Week 15: April 27, 2014

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This week we had our Softs presentation at the ETC on Monday. The product was appreciated well with some minor changes recommended. The team made an interactive tutorial along with other minor changes which was then playtested at the Mountainview Elementary School, Morgantown, WV on Friday. The smiled and excitement of the kids there was indeed a positive sign alongwith the clients satisfaction the team returned back to gear towards the finals week.

Monday was the day when we had our Softs Opening i.e. a beta release of our project. All the faculty members visited our project room and got a chance to play with our app. A lot had been changed since halves and most of the faculty members were happy with the progress we had made. While there were key points that faculty felt we should do to make it a complete product. Feedback that we received pointed out some work need to be done on terrain beautification, quest enhancement, tutorial polishing and otutorial interactiveverall optimization to make it work on various devices. We also planned to conduct a final playtest at the Mountainview Elementary School on Friday. So the days after softs were spent in fixing what was advised by faculty.
Our artists made an entire new terrain, this time much bigger and more beautiful than before. The corals, sponges and weeds were now added along with rock structures and creeks to make the whole world look more realistic. The edges of the world were made such that the user never sees its end (an important point in softs feedback).
Another major modification was the interactive tutorial and its specific UI design. The user can now enter the tutorial mode by being in the actual underwater environment on the app. which then takes it to the exploration mode once tutorial is successfully completed.
A fish placement design was made and along with the new code written for the fish AI helped to add fish into the world very easily. The new region was divided in sections to add variety of fish in there.

The optimization of the entire project was done using baking of lights after multiple attempts to reach the best level of optimization.
With all these modifications we were ready to playtest on Friday at the client site. The playest was conducted in classrooms for each grade from 3rd – 5th in the presence of one teacher per class. The intention was to simulate the environment in which this app will be used in future. The playtest was successful to mention the least. The students were thrilled to see all the new species of fish and the beautiful terrain. The quests were well received with some stcoraludents getting frustrated as all the quests were randomly generated. We also got a chance to speak with the teachers who liked the entire experience. They also liked the idea of having a teacher resource page on website with additional information that only they could access. Our client Ms. Jennifer Smith also appreciated the hard work of the team and suggested few modifications to make the overall experience a complete product. Luckily the team was planning on to implement those changes suggested after the playtest.

Next week is the final week for the team to work on the app. The plan is to complete the work by Friday evening. Whale and Octopus will be the final addition from the fish list. 13 new easy quests will be added to level 1 and the initial 13 quests will be put into level 2. The teachers can instruct students to switch the any mode when desired. Touch-up to the terrain’s high hills to make them shorter will be done. The optimization of the app to make it work on various devices will be done and will be published on the android market as soon as possible.