Build #3 Video
“Now With Fun!”
seAker is starting to feel a lot more like a game now, and playtest results reflect that. Implemented this week were: enemies, health, win/lose states, feedback sounds, and an updated interaction area. Players are beginning to report experiencing the emotions the game is intended to produce, though there remains much to improve on. While the game’s feel must be perfected, and many features will be implemented in the coming weeks, the game appears to be headed in the right direction.
Deliverables: Implemented enemies and a health meter, as well as a win and lose state; added sound effects for feedback; devised a new look and interaction area for the rotating arm to improve visibility, thematic cohesion, aesthetic appeal, and control feel; completed project poster and half-sheet designs.
Research: Held a playtest session with 12 testers to determine reactions to latest implementations. Learned that the interaction area is no longer obscured; enemies should be destructible; the game takes about 3-4 failed attempts to learn the objective and controls (so a tutorial would be helpful), but is fun once understood; other objects and powerups (which are already planned for implementation) are desirable; the game’s art, sound, gameplay, and theme support the desired emotion of the experience.
Design: Devised a basic level design (movement of gems, enemy placement); made plans to develop a tutorial; began designing an ideal interest curve for the levels.
Marketing/PR: Researched app reviewers; continued to update web site, YouTube, and Twitter pages; composed an application for Siggraph Asia.
Expert Feedback: Met with Paul Barnett, Creative Director at BioWare, discussed the game’s control scheme, theme, and possible directions of expansion upon the concept.
UNDER THE RADAR
What is the team doing to test the product?
Weekly playtesting has become the norm for seAker. The team’s philosophy is that playtesting should not be a special event; it should be an integrated part of the team’s schedule, part of the iterative process. By testing every Friday, the features implemented during the week are put to review and thus assessed on frequent, regular intervals. Thus far, this strategy has proven useful in identifying, assessing, and reacting to issues with controls, theming, and other aspects of the game, as well as in determining how well the game meets its goals. Additionally, by receiving so much input from playtesters on a regular basis, many excellent suggestions for improving the game are brought to light.
How is the team documenting its process?
The team has been using an established repository of documents on Google Docs since the summer for sharing ideas, recording notes, and general documentation purposes. The repository has expanded since the start of the semester and remains the team’s internal base of information.
Publically, the team is rapidly developing an online presence via its web site at www.seakergame.com, its Twitter page, and its YouTube channel. Playtest feedback and analysis, weekly newsletters, demo build videos, and general updates can be found on the web site, archived by various categories. Demo build videos are also posted to the team’s YouTube channel, seakergame.
Throughout the development process, the team records photos of whiteboard text and diagrams and playtesting setups, and records notes from any discussion, meeting, or event as they occur via any of the various Google Docs. Playtesting forms, newsletters, meeting notes, PR contacts, design ideas, action items, asset lists, survey results, and level design spreadsheets are all stored in the team-wide repository and updated immediately after there is something to update. By keeping everything online and accessible to the entire team and its advisors, it is extremely easy to maintain habits of constant updates, ensuring that no piece of important information is lost along the way.