Friday, 10 July 2015

Historical Accuracy in Games

When I was creating my fictional story in my Satay Club Game, I felt the need to take great care of the chronological order of real life events. For example, I wanted Satay Club game to start off in 1948. I had to research on the events that happened during that particular year. Specifically events that concern Satay Club, the surroundings and people that go there to enjoy their night time street food.

Satay Club game progresses from level 1 to 60. Thus I had to think of a way to anchor each individual level to a particularly interesting event that happens at Beach Road. Not a lot of stories can be scoured from the old archives of the Straits Times in 1948 concerning Satay club. So I had to stretch the story longer. From 1948 till about 1959. So now I have a wealth of interesting events that I can pick out of from the old newspapers and then make a story out of it. It had to be done in a chronological way.

One of the earlier levels in Satay Club game has the character Ah Chong expressing his worry to Adi.


I created this scene to let the players know that something bad WILL actually happen in the later levels. This is based on the Singapore newspaper article published in 1952 that reported on what transpired after the tension between the Traffic Police and the Satay men.



There is another article published in 1955 that reported on the attitude of bus drivers at the bus terminus in Beach Road. Satay club is just a stone's throw away from this place.



So Ah Chong's fears are warranted. Accidents are just waiting to happen and players can know about this as they progress and reach the higher levels in the game.

Because mobile games are visual interactive media, I felt that historical accuracy must also apply to the artwork in the game. I'm not a very good artist and to make it worse this is the first time I am dabbling in pixel art. The only tool I am comfortable with is Adobe Flash, and its not even the latest version. I'm still stuck with CS3 because that's what I had many years ago. I actually won a copy of it in a mobile game competition, back when Flashlite was starting to take off and then soon after that the iPhone killed it.

So yeah, I made pixel art using Flash. Crazy.

Anyway, I'm going to segue a bit here to show you a pre-Alpha version of Satay Club.

At that time I only had a rough idea of what Satay Club will look like. I had initially thought about creating a game based on Satay Club from 1940s, to 1970s and then the 80s and 90s. But because that amount of content in the game is just too huge for me to undertake, I finally settled for just one era: the good ole 1940s and 1950s.

So because of that I had to scrap the art that I did and redraw many things. One of which is the bus.
This bus is one of the icons in the game. It gives the player the idea that Satay Club is actually at the bus terminus.


As you can see from the picture above, I had to trawl through many old photographs of Tay Koh Yat buses from the National Archive of Singapore's website. I also had to research on what are the buses that go to Beach Road at that time. If you notice, there's a number 2 on the top front display of the bus. Bus service number 2 goes to Beach Road and ends at the terminus.


(to be continued in the next post...)

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