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Pax Hibernia

Event: Young Games Designer AwardsDate: Saturday 29 June 2019  Venue: BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, LondonHosts: TBC-Area: Game StillsBAFTA/Rossa Smallman

Pax Hibernia (Desktop) - Rossa Smallman (18), Derry/Londonderry)

A management & political strategy game based around the process of peace & reconciliation in Northern Ireland, the player must manage and ensure the balance of power within the 11 district areas in order to achieve some form of relative peace.”

Pax Hibernia allows players to explore the politics, culture, history, and people of Northern Ireland through a management and political strategy game the game will feature game-play systems designed to emphasise the importance of diversity and democratic values within politics. The player will have access to 6 cabinet ministers - each with their own unique character traits, expertise and relationships – who the player uses to create events, deal with issues, and consult on foreign relations. Each of these actions can impact daily life within Northern Ireland be it the economy, political opinion, or even national stability. 

Economically, the player must manage a variety of different economic policies (such as tax, subsidisation, etc.) each of which affects the Expenditure and Debt of the country, High Debt/Expenditure can affect national stability and overall approval drastically, while the opposite can have beneficial effects. 

Socially, the player must manage a divided nation and can implement a variety of different social and policing policies (Irish Language, Festivals & Events, etc.) in order to appease either side. However, when dealing with these social issues bias must be taken into account, as any actions were taken against/for one side will dis/please the other.

Politically, the player cannot do anything deal with situations themselves; instead, they must assign a cabinet minister to deal with the issue. Each minister also has their own personalities that can affect their relationships with other ministers and therefore their ability to work with their peers.

The main screen of the game will feature a detailed district area map of Northern Ireland, with simplistic versions of the ROI, and UK which the player can interact with as appropriate.

The player will primarily use the mouse to click on different UI elements within the game, this includes: buttons, sliders, toggles, checkboxes, etc. However, the player can also use a variety of hotkeys to bring up a certain screen which may allow for further ease of use. For example, pressing "Tab" will open up the cabinet ministers screen, or the "E" key to bring up the GOI menu, each hotkey is designed around the typical "WASD" set-up.

The game uses story to a minimal degree (mostly only background information) as I found it to be much more effective to teach by using gameplay and stimulating kinaesthetic learning techniques and muscle memory in order to inform the player of the topic at hand. However, the game does include a rough backstory to contextualise the player's actions: the player is an administrative AI designed and implemented by the UN to manage a politically stagnant Northern Ireland in the lead-up to a No-Deal Brexit, this backstory explains why the player starts off in rough relations with both the UK and the ROI, not to mention the restructured government in place to accommodate a fictional first minister. 

Despite the focus on Northern Irish politics, the game is designed to simplify the topic by focusing on kinaesthetic learning and the potential of gameplay in education, so that the game can be understood by both younger and older players and those inside and outside of Northern Ireland.