This blog follows the development of Modern Cocoa Farmer from concept to conclusion with all the set backs, in jokes, twists, turns and failures along the way. That’s what makes it interesting in our opinion.

PEOPLE MAKE THE PROJECT

People make the project This might sound obvious but it’s true.  A few weeks ago I worked with Alan (programmer), Jade (musician and Sfx) and Rob (Animator) on a game of lateral thinking problems solved with the arrow keys on your keyboard.  The result was very... read more

AN AWESOME TEAM

Pending funding the ‘Modern Cocoa Farmer’ team are all volunteers. Their time, energy and skills have contributed much the game. Please check out their linked pages to find out more about them. They are all awesome. We are always looking for new people, so if you are... read more

LET THE POSTS CONTINUE

Quite a difference from last time. Modern Cocoa Farmer is now at a critical stage.  We are ready to start user tests with our target audience.  This means getting the game payed and reviewed by children. We hope that the game will be ripped apart in various ways and... read more

GAMES FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

“Established entertainment mediums like movies and music have covered pretty much the full spectrum of emotional needs. Games are not there yet… Very rarely do you see the equivalent of a rom com or a documentary in games” – Jenova Chen By... read more

MODERN COCOA T-SHIRTS

Modern Cocoa Farmer Teeshirts have arrived ! They come in a variety of colours and sizes so, look out for the store coming soon. All our teeshirts are Fairtrade, organic and Low carbon emission. This is in keeping with our commitment to sustainability and minimising... read more

KALIMBAS IN SPACE

This blog post has been written by Jade Leamcharaskul (JDWasabi) on the subject of the music for the parent level of Modern Cocoa Farmer. Check out her brilliant work at http://wasabi-playground.com/ and www.soundcloud.com/jdwasabi  ‘Kalimba Breese’ This... read more

MODERNCOCOAFARMER.ORG IS TOO SLOW

Rocco, my flatmate, informed me yesterday that the homepage to the this website was running very slowly.  he showed me a very nifty trick to see what about the website is taking so long to load.  by pressing ‘ctrl’ cmd and I when in the web page, I was... read more

CORRESPONDENCE

Today I printed all of the correspondence from the project so far. This document puts into perspective the amount of communication that has to happen during a complex project like this. One problem with communication generally is that there is what I say and what the... read more

OUR PHILOSOPHY

 All graphic images property of Ines Ng This image represents the essence of our philosophy. We have tried to make ‘Modern Cocoa Farmer’ a close reflection of the reality we are depicting. From values like the average income of a family in West... read more

FEEDBACK AND TO DO LISTS

Today I got some advice from a friend Jade our awesome music composer.  Jade is a game music composer and passionate gamer and game designer so her opinion is greatly valued. I turned Jades points for improvement into a list of actions.  This is the process I will try... read more

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES

Now that we have the functions of the game pretty much sorted out we can move on to designing what each element will look like as well as how the player will interact with the various elements of the game.  This will bring the game to life.  On the left I have an... read more

FREE GAMES AND OUR DIRECTION

One of the great things about going to goldsmiths is the number of people doing awesome and creative things.  Walking around the main building I stumbled upon this sign ‘ Free Games, come in and play’. This is an invitation too good to pass up.  Inside... read more

NACHO AVERAGE EVENING

“That’s how programming works. You do some code, you smash it then you watch some stupid fucking shit on youtube” Alan Wills 2017 This post will follow one specific example of the circular iterative we discussed in the previous blog post. “Hey David, I’ve... read more

THE GITERATIVE PROCESS

Modern Cocoa Farmer develops in an iterative loop of development and reflection.  Alan sends me the most recent version of the project. I then use the Terminal and ‘Git’ to pull the changed information from the online Git files where the project is held.... read more

RE DESIGN OF THE BARS

This is my starting point.  It works functionally to show what I am trying to illustrate, but doesn’t look very good.  I have decided to go through a similar re design process for all of the different elements of the game so... read more

SUNSHINE

Everybody loves the sunshine, and none more than Alan Wills. Today we spent the day working on the game together and chilling in the sun. For the first time I can say that we have a workable playable game. This is the starting point. Now we make this game fun and... read more

WE WOK

Today I met with Ricardo Bovo who is studying an MA in serious games for social change at UCL and is one of Alan’s Colleagues. He kindly gave me the drop box files for his class, which gives lots of useful information about persuasive games and how to make them.... read more

CODE IS JUST…

Sometimes when you write code you can go completely round in a circle.  As your project & codebase develops, you will perform a process called Refactoring – this is the art of improving and generalising existing code to make it more usable for your new... read more

NEW WEBSITE!

Today I started working with Lewis Waller on the website.  Lewis is an ex back end WordPress expert and a good friend of mine.  He agreed (very kindly to host my domain moderncocoafarmer.org on his servers and give me a theme which he owns). This saves me a great deal... read more

MANGOS CAN DELIVER

“I love this sprite, It’s just so Riskay” – Alan Two weeks of correspondence and binary decision maps later, Alan the Wizard that he is has finished all of the background functionality for the game.  This means that we can start putting assets... read more

PIXEL ART BOY

All images © Ines Ng This pixel art  boy is a vast improvement on the placeholder we had before for the minigame. Drawn by Ines Ng on my instruction, it depicts a boy of the right age and ethnicity for the... read more

PARENT LEVEL BY ALAN WILLS

I am always amazed at how much artwork changes a game.  In some ways you want to create your game with bad artwork because you can otherwise be fooled in to the quality of your product.  Today, the parent level has gone from squares on a red background to something... read more

BEHIND THE MUSIC WITH JADE

In this post, I attempt to explain the process and creative intent when writing the first draft of the theme for the Cocoa Pod Collecting mini game in Modern Cocoa Farmer. The narrative of this level is that you play a child slave whose objective is to the collect the... read more

SWORD-TED AND SAUCERY PIZZA

After finishing off a rather tasty round of saucy pizzas from Mamma Dough’s, and David showing me pictures of the awesome pixel art in Sword and Sorcery (ha, see what we did there!), he showed me our new pixel art. For several weeks now, I have had to watch a... read more

FAIR TRADE SOCIAL GAME JAM PITCH

I messaged the head of Hacksmiths at Goldsmiths asking if they would be interested in holding a game Jam event with Fairtrade or on Fairtrade issues.  He said that he would raise the point in the upcoming board meeting on Wednesday to discuss this as a possibility. I... read more

SOUND EFFECTS AND MUIC GURU

Yesterday (over dinner) I briefed Jade about the music for the mini game. I asked Jade to  taking influence from Negro spirituals and slave working songs as well as traditional Music from Mali. We talked about the feeling of trudging that the music is trying to... read more

ALAN DOES NOT LIKE MACS

Genuine frustration as Alan tries to download file sharing software on my macbook “No self respecting programmer owns a mac” Our meeting started when I asked alan about his opinion on the scope of the project. Alan said that in the time left it would be... read more

MAGAZINE ARTICLE

Last week I was approached by the Goldsmiths Student union magazine to write an article about a subject of my choosing. I felt that this was an opportunity to speak about my final project. I set myself the task of summing up the project in a simple communicable way.... read more

PLANNING A WEBSITE

Yesterday I bought www.moderncocoafarmer.org. I would like this website to include the following sections: Home page / Trailer for the game/ Buy the game. Teaser – A mini version of the game on the website for players as a teaser. About – A summary of the... read more

MY ROLE

So far in this project I have asked for help from: Alan (programming/mechanics), Jade Wasabi and Erin Tomlinson (Music and SFX), Linda Spaggiari after effects and video editing, Fair Trade Foundation (Funding the project), Martin Conreen (Materials expert), Caroline... read more

MODERN COCOA FARMER

Concept I plan to create an educational game called ‘Modern Cocoa Farmer’ (MCF). This project is about the hidden story of child slavery and child trafficking in the cocoa industry in West Africa. The game will allow you [the player] to play out this story from three... read more

GAME MUSIC

Myself and Erin Tomkins – Composer – www.erintomkins.com I asked Erin, a great composer,  if she would be willing to work on the music for my game.  After a long discussion about my project and what I wanted to achieve she thankfully agreed. We decided... read more

MATCHING ASSETS TO CODE

Alan and I met up at the Royal Festival Hall to continue work on the game (still yet to be named – possibly ‘I gave up chocolate twice for this’). We started by updating the old assets used in the game with new ones I had drawn since our last... read more

STARTING COLLABORATION THE RIGHT WAY

I learned from my flatmate Rocco, that it is important to set a regular time to meet up and work together in the same place (Mondays), to be clear about job roles (Alan codes the game and I create the assets).In addition I learned that it is important to set clear... read more

PIXEL ART

I am starting to use photoshop to create the pixelated art. I claim that many consumers and large companies think about child slaves in a desensitised way, like playing a game. I hope to comment on this mentality with my aesthetic choices for the game (pixelated and... read more

MLH HACK DAY

Today I went to the MLH Hack Day at Goldsmiths with the intension of getting someone to help me with my game.  I was directed to an online tutorial with Unity.  A simple roll-a-ball game.  I followed the tutorial and with help from Will, was able to make a working app... read more

HACKSMITHS SHOW AND TELL

Meeting with coders, developers and programmers makes making this idea possible. I went to a show and tell session at HackSmiths and shared my idea for a game with them.  They gave me many references and suggested Global Game Jam.  A 48 hour hacking event where... read more

PAPERS PLEASE

In Papers please you play an immigration officer who accepts of denies people into the country depending on their passport.  The more people you let in the more credits you get.  This allows you to feed your family, pay for rent and heat. You have a wife, son, mother... read more

3RD WORLD FARMER

3rd World Farmer lets you experience some of the hardships of farming in a poor country. Will you prosper despite corruption and lack of basic necessities? Or will endless wars, diseases, droughts, and unreliable markets perpetuate your economic disadvantage and spell... read more

THE MORE I READ

The more I read into the context of child slavery in the chocolate industry in the Ivory Coast the more I realise how complex this issue is. Yes, we all have a responsibility as consumers to know where the things we buy come from and the implications of buying into... read more

KARA WALKER ‘THE MARVELLOUS SUGAR BABY’

Kara Walker explores the raw intersection of race, gender, and sexuality in her work, crafting vivid psychological narratives from a contemporary perspective on historical conditions. Over the past two decades, Walker has unleashed the traditionally Victorian medium... read more

MATERIAL CULTURE OF SLAVERY

I plan to research into the new ways of enforcing slavery in coca plantations in the ivory coast. It’s not necessarily manacles, ball and chains. What objects are being used? What language is being used to manipulate children ? This should be specific to my... read more

CRAFTIVIST COLLECTIVE

Activism through craft ! Craft objects sent to stakeholders to make connections and start conversations. Objects sent to board of directors just before AGM meeting. which had a significant impact towards the living wage. Framed in a positive way. Exactly where and how... read more

WHO IS MY USER ?

Children ? I have to be sensitive about the way that the material is portrayed and VERY CLEAR ABOUT MY AUDIENCE. So SPEAK WITH EXPERTS in the field and ask how this topic could be explained to children. Double check the demographic of the class you will be speaking... read more

RENZO MARTENS IHA

These sculptures were made in river clay in the Congo and then 3d scanned and turned into chocolate sculptures in Belgium. These pieces of art were then sold with a 7000% increase in the amount the worker is paid. This money was paid back to the worker. This I believe... read more

PHONE STORY

I saw this game at the disobedient objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum. I like the tension between the fun game and the serious subject... read more

CARD DECLINED

Would it be possible to ask my bank to stop me from buying certain objects or products which conflict with my ethical standpoint.  This would mean that the story of each product would have to be known. Hopefully this would enforce some kind of understanding over what... read more

3D SCANNING

I want to involve as many processes as possible and so I have decided to 3d scan this object. The more things I do in the workshop the more possibilities for making open up. I can use these files to 3d print or CNC out the shape in a variety of materials.  The benefit... read more

SPINNING TOP

I make some chocolate spinning tops out of ivory coast chocolate. People used them as toys and drawing tools.Through this tool and little interactions I was able to discuss with people about the problems of buying non fair trade chocolate. Even though it’s... read more

OLYMPIA CHOCOLATE SHOW

I went to the London chocolate show at the Olympia exhibition centre in Kensington. This exhibition represents one side of the chocolate industry where it seems fun and like an affordable luxury for all with nothing but positive connotations. Most of the chocolate... read more

SNARKY PUPPY COLLABORATION MODEL

Many parts form a cohesive whole in the context of music. Everyone has their own role and is able to share something of themselves. More than the sum of their parts, Snarky Puppy are a fantastic group of musicians in it for the love of music and the sense of... read more

HOW CAN I COMMUNICATE CHILD LABOUR TO CHILDREN ?

Shocked and angry about these images, I decided that I would use one of our workshops (Gaffer tape and cardboard) to re create a bag of coca pods one to one scale.  I estimated the height of this small child and worked out the size of the bag.  I left a hole in the... read more

CHOCOLATE CHILD

How can I raise awareness about the problem of child labour in the cocoa industry?  To raise awareness I could create a sculpture of a child slave working in a coca plantation out of non fair trade chocolate from the Ivory Coast. I also like the idea of this being... read more

CHILD LABOUR IN COCOA

It is truly shocking to discover that child labour is being used in the coca industry and is being supported by big chocolate manufacturers. These companies turn a blind eye to where their coca comes from despite signing agreements to the contrary in... read more

85% ETHICAL ?

I wonder where the chocolate I have been using for my design comes from.  The packaging says Ivory Coast and Ecuador, but this doesn’t tell me much. I watched a documentary about child smuggling and slavery in the Ivory Coast coca industry and found this shocking and... read more

ALTERNATIVES TO SILICONE

Over the past few days I have been working with both Silicone and Chocolate, and I wonder what effect using these materials like food safe silicone might have on the environment. Is it possible to use alternative more sustainable materials to make a chocolate mould... read more

CHALLANGE ACCEPTED

I want to get children to play with my chocolate spinning tops as soon as possible so that I can gather feedback and improve on my design. So I plan to make 50 of them individually wrapped and labelled by Sunday 16th October, ready to hand out to tutors with children... read more

MOULDING FAIL

I attempted to cast a Lego mini figure in silicone, but I broke the mould trying to get him out. This is because there were many undercuts and for a complex shape, a two part mould is necessary. I would like to learn how to make a silicon two part mould. What a waste... read more

TWO PART MOULD

To further explore the tension between playing and eating I have made this  spinning top mould in food safe silicone.  My plan is to make 50 chocolate spinning tops, individually wrapped and then hand them out to children and get them (the parents) to record the... read more

CHOCOLATE KEYBOARD

I like the idea of a chocolate keyboard that melts as you type. Each key would have to be cast individually and would take lots of silicone and lots of work. Also it would not last very long. But maybe it will reveal something about which keys people use most... read more

MESSY RESEARCH

I want to consider ways of melting chocolate more accurately, so ensuring that the temperature is right and that the chocolate is tempered. (Practice tempering chocolate and keeping a shine) addition of butter will help... read more

CHOCOLATE LEGO

I decided to make a toy out of a material which falls apart the more it’s played with. Dark Chocolate Lego bricks melt in the hand and could be used as a toy for naughty children, who will always end up with a puddle of chocolate instead of a beautiful construction.... read more