This week, the team has made steady progress on all aspects of the project, from design to art to code. We have entered our first production cycle post-Quarters and are pushing forwards to have a testable prototype in two weeks.
The team discussed our design direction last week and, early this week, confirmed it with our client, Jiyoung.
Up to this point, we have been explaining our app analogously as a maze-like experience that funnels players towards “correct” notes. However, this negative reinforcement does not fit well with the message of creative freedom that we want our experience to have, and our new design reflects positive reinforcement. The line-drawing should occur in an open environment but with attractive “goal areas.” We also know that to engage our primary demographic of young kids and non-musicians, the experience should also contain an interesting visual story. That concern combined with our new line-drawing mechanic has led to our current experience design: As a visual side story to the musical and audio feedback, the experience will involve a flying train that must pick up passengers; the passengers will be waiting on different types of tall structures that signify the different types of chords in the music. The player can harmonize their melody with those chords by drawing the train-line to pick up those passengers. The premise is straight-forward, and we hope that it will add that extra layer of engagement to our app.
However, the visuals for our story are not the main focus of the experience and should not detract from the musical learning. The team has also therefore decided to create a very clean art style like in Hohokum or LocoRoco by using solid colors and shapes. Meng has begun drawing concept art for possible structures and we are in the process of defining the visual universe that the music inhabits.
Unfortunately, there is still not much to show visually for our tech progress unless readers want to look at code. However, our programmers ARE making good progress on things that will eventually become showable.
Romain has done a lot of work within our Sparrow framework, writing code for creating an on-screen keyboard as well as for our uni-directional line-drawing mechanic. Cheng worked on midi file-parsing for our audio data, Mike worked on the timer, and Pei Lin has been investigating data structures for our sequencer. Together, they hope to have not only something for everyone to look at but also to listen to next week.
Next week will be very exciting for the team. As we refine the work that was begun this week and moreover, begin to put all of it together, we will have a lot to demo even at a basic level. We plan to have concept art for our visual aesthetic, and more importantly, to begin deploying our audio line-drawing tool to devices. Next week will be an important stepping stone to a complete prototype of Bravura’s eventual app.