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Week 5: 9/28/15 – 10/2/15

Throughout the course of this week, Inksmith completed their first storybook prototype of the semester. From the first to the last line of the manuscript, our prototype strung all of the text together with camera transitions around a house, accessible by dragging the main character to the right to enhance left to right reading. We included a number of testable interactions that we completed this week, finishing lots of art models, implementing music changes, color changes, accelerometer recognition, and more drag, tap, and swipe interactions. We also implemented a title page to come before the story scene, which has an on/off audio narration function.

On Wednesday, we had our ¼ walkarounds, where ETC faculty come around the project rooms and give feedback on the progress and future plans of the projects in an ungraded context. On this day, there also happened to be a number of employees from Riot also coming around and giving input. We put together a brief presentation of our progress so far as well as what we hoped to work on for the rest of the semester, and we also showed our in-progress prototype. We received a lot of feedback as well as resources that could help us out. Many faculty members were surprised by our very fast paced schedule of 3 week cycles, and a number of them playing through the prototype commented on a lack of good indirect control. Other faculty members also recommended us to other project teams for their methods of analysis of quality, and still others gave us contact information to conduct future playtests with 2-5 year olds that they knew and could help us get access to.

The day after, we had our process grades. These were individual meetings with our faculty instructors, Mike Christel and John Dessler, to comment and give feedback on the status of the project as well as the team members individually and how we fulfill our roles. We spoke a lot of our fairly rocky start, with our unusual core hours and our slow developmental progress in the first couple of weeks. We were able to hit a consensus that we were the most confident in ourselves and our project goals at quarters than we ever were before. Hopefully with our new understanding and lessons that we’ve learned from this prototype round, our future prototypes will continue to improve.

Our last build for our prototype was complete late Thursday night. We took this build to the Children’s Museum on Friday morning, to see what in our build we were able to successfully make engaging and fun. We had a number of kids who came of their own initiative and a few whose parents brought them over.

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Overall, we found that a lot of children enjoyed dragging objects and activating the camera transitions, but a lot of the interactions that were specialized scene to scene were less interesting and intuitive, with many children stopping before they reached them, or simply not figuring it out as they were presented with the scenes.

After the playtest, Inksmith and Josie sat down for a verbal post-mortem about the process of the project. We decided that having all of these little interactions when stringing a whole manuscript together was not the best use of our semester time, and that particularly this manner of playtests, where children essentially do “drive-bys” of the app, is inefficient and doesn’t give us much valuable information. In our future prototypes, we will be focusing a lot more on the core interactions that come from transitioning from scene to scene. This will allow us to devote our 3 weeks more in one area, and keep us on track in our mission to avoid page turners.


Next week:

Next week, we will be receiving the manuscript for our new prototype. Rather than being a property directly of Josie’s, this manuscript will come from Kindermusik, a company that focuses on toddler development using music and rhythm. We will be visiting Kindermusik on Tuesday morning to watch one of their classes and see the environment that our future prototype would be used in.

In the first week, we will focus on completing a storyboard in the first few days of the week. We will decide on what our core interaction will be to focus on implementing throughout the entire manuscript, then prioritize down the feedback and secondary interactions that feed back into the core interaction. We will need to figure out what code assets we can carry over from our first prototype, and our art asset creation should begin this week.

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