Week 6: Sharpening the Blades

As we continue through the semester, the fuzzy outer bounds of the tech’s potential is starting to shift into focus. This week we’ve had another deadline on us as the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) is coming up next week. This week we have really been pushing to get a tech demo done so that we can show off a connection between Twitch, Lumberyard, and a homemade HTML5 interface for viewers to interact with the game.

Programming has been working hard on integration, it’s proven to be a bit of a challenge making sure the two work together. So far, our programming team has set up a basic HTML5 interface and (after much tinkering) has it connected so that it can send a message from Twitch into Lumberyard and affect the gameplay. For now, the process is solving a simple puzzle that makes a sphere grow or shrink in size (mimicking the blessing/cursing mechanic).

Art has been wrapping up a couple pieces as well. Maya has been working hard on getting the model set for the demo so we don’t have a generic placeholder in the demo. Unfortunately, a couple issues arose when we tried to import the model into Lumberyard.


How the model is supposed to look in Lumberyard
What it looked like when it was imported

This was not a pretty sight for our programmers and artists.

However, as I write this they are checking lines of code, structure of the rig, and the transformation matrix to see if they can find out why slenderwoman happened and fix the issue. Thankfully we had a call with our client who was able to talk about a couple ideas on how they might be able to fix the problem. Besides that our artists have also been working on refining concept art and models to give them something they can show and talk about at GDC.

Design has been busy with coming up with level ideas from the verb list we’ve been developing over the past several days. We’ve talked about running, jumping, dodging, climbing, swimming and others and are planning out how those interactions can be used in-game. While a lot of work is done on paper, we’re also preparing to jump into Lumberyard when we come back from GDC in order to start playing around with how those look and feel in the game engine itself. It’s an exciting challenge to see how we can elicit enjoyment for both the streamer-player and for the viewer-players. As we talk through our design ideas with others working in the space of Twitch and audience participation games, we continue to refine our idea to make sure we’re hitting on as many interesting features as we can. Being on the front end of research in this area certainly provides its own set of unique challenges but with nearly unlimited possibilities to maneuver within the restraints of the goal.

Production has once again reformed how we do our scrum. Less of reformatting it, but more an expansion of what he had been doing.


Our old scrum board
Our new scrum…boards

As you can see, we now have triple the amount of boards we had. This was an intentional decision designed to help us track tasks with greater accuracy over the course of several weeks. Now we can easily observe how tasks affect each other, but especially in regard to if those tasks will push other people’s work back. While it is experimental, to this point in the semester, we are finding it helps push problems to the forefront and catch on when things are falling behind much easier.

All that said, we have a few more things to wrap up before GDC, so I’m going to end the post there and get to work!

We unwittingly did our first playtest today! During our demo test on our stream channel, one of our programmer’s friends came in and played the little demo we have made. Needless to say, it’s a big achievement for the team to have that happen. It’s a big step forward for our project, and certainly an exciting one. You can check out a quick clip here of what is going on! Click Here