This is the story of how the prototype Planes! came to life and of what my intentions were with it and what I learned in the process.
At first, when I arrived, IncLudo had been operational since one month and my knowledge about India was close to zero. But my mission was to make games for raising awarness about inclusivity in the workplace.
And that is how in one project, three majors challenges appeared :
First the game had to address the diversity problem in an Indian context to Indian people, not only was I unfamiliar with their problem but also I didn’t know enough about their culture and how to talk to them about things they relate to.
Secondly, it had to talk about inclusivity. But, I’m a straight white French man working in an educated environement. I’ve never felt like I was rejected in my work place. I don’t know.
Lastly, it needed to talk about the workplace environment, and here it is the same. As an employee, I have less than a year of experience. The workplace environment is still new to me.
So, firstly, I had to know more about India. Sadly, I couldn’t come to India when the game lab came there, so I started to read every article I could find about India, especially the ones about diversity in the workplace.
At one point something caught my eyes… In India, 11.8% of the pilots are women. And here’s the interesting part : In the world, only 3% of the pilots are women.
More insight was needed about indian aviation So, I also asked my Indian co workers (Gayathri Gopalakrishnan and Anirudh Krishnakumar.) if they had any idea of why aviation is more inclusive in India than anywhere else… And they didn’t know. Neither their familly nor the pilots we asked had an explanation. Actually, majority of them were unaware of their country being so inclusive.
Was there more behind it ?…Yes there was. India also had the first all-women crew.
India had the youngest commander in the world AND it was a woman : Nivedita Bhasin.
So it struck me. My job was not to come as a white European man and say “Oh! it’s no good, let me patronize you and explain to you how you can make this better”. No, because I realized that in one sector : aviation, India is more inclusive without lot of them even knowing it. A game that could introduce them to this model could be a good idea
Now that a theme had been found, a real game was needed. Making a game were you could play as a pilot was logical. I didn’t want to do a shooter game because I was not in favor of a war concept.
It would be a 2D game on mobile, that way it could be controlled with the accelerometer in order to make it more fun.
Once the first draft of the prototype in hand I had to admit that it didn’t look fun enough, or at least novel enough. Really similar games already existed. So I searched how to improve it. Dr Himmelstein advised me to make it mutiplayer. Two players could control one plane, one the direction and the other, the special power.
It was a good idea but I feared that it could be a liitle bit boring for player to be only using power, more needed to be done.
In the end, the two players of one plane could control it, but using the same phone in order to have more cooperation. Also, it made it easier for people to coordinate their actions because there’s ne need to talk, when you move the phone, the other player can see it but also feel it because he has the same phone in hand.
Lastly, a 4 players mode with 2 phone was added.
So that’s the story of Planes!’s prototype !