The Freewill of Life


A 2D platformer game

2021

︎︎︎ Developer: Jiayue Gou, Grace Guo, Sarita Sun

︎︎︎ My role: Concept development, Level design, Interactive coding

︎︎︎ Durarion: 3 Weeks

︎ Unity
︎ C# Script

︎ Animaiton


Play the game here ︎︎︎
Check out more on my itch page ︎︎︎



The Freewill of Life is a 2D platformer game with three different levels illustrating three ideological statuses of life: being the beginning of life (inside the womb), the underworld seeking reincarnation, and getting into the human world.

︎Concept
We started building our concept by looking into some recent popular news and social problems. A few of the topics have been discussed a lot on Chinese social media: surrogacy, race, and abortion. Combining our thoughts, we realized that we are talking about the meaning of life and human rights. We believe that no matter what kind of "forms" human life is presenting with, we should be able to make our decisions. We believe that life is a journal, and the most important thing is to try and experience what it brought to you, rather than regretting and keep suspecting. Bringing some Buddhism theory into our concept, incarnation, we decided to make the game structure into a complete loop.


For the game structure, we made a diagram to better illustrate the idea. The player would start from level "0", which is inside the womb as a tiny life form. This is also the easiest level with a topdown path. When the player arrives at the bottom and finishes the level, it means that the player is able to be born into the human world and thus get to level "1." If the player could not make it to the bottom, which means, being dismissed by other existing characters, the player would not be able to be born and then get to the underworld, level "-1".


The hidden world is a journey for the lost soul to get back to the womb again, in Buddhism and our culture, we believe life could get incarnation and our soul could get chances to experience the human world again. The process in this level is to collect enough "essence" for the soul to be able to be born again.

The real world level, level "1", is the hardest level. During this life journey, we could meet a lot of things, and we are just like Sisyphus pushing the stone again and again to experience the sweetness and bitterness of life. We designed different characters to either help or hurt the player, and the goal is to keep trying to get it through. The human world is not easy, to be born is just the start.

︎Level Design

The three stages make into a game loop: as a lucky little life form, you are lucky to be born and arrive human world, or you could be sent to the underworld and seek your chance to be reborn; as a life living in the real world, you work hard, make friends and chase your dream until the final stage of your life; Then, you are back to the beginning of the process again. The game can become a never-ending loop unless the player presses the "stop button" manually. By arriving at the exit located at each level, players will proceed to different worlds.




The player character designed here is a fire-like "soul,"  rigged and animated with Idle, Run, and Jump states. The character also has different facial expressions in different behavior statuses. The character is colored differently in different levels, which suggests the mood and condition. We designed our levels, or in other words,  proposed stages of life are ranged in three different hard levels. It may not start with the easiest one, and the reason is that we want the players to try themselves and guess what we might mean by that based on our design background.



︎Next Step

Right now the game is functional but there are some bugs that we need to fix. We are planning to continue develop this game to make it more smooth and complete.