Newsletter Week 8

Week 8 (3/3 – 3/7)

Previous Week

Last week the team had its first playtest with an elementary school class, gathered useful feedback both from direct questions and distributed surveys.  The team then addressed this feedback through redesign of planned features and focused on implementing a second feature set in the ongoing sprint in attempt to have a second playtest at the end of the following week.

Week Overview

This week the team focused on implementing a subset of the social features: allowing users to find, add, and visit friends as well as interact with their bookshelf.  Also, the team created a detailed specification for the interface and interactions of this feature subset.  The team was able to get everything in place for a successful playtest at the end of the week at Bower Hill Elementary.


The team made exciting progress this week.  We were able to implement the basic functionality and visuals for users to add friends, visit their houses, and interact with their bookshelf.  This functionality included textured models for the houses in the neighborhood, walking animations for all the avatars, and additional UI components.  The team was rewarded for their efforts by a successful playtest at the end of the week, in which a class of second graders gave us a first hand look at the strengths and weaknesses of what we have done so far, as well as better idea of how to focus our efforts moving forward.


In the week following spring break, the team plans to go over the feedback from the playtests, address any redesign needed based on this analysis, and put in place the front end elements for the game’s experience point and level system.  These efforts will be directed with the goal of having another playtest either at the end of the week, or the Monday.

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