capital Games Newsletter #5 – 9/28/2012

Quarter-Semester Faculty Review:

On Monday, ETC faculty visited the project to hear about our direction and progress. The team received useful feedback in regards to how we could make our game stand out from the many that occupy this market space – including having the game be able to stand on its own without audio as well as focusing on the games before the story. We’ve also been following up with newly-suggested play-testing resources and knowledgeable contacts in this space.

Design & Development:

We had a Unity build to show the faculty at quarters, but the build was basic in functionality and lacking in art assets, not the “prototype” we hoped to have ready.

This week was spent completing this first prototype in preparation for playtesting next week, where the game will have to actually work in the hands of kids. The first prototype will include three scenes: the farm, chicken coop, and grocery store with all models/textures and scratch audio. In addition, the egg-collecting chicken coop mini-game and the basic card-based evaluation mechanic will be implemented.

In response to quarters, the egg-collecting mini-game has had one bit of complexity added: Instead of just having to drag eggs into a basket, the kids will also have to group the eggs by color (white, brown, and blue). It will be important to discover whether or not this is too complex during future playtests.

Also in response to quarters, instead of trying to make our 3D backgrounds work together with our 2D characters in Unity, where we would need to make a custom toon-shader, we will be rendering out stills of our environments to exploit the more powerful shaders of 3D modeling packages, as well as to allow us to manually touch-up the backgrounds as well. This has the added benefit of also being less memory intensive.

The team is excited about our progress this week and is in anticipation to see how it all works next week.

On the Next Episode of Capital Games

We’ll be conducting our first playtest on Monday at the Children’s Museum. This will be not only a great milestone for seeing all of our assets working together, but also a chance to see our game in the hands of kids. We hope to answer questions about interactions and art so as to check whether or not the basic foundations of our game design are solid enough to continue forwards. Next week will be a week for reflection and gearing up for a second sprint of development.