6: Intific & Beanstalk Development

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Intific Design Summit
On Tuesday, we had a teleconference with the other game development team on the ENGAGE project, Intific. This teleconference was held to discuss our own development processes as well as share ideas on how we can collaborate together towards the end goal of the project. One of the biggest challenges that we are both facing is the language skills of our demographic. We can’t assume that our users can read and/or articulate very well so we have to create an intuitive user interface that instantly resonates with the children. We discussed sharing realizations and results from user tests that help to figure out what iconography resonates the best with kids. Another challenge that we’re both facing is developing an in-game prediction tool. It will help with measurement of learning and assessment, but by nature it may be a bit more rigid and not as fun as the game being naturally flowing. Intific also gave us some feedback on our storyboards regarding our new game, mentioning to watch things like scope; each level seems to be it’s own “thing” and that could get overwhelming very fast.
This was a great meeting we had and we intend to share our findings regarding a fun experience and what resonates with kids. We plan on having more design summits like these to come together and discuss how to develop the best product possible.

Given the productive nature of the meeting, we will plan future ones to ensure we make the best possible edutainment titles.


Jack & Beanstalk Development
Last week we got approval from our HCII partners to start development on our Jack & The Beanstalk game that focuses on scientific reasoning. They really like the premise and see a lot of potential in the game for teaching scientific reasoning to children. One of their questions was about the chance for users to create their own experiments for testing hypotheses. This would be another way to see if they are learning the underlying science goals and if they are understanding how to conduct their own experiments to test an hypothesis. We’ve also had guest feedback this week that praised how we’re handling the gradual introduction of concepts for the user; we’re keeping our demographic in mind as we design which is very good for creating a game that kids will enjoy and understand.
As we nail down those mechanics, we’ve started development on art assets so we can create a prototype of the experience. For our art style we’re going with something a bit more painterly, like an old storybook. It’s simple, but has a level of sophistication that should be inviting to kids. We have three environments drawn out that the player will go through as they progress through the space. We’ve also done some sketches of Jack to figure out how we want him to look. There will also be a girl version of Jack, “Jackie”, in case a player wants to help a girl instead.

 

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