Week 1: 1/10-1/16

Welcome to the first blog post of team True North!  Our project for this semester is Morality Play.  We work closely during the semester with a philosophy class taught by Andy Norman to explore the topic of academic integrity and its implications beyond the university setting.  Together with our partners on main campus, we will work to create an interactive experience that informs and engages with incoming graduate students about these standards.  Our academic advisors on the project are Ralph Vituccio and Mike Christel.  Our clients are Amy Burket, Carnegie Mellon’s Vice Provost of Education, Gina Casalegno, Dean of Student Affairs.  Through them, our primary contacts on the project are Lucas Christian, Associate Director of Student Life, and Joanna Dickert, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research and National Scholarships of the Academic Integrity Initiative Program.

To add some context to the project, CMU noticed an increase in reported cases of cheating, plagiarism and unauthorized assistance from graduate students on campus, primarily from the pool of master’s degree candidates.  In the words of our advisors, “They feel strongly that something needs to be created to address these concerns and help impress on students what ethical integrity means in both academia and their future professional lives.”  Our challenge as the ETC project team will be to create a true-to-life interactive experience that captures the nuanced decisions that we need in today’s digital world.

Meet the team: Muhammad Hilman Beyri (Programmer), Sarabeth Boak (Co-Producer, Writer), Ross Houston (Artist), Timothy Staton-Davis (Co-Producer, Game Designer) Emily Zhang (Programmer, Sound Designer)

Below are some updates from our work this week:


  • Settled on team name, True North

    This is the team's composition box, used for brainstorming and ideating
    This is the team’s composition box, used for brainstorming and ideating
  • determined team core hours, advisor meeting times and main campus attendees
  • Met with faculty advisors to discuss project scope, past project takeaways
  • Met with Kirsten and Stephanie from last year’s Morality Play project, Decisions that Matter, to ask questions and discuss project best practices
  • Attended the Playtest to Explore workshop, where we learned about best practices on playtesting, ideation and general brainstorming through creation of a composition box


  • Set up a central code repository for the programmers
  • Able to run code from last year’s morality play project

Art / Sound:

  • Settled on 2D, still ideating on style
    • Bannerman, new Archie comics as inspirations

Game Design:

  • ideating on repeating the “graphic novel” approach from DTM or perhaps using a different structure for the design
  • interested in branching structure, with true to life choices
  • emotionally impactful story, with more bite and humor

Next week we will be using our research to narrow down the scope of the project, story needs and art style.  In addition to these goals, we will explore preliminary playtesting and continued research with the morality play class.

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