C’est La V

8-bit role playing game created with PICO-8

Art, User Experience, User Interface

 
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Background

I collaborated with five others to create a video game using PICO-8. PICO-8 is a console that can be used to make and play video games. It uses the programming language Lua and a collection of games created with PICO-8 can be found on itch.io. Inspired by Sailor Moon, the goal of the game is to traverse through the streets and kill villains to save the city.

My Role

I helped create the artwork but my main focus was on the user experience and interface.

Mission

To work with a team to create a multi-level video game using PICO-8.

 
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Creating the Title

Our game was inspired by Sailor Moon and follows Sailor V on her journey to save the streets of Tokyo. The name “C’est La V” has multiple meanings: “Sailor V” and “C’est La Vie,” meaning “such is life.” We chose this name because sometimes things do not go as planned so you should just move on. In the game when a player dies, “C’est La V” appears onscreen encouraging the player to try again.

 
 

8-bit Style

Creating a game in PICO-8 is much simpler than creating a game in Unity or another game engine. The programming language is fairly simple but as a result, the art is 8-bit. Since I hadn’t played an 8-bit style video game in a while, I researched new and old games. I collaborated with another to come up with art for cities, characters and weapons. We worked together closely because there was a limited amount of space for sprites, otherwise known as computer graphics. One of the challenges was finding a way to make each character unique because there are only 16 colors in PICO-8.

 
 Screenshot from PICO-8

Screenshot from PICO-8

 

Some of the sprites we created included Sailor V, villains, building and weapons. Another challenge was creating the walking animation for each sprite. I was used to creating static images but learning the beginning steps of animation was an exciting experience.

 
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User Testing

Before we finished the game, had people play-test the game. We wanted to hear others opinions about our game. Unfortunately, a majority of the people we invited were gamers. I wanted to make the game something that everyone would enjoy, even people who aren’t as mechanically good as others. As a result, I suggested that we lower the amount of enemies and create more levels so the learning curve wouldn’t be so harsh. We added another beginning level which acted as a tutorial.

Let’s Play!

Feel free to check out our game on itch.io! We put our heart and soul into this project. Here’s a funny clip of the game when it was going through play testing.