Newsletter 7: Mass Effect

Newsletter for project Heidegger Week 7 in PDF format 

Week Overview

This week marked our final push of preparation before we ease (hopefully!) into our routine of data collection, data processing, and Origin module construction. Noteworthy events were our second round of individual meetings with Jiyoung and Carl, our dear Silicon Valley faculty, and our first user testing session involving the majority of our equipment and living, breathing, human participants.

Week 7 newsletter photo

A rare moment of cross-team discourse.

In Detail

We were fortunate enough this week to have had more consistently unbroken time than in recent weeks to devote to our project, and we utilized it by pursuing the goals of our mini-teams. Martin and Nathan, the Level Design and User Testing Team, worked to clear the debris from and untangle the kudzu of wires in the RAM Room (it’s named after a specific testing methodology, according to Ben — though, mysteriously, he couldn’t name it), where our tests will take place. Fixing the prohibitive technical issues of the room, such as our inability to establish a network connection and the fact that one of the two necessary TVs in room didn’t function and had to be replaced, took many an hour and much coordination with Ben, who is infinitely patient and responsive to our travails. On Friday, six of our ETC Silicon Valley peers were gracious enough with their time to participate in our final phase of preliminary testing. We were able to not only smooth out the final impediments in our testing procedure and equipment calibration, but we also succeeded in collecting our first batch of analyzable data—a major milestone! The Data Team, meanwhile was equally busy: Shaveen was able, at long last (and after much conversation with various EA tech-contacts), to directly interface Xbox telemetry data from his PC, a significant accomplishment that will allow us to pull recorded data from the development-model Xboxes hosting Dead Space 3 for our user tests. Shaveen and Vera collaborating on the creation of SQL forms and databases for the cataloging and storage of collected data, and Star spent the week researching primary and secondary algorithms we can use in coming weeks for the critical step of data correlation. Regarding our Origin module, Anabelle and Emmanuel conferred on Monday and decided on three exploratory recommendation concepts, which they’ll further develop and share with the full team next week. Additionally, Emmanuel has, using the Origin branding conventions as a touchstone, been painstakingly creating an interactive facsimile of the browser-based Origin service. This way, our recommendation system, once finalized, can be implemented into this mock-up and evaluated by our client in a virtual setting both pertinent and meaningful.

Next Week

Looking ahead, next week will bring our first official round of user testing, the establishment of our data pipeline, and further progress in the development of our recommendation system. After a lengthy gestation period, it’s stirring to witness our mini-teams thrive and the actualization of our long-held plans!

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