Following their presentation of the Rabbit Heart research project and game to their peers at HSAD, Paul Starkey and Gareth Sleightholme presented their project as part of their ongoing research to an audience at Platform Expo 2012 earlier this year in February.
Rabbit Heart itself is a game concept based around the lead character of a young girl, called Ululu, lost in a strange world of flying galleons, tentacled monsters and abandoned cities, whose only ally is a semi-sentient Exo-Suit that reminds her of the toy rabbit she had lost. The game is a test bed for gameplay (in particular we are focusing on the idea of empathy and mutual benefit*) functionality as well as production design, and is being used as a teaching aid in sessions with games design students in its current state.
The game development allows those students from various new media disciplines to participate with the research team leaders as clients as well as simply being a model for the type of blog and documentation development that our students should be aiming for.
Paul and Gareth are continuing to develop the project as an educational resource with the idea of publishing their findings and results via a making of book “The Tale of Rabbit Heart”** that will contain tutorials and recommendations for mini briefs for other educators and students engaged in independent research.
*As seen with games such as Ico, Shadow of Collossus and most recently Journey.