This week, we discussed the prototypes we developed last week with our client and our faculty, and got some really good feedback!

The Work This Week

As mentioned in last week’s blog post, we created a bunch of design pitches we wanted to present to our client in this week’s meeting, and we narrowed them down beforehand into a few select pitches:


  1. The Mafia-esque game: players need to make the appropriate facial expressions to fit a given story. The one who is assigned the role of “mafia” or “traitor” needs to achieve some secret facial expression task. But if someone notices him or her and points them out, then they lose the game.

  2. AR “Dr. Freud”: two individuals are connected over the internet, with one player taking on the role of a “therapist” while the other one is the patient. Using facial recognition tools, the “therapist” can see the feedback from the “patient” by asking them questions, but they cannot see the patient’s face. However, the patient can see both of their faces on the video feed when they are talking about their own feelings.

  3. AR face-rhythm game: essentially, a better version of the Face Dance app that we discovered last week during our research into other kinds of AR games oriented towards the use of facial recognition.

We also tried to think about how to better include AR into our overall game design, as we were primarily focused on facial recognition the previous week. As such, we came up with the following mechanics, which could tie into the above pitches:

  1. offer player an AR story scenario, and ask the player to use their facial expressions to proceed in the game.

  2. An AR emotion game where two people make expressions under some kind of time constraint, and then look at each other to confirm that they made the right expression. This is based off of the mimic game, which while mechanically dull, appears to be surprisingly effective in achieving the task it sets out to do, transformational-wise (i.e. improving facial recognition and expression)

Client Meeting

Our client gave us some useful feedback regarding our pitches:

  • Our client wants the game to ultimately be inclusive of the real world. Previous studies have shown that when people attempt to scaffold transformational skills (such as recognizing and expressing emotion) onto the interaction between a real person and a fictional being, there is barely any degree of transference. In other words, if we want our transformational goal to really “stick,” we will need to bring in another individual in order for it to work, meaning that we have to update our overall design constraints to include multiplayer. 

  • Katherine suggested that using the phone camera would be a good tool in our final game, as it feels very natural for people to use it due to the selfie impulse.

  • She lauded our Mafia-ish game for having inherently social rules and being naturally connected to emotion expression.

  • Katherine also mentioned that our facial expression mimic game would be very good at making people feel comfortable about making expressions, and it might be a good way to scaffolding people’s skills into real life due to our new design constraint of needing another individual.

We also spoke with faculty this week regarding our pitches, and they gave us some other notes for us to take into account going forward:

  1. We need to clarify tech boundaries for our game in our design pitches.

  2. We need to be very clear about the goals for our different prototypes, as we have the luxury of being able to pitch games with very specific high-level goals within the broader context of “recognizing and expressing emotion.” For instance, the Mafia-esque pitch is mostly about recognizing false emotions from true ones.

  3. Finally, we should make it clear in our game design pitch document what the overall strength and weaknesses of each prototype are, as not only will this prove useful to the client, but it will be helpful for us in determining what pitch to go with as we move forward.

Plans for Next Week

Based on our meetings with our client and our instructors, our main goal for next week (other than quarters!) is to clarify with our client what our design constraints for the project really are, as the team is a bit unclear on what those are due to the revelation of our multiplayer constraint this week. Additionally, we’ve scheduled a meeting with Project Moodring from Schell Games, who are working on a project whose aims match the original goal of our own project, namely building a transformational game for autistic children to help them better recognize neurotypical emotions. We hope we can glean some useful design and production tips from them, and see if they can share any important lessons in trying to build a transformational game around the complex topic of emotional expression and recognition.


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