Week 13 Newsletter

This week, we’ve been finalizing things before softs. After much back and forth, we finally settled on a story for our interactive journey. Actually, it might be more accurate to say we decided not to use a story, as we decided to focus exclusively on the horse riding section rather than try to squeeze in combat and stealth as well. It was a tough decision, as we’d put in a lot of planning into our other interactions, however we’d been getting such positive reactions to our horse riding that we decided to spend our remaining time polishing it rather than trying to squeeze in 3 different interactions. So far, we’ve set out the landscape for the level, began designing art assets for it, created a pathfinding system for the player, and integrated and refined our motion floor system.

For the puzzle game, it’s been all about testing and polish. With the basics of the game down, we’ve spent most of the week bringing the game together as a complete experience. We added a title screen and instructions, as well as 2 different game modes. We also had the
opportunity to put it in front of a bunch of people, and get their feedback about what was working and what wasn’t.

Finally, we continued work on our menu system. We have most of the technical issues ironed out, and now the challenge is getting the content in. We also tested it out with Susan and Rebecca, and got their feedback about what else they’d need to use it.

Week 12 Newsletter

Now we’re in the final stretch before Softs. Demo 2 has made a lot of progress, and is really shaping up as a game. We’ve added a lot of particle effects, as well as music and sound, and we’ve gotten a lot of positive reactions from the people who have played it. There’s a lot to be done for Demo 1, but it’s also starting to come together. Right now, we’re focusing on a horse-riding section, which will incorporate an automatic camera, Kinect gestures, and the motion floor. We actually just got the motion floor and the camera hooked up today, and it’s really an incredible experience. Each of them are fun on their own, but having them working together in sync is something altogether different. For Softs, we hope to have a rough version of this scene put together, as well as a more combat-focused scene using our Kinect slashing gesture.

Week 11 Newsletter

So Playtest Day was a lot of work, but we also learned a lot. We had groups of up to 10 people, ranging in age from 6 to 60, in and out for pretty much the entire day. We had them play a mix of our Demo 1 (a slashing gesture training course), Demo 2 (our puzzle game, both
competitively and cooperatively), and a generic Kinect 2 gesture test. We also had people play around on the motion floor, which turned out to be a big hit. It was great getting to see what worked and what didn’t, especially with the wide range of ages we got to test with.

For the rest of the week, we began working on our final demos. For Demo 1, that meant figuring out what exactly the story would be for our interactive journey, and what gestures and motion floor simulations we’d need. For Demo 2, that meant making the game more stable, as well as making it more entertaining and stylish. We’re also continuing to do research on the Kinect 2 and the new motion floor, which are very promising but also a lot of work.

Week 10 Newsletter

So this week was definitely a crunch getting ready for Playtest Day. At the start of the week, we had an extremely rough version of the PS Move puzzle, and essentially nothing for the interactive journey. Since then, we’ve turned the puzzle into a fully working game, and put together a very basic version of the journey. Mac and Eric have been focusing on the puzzle, which offers both competitive and cooperative modes. Emily and Jimit worked with the Kinect 2, and have figured out how to use its gesture system. We have both dodging and slashing gestures set up, which we have combined into an on-rails demo scene that Aaron, Vivek, and I created. For Playtest Day, we plan on testing both of these demos, as well as a sample gesture recognition scene and, since the motion floor is now working (thanks Dave!) we plan on getting some basic feedback from guests about it.

Week 9 Newsletter

We spent the first half of the week finalizing and practicing our halves presentation. We also ran a playtest last weekend, and got some good feedback on our latest prototypes. Our presentation went quite well, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. The new computer and motion floor have been installed, but they haven’t been tested yet. The computer and Kinect 2 seem ready to go, but the motion floor is having some difficulties. Since Playtest Day is next week, we have decided to mostly focus on working with the Kinect 2 for now. For the interactive journey, we’ve decided to go with a medieval theme. For our more game-like demo, we decided to go with a puzzle game Mac came up with. We originally planned on using Myo with it, but we want it to be easy to set up and use so we decided to opt with the PS Moves instead. Our next steps will be putting together rough versions of these demos that we can present for Playtest Day.