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-
Clickable Objects
Cinematic System

Adrian (code)
Bradford (music, voice)
Jeremiah (code)
Katie (2D art)
Jon (code, design)
Oda (3D art)
Jacob (voice!)

-Narrative Overview-

*Scene* Spaceship
You are the governor of a human colony set to land on an uninhabited planet

*Scene* Colony
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.

Apartment Complex

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. 


Meeting Voters

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 :)

Door 1 Script and Audio

====Door 1====
Candidate: {Door knock}
Voter: {opens door, hesitant stare}
---> Enthusiastic Introduction [Enthusiastic]
---> Confident Introduction [Confident]

Hi! My name is Bradford and I'm running for Senate! [Intro Response]

Hello! My name is -name- and I'm a candidate for Senate and I want to win your vote. [Intro Response]

====Intro Response====
Voter: You're an alien...
Candidate: um, yeah, I guess.
---> Playful Response [Playful]
---> Confident Response [Confident]
---> Shy Response [Shy]

Candidate: We all gotta come from somewhere! [Rejection]

Candidate: I am, you noticed. I've lived in more than one place, and I think a fresh perspective is exactly what our constituency needs. [Rejection]

Candidate: Yeah, um, I've thought about that too. I'm new here, and I have a lot to learn, but I'm hoping that you'll take the time to get to know me. [Rejection]

Voter: I'm not voting for an alien. {closes door}

Door 2 Script and Audio

====Door 2====
Candidate: {Door knock}
Voter: {pet sounds, opens door, clearly holding pet at bay}
Voter: Hi, how can I help you?
---> Pleading Introduction [Pleading]
---> Enthusiastic Introduction [Enthusiastic]
---> Confident Introduction [Confident]

Candidate: Hi, I'm new here. I'm the governor of a recently landed human colony. I know you probably aren't familiar with us, but if you would please just lend me a minute of your time.
Voter: mmmhmmm, ok.
---> Ask a question [Question]
---> Convince [Convince]
---> Wrap-up [Close]

Candidate: Hi! My name is -name- and I'm running for Senate! [Intro Response]
Voter: mmmhmmm, ok.
---> Ask a question [Question]
---> Convince [Convince]
---> Wrap-up [Close]

Candidate: Hello! My name is -name- and I'm a candidate for Senate and I want to win your vote. [Intro Response]
Voter: mmmhmmm, ok.
---> Ask a question [Question]
---> Convince [Convince]
---> Wrap-up [Close]

Candidate: {renewed zeal} Ok, Great! Well can you share some of your concerns with me? My platform is pretty thin - I just moved in two days ago - but I need to understand the concerns of my voters if I'm trying to represent you.
Voter: I don't follow politics very closely, sorry.
Candidate: Oh... um, well how about I tell you a bit more about myself?
Voter: mmmhmmm, ok. [Convince]

Candidate: I'm a free thinker. I'm an experienced governor - I've held various positions on my home planet over the past 20 years. I'm new to this community, so I'm bringing a fresh perspective.
Voter: {still holding dog} mmmhmmm
---> Continue [Continue]
---> Wrap-up [Close]

Candidate: I believe in responsible spending, programs that help the disadvantaged, and I have a strong record of fighting corruption.
Voter: mmmhmmm
---> Continue [Close]
---> Wrap-up [Close]

Candidate: Ok, well, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. The election is next week, I hope you're ready to vote. Please, reach out if you have any questions.
Voter: mmmhmmm, thanks, see ya {closes door, yells at pet}

Door 3 Script and Audio

====Door 3====
Candidate: {Door knock}
Voter: Hi?
---> Comfortable Introduction [Comfortable]

Candidate: Hi! My name is Bradford and I'm running for Senate. 

Voter: That's great! I'm a former Senator myself - 75 whole sun spins. It's great to see you out here - is this your first time running?

Candidate: It's my first time with everything, I just moved here a couple days ago.

Voter: Well that's great! I'm happy you're getting involved. How's it going so far?

Candidate: It's a little slow, to be honest. I feel like I'm saying the wrong things, I'm having a hard time getting people to talk to me.

Voter: Don't worry about it. People are busy. You've gotta keep at it, and over time you'll find your rhythm. 

Candidate: Thanks for the advice. I think that's the message I needed to hear. 

Voter: You'll be fine. Good luck tomorrow :)

Tons of Assets, No Game

Our scope for this project was far too ambitious, and that was entirely my fault. I took control of the direction of Space Governor Bradford and my inexperience and hubris had me thinking I could teach people I had never worked with to use my personal and broken Unity tools while also contributing my share of code and design to our project in a tight deadline. Our original goal was to highlight the awkwardness in campaigning door-to-door, but I scoped in a bunch of exposition to explain how Space Governor Bradford became a candidate to begin with, and we never got passed those initial office scenes. 

My teammates made several characters, 3D scenery for an office, apartment building exterior, and apartment building interior, recorded several minutes of useful dialog, and scored the whole game, I hope this blog post is able to highlight some of their work, and if you feel like playing the broken beginnings of our Train Jam 2017 game, you can find it at

Scenes from the Train