Space Governor Bradford
a Train Jam 2017 Game
I attended Train Jam 2017 and, with the help of five other developers, made some progress on a wildly over-scoped game about knocking on doors as a political candidate.
The Inspiration: My School Board Campaign
Two days before Train Jam I advanced through the spring primary election the the race for a seat on the school board in my hometown of Stoughton, WI. Eight candidates were running for three empty seats, and I placed third in the primary election, advancing me into the pool of six candidates on the ballot of the April 24 general election.
Door to Door
I was on a high from my primary victory, and as I arrived at Union Station in Chicago I struggled to shake my campaign and the work of the previous two months from my mind. At that point, I had knocked on several hundred doors and spoken directly with a couple hundred Stoughton residents about my passion, qualifications, and vision for their school district. After two months of endlessly approaching strangers to earn their votes, I decided to approach a room full of strangers and convince a few to help me make a game about the experience.
Original Space Governor Design Doc
-Master Tools To-Do-
Bradford (music, voice)
Katie (2D art)
Jon (code, design)
Oda (3D art)
You are the governor of a human colony set to land on an uninhabited planet
Your human colony is established. You are governing. Your planning paid off.
You are arranging logistics, signing bills into law.
Your door opens and the aliens enter.
They welcome you and your people. They inform you that they have a well-established population and fully governed society. They are democratic. They offer you citizenship.
There is an election in your district in one week. They invite you to run, to familiarize your new neighbors with human ways and vice-versa.
American style of democracy
- parody alien swat team with ambassador
- good cop bad cop ambassador
*Scene* Campaign Trail
You are at a massive apartment complex.
You knock on some doors. You struggle to connect with voters.
Characters by Katie McCarthy
Bradford Dobbs, Space Governor
My friend Bradford and I attended Train Jam together. Bradford is a musician and both scored "The Eyes of Cheatin Hitman" for me and acted some parts, but otherwise this was his first deep dive into game development. Bradford would star in our Train Jam game, so to save creative energy for other aspects of the project, we named his character, "Space Governor Bradford."
The game begins with Space Governor Bradford proudly declaring his human colony formed. We wanted the player to feel a sense of excitement and an ambition similar to the beginning of my real-world political campaign: bold promises, booming music, and a bright future.
On his second day in office, Gov. Bradford would be introduced to an existing democracy native to the planet he and his humans had colonized, unaware of other inhabitants, and offered candidacy in their upcoming election. This would kick off the door-to-door interactions that we hoped to be the core of the player experience.
Bradford would go door-to-door, knocking on the same stock apartment doors, meeting different voters, but realizing that most of them are busy or distracted. We wanted the players to feel slightly discouraged, like political candidates do when they feel like they aren't able to spread their message as far as they had hoped. The following audio albums include the dialog we recorded and processed from the jam - we found some excellent actors :)