Week 13: Approaching Softs

(Special thanks to Ramya and Yong for doing the blog post this week since I spent much of it at a conference!)

For week 13, we’re mostly racing against time to make the final tweaks on our product so they can be in a good state for soft opening next Monday. We have always taken pride in conducting regular playtests and this week was no different – we had two playtests, one on Tuesday to test the connect the dots (inter inning game) and the other on Friday to test the polished prediction and set collection games. We plan to demonstrate all three different experiences to the faculty during soft opening.

The treasure hunt game is officially re-christened “Connect The Dots”. The design modifications discussed in the previous blog post have been implemented and the digital prototype was tested on Tuesday. A major flaw during the experience was due to an operator error of not signalling to the wanderer that the second marker was incorrectly placed. So we decided that from the next playtest we should have a dedicated operator. There were also a number of bugs and tech shortcomings that were discovered when the game went live. A lot of refactoring on how the client connects to the server, managing game state and tweaking operator and wanderer interface was implemented based on feedback received from the playtest.  

On our client call on Wednesday, we asked our client on what exactly our handoff should be at the end of week 15 and we are waiting to hear from him. LJ also expressed interest in extending the prediction idea to football to build a similar product before the Superbowl next year.

The prediction and set collection game seems solid at this point. We conducted numerous internal playtests and reviews with our instructors before the Friday playtest. Major bug fixes and crucial feature additions like enabling the fan to be notified of a new play or a correct prediction for a variety of scenarios were implemented. In addition to that, a new onboarding experience, payout information table and tutorials were implemented.The leaderboard layout was polished to include text wrapping so that guests with lengthier names can be accommodated nicely. We have also implemented a trophy case, but one of our playtesters on Friday pointed out we need to increase its obviousness by doing something fancy to let the user know that a trophy case exists and his/her achievements are being recorded for future bragging rights.

To prepare for the soft opening, Eric created a sped up version of a baseball game segment so that our demonstration will fit under 10 mins. He also started interviewing each team member on video for the final project video. Due to time and logistical constraints, we needed to demonstrate Connect The Dots in a different way during soft opening. Richard came up with the awesome idea of moving a pen around (representing the wanderer) over a picture of the field to demonstrate the experience within the confines of the project room. While not perfect, we hope that it would convey our idea in totality. The team collectively slogged through to re-iterate and fix bugs because the last thing we want is a crash during the demonstration. We hope we’re able to convince our guests that our proof of concept would work within the scope we’ve defined!