I am making my very first, self developed indie game using Yo-Yo’s Gamemaker about autism spectrum conditions. The game is a narrative game, based on my own experience, but I also hope to educate players who may not be familiar with the condition, or hold stereotypical views.
This is something that I’ve wanted to do for the longest time, but never had the time or the means to. All my games in the past have all spread awareness or spoken about disability/mental health in some way or another, but I really wanted to explore how I could make levels in games where I could really show the difficulties someone with a disability faces using different characters.
I started by researching games that looked at mental health and how some portrayed it in the literal and some in the metaphorical sense. I then began to note down my own difficulties and challenges whilst consciously raising awareness and showing said disability in ways that most people with said disability could also relate. In this case, Autism is a spectrum condition. I know that not all the traits I show in the game will be true of everyone who also shares my disability, but it is about showing parts that they can anyways.
One concept I am also exploring, is having different character players to have different disabilities/impairments. In this case, it wouldn’t solely be around autism, but a wider scope of disabilities and impairments. Of course, for this I would have to do A LOT of research and/or interviews with my fellow disabled friends. I may also be collaborating with a fellow programmer who is also on the autistic spectrum, so that will help me to push the project along too!
So far, apart from research, i’ve done some pixel artwork (it’s gonna be an 8Bit inspired game) and some basic coding to move my character up, down, left and right. You can see these below.
Also here is a video that looks at games that have focused on or referenced to disabilities/mental health in some way. I took some inspiration from a few of them.
I’ll be keeping a game journal and development as time goes on, so make sure you check for future posts!