Week 3: Stakeholders

We opened up this week by meeting with a few different faculty members to get their insights on our project. Our meeting with Heather Kelley pointed us in the direction of a lot of valuable resources to look into based on her experiences at a number of virtual events. 

We talked with John Dessler as a stakeholder of the festival as an instructor of Visual Storytelling. We wanted to get a sense of his expectations for how Visual Storytelling student work should be shown in addition to his explanation of what exactly we would have to use was very helpful. We know now that we have 1-2 traditional film projects for each team and one interactive or non-linear project to work with. 

We are thinking now of holding the traditional video projects in an accessible repository and featuring the interactive work in the interactive portion of the festival on the last day. There are also the ‘vizzie awards’ that normally are given out at the end of the semester that could be given out live around the same time as the penguin award. Moving these to the live-broadcasted portion adds an element of fun and surprise for everyone.

On mentioning the last day of the festival, that brings us to a proposed change in schedule, shortening it down to three days instead of five. By condensing it down, we hope to make each day more impactful and more interactive by funneling more people into fewer days and lightening the load on both students and guests.

Opening on Friday with comments from Drew, ETC projects and Visual Story projects will be featured mainly on Friday and the beginning of Saturday. BVW Worlds will be highlighted through all of Saturday and Sunday. We also hope for a few special series sprinkled throughout at the end of each day. These could potentially be a speech from a notable alum or social functions meant to be an after party exclusive to students and alumni. 

One thing that we want to emphasize is the importance of sending out something physical in advance of the festival to guests who have RSVP’d. This will not only serve as a reminder to them about the event, weeks in advance, it is also an opportunity to give them a physical object that connects somehow to the digital event. Anything that we can do to make people feel more connected to one another in a remote context is incredibly valuable.

Our tech team met with Dave to go over possible solutions for our multiplayer server. Right now we were weighing the pros and cons of PUN2, Photon and uMMORPG against each other. PUN2 has the advantages of ease of use and development, but limits the number of concurrent players per room to only 32. uMMORPG is the other top contender, as it offers up to 500 players per room, but it maybe more difficult to work with. 

At the end of the week we got two new prototypes up and running that include adjacent voice chat functionality and streamlines text chat. Those can be found here to try out, but may be updated as time goes on.

  1. Streamlined text chat
  2. Adjacent voice chat
By entering the sphere, the game accesses your microphone to connect you to voice chat with everyone in that space.

From an art perspective we are pursuing 2D pixel art avatar designs in a 3D space. The choice of 2D character art was made to support our artists is producing enough unique content to suit to large audience of guests that will be participating in the show. 

As the week draws to a close, we are preparing for ¼’s presentations next week, during which will be talking about our work for the first time with the broader faculty base and getting a chance to ask them questions.