Newsletter 11: System Shock 2

Newsletter for project Heidegger Week 11 in PDF Format

Week Overview

This was a week of relative quiet for the project, a useful respite after the pressure of Halves and the successive blitzkrieg of networking and education that was GDC. Though convalescent, this week saw us make substantial progress in all departments toward our ultimate goal.

Anabelle, cagily working on a radar chart.

Anabelle, cagily working on a radar chart.

In Detail

On the playtesting front, Blade was able to upload the custom Dead Space 3 level he’d built for us into the development Xbox 360s we’re using to collect telemetry data from during our testing sessions. Martin and Nathan were able, at last, to play through and evaluate the level, and we’ve implemented it into our playtesting routine for this week’s round. It affords us a much wider range of in-level “beats,” or points from which we can reliably gather information pertinent toward making Bartle Type predictions, than the release level with which we’ve been testing, as well as the opportunity to collect deeper telemetry data. Beginning this week, we’ve also incorporated the retail version of Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel (the third game in the series) into playtesting, as it is now commercially available; to this point, we’ve been using Army of Two: The 30th Day (the second game). We’ve also modified our end-of-session survey process: we’ve included an interactive Bartle Type survey that players take so as to help verify Martin and Nathan’s subjective predictions, and, based on Star’s recommendation, a questionnaire concerning genres of games that testers enjoy most, which will aid us in making more complex recommendations to them via our Origin module that will hopefully exceed simply whether or not they’ll enjoy Army of Two as deduced from how they played Dead Space 3. The Data Team was also busy this week. Shaveen devoted his time and energy toward creating scripts in SQL and PHP to, respectively, store the telemetry data the we’re gathering from our Dead Space 3 tests, and then parse the data so that it can be easily collected and exported in a convenient format for the algorithm that Star is in the process of finalizing. Additionally, Star, Shaveen, and Vera met several times during the week (and once with Ben) to solidify the metrics to be gathered by Vera from the video captures of our playtesting sessions–a process that she’s begun this week. The Origin Team has continued their work on beautifying and expanding the functionality of our module. Anabelle created mockups of the radar chart which will be used to visualize for players their specific type, and is polishing them so that Emmanuel can then implement this feature. And Emmanuel came to the important realization that, given the time constraints of our project, it will be impossible to replicate all the cosmetic elements of actual Origin in our module (such as the ability to drag the sidebar). Concerning the aforementioned radar chart, Emmanuel’s been experimenting with the Tornado Web Server, the utilization of which will allow us to change the values of the charts in real time, and with little effort.

Next Week

In the week ahead, we plan to, of course, continue playtesting, parsing data, and refining the Origin module, but, perhaps most excitingly, we hope to run an initial batch of data through Star’s algorithm by Wednesday. Needless to say, we are eager to behold the results.

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