Team Epiphany is working on an ETC project focused on developing an expressive game for the
OUYA, a game console that is powered by the Android operating system. Even though the definition of
expressive games varies, we are aiming to create an artistic and meaningful gameplay experience that
evokes an emotional response from the player. Our ultimate goal is to create and publish a polished
game that will allow the players to have an epiphany about their lives.
OUYA (http://www.ouya.tv) is a new kind of game console for the television that brings together an open development experience where any creator can publish a game to the TV with an accessible and affordable console where games are free to try.
Our client is Paolo Pedercini. He teaches experimental game design at Carnegie Mellon University's School Of Art.
THE APPLE OF OUR EYE
Just like an apple falling on Newton's head led to the discovery of gravity, we hope our game can make you realize something about your life
Soft opening is coming next week, which means Week 13 is the last round of iteration. Our team activated crunch mode early this week.
In the team meeting on Monday, we agreed on content lock by Friday. Even though we had a 3-level game done, programmers still had a lot to fix. As they say, the devil is in the details. We were conducting casual playtests whenever a major feature was changed. It kept us updated with how the game looked to users.Our 2D artist, Yue, created several versions of in-game textures for all three levels. The new art assets brought out the theme in each level. She also made a lot of minor adjustments to backgrounds and characters.
Iteration is the key work for Week 12. After the detailed discussion from last week, our team focused on producing a more powerful ending. It is never easy to decide what is best for the game, that is why we need more playtests.
Early in the week, we summarized a long list of the features that we were not sure about. So we came up with a prioritized playtest-oriented working plan. In this way, we could make the best use of our last official playtest before soft opening.
The first thing we did was to clear the confusion in Level 2. We got rid of the complexity of 3 different kinds of stars. In addition, the special effect for a player having a star was implemented to give the players more feedback. The next tough problem was the ending. Our team had disagreement on the design for the ending. To test it out, we decided to iterate a new version of Level 3. We designed more puzzles where the player had more interaction with the NPC.
This week, Team Epiphany entered the production of Level 3. It has been hard to keep up with highly intense schedule, but everyone has tried to present the best work as always.
The design in Level 3 was crucial for the emotional journey we would like players to have. We had a lot more discussions about Level 3 than the previous two. At the weekly advisor meeting, our advisors made us realize that we should stick to a simple and clear design style, which proved successful. On Wednesday, we did presentations for 3 groups of guests. It was fulfilling to see that guests were enjoying playing our game. With not much time left before playtest, our team dedicated ourselves to achieving the milestone.
Level 3 Design
The theme in Level 3 is loneliness and independence. At the end of Level 2, the two avatars were separated by a spike. They had to start their own journey as shown above. The first phase is about memories when they recall how they worked together to get all the stars. The second phase is about meeting new ones who might have interaction with the avatar. The third phase is the reunion.
The feedback from halves presentation was encouraging. Audience kindly shared with us their thoughts and suggestions on our first level. Assured that the first level was on the right track, our team dived into the development of Level 2 right away.
By Wednesday, the game designer, Yue, completed and polished level design themed as “limitation and compromise”. Unlike the theme in Level 1, the rope was no longer a support for the players. Instead, it limited the players’ movement, and added the difficulty in living with a relationship.
On Friday, Team Epiphany gave the halves presentation. We received a lot of feedback on game design and level design. It is great encouragement when we find out the audience are curious about the rest of our game.
According to the feedback from our advisors, it was integral for us to focus on defining the overall emotional arc for our game and each level. Our game designer has gone back and forth in order to come up with the most reasonable emotional journey for the game. The team agreed that the respective themes are…
Level 1: Trust & Help
Level 2: Compromise & Sacrifice
Level 3: Independence & Loneliness
The most important message that we want to deliver to the players is …
A relationship has its highs and lows, as well as closeness and separation. But one should always cherish it. (more…)
This week was dedicated to our first prototype for Level 1. The playtest we held on Friday gave the team much confidence.
Art style was locked on early this week. Since the game has aimed to create expressiveness for different kinds of players, we decided to go with the simple, neat style that would allow players to project themselves into the game.
This week was productive. Our team completed the first prototype and tested within our team. It was a good start.
After a short discussion on Tuesday about our deliverables by the end of this week, we agreed that the first prototype should be finished by Thursday. Our programmers, Xiao, Albert and Kiran were working on adjusting the physics of the rope and the movement of two players. At the same time, the 2D artist, Yue, created several pieces of concept for the game. On Thursday night, we gathered all the assets, including character textures, background picture, voice-over, sound effects and background music.
After 1/4 walkarounds, Team Epiphany were all ready to move on to prototyping.
Our programmers, Albert, Kiran and Xiao, started testing our main mechanic, the rope. They tried 5 different solutions in order to get the best rope physics for the game. Test contents cover a lot of aspects, such as how the ropes work, whether it can support elastic deformation, how textures look in game, if it looks smooth when bending and how the collider and rigidbody work on the rope.