spot taken from them. The extreme opposing levels of sympathy and anger at competing drivers for empty parking spaces is one of the game’s visceral components. These forced situations of acting fast, or not acting fast enough, will likely cause the player to “feel” for the other characters in the game, whether they feel anger or sympathy toward them. The possibility of receiving a parking ticket during the course of the game is also used to connect with the past experiences of the player. Should the player receive a parking ticket, they will immediately become aware of how unfair and unrealistic it is for students to find a parking space, simply in order to attend a class. By being punished with a fine, the player will likely realize the realistic implications that the unavailability of parking transforms into in the life of a student. When the game is completed, the player will have either passed or failed their class. By using this specific terminology, the game is manifesting itself within the academic mindset of a college student. Passing or failing a class not only registers mentally to the player, but also emotionally. Both situations are likely to have emotional feelings attached to them; passing causes the player to feel immediate gratification and personal satisfaction, while failing causes them to feel personal failure and anger at the game system or characters.

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Reflection
Dissoi Logoi
My intention for the game design in Rush Hour Parking is that the players of the game will be subject to the trials that are a part of student parking at the University of South Carolina. The lack of adequate parking is an issue that causes students an increased amount of unnecessary stress. In addition, the parking issue causes students to be late for class, receive tickets that they may or may not have the means to pay for, cause traffic accidents, and increase their already high level of school related stress. However, other arguments could be made to enhance or counter the one that I have intended when creating the design for the game. One argument is that the University of South Carolina provides several parking garages that allow students to have reserved parking spaces. These parking garages, however, are extremely expensive and out of budget for many students, who are known generally as starving college kids. Another argument is one which I have already slightly addressed in Dramatic Elements. Students who may drive mopeds and/or motorcycles, may not relate to the issue of parking in the lots and on streets filled with parking meters. Two-wheeled automobiles may not have the degree of difficulty in parking which are faced by cars, SUVs, and trucks. This, too, could be a counter to my intended argument of inadequate parking at the university. Because the most obvious solution to my intended argument is to add parking, a green, pro-environmentalist would argue that creating more parking lots and paving more roads will have a greater negative effect on the environment than the lack of parking is currently having on students. This type of argument, however, is one that happens often enough in every type of situation today given the age of global warming. An alternative argument may be seen that I have an issue with other student drivers who are also trying to park their cars, through the competition that I force between the PC and NPCs. However, my intention is for the time constraint to be the main conflict. This is in the hope of bringing the player to the realization that the number of parking spaces given is severely inadequate to sustain the number of students who need to park their cars. Though these arguments have opportunities to be formed from my designs in Rush Hour Parking, I hope that the elements that I have used in my game design will steer the players into a similar mindset as mine. This argument is simply that parking at the University of South Carolina, is highly inadequate to satisfy the needs of hard-working, paying students who are required to attend classes.

Composition
Though at the beginning of my exploration into game design I was extremely skeptical as to how it would relate at all to rhetoric and composition, I have found myself to be in complete agreement and support of game design as a brain stimulus. Not only does designing a game require all the previous notions of writing, formatting, and

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structure; it also requires the person to think critically in a way that they are probably not accustomed to. Rather than writing a thesis, which is more or less one-dimensional, game design offers the person a chance to create something 3-D, something which could actually have meaning outside of their writing. One drawback which I think may be encountered with game design as a composing technique is that a good number of people may not know the terminology, or elements, that are necessary in order to design a game. For example, if I were to actually try and create Rush Hour Parking, I would have no idea where to even begin. This hindrance could discourage people who may have the ideas for designing from doing so. Though they would still be mentally and critically able to design the game using words and their creative mindset, they may be discouraged in the thinking that they would never be able to take that design from paper to actual gameplay. Game design in the classroom would allow students to explore writing and composition that they may not be used to and definitely provide new ways of learning. It would also serve to act as a tool for students who may not be doing well in school, or who may become bored with school, to become interested in learning. Game design could, in fact, serve as an advanced tool of innovation in schools that are about promoting learning in whatever way is possible.

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