Week 8 : March 8, 2014

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice”
-Wayne Dyer

This week was play testing week. We conducted two playtests; 1 in-house and 1 at the client site. The virtual world has now been populated with various environment assets and fishes. Fish interactions have been added as designed. Received overwhelming response from our play testers at the Mountainview Elementary School, Morgantown, WV which has motivated us even more to polish our interactive experience and scale it up.

It was very important for us to get feedback from our target audience demographic. We conducted two play testing session. On Tuesday we play tested some 8th graders in our project room. This build had limited interactions with the fish with our snapshot feature incorporated. The playtest was conducted using our newly ordered Android tablets. The feedback received was a mixed bag of good and bad reviews. Some play testers did not like the oculus effect as it was new for them and they were used to the traditional swipe mechanism while others thought it was excellent feature. Everybody loved the snapshot feature. The assets and fishes were less at that time and so the play testers suggested we add more variety and make the world more colorful.

The team for the next two days worked hard to include all the suggested things. hnfWe redesigned the terrain and added a variety of plants, weeds, rocks, corals to make it look like a Caribbean underwater. The artists increased their pace and made new fishes with complete texture and animation. new fish addedThe colliders needed some work so the programmers fixed that and also polished the fish AI. For the Friday’s playtest we also discussed our goals and prepared a questionnaire. The latest version of this interactive world had 5 sharks, 3 eagle rays, 15 Blue Tangs, 15 Angelfish and 2 Jellyfish with variety of environmental assets.

The team reached the Client site early morning on Friday March 7 to conduct the 2nd play test with our target demographic (K-5th graders). The response was overwhelming 90% of the students loved our project. The remaining 10% were the kindergarten and 1st graders who were rather confused and found the technology very intimidating. client playtestThus it became very clear that our focus will now be the students from 2nd -5th grades. This was one very important goal of our play test to identify our final target audience. Apart from that very interesting feedbacks that we received were like; “I want to live in this world”, “Am I a Mermaid?”, “Wow shark!” etc. Some things that needs work is the interactions which currently is not very intuitive and we are revising our design. The kids were super excited and wanted more of it. They asked us if they can download this application and play it at home. The teachers and some staff there also played our game and were very happy with our progress. They did suggest some changes like adding more information about the fishes and the environment.

Overall we believe that this playtest was a successful one and we learned some very important things that will help shape our product to much better experience.

The team had a meeting after the playtest and discussed the milestones for the next two weeks. As it happens to be our Spring Break next week which will be followed by the Game Development Conference, the production will slow down a bit. Over these two weeks the team will mostly work remotely and polish the product before halves presentation. Tasks for next two weeks includes making of 3 more fishes, polishing the fish AI and interactions, getting the snapshot feature to work smoothly, prepare the halves presentation. We also plan to order 11 more Android tablets which will total up the tablet count to 16.

The tablet cases felt too heavy for the kids and hence we will look for some lighter cases.