Research Proposal Document

Research Proposal Document

Project Name

Jennifer Moodie
Cults v.0.1


This project will be built upon the idea of totalist cults, their psychologies, reasonings and beliefs. I am fascinated by the idea of hierarchy that can be found within cults, as well as the tactics employed by cult leaders to shape their followers.

One commonly quoted definitions of “cult” were at an ICSA/UCLA Wingspread Conference in 1985:

‘A group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g. isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.), designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders, to the actual or possible detriment of members,  their families, or the community. (West & Langone, 1986)

Much of my research has been based upon the psychological foundations of a cult, their leader and their followers. I have looked at specific cults as independent organisations, including perhaps the most famous cult in history, The Peoples’ Temple. What I have found is a vast collection of charismatic personalities within the self-professed messiahs of these cults. So much so, that I’ve often found myself being compelled to study these people with openness to their beliefs and teachings.


Professional goals:

  • Create a game that challenges the idea of totalist cults
  • Explore the possibilities of a serious or entertaining look into cultism.
  • Create something that can be used on multiple platforms (digital and physical)
  • Incorporate research into totalism, thought reform, hierarchies and radicalisation
  • Say something meaningful about how the human brain is easily manipulated
  • A fully functioning prototype that could forward to professionals in the industry or publishers.

Personal goals:

  • A completed game that says something about the environment surrounding cultism in a fun and informative way.
  • Develop an understanding of psychology and mental health (this ties in nicely with totalist cults and their thought reform methods)
  • Developed digital skills in coding
  • Create more prototypes of possible games and mechanics

User Experience


Identify and define the intended audience with research to back this up

Competitive Analysis

Compare how your work will differ, offer improvement or enhancement of the competition.

Critical Analysis

What are the topics you are researching specifically that are not games related? Academic books, journals, articles

Project Content


List of components you will be producing for final deliverables

Functional Specifics

Technical, software, hardware for development and concepts for distribution of project.

Project Structure

Proposed methodologies like agile, SCRUMM, Lean UX, Kanban, diagrams as appropriate. What happens next? How will you start the next phase? How will you user test?


A week-by-week summary of what you want to achieve

Design Appendix


create and specify presentation covering mechanics, colours, typography, language, texture, feel, edited reviews of sketchbooks, notebooks, research, concepts, moodboards, artwork, prototypes

Sketchbooks and Notebooks


Examples of screen layouts, characters, graphics, mood boards, colours, include iterations, feedback, models, sprite sheets.


Self-contained functioning prototypes list


Development Screencaps

Video or audio narration for key parts of the project.