“Deep Sea Space Mining”
seAker has a new thematic direction. In meeting with our advisors, certain thematic cohesion issues were addressed – the gameplay, aesthetics, and narrative have been modified slightly to fit together in a more unified manner. As always, your feedback on the game’s gameplay, art, and music is greatly appreciated – we are continually implementing aspects of the design, so stop by Room 2406 to check out the latest build!
Deliverables: Implemented collision detection and orb movement, refined the sensitivity of the bar based on feedback, created art for new antenna and bar, iterated through different creature art styles, composed a musical track to fit a different mood, created sound effects for player feedback.
Research: Held a playtest session to determine control updates as well as to assess the art and music direction.
Design: Revised theme to fit a “deep sea space mining” schema. Identified design and thematic cohesion issues and addressed them based on advisor feedback. Devised new game mechanics to fit new theme and to address weak points of design.
Marketing/PR: Web site is now fully operational.
Expert Feedback: Reached out to Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director at Ubisoft, giving a seminar at the ETC, received feedback on process as well as prototype, arranged to send him builds of the game for additional feedback.
UNDER THE RADAR
How is the team iterating its design ideas?
One of the team’s primary goals for the semester is to simulate an independent game studio environment. The project’s 3 month duration is comparable to that of a development cycle for an indie iPad game, and so the team is continually iterating on the design of the game.
Thus far, the most basic control features, particularly those anticipated to be most challenging to design, have been the first to be implemented on the iPad build. Once a feature is implemented, it is playtested by the team members, peers, and faculty advisors in order to obtain an understanding of its effectiveness.
Currently, the team’s primary challenge in implementing effective controls is regarding the behavior and responsiveness of the bar, which the player moves up and down the length of a revolving antenna, tapping to obtain valuable orbs when aimed over them. Feedback from faculty advisors has been instrumental in identifying the weak points of the design. The team has learned that the bar must allow for a reasonable margin of error in order to track the player’s touch, as well as offer some means of tapping and moving that does not obscure the focal points on the playing field itself.
Additionally, issues with the game’s thematic cohesion have been put into focus, and it is now clear that the game’s art and music must support the sometimes intense gameplay offered by the tapping of the bar. Revisions to the gameplay, as well as both the art and the music, are currently in progress, and are being tested as they are produced – in addition to inclusion in the weekly playtests, game aesthetics are continually being reviewed by peers and faculty.
What is the team doing to reach out beyond the ETC?
The team will be submitting the finished build of the game to festivals and conferences, such as IGF and Siggraph Asia. Additionally, the team is reaching out to several industry experts for feedback by virtue of their connection to the ETC. Jason Vandenberghe, Creative Director at Ubisoft, giving a seminar at the ETC, provided the team with positive feedback on its process as well as the latest build, and the team has arranged to send him future builds of the game for additional feedback. Arnold Blinn of Microsoft will be meeting with the team in the coming weeks to critique the architecture of the game’s code.