16 weeks for a project. 4 weeks done. That means we are ¼ of the way through the semester and, therefore, through our project. (*checks math*) Yes, that’s right.
At this milestone, we have “quarters” at the ETC, where faculty tour the project rooms to learn about what teams have done through four weeks and offer pieces of advice and/or warnings to teams as they continue to move forward. Considering these meetings usually turn into large Q&A sessions, that is how this blog post will be formatted.
Q: So, how are things going? What have you guys been up to?
A: In a nutshell, really well. We spent a week installing the chairs, meeting our client and getting settled. We spent the last three weeks doing a combination of research (about VR and chairs and VR chairs), prototyping, and concept development. At the end of last week we playtested our prototypes with our classmates and some faculty members which taught us that we needed to narrow the scope of our audience because of our segmented playtesting results. We are currently talking to the client about how to narrow our audience to best suit their needs and then, based on that feedback, we will make three more in-depth prototypes, that include story-lines, and pitch those concepts to the client at our “halves” presentation in about 4 weeks.
Q: What have your clients said about target audiences so far?
A: Without getting too into the nitty-gritty, not a lot. They have mentioned different types of guests that usually visit their theme parks and we need to pin down one of those groups and design specifically for them. Each group of guests has their own values and wants and fantasies, so narrowing it down will help us focus in on what could be a fun and unique experience for them.
Q: What about concepts? What types of experiences have you guys made so far?
A: We have gone through three or four different rounds of concept brain-storming, so we have lots and lots to draw from as we start to narrow our audience down. Our prototypes helped us figure out how certain chair mechanics functioned within an experience and how people reacted to them so those results will help filter our concepts out as we continue forward.
Q: You did not really answer the last question.
A: That was not a question.
Q: Fair enough. What else have you guys accomplished this week?
A: There’s a question. We heard back from our client, chose an audience and started making our first “week-long” prototype for that audience. It’s a concept that all five of us were excited about and draws on some of the more popular functionalities and pieces of our previous prototypes so we are interested to see how it turns out. While it will not be a polished thing in a week by any means, we hope that what we produce will be able to give us feedback on multiple aspects of the experience, especially when compared to the other prototypes we will make. We got together and each person on our team listed out what they thought was most important for each sub-team and what they want to learn from playtesting those aspects of the experience… so, hopefully, by the middle of next week, we will be able to let people try our experience and get some feedback before moving on to the next prototype.
Q: Any hints as to what we can expect out of a playtest next week?
A: Hmmm expect to live out a fantasy that you probably had at some point as a little kid. Other than that, I don’t want to give too much way.
Q: Fine, man, you really are not leaving anything to chance.
A: What do you mean? Chance is handling a lot of programming and game design.
Q: Not what I meant. Anyways, last question, do you guys have safety measures in place yet?
A: A great question. We now have all of the necessary components to install seatbelts in the chairs. We also attached the chairs to platforms that we can weigh down for more stability. We are also designing a safety stop switch as well, that could be in by the end of the week.
Q: Thank goodness.