On Monday, the ETC had its soft openings. This event is designed to be a showcase of the ETC projects, treated as if the products displayed are the finalized deliverables. Teams receive feedback from the faculty, who go through each project, about the improvements their products can go through in the last 2 weeks left of the semester.
Inksmith had our three 3-week deliverables to showcase: Bernie the Bowling Pin, Animal Serenade, and Astronaughty. We focused on showing Astronaughty to the faculty, as it hadn’t been tested or seen by the ETC faculty in any form yet. We got a lot of feedback about our mechanics, which we intended to fix in our refinement stage. They also mentioned how they would like the customization part to, if it could not related directly to hide and seek, at least help tell the story of a child preparing for a trip to the moon. We got a few mixed reviews on our transition from room to room, but overall, the faculty response was positive to the exploration we had done and understanding we had reached for children’s storybook apps in general.
We also listed out all of our refinement tasks in detail, as we wanted to fix our collider issues, make a new layout for the room, rocket, and astronaut, and adjust the events of the room transition. Once those were laid out on Monday, we set to work hitting each one and adjusting our build accordingly, making concrete, discrete improvements with each task fulfilled. We met with Josie to discuss our chosen tasks, and how they would improve the experience. We finished all iterated refinement tasks by Friday, having a testable build for a playtest on Saturday with our improvements therein.
One large improvement that we need to implement before our refinement stage is over is the completion of Astronaughty’s story. We have created storyboards of the beginning cutscene and ending flight, which will be implemented next week. They are available to view in this folder. We were able to have our storyboards in for our Saturday playtest, though.
On Saturday afternoon, we playtested our improved build with storyboards to a four year old boy here at the ETC. Our changes to the avatar customization made the wheel spinning intuitive to our tester without any outside prompting from us. However, he still needed help putting the objects up into their silhouettes and opening furniture, so we will be putting in audio hints for the future build.
We also took out playtester through some of our storyboards, and he was able to pick up on the story remarkably quickly. He said that the “engine was busted”, which was why he was collecting items. He could see that the rocket was flying to the moon in the storyboards, and was curious why it was knocked off course from the moon (he concluded that it must have hit the moon and bounced off).
We are also in the process of creating a promotional video for our project. Inksmith shot interviews with each of our team members about various aspects of the semester and our project goals. We will be editing together and publishing the video next week.
Next week, we will need to complete all refinement tasks for the team: cutscenes, hide-and-seek improvements, space flight, etc. These tasks are scheduled to end on Friday, but ideally, we would like as many tasks in as possible by Wednesday. We are scheduled to have another playtester in Wednesday morning, and Wednesday evening is the ETC’s Festival, where families of students and industry professionals will be in to see first year work and semester projects. We will also need to finish editing and publish our promotional video, as well as complete all design documentation for the project.