Here’s a game that I spent quite a bit of time on. I worked on this over the course of about 8 weeks with a team of four using Trello and Discord for our workflow. We started out with my idea of a puzzle game that took place on a cube where each face had a small puzzle that contributed to a large cube-wide puzzle, and executed and iterated on that idea over the following weeks while going through many changes along the way. I served as Sound Designer and Level Designer, both of which were new experiences for me. This game won the People’s Choice Award at the 2021 Game Design and Development Showcase at Quinnipiac.

Here’s a bit about my design process as someone applying Instructional Design concepts to a game.

It’s a puzzle game that has different puzzles on each face of the cube, with an overall puzzle tying the whole experience together. Solving smaller objectives on each face is necessary to complete the goal for the entire thing. Here’s the first face:

I start players out in a small room. It’s a controlled environment with no danger. Players can learn how to walk, push and pull the cube, and they start to learn the mechanics of the laser and the switch mechanisms. The switches on the floor can be activated by something being on top of them- the player, the box in the initial room, anything that can be pushed around. They cause other things in the level to happen. Here, the player moves the cube onto the switch, and the door directly to the right, highlighted in red, opens, while the one on the far right closes.

Now, the player understands that objects in the environment can be manipulated, which they learned in the safety of the initial room. They can use that experience in the larger, more open area of the level, but now there’s more risk. Gates open and close on the floor that cause spikes to rise and fall. When they’re open, they’re highlighted with red to indicate danger, and are greyed out when they’re closed. With a bit of experimentation, players can discover that the rock in the top portion of the level can be pushed around, and can be used to activate the switches as well.

The player learned from this experience that objects can be pushed over the spike plates. Now, what else is there to do in this room?

We see that the laser in the initial portion of the level can be reflected off the sides of the mirror boxes, and that the magenta color indicates that an object has something to do with the laser component.

With these lessons, the player can surmise that the box that was in the upper right area can be pushed over the spikes, through the doorway into the opening room, and into the bottom to reflect the laser into the wedge on the left, which opens the door to the next room.

Each level incorporates lessons learned from previous ones. I designed the game as a learning experience: the player is given goals, lessons to learn and exercises to achieve those goals, ways to put those lessons into practice on benchmark tests (solving the whole face incorporates every lesson previously learned,) and a cumulative design that ensures that the player is using all of the knowledge from the whole experience to progress and complete the game.

You can read and see more about 3D Cube Game as well as try it out for yourself at the following link: