Please Knock on My Door

 

A story-driven experience capturing the struggles

of depression and social anxiety.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
I developed Please Knock on My Door based on my own experiences battling depression, it was an exercise in capturing abstract emotion into game mechanics and writing. For this project I did all writing, design, programming, most of the game’s art and I was deeply involved in the game’s music, SFX and VO. Aside from development I also handled press, did presentations and interviews, trade shows and founded a company. I took the game idea from concept to final candidate on Steam and EA’s Origin.
 
During this project I developed the following skills:
 
  • Writing modular, linear and branching storylines; understanding each archetype’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Technical proficiency in Unity C#, as I programmed the entire project myself.
  • Taking writing from text to recorded VO, including voice coaching the actor to meet the experience goal set for each scene.
  • The ability to construe game logic from abstract emotions and themes.
  • Planning and working through a 3 year project from concept to release.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The feature I’m the most proud of is the design of the two voices talking to the player as they play the game. The first voice uses white text, and represents the healthy version of the main character. I used this voice to verbalize the thoughts and reflections of someone who has gone through depression and later tries to understand how they could feel so terrible. I chose this character since I felt like it would help players, both those with and without personal experience with depression, to think about the illness and reflect about what it does to a person. It mirrored my own experience working on the title, as I was reflecting on my time being depressed those thoughts manifested as short-form storylines within the game’s narrative.

The second voice is the embodiment of self-doubt, self-hatred and a complete disbelief in that anything can ever be better than what it currently is. It is represented by red text and takes over the narration during the game’s second week, where it gives the player insights into how the mind will twist any situation into it’s most negative interpretation. Players have explicitly told me that, by experiencing the narrative of the red voice, it has helped them to better ‘check themselves’ when their own thoughts lapses into that dark mindset. By using both the white and red voice I was able to show players two sides of the same mind, and how a person’s outlook on life severely colors how they think about any given situation they end up in.

For a more in-depth exploration of how games like Please Knock on My Door are made, please read this article (with interview) posted on VideoGamer.

For its honest and skillful way of representing depression, Please Knock on My Door received a 10/10 from Gamereactor Norway.

For its achievement in eliciting empathy through mechanics, Please Knock on My Door is nominated for Best Gameplay by Games 4 Change.

 

 

 

“Please Knock on My Door gave me a better understanding of myself and my illness,

a remarkable achievement for a video game.” – Vic Hood, Eurogamer

 

 

 

 

Nominated for Games for Impact in The Game Awards 2017.

 

 

Please Knock on My Door has reached a Very Positive user score on Steam and is also available on Origin.