We’ve got a brief update on the development of our newer prototype, titled Robo Rampage. We have added in a few more features to give the player direction and understanding in the game. Specifically, we updated the shooting mechanic to feel smoother, we gave the robot a health bar for clarity, and adjusted sizing on some models that felt odd when actually playing in VR. We found that the tracking issues persist with the Wireless Vive Pros and did some work to alleviate them. We did make some progress here by hoisting the receivers up onto the ceiling, but even this isn’t entirely satisfactory as we found out in playtesting. Speaking of playtesting, we also had to make sure to find a connection method for the chairs that was more generalizable than a seatbelt. This came in the form of velcro straps. They are very simply straps that we loop around sturdy parts of the chairs that can latch onto themselves via velcro. It sounds super simple because it is, but it works just fine for prototyping.
We playtested the game on Friday with a few participants from ChairJam. Altogether they were our advisors Heather & Ricardo, our client Patrick Carrignton, Randy Huzinec (Physical Therapist), Jennifer Phillips (Wheelchair-using player), Michael Daly (Jennifer’s Aid), Elaine Houston (Engineer / wheelchair-using player), and Jitka (Elaine’s Aid).
There were initial technical difficulties with the playtest, in that the Vives’ tracking was being particularly uncooperative. This went on for quite a bit, but thankfully it was overcome in time to run the games regardless. Because Robo Rampage is a two player experience, we were able to run 4 pairs through. Only one of these did not have a wheelchair-user piloting the wheelchair. We discussed with each pair afterward to collect feedback, which will be reviewed more thoroughly next week.
At first glance, however, we received a mixture of positive and negative feedback, as should be expected from most playtest. The negative side, aside from the obvious technical issues, were design focused. The players had suggestions such as more complex environmental hazards, powerups, asymmetrical information on the two players’ dashboards, or add more things to shoot at, but generally speaking they all wanted the game to be more deep and engaging. This is totally valid criticism, and not entirely unexpected, but the bright side is that they focus not on what we are doing, but how we are doing it. The playtesters were quite pleased with the direction of the game, cooperative play, and accessible VR. They had a fair share of suggestions for improvement, but overall liked the game and would like to see more of it / more like it. Next week will be mostly eaten up by Thanksgiving Break, but we will try to address some of their concerns in our final week thereafter.
We did some work on the video trailer. We wrote up a script for it and have filmed some talking head style interviews. With that, we have also begun cutting together some footage so that we can better tell our story. That should be ready by its due date in another two weeks.
We wrote a Post-Mortem for Joyride this week. It goes over the ups and downs of the semester to try and distill some lessons for future students and future us. It will continue to be updated and proofed as time goes on.