This week the team polished our game and prepared for soft opening on Wednesday. Soft opening at EA went extremely well, and we have spent the rest of the week continuing to polish and playtest.
Soft Opening at EA
The ETC Silicon Valley campus held our Soft Opening within the Atrium of Electronic Arts at Redwood Shores, California. We demoed our product and answered questions to interested EA employees.
We got a lot of valuable results: Our current level selection system which uses scrolling is difficult to use and we are considering switching to a traditional tile-based level select. The current method of removing notes from the melody by tapping above or below is also not consistently intuitive. Finally, we found that most of our UI is intuitive, even if one skips the tutorial, all that is, except for the accompaniment style.
In addition, in the afternoon, a group of Girl Scouts who were touring EA also stopped by to visit the project teams. The 11 girls and 1 boy were all within our target demographic of 8 to 12. Using two finger scroll to navigate the levels is a stumbling point, even sometimes with the tutorial. We will most likely implement actual UI for level-scrolling.
Polish was the big theme of this week, from polishing in preparation for soft opening to polishing in response to feedback from soft opening.
Going in to softs, our programmers did an amazing job cleaning bugs and memory leaks. While previous builds of the game would occasionally crash if one tried the exact wrong combination of actions, our build for softs was robust enough that we did not experience a single crash the day of.
After Softs, with the system proven sturdy, the team began to add polish to our content. The people now change to a very visible red color when selected so that you know whether or not they are part of the melody, especially when the line seems to go through them. And in support of the story of our universe, there are now train terminals at the beginning and end of each level and people disappear when the train drives by and “picks them up.”
Next week is the last week before finals. We will be putting the final touches on our game, and implementing our other levels as well as the latest tutorial, which will reflect changes made to our final UI. In addition, we will have two more individual playtests next week to confirm changes that we have made since softs.