My Masters project is a game prototype that aims to model the feeling of shyness and social anxiety, depicting the experience through a metaphorical approach. This project was created as an expressive work, using game mechanics and atmosphere to contribute to the narrative. The game represents the intimidating feelings that those with strong social anxiety hold towards being in social situations, and furthers the metaphor by creating social encounters within the narrative that serve to create awkward, unsure interactions even for players without social anxiety issues.
Development of the game prototype went through a number of stages, initially intended as a therapeutic simulation for players with social anxiety issues, then as a platform game, before finally becoming a visual novel with an exploratory narrative. The project is designed to be played at a slower pace through text and encounters with the in-game characters which require puzzle-solving elements.
The design document can be downloaded here. : Design Document
The game can be downloaded for Mac and PC platforms. To play it, unzip the download file and run the ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ executable. Clicking or hitting the space bar advances the text, while clicking on menu choices selects them. Turning sound on is recommended.