Final Thoughts: Major Studio 1

Final thoughts concerning the catalyst for my game, Major Studio 1. This class helped me come up with the idea for “Five: Journey to the Truth,” which was originally just “Five,” and so here are my final thoughts as I leave the class. Screen Shot 2016-12-16 at 12.06.00 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-16 at 12.06.13 AM.png

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For more information on the specifics, I will be creating a separate tab on my website showcasing this particular project in its entirety. Thank you for your support. And if you know nothing about my motivations.


*Special thanks to Aya Karpinska, Parsons School of Design advisor.


Redesigned: Board, Cards, Look & Feel

So, this week I worked on changing the look and feel of my game. While the art is not likely to make it to the commercial version, it is important for easy playability to have a cleaner version.

So far here are the iterations. This is going to be the final version for my class, but is only the fourth generation of changes since original concept. Fun right?

CONCEPT: Character Cards

Five person female team, Orc Women, Spacescreen-shot-2016-11-15-at-3-57-23-pm


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First Gen


2nd Gen


2nd Gen Card Back

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4th Gen

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4th Gen Back

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If you’ll notice, each girl now has a symbol on the back of her card. These touches are not merely decorative. They are used as physical pieces on the board to determine initiative after rolling (aka, who goes in what order during a conflict.)

In addition, each Rune (which is an actual Norse rune) correlates to the character, and has a meaning that speaks more about who they are, and what they stand for/suffer from. (As this game is still a social commentary)



My issue with the board was functionality. At first it was intended to be a proximity board. Your character can only move on squares that share their color. Then it became more of a map in 2nd Gen, which pointed out level of difficulty in the world as opposed to functioning in any way, finally I came to the last iteration, which basically made the board useful as a dungeon devise.

First Gen

(Players can only move on the square that corresponds to their planet)


2nd Gen

(A map of the level of difficulty with players seeking to make it back to the Green planet of Rica from the Red planet of Raa.

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4th Gen: Full completed board

-On-boarding for Reconnaissance, Dungeon Paths, Final Boss Lair.

-Runes for turn based encounter markers, tokens for health counters


And you can also see that the story booklet and game documentation got an upgrade. We now have a lovely “Five!” Crest, which I collaborated with Anthony Kellaher to design.





Terra Cards

1st Gen


Planets Back


(Since the planets are intended to be hidden, thus making the terra or world selection a bit more exciting. (Unless you wanna cheat and just pick the world you know to be easiest or hardest.)



Sensua the Succubus (1st villain of Maru, Boss in “The Cycle”)

and Minions

Gen 1

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Gen 3


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Gen 1

“Five!: Journey to the Truth” Poster

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So there you have it folks! That game is looking up! My next iteration is perfect the art using a custom style, and start extending the other worlds of the Sult Galaxy.


(Art by Angie Guevara)

My next mission is to redesign the cards with more stylistic art that matches the overall feel of the game, but still harkens to the essence of what I found when doing my precedents and working with the original art of the characters. (That was prefabricated for noncommercial use).

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Update 3/13/2017

D4TC: Contraband, Internet, and a POST state

Artist/writer Zach Blas was the visiting speaker for this week, and his work involving the breakdown of social media is seen as both art and a prominent social commentary.

While I thought that line of thinking was interesting, I was more interested in his statement about constantly being a state where we try to push things back. “Postfeminism, postracial, postgender, etc”

It would seem that we are always trying to get past these things, despite the fact that they are not yet resolved.

In Baby boy, Columbia pictures/john singleton film the character Melvin, played by Ving Rhames says, “You may think you are seeing some new [stuff] out here but this ain’t nothing but a rerun to me.”

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In reality we do seem to be circling the drain with our issues and struggles.  The term “Post racial” was first used in a 1971 New York Times article titles “compact Set up for “Post-racial’ south,” which claimed that the topic of race was going to be usurped by concerns of population increase, industrial development, and economic fluctuations. Some people view interracial dating or feeling attraction for non-normative bodies to be post-sex and postracial.

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Phoebe Robinson says, “Sexually desiring someone who does not share your skin tone is not some grand sign that society is becoming postracial, no matter what anymore tells you.

The truth is, people love throwing the term postracial around. Americans are so anxious to move on from the sins of our forefathers that we’re on the lookout for an and every symbol that our national nightmare of racism is over.”

I wonder when we’ll be post post. Or when we’ll just be present.






D4TC: Emerging Tech, Doomed World

“As you know Donald Trump has won the presidency.  I am spending the day with my family and my mom who is also staying home.  The fact that a man who is openly racist,  sexist, and overall does not care about people like me has been chosen to represent my country is devastating.  It’s so embarrassing.  I can’t stop crying.  I don’t want to face my fellow students who will ask if I voted, which I did and it didn’t matter.  Because somehow,  some way,  this is what the face of America has brought us.  This is what my people want to back,  this is who they want America to be, and I am horrified.  And I am so sorry,  but I need the day to mourn.” -Nov 9th

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For me there are things that are too painful sometimes to speak of, but you manage to look to your future, but will that consist of?

Sometimes it feels like everything is doomed, even innovations.

I am writing this paper on a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and a 2.2 GHz Intel Core Processor. My father, 52, wrote some of his papers on a typewriter. For a millennial, there are several technologies that seem like archaic and obsolete novelties when compared to the technology of today. While the first typewriter was built by Pellegrino Turri in 1808, it wasn’t until the 1980’s with the rise of word processors and personal computers, that typewriters were displaced in the Western world.  Technology’s exponential growth is something that is both inspirational and worrisome. Society takes for granted these advancements largely due to how commonplace technology has become. Color TV sets in one’s home were not financially possible until the late 1960’s, and today we can “stream” videos from anywhere in less than a minute. Even our languages have changed to accommodate these advances.  Streaming, Googling, and downloading have no meaning outside a technological setting, and certainly didn’t fifty-two years ago.

Yet what are we doing with this technology? Where will it go?

Studies show that there is no specific direction of the development of Artificial Intelligence(AI). Maybe we will destroy nature and end up in the Matrix, fodder for our technology to sup on.


Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, they all mention the possibility of extinction of humanity due to AI. As stated by them, humans lose control over artificial intelligence, and there is a possibility that they can be manipulated or destroyed by artificial intelligence.  More importantly, we don’t know how our technology effects our environment and frankly those in power don’t care.

Our soon to be commander and Chief Donald Trump said that “Global Warming” was a hoax created by the Chinese.




D4TC: Gesturing Towards Utopias

Queer Theory: According to Merritt Kopas and Naomi Clark

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Queer theory is at it’s origin the questioning of heteronormativity along its balancing counterpart, homonormativity.

Heteronormativity: is the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life.


Homonormativity is a word that addresses the problems of privilege in the queer community today as they intersect with White privilege, capitalism, sexism, transmisogyny, and cissexism, all of which end up leaving many people out of the movement toward greater sexual freedom and equality.



  • Queerness resides not in failure within the confines of the game’s rule system, but in playing with, testing, and perhaps even rejecting those rules themselves.




  • Human game relations: How people react to games based on their beliefs, and how those games change due to those beliefs.

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Early boardgames like The Mansion of Happiness were marketed as socially responsible games that taught children about Christian sins and virtues. (1843). Not long after, games like The Checkered Game of Life spun this in a more secular direction, promoting worldly values like going to college, getting rich, and getting married. (1860)

Yet the controversy of what is different often surfaces no matter the group or medium.

The Gamergate controversy concerns issues of sexism and progressivism in video game culture, stemming from a harassment campaign conducted primarily through the use of the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.“The “gamer identity” being defended has hardened around cherishing games as a comfort zone where gamers can do and say anything they want without being criticized, without having to think about sexism, and without any girls in the clubhouse save those who tacitly agree not to make a fuss or raise their voices.” They were misogynist, and claimed that “political correctness” and “Journalism” had no place in the gamer world.



They were stopped, but they revealed to us a lot of the bigotry that was left unchecked within this sphere.

“Where can we take queerness and games and where are games taking us? In order to answer this question we need to come back to the question of what queerness means to us.”- Merritt Kopas


All in all queering may be one way to stop bigots. At least in this connotation.

Sustainability: Sprite Bike?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently on how I can reduce traffic pollution, which in a city like NY seems impossible. Even so, I’m starting to think of ideas.

For my idea, I thought that in order to help ease some of the traffic in NY, the NYC Citi bikes could start a branch of bikes that were tandem bikes, bikes that can hold more than one passenger.

The idea is that you can commute with a friend to the same area on this one bike, or someone going to the same area so long as you both agree to it. I think it would be a good idea because this bike would encourage people who already travel together to use a more environmentally safe way to get to their destination, and besides a Cab, the bus, or the subway, there are no other options to accommodate people who travel with more than one person.

citibike return


I also think this would be effective because of the vast reach of citi bikes. You can pretty much find one anywhere.

I think people would enjoy riding with their friends, and it would help reduce city foot traffic.

Ignoring the poorly written English by a native English speaker, the bike would be the same basic design as classical citi bikes.







It’ll be something to explore more in the summer. For now, my Barbies love it.

Five: Board Game-Week 3

For this week, I focused on the game play.

To keep it simpler this week, I included a slideshow of what I’ve been working on.

This week I play tested: “Five,” which I am thinking of renaming “Five: Journey of Truth,” with a living breathing audience.

And guess what? It was playable! Hot diggity!

While I have a lot of work to do, a party of five could get through the easiest level within one hour. I play tested three rounds, and got a good set of feedback and video which I will be converting into a small movie about the experience for my documentation.

For now, I’ll fill you in on some of the changes.

A. I inserted the stats of the characters on the backs of the cards, and conceived a boss and minions that were formidable and related to the first world I put the players in, “The World of Maru,” the homeworld of the Character, Jez.

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B. I split the game into three parts: Prologue, Dungeon, Boss. I also recorded how everything works, How to Play, How the Players use their abilities, etc, in some cohesive Game Documentation.


C. I made the board useful by making it applicable to the dungeon level. You have to choose a path and battle monsters if you are unsuccessful rolling for a sneak on the tiles.

D. I changed the Story Cards into a Story Booklet, very much like a D&D adventure module except more directed towards understanding the world and the characters. I did this with choices but kept the choices limited to two per encounter. (I sacrificed choice in order to keep the game to about an hour instead of it being a straight up 6 hour campaign with noobs. And the last thing you want is for anyone to feel like a game is above them.)

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E. I figured out the fighting mechanics. Enemies have initiative (aka they always attack first…for now), and then the team will retaliate as a whole, each rolling for above a 3 in order to activate their attack. Some of this led to triumph. Some of it led to very very sad 12 year old boys. Que Sera, sera.

Prototype 3 from Sydney Adams

I’ll add the edited footage later, but for now I’m going to be focusing on tightening up those game mechanics, balancing characters that are UNBALANCED. (Welf got up to 100 HP at one point and Jez is the most likely to die on her own planet where she is supposed to have the advantage. And Mam is a powerhouse, she didn’t drop below 40HP once!)
Want to check out the story I told? I’ll be incorporating the storylines as things that can be read for enjoyment into the main fold. But first I must edit that video and CULL the fat off the fluffy bits and give everything more reason.
In my desire to make the game easy to understand and quick, I took out a bit of the storytelling and did a lot of…TELLING. So I need to fix that. But in its final form, I’m hoping that it can be played with OR without a “Narrator” aka a DM.
And if you have started the journey late, get the story behind why I’m doing what I’m doing! (Other than a love of games)

Five: Board Game-Week 2

For this week, I focused on the aesthetic aspect of the board game. In this instance it’s just the look of the game, and kicking around a few concepts.  Just to remind you, I want to make a board game that allows us to dispel some of the more popular stereotypes surrounding Black women.

No idea what I’m talking about? Check this first.

How you ask? Well obviously the answer is…


These two board games are highly successful precedents that I’ll be using to organize my thoughts and how I want game play to be. For now, i wanted to get an idea of how to work through this.


Well, in order to make the concept subtle, I decided that the main characters would be Orc women from the vessel “Five.”


(There are only four I know, but I was kicking around ideas)

The Five is named such because it can only accommodate five passengers. When the women of the Five leave a planet, they can take no refugees, offer no sanctuary, and no positions. Whatever issues take place on that planet must be resolved then and there.

In addition, each girl is a representative of her planet and they all work together as and intergalactic taskforce for the Galaxy of Sult.

Each has different abilities, and a different outlook based on where they came from.

The colors indicate the planets each character originates from.


I initially created a board that color coated each character in their role and the goal was that you roll a dice on the board and if you land on your color, you can perform an action. It was intended that all characters could equally move around because I wanted to create some frustration to reinforce the limited mobility Black women feel in these caricatures.

However, I later revised. I want it to be a bit deeper than that.

So I introduced the three cards.


Instead of a movement style game, I decided I want the players to be able to choose the Boss, Environment, and a Story accompanying each action. I was inspired by Sentinels of Multiverse and how every bands together to defeat a great evil.

At the beginning of the game, the players roll to decide who selects their character first.

THEN. That same player selects a Terra card, which lets you know which planet the adventure will take place. Then there is a story card that will explain how you ended up in that situation. And then you will select the boss card corresponding to that planet to tell you who the big baddy is.

In order to do this, that meant I needed to create some BADASS characters, that compliment each other.

So since this is still aesthetic, here are the concepts for my characters.

The art used is not mine, and was obtained through DeviantArt, Pinterest, and Google Images.Trying to pin down an exact artist has been a bit of challenge, but some of the art is signed, so I will leave it as be. This is after all for a class and not intended for monetary gain. Yet. Should it prove to be lucrative I will find an artist and commission new images. Until then?



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Here are their abilities as of late, and their attributes. Keep in mind each is supposed to have a subtle commentary.


Sabwa can charge through anything, but it harms her internally  in the long run because losing HP is nothing, losing your attack power permanently? Not a small sacrifice.

Mam can’t attack directly. She can only do it underhandedly through poisoning or help others.

Welf can only suck the health out of the system and in best case direct all the attacks toward herself.

Sapphire can only attack and has no defense capabilities. She’s just an angry missile.

Jez uses her sexuality to make others fight her battles.

Starting to get my drift?

After forming the characters up a bit more, I updated the board.

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Sample Set Up:

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So now you can see the corresponding planet, but I’m still thinking about how to actually make the board more than pretty. What is it useful for?

I’ll be working on that.



Five: Board Game -Week 1

I am currently embarking on an 8-week journey to create a project that speaks to both my experience, and my design sensibility. With this is in mind I was inspired by my favorite pass-time,


Reading comics!

Specifically, I became super interested in the newest hero, “Ironheart,” who in the Marvel Invincible Iron Man latest installment is supposed to replace Tony Stark with Riri Williams, an African-American, female, super genius. Here are some of the first drawings of her.

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These are pretty cool, until you take into account that she’s supposed to be a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL. These pictures are not appropriate for a character that is a child. They are sexy, and many fans including myself had a problem with it. While the sexualization of female heroes has always been a problem in comics in general, the real issue I have is that this echoes a deep inability for the general public to understand Black women. There appears to be a disconnect with what a Black woman really is. Is she an overweight sassy encouragement with endless advice that saves all the dumb young people around her? Is she a sexy siren that only a true man can satisfy, furthering the idea that a man can prove his worth by satisfying a SISTA? Is she a loud, angry, nag that emasculates the men around her?

It’s hard to decide with the media, and in instances that are intended to dispel these myths, i.e. the super intelligent 15 year old Riri Williams, you still see some of the stereotypes bleed through.

However, because Riri is a CHILD, it is lucky that the populace as a while rejected this, and the newer images are more appropriate.



However, we then see that her hair texture has been loosened and her skin has been lightened, which is a a shame considering her character’s look is based off of the Disney channel actress, Skai Jackson.


Even before the she was redrawn, when people discussed possibilities for her casting, these were some of the prominent fantasy picks.


Oy vey. Why is it so impossible to have a dark skinned black girl who looks like a GIRL, be a super genius? Why can these things not coexist? Why does something have to give in order to make the idea somehow palatable.

It is these things that bleed over that makes me realize that despite the strides we as a people have made to overcome stereotypes, we still have a far way to go, which is why I want to create my game.



Originally I had planned to make a digital game, but I have a time restraint of 8 weeks to make everything happen.  So the first stage of my work is research, so that I can better understand how to convey my ideas.













Over the next few weeks I will be exploring these concepts more and how to make it into a game that is subtle, but powerful.

Wish me luck!

Research links:

  1. Ferris State University
  1. A.V. Club