Do I Have A Right?
Category:Law Firm Management Simulator
When:Released Oct 2017
Role:Lead Engineer (Filament Games)
In iCivics’ new and improved Do I Have A Right?, players run their own firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law. Players must determine if potential clients have a right, match them with the best lawyer, and win the case. Recent upgrades to the game include a Spanish-language version (¿Tengo Algún Derecho?), an English-language voice over option, embedded scaffolds for language learners and struggling readers, a Bill of Rights mode, new art, greater customization options for one’s avatar and law firm, updated music, and enhanced gameplay mechanics.
Developer Notes
Dev Time:Apr 2017 - Oct 2017 (6 Months)
Fav Mechanic:Pet Friendship
Fav Secret:Coffee Time!
This game is an enhanced remake of the original Do I Have A Right?, which Filament made for iCivics back in 2010. The original iCivics suite of games were made in Flash, so this is part of an effort to get those converted to Unity before schools eventually lose access due to Flash player no longer being supported.
From a technical perspective, this project threw a few challenges at me. We needed both English and Spanish content. The text content additionally needed to be dynamic in certain contexts. Since Spanish has gendered nouns, such as cliento/a (client) and abogado/a (lawyer), we needed the game to adapt to the genders of participants. We also needed an easy way to mark up our text content such that it wouldn't be a huge programming task to perform this text selection manually. I wanted this solution to be efficient as well - no use wasting processing time to search for gendered variants for text that may not have any variants. The solution ended up being the first iteration of BeauMacro, which essentially compiles all our text content into efficient lists of instructions for how to construct a string. Combined with a way to set variables for different contexts, we have a smooth pipeline from content document to properly translated and contextual text.
Development wasn't always smooth on this project, but we managed to add a ton of little extras to the game, from optional interactions to extra animations, subtle sound design... oh, and good chunk of the opening cutscene. My favorite bit of sound design in the game is the surface-specific footstep sounds. A completely unnecessary detail, to be sure, but due to the sound engine I created for the project, it was easily implemented in about an hour.
I also hid a tiny secret in the game: if you drink enough coffee in a short period of time (maybe 10 cups back to back), you'll move much faster than with the normal boost. Of course, from the player's perspective, everything else slows down around you. Not the easiest technical trick to pull off without breaking a lot of other important game features, but it was worth it.
Natasha Soglin, the project lead and game artist.
Luke Jayapalan, the game designer.
Megan Tran, the UX designer.
Josh Bartels, the composer and sound engineer.
Georgia Adkins, Brian Czech, and Nell Farrell, our QA team.
Carrie Ray-Hill, our lead producer on iCivics' side, our subject matter expert, and primary content writer.
A full list of credits is available in-game. I recommend checking out the names of all the wonderful people who contributed to this project's success.