Week 12 Newsletter – 4/06-4/10 – Iterate Gameplay & Parse System

What we did:

This week Ojas and Emily devoted all their time working on setting up the framework of the sharing system. Now the player can login with their name, create their own level, and a screenshot will be taken when the player publishes his/her level online. The screenshot will be used in our level selection page where users can browse through all the levels created by others and download the one they want to play.

At the same time, John, Haley and Janet worked on polishing feedback on the game. We added in an ammo selection page before the game starts, we made the targets in the game more obvious and enhanced visual feedback to encourage players to get more points.

This week we did two small playtests at the EA lobby with totally 7 people. We mainly wanted to get fresh eye users to try out our gameplay and UI to see whether it is clear enough. We learned a lot from it and listed down all the things we can improve and adjust.

Besides these, Ojas merged most of the sharing system with the gameplay code together and next step will be finishing up the last few parts then we will have a complete framework.


The challenges we encountered:

At the beginning of this week, the team had a long discussion of how we should implement the player-generated map saving and sharing system. Last week, we decided we want to use Parse as our database; this week we faced the problems of how to save maps locally on the Tango device, and how to deal with the situation that if the player doesn’t have internet access when they are using our App etc.

After a lengthy team meeting, we made our final decisions that under the circumstance of no internet, our App will allow player create his/her own level and play it, but the map won’t be saved if the player doesn’t connect the internet and publish it online. As long as the App is closed, the map will be deleted.

We struggled very much with this decision but looking at our timeline, we still have a lot of polish we want to focus on, we think this is the right thing to do now.


Plans for next week:

Next week we will pull back our two programmers from the sharing system development to polish gameplay. We will implement the progression system in our game which includes multiple levels created by us to serve as tutorials. We will also replace all the placeholder UI with the actual assets made by Haley.

We will conduct a playtest session in our working area with some employees at EA next Wednesday. Janet will attend CMU West Carnival on Saturday and bring a few tablets to demo there.

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