Final Blog

When I first heard of Propel, I didn’t at all know what to expect until I came here. Truth be told, it was a lot different than what I had imagined prior. Something that has stuck with me is the very first outing we all did as a class. We were split into two groups and had to escape two rooms within a limited amount of time. The goal was to try to escape faster than the other group. The reason why this activity was important to me was because barely any of us had known each other at the time, yet we had to combine our skills and knowledge to solve a big problem together. I’m not one to ever open up and talk to someone on my own free will, but this activity forced me to do so in order to try to win, and I’m really glad it did. It made me realize that my ideas were important and helpful and that no one was going to hear them unless I said them. I’m still working on my people skills, but I’ve learnt so much about myself just by being in Propel and I’m very thankful to have been a part of it.

For my project, I created a short role-playing game—or RPG for short—based on personality disorders. I have always been passionate about psychology and I believe that there are many mental illnesses that are very unknown and obscure to the general public. This is why I decided to dedicate my project to personality disorders; I wish to educate people on personality disorders in order to help and to spread knowledge. When we all began working on our projects I spent the first two months doing extensive research on personality disorders. I was able to get an online copy of the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the standard classification of all mental disorders, and began my research from there. I was also able to talk to several people online with different personality disorders in order to gain more of a personal insight on the subject. After reading through many websites and books, I was finally able to move on towards the video game aspect of my project. With the help of another group creating a different video game, we decided to get the program RPG Maker MV. RPG Maker MV is a program made by Enterbrain in which you are able to develop role-playing games. We also got the program Game Character Hub that lets you create the character images and sprites before implementing them into the game. To get these two programs, we had to make a Propel account on Steam, which is an engine that allows you to buy video games as well as video game programs. After quickly learning how to use RPG Maker MV and Game Character Hub, I was able to create my game. I thought it would be best to make the plot line of my game very basic in order to put more emphasis on the characters because they are the main focus of the game. To summarize, there is a mysterious individual roaming around causing trouble and pain for their own personal gain and you, the protagonist, take it upon yourself to stop them after accidentally getting yourself involved. Along your journey, you will meet a variety of characters who each personify a personality disorder and it is up to you to find out which one of them is the antagonist. The game is full of twists in order to challenge stereotypes people may have against personality disorders. More recently, I finally decided to call my game Fallacy. I chose this title because the word means “false belief,” which goes two ways; people who do not have personality disorders hold false stigmas towards people who do, and people with personality disorders can often have delusions and false beliefs about reality. I hope my project will do justice enough to educate others just as much as I hope people are open to learn about personality disorders.

I have learnt many new things here in Propel. There are the obvious, like everything about personality disorders and RPG Maker, but I have learnt various real life skills. To be more specific, I gained knowledge on the 6 C’s—creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, citizenship, character, and communication. We did many activities to achieve these skills, but I found that I learnt most of them just by working in the classroom. In Propel, you are put together with a small group of people you do not know and are supposed to work together and be friends. It was hard at first, but after opening my mind and applying such skills as the 6 C’s, I was able to communicate and get very close with some of these people. I have always had a very difficult time opening up, making friends, and just being myself, but I feel as if Propel has helped me take a step forward towards learning how to be comfortable with myself.

I believe the most successful part of my project was the research. I had always been heavily engrossed in personality disorders, and being able to learn all about them was very fun and interesting. I was able to learn about something I was passionate about and so, in the end, my information ended up being especially solid and precise. All in all, the thing I am most proud of is my concept for my game. I think that putting the disorders into a video game is a very creative, innovative, and fun way of teaching people about them. There are 10 official personality disorders and I like my idea of having 10 main characters who personify them. I’m confident that it’s a clever and original idea and it turned out to be a great project.

Though many amazing things have come out of this project, it wasn’t all that easy. Time and my imagination were my two biggest obstacles, and together they forced me throw out many aspects of my project. Originally, I wanted the game to be on a much larger scale. I had many ideas for my game and I planned for it to be a lot longer and to have a lot more depth. Unfortunately I ran out of time and had to cut a lot of it out. I still like the game how it is now, but my original idea was much better. I underestimated how long it would take to create a game and if I were to do something like this again in the future, I would definitely be more aware of how much time it takes.

If I could summarize my Propel experience in one word, it would be: eventful. After comparing an ordinary classroom to Propel, it’s easy to see just how much more we do here. For example, I’ve been on more field trips this semester than I have all of high school. One of my favourites was when we participated in Tigers’ Den, which is comparable to the CBC television series Dragons’ Den. We had from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM to create, design, and pitch an original product. There were 10 groups and each had to give a short presentation on their product several times to different CEO’s in order to try and win the title of “best product.” My team created an app called Haul Away, which was an app that connects people who need their garbage and/or old furniture taken away with truckers who could do the job for them. We had to use a lot of teamwork and communication in order to successfully work together to make our product as good as it could be. It was worth it because we ended up winning second place. It was a really great time and if I have the chance, I’d really love to do it again next year.

In the future, I hope to continue working hard on my passions. My goal for this summer is to expand on my video game until it is as great as I had first imagined it to be. I have always wanted to make a role-playing game and because of Propel, I finally got the chance to do so. All I need now is to make it better and hopefully sell it as an indie game online. I also believe that my options in life have expanded greatly after being able to learn more about myself. You can’t get what you want in life unless you go out and grab it, and I feel as if I was unable to do that before my semester in Propel. I want to improve on being a more open and hardworking person than I was before. Propel has given me many opportunities that have changed me in ways that may seem incredibly small for someone else, but have been gigantic for me. Though there may have been some rough patches along the way, Propel was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to have more like it.

Signing off forever,

Sid the Squid

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Blog #8

Hey! From the 11th to the 16th I visited Chicago on a school trip. It took about 17 hours to bus there and the ride was Absolute Misery. It was completely worth it, though, because every day was jammed packed with super fun activities. We went to places like the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago Art Institute, the Navy Pier, the Chicago Bean, and more. We also saw the musical Chicago and it was really good! I’ve been wanting to see that for a really long time and I finally got the chance to. All in all, it was a really great trip and I’m  glad I went.

Work-wise, I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped. I thought I would be able to work on my project while in Chicago but I ended up being waaay too busy. I also hit a few roadblocks, like one of the character sprites being deleted and my main program not opening, but I managed to recreate the sprite and got the program to work so we’re back in business. Right now I’m still making maps; it’s easy but pretty tedious work. I should be able to wrap everything up and finish nicely within the next few weeks. :^)

 

Blog #7

Last week I finally finished making the rest of the character sprites. It was a little exhausting, but I’m glad it’s over with. I can finally move onto the creation of the actual game! I didn’t really like the tile set and the things RPG Maker came with, so I found an online pack full of classic looking tiles. Here’s an example of one of the smaller maps I worked on:

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I decided to call the game Fallacy. I chose that name because it means “false belief” and I feel that works really well for the subject of personality disorders because there are many stereotypes and “false beliefs” people hold towards PD’s, and people with PD’s often have irrational and false beliefs, themselves. Also it sounds cool.

Yeah that’s about it, really. I’m going to Chicago for six days so I won’t be able to work on my game a whole lot this week.

Blog #6

On April 11th our class traveled to Samuel Burland Elementary School to do some PBL with a 5th grade class. I’m working on a pretty cool project with two girls named Davina and Josée. We decided to make the subject of our project “dreams and how they work.” The whole day was a lot of fun—if not a little exhausting—and I’m excited to see our little buds again soon.

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Later last week, the other game-makers and I got a new program called “Game Character Hub” in which we are able to create character sprites and tile sets. This is a screenshot of a walking animation that I’m working on for one of the sprites. I decided to make my game 8-bit (like the classic NES games) so that’s why the style of the sprite is very simplistic and blocky. The animation isn’t quite complete yet in this screenshot (that’s why one of the blocks is empty) and I need to improve some aspects of it, but so far everything is going good project-wise! :^)

Blog #5

Alright, so, project-wise, I think I’m pretty much done with my research. I’d still like to find some professionals to talk with about personality disorders but that’s not completely necessary at this point. I took it upon myself to actually communicate with certain people online who have personality disorders so I was able to get more first-hand information. Of course, you can’t trust everything you read on the internet, but their stories and experiences seemed pretty valid and matched up with all my research so I’m hopefully going to be using some of them for inspiration for my game. I’ve FINALLY started designing my characters. To be honest, it’s a lot more difficult than I originally thought it would be. Creating characters has always been pretty easy for me but this is basically on an entirely different level. It’s a little hard when you try to make their appearances encompass an entire personality disorder. It’s also challenging because I need to do this for 10 characters, plus the main character (whom I have NO idea what they will look and be like). I’d really love to add background characters but I’m not sure if I’ll have enough time for that so I will have to wait and see. That’s pretty much all I’m up to at the moment. Once I finish the designs for the characters I’ll post a few pictures of them on my next blog update, so stay tuned for that. :^)

Blog #4

Wowee what a week. To start it off, Nick, Shae, Kage, Dawson, Haley, Brandon, and I all went to the University of St. Boniface with our school because it’s getting to the point where we need to start thinking about our lives after high school. Not too hyped about that. I’m about 99% sure I won’t be going there, but it was still a pretty fulfilling academic field trip and we all got a free cup which was cool.

The following day almost the entirety of the Propel students participated in Tiger’s Den–which is basically the Dragon’s Den or the Shark Tank of LRSD. To be completely honest, I was sort of dreading going beforehand because I didn’t know what to expect and I thought it wouldn’t be fun at all. Boy, was I wrong. Once we got settled into our groups (there were ten in total) and got to know our team members I was surprised at how much fun I was having. Each group was supposed to pitch an idea for either a product, a service, or a business to a team of judges to try to win a trophy for the best and most innovative idea. My group came up with a service called “Haul Away,” which was essentially an app that connected people who needed junk hauled away and people who could haul it away. It was basically an Uber for trailers and junk. In the end, we ended up winning second place out of the ten groups! That was super awesome and I’m really glad I went. I’d love to participate in it again next year if I can.

Now for project work… I’ve mainly just been continuing my research. I think I’m just about ready to actually start on the game now, but I still need to meet up with psychologists and people with personality disorders to finish up some final touches on my research. This week has been crazy fun and I’m pretty pumped for whatever we’re doing next.

Blog #3

From the 8th to the 11th, I was actually out of the classroom all day. Every year a certain science teacher at my school writes original comedy musicals and the students who audition for the musical perform them at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. I was there from 9 AM until 10 PM and had two performances that were two hours long every day that week.

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I’ve wanted to join the musical since ninth grade but I was always a little too scared. This year, though, I finally joined and, wow, do I regret not joining earlier. This has probably been one of the most fun and amazing weeks of my entire life. I made a lot of new friends during our seven hour long free time between shows that we used as bonding time. I’m a little disappointed, though, because my school and some feeder schools would come in the morning shows at 9:30 AM but the morning shows were always the worst because we were so tired and—not gonna lie—schools aren’t very good audiences. The night shows were basically the highlight of my life and everyone in the audience laughed so many times and we all performed so well. It was just an altogether great time. I’m really going to miss dressing up as a sheep and the way everyone danced backstage to the songs that were being sung onstage, though.

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At the very end of the last show on Friday, at 10 PM, the 12th graders that were in the musical gave surprise speeches to our director, Mr. Roy, and everyone was crying. This musical means a lot to the people in it, because we write it ourselves, there are sooo many people in it, and it’s like one big family. It made me think about how last year is going to be my last year doing the musical and I think that’s the thing that really made me tear up.

I am SO happy I joined this year, though. Like, I can’t even explain how cool this experience was in words. I’m super excited for next year and I really hope more people from my grade join. It’s definitely worth it for the full high school experience.