Exploring Game Design — An Intersection of Storytelling and Graphic Design
Kent State student Sarah Riedlinger, ’20, has always been a creative and inventive person. The opportunities provided to her as a visual communication design major at Kent State allowed her to channel her creativity and life-long passions into a path for her future career.
In addition to her classes and extracurriculars, Riedlinger has been working on an independent project, Point Verity, a single-player, story-driven video game. The game, which centers on what it’s like to be a journalist, is a “passion project” of hers, with which she hopes to leave her mark at Kent State.
Riedlinger entered her project in Kent State Student Media’s 2nd annual FlashLab Innovation Pitch Contest and received the Sol Baltimore scholarship of $1,000 for her idea. She plans on using the scholarship toward purchasing a drawing tablet, which will help her illustrate and animate quickly for the game prototype. This is the first year the Sol Baltimore Endowed Scholarship for Innovation in Student Media was awarded. Sol Baltimore is a 1956 graduate of Kent State University, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. He reached out to Student Media wanting to support something outside the box, which led to the creation of this scholarship.
“Receiving the Sol Baltimore scholarship was a huge surprise,” Riedlinger said. “I have been involved with Student Media all four years of my undergrad, so it especially meaningful to me. I am very grateful to Mr. Baltimore.”
In her pitch on Dec. 3, 2019, Riedlinger presented Point Verity, a story-driven game where the goal is to simply explore the story within, similar to the experience of watching a movie or reading a book. The story follows a reporter who moves to a small town in Arizona and works for local newspaper. The game contains smaller storylines that tie into the overarching adventure, told from the lens of a journalist.
“The name of the game, in a literal sense, is about the truth and the fine line defining it, as well as the geological structure in the game, an actual place where characters in the game interact,” Reidlinger said.
Riedlinger is currently working with Jessica Barness ,Associate Professor in the School of Visual Communication Design to serve as a mentor for her during the creation process. Her goal for the end of semester is to have a prototype of the first five minutes of gameplay, so users can experience a prologue to the video game. She plans to distribute Point Verity through the popular game platform, Steam.
Growing up, she had a knack for storytelling and graphic design. These passions led her to pursue a degree in visual design communication at Kent State. She also grew up playing video games, which further sparked the idea for Point Verity.Riedlinger explains that game design is the intersection of all these mediums.
“As a designer it allows me to think of illustrations, animations, experience design, system controls and how people interact with these controls, all encompassed through a story line.”