On Sunday, Stephanie and Ariel drove out to Lambertville, New Jersey to attend the children’s app conference Dust or Magic.
Dust or Magic provided a lot of good information about developmental stages in child development and how commercial apps aimed at children are built, and what is kept in mind in developing the interactions and the feedback. It was also an interesting atmosphere where everyone there was encouraged to completely release their own ego so they could look at everyone they had created or contributed to solely from the mind of a child. At Dust or Magic, egos were represented with balloons.
We also got to meet a lot of the creators of the apps we used as reference and inspiration for our apps, and got a packet from the creators of the conference with a lot of useful information about child mental and physiological development at various ages.
Josie was also in attendance at Dust or Magic, and we were able to speak with her about our current work for the art direction and the avatar customization. After speaking with her, then returning back to the ETC to discuss with the team, we decided to keep our 2.5D art style, with the in-scene sprites having a cartoony, paper cutout look and feel. To keep in with the cartoony feel, and since it got the most well-favored reception on ETC Playtest Day, we are going to try and go with a non-human cartoony avatar customization.
In terms of in-game mechanics, we decided that our primary trigger in scene would be a hide-and-seek mechanic. In the story, the protagonist is looking for objects to build a rocket ship, and names out items around their house that they need. We want to try and tie text to in game objects again, and make a game out of finding the objects in the scene to add to the rocket ship, which can fly “into” the page and to the next scene.
Our designers Stephanie and Jerry each created draft storyboards themselves and came together to meet and merge them into a more finalized, concrete scene-by-scene storyboard to work on implementing next week.
Next week, art and programming will hopefully start more in earnest, once we have the entire team back in the ETC by Tuesday. Art should start focusing on the avatar system and creating paper cutout art for one of the scenes. Programming can begin focus on the rocket transition and the hide and seek mechanic. We will also need to start recording the narration for the dialogue lines. Our goal is to bring at least the basics of one scene and the avatar customizing system together to a playtest that will occur on Friday at the ETC.