Week 15 – Final Touches and Passing it off

Hello everyone and checking in for the last time! 🙂

This week we focused on

-1) Packaging our build and documentation for Jess

-2) Preparing for finals presentations

This week our team…

Derek – Finishing the design documentation

Sally – Editing footage and preparing for finals

Ryan – Inputting the last of Chapter 3 feedback and audio

Minz – Making audio assets and editing the presentation slides

Chelsea – Assisting with the Game Design Document

Client and Faculty Meeting

This week our team was busy wrapping up and getting everything packaged for our client. While our programmer, Ryan was busy making sure everything was implemented and debugged, the rest of the group was occupied with the design documentation and presentation for next week.

We had a dress rehearsal with our faculty advisors and later with Jessica Hammer of our final presentations, so we could see what we can improve and make sure that our project was as clear and concise as can be.

Chapter 2 Update

Ryan was able to show off the improvements from last week’s build and Jess was happy with the results. We were able to implement the new audio we recorded with our actors and the silhouettes are now grounded in physical space instead of the camera, so they now fit the tone of the game. We can now wrap up the build and hand it off.

Finals Presentations

Chapter 2 Gameplay Demo

We mainly spent the majority of the week getting all our stuff together and making sure that our project goals are in order. Since there was a number of changes since Halves due to Covid-19, we had numerous rehearsals with our faculty and client to make sure that we were all on the same page. Now we are just constantly rehearsing and getting everything together for final presentations and afterwards the playthroughs.

Thanks for sticking around on this journey!



memoiAR Post Mortem


Rosenstrasse: We Choose Each Other (WCEO) is a location-based, multiplayer roleplaying AR experience created by ETC project team MemoiAR under the direction of Jessica Hammer in the Spring of 2020. Based on Jessica Hammer’s board game Rosenstrasse: We Choose Each Other explores the future of storytelling in AR for the Snap Creative Challenge.

The team consisted of the following ETC Students: 

  • Programmer, Technical Artist: Ran “Ryan” Zhang, 1st Year
  • 3D Artist: Qiyi “Chelsea” Tang, 1st Year
  • UX, Graphic Designer: Mingzhi “Minz” Cai, 1st Year
  • Co-Producer, Game Designer: Roderick Luke “Derek” Chan, 1st Year
  • Co-Producer, 3D Artist: Sally Im, 1st Year

Halfway through the semester, the project (along with all ETC projects) moved to working completely remotely in response to the 2020 COVID-19 epidemic. The following is a post-mortem analysis of what went well, what went not so well, what we learned, what we would do with more time, and the life of our work after the end of the semester.

The remaining steps for memoiAR are to conclude final changes to the demo, conclude  a documentation package for future development, and to remotely present the game to the Snap Creative Challenge Summit on Wednesday June 17th. 

Our client Jessica Hammer expressed a desire to pursue funding for potential future development of the concept (thus the documentation package). Ideally, a future team should be able to read the documentation and continue development on its design themes. Additionally, PhD candidate Erica Cruz expressed interest in pursuing academic publication of the design process of this project to interested HCI publications. The team plans to communicate with Erica further about the project following the conclusion of the semester. 

What went well 

Productive and positive client relationship 

The team enjoyed a productive and positive relationship with our client, Jessica Hammer. The client was communicative, clear with her expectations and goals, as well as enthusiastically supportive of the team’s progress (even after the transition to remote work and the pivot in final deliverables).

Logistically, the client had an intimate understanding of ETC projects and deliverables and was able to tailor her goals to the unique work environment of the ETC. She knew what she could expect from 16 weeks of work from an interdisciplinary team of graduate students.

Creatively, Jess was able to advise the project as a subject matter expert on the historical period. The game is historically accurate thanks to her input. Additionally, being an original designer of the Rosenstrasse game, Jess provided useful feedback and suggestions on interactive storytelling and roleplaying. She also made space for new interpretations of her original mechanics and story. At every client meeting, she was willing to discuss opposing design choices and playtest unorthodox designs.

We recognize Jess Hammer to be an unorthodox client (i.e. not all ETC clients may be as involved or enthusiastic), but also recognize that much of what went well with the final product stems from her professional relationship to the project team. 

Genuinely Novel and Innovative Designs

To quote one comment made early on in the semester, the project is like “a theatrical play in which the actors don’t know where they are supposed to be, what they’re supposed to do, or what they’re supposed to say.”

Several playtesters and faculty advisors expressed genuine interest in the idea of a multiplayer, location-based, roleplaying AR game. Despite the eclectic and seemingly-disparate parts of the design, the experience successfully functions on a technical level. Following the shift to remote work, the team was even able to create trailers of the experience that successfully explained the game’s idiosyncratic design (even if the footage didn’t show people actually playing the game or was “faked”). 

Design innovations that we identified fall into the following categories: 

  • Blending VR concepts with AR 
    • Touching digital objects with the AR device: This was novel as many AR experiences focus on visuals overlaid onto reality as opposed to engaging a physical experience. Physicality in digital actions was adopted from lessons learned using VR trackers.
    • Multiplayer experiences using Networking: Since the focus of our game was on linear scenes and progression of on-screen text, we were able to keep both players in the same state of the game using simple TCP networking. Most commercial AR games struggle with networking since they attempt to track the location of 3D objects and use action-based mechanics vs. verbal mechanics.
  • Augmented Roleplaying
    • Players connecting with their partners: AR had been used in roleplaying games before (primarily to visualize board pieces or sets). We tried to place inter-player conversation at the heart of the experience and examined ways to meaningfully interact with it, beyond visualizing 3D assets.
    • Physically embodied actions: no AR games had used the device as a controller in addition to a camera. By taking the design paradigm of theatrical performance, the team was able to develop several scenes where players must assume a physical gesture in the real world in addition to imagining it.
  • Location-based AR
    • Diegetic markers and set pieces: One common criticism of AR is that the real world distracts from the digital world. We attempted to circumvent that problem by curating real-world visuals. The team recognizes that doing so placed constraints on where the game can be played (i.e. the game is best played at the Entertainment Technology Center).

Shared creative vision between all team members

Perhaps as a result of the unorthodox design of the game, the entire team was involved in all steps of design, from initial conception, to writing of scripts, and finally to execution. This made up for the lack of systematic and exact design documentation, since all members of the team would sit at the meetings where these design choices were made. Team members would also elect to be present for creative meetings rather than be notified later of the final design. Jess Hammer would later comment that the designs pitched to her “reflected the many hands that had helped make it.” 

Remote work was mostly effective

The team was able to transition fairly effectively to working from home. Since most of our documentation was already digital before the transition (e.g. Scrum boards, interaction scripts, meeting notes), our work process stayed mostly the same. Dependencies were communicated through instant message on Slack, tasks were tracked on Google Sheets, and assets were transferred using Perforce/Google Drive.

One challenge to remote work was version control. Since our team only had 1 programmer, the team relied on him to manage all changes to the digital build using Git. Even though some teammates had experience using Unity, very few had used Git to control versioning on a Unity Project.

On the whole, the team was typically able to maintain forward progress and meet deadlines during remote work.

Playtest-Centric Pipeline was successful when we could playtest in person

As a result of only having 1 programmer, the team successfully implemented a pipeline where the design of the game would remain 1 week ahead of the digital build of the game. In a given week and following the first creative meeting, the team’s programmer would implement changes to the digital build while the Game designer and UX designer would create paper prototypes of future features.

Generally speaking:
General Design → Paper build → Paper Playtest → Digital Build → Digital Playtest → Polish/refine

This typically resulted in more feedback and relatively higher-quality designs making it to the digital build. The pipeline appeared to work well prior to beginning remote work. Subsequently, the team planned to scale up production of the final 2 parts of the experience using this simultaneous workflow.

Unfortunately, this pipeline broke down when paper playtests became impossible. While attempting to design remote playtest methods, digital work began to pile up. This forced the team to focus on the production of digital work to meet deadlines over polishing existing work. Since a significant portion of the game required players to physically move through a space together, many of the emotional beats remained theoretical and unpolished before becoming integrated into the digital build. 

Multiple Playtest Methods

As a result of going remote, the team had to use playtest methods that captured parts of the experience, since the whole experience could not be played as previously designed. 

Types of playtests used are as follows: 

  • Full playtest or “Dress-rehearsal” playtest: This involved running people through the experience itself in 100% intended conditions. This is the conventional way to playtest a game and typically resulted in the best feedback and changes to the experience. Because our experience is relatively long, these playtests were conducted with few “expert” players. This method prioritizes few, deep playtests over many, shallow playtests to look for high-quality expert opinion over volume of data.
  • Paper playtest: this involved sticky notes and paper cut outs to simulate on-screen UI and the specific logic of certain mechanics. Since creating a full build took up the Programmer’s entire week-long sprint, the game designer and UX designer would use paper mock-ups and talk users through the intended experience. The key is to only provide as much detail as necessary to gauge players’ instincts and desires. Most playtesters were willing to accept the low-fidelity of these playtests and provide feedback on a hypothetical high-fidelity version. The Tutorial/Chapter 0 was playtested in this manner.
  • Composite video trailers: this involved editing together footage of live actors, recordings of the iPad app, and spatial diagrams to communicate the intended experience to remote audiences. These were time consuming and resource intensive to make; however, they were the most accurate and high-fidelity way to explain the experience to a playtester (short of actually playing the game); however, since all of the editing of the footage was accomplished by 1 member of the team, these trailers were difficult to change and modify to reflect changes in the experience itself. 

What didn’t go well

Technical Challenges

iPads were inelegant and uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. The project has never been executed fully with purely naive guests using the iPads as intended. iPads that run the experience best are also very expensive. Given the performance requirements, the experience becomes much less playable on lower-end iPads and apple devices.

 iOS development also proved a great hurdle to remote development: only specific pre-registered devices can run the experience using testflight. While iPads are the premier tablet on the market, having to build the project on iOS increased build time and involved many iOS-specific steps before pushing the build to the iPad itself. Committing to iOS also meant that the game experienced weird glitches when switching platforms to Android.

Marker-based mobile AR in its current form is unreliable and prone to “glitching” out. The client directed the team (and the programmer) to pursue completion of the entire experience over ironing out the stability issues. The team understood that gameplay footage could be edited to avoid showing unsightly glitches caused by a combination of lighting, marker quality, robustness of Vuforia’s marker-recognition functionality. We were also unable to test marker recognition outside of the programmer’s own home due to iOS deployment issues. 

A programming bottleneck occurred due to the team only having 1 programmer able to modify the Unity project and implement new digital features. Additionally, due to working remotely, the only member on the team capable of actually running the experience was the programmer. No one else on the team had iPads or an iMac to build the project. While we tried to design around simple theoretical implementation, the programmer still had to prioritize completion of new functionality over changing UI text, implementing sound effects, fixing lighting effects, etc.  

Complex and cumbersome design pillars 

While the team successfully understood the original Rosenstrasse’s complex and moving emotional design, we struggled to turn the original’s emotional design into elegant design principles. Our design pillars always felt confusing or difficult to make actionable given our project’s goal to make a “full experience.” Consequently, we stopped using the design pillars late into the semester. 

Complex and ambitious narrative left unpolished 

Having an ambitious and complex narrative meant that the team struggled to do justice to the story as a whole in all its nuances and complexities. While we had a sense of high-level narrative concepts (e.g. what happens in a part, what the general feeling of a part should be), we were never able to dig deep into specific moments of the story and what is supposed to go through the players’ minds as they play those moments. Holocaust storytelling is in and of itself a great challenge. For the purposes of building as much of the experience as possible, we brushed broad strokes for the narrative and it shows. As much as the game is designed to immerse players historically in 1940s Berlin, the project also struggled with what that really meant in terms of the game’s visuals, UI, and text itself. Arguably a more cohesive, intimate, and polished 10-minute experience would have accomplished our design goal of telling Max and Annaliese’s story of “we choose each other” better than the 30-minute experience.

Additionally, the team’s background and storytelling skills leaned towards theater, film, and studio art. These skills required access to the physical location in order to playtest and iterate. In contrast, a team with a dedicated writer or even script-writer might have had more success creating a story that could be refined without a physical location. The team believed that story and narrative would emerge from iterative playtests of the full experience. When those full-playtests were not possible, less and less progress was made to refine the narrative itself.

Roleplaying is still difficult for most players

Roleplaying remains a high-bar for most players of the game. The team never came to a satisfying answer to what successful roleplaying looks like. Does it look like a family of 4 walking into a museum to learn about the Holocaust? Does it look like improv actors holding iPads? When we played Rosenstrasse, we knew it was working because we didn’t want to go home. We wanted to see what happened to their characters. We physically leaned over the table. We never had a chance to see what types of roleplaying emerged in our players and then choose which types of roleplaying behaviors to develop further. 

Playtesting was difficult

Niche and Changing Audience: The project began with the explicit goal of being deployed to the IMX conference in Barcelona and pivoted to laying down groundwork for future potential deployment to museums or other academic conferences. Our understanding of our audience was the overlap between academics, fans of history, and experienced roleplayers. This small audience required us to process all feedback through the lens of if our playtesters fell under our intended audience. Additionally, identifying this audience and having them play the game was difficult. Of all the playtests conducted this semester, maybe 5 individuals met the above criteria. Because the experience lives in one location, specificity on audience will drive successful designs on how best to incorporate them into the experience. 

Remote playtesting of a location-based game plagued the second half of development. The team ultimately chose to not alter the design of the game to be easier to develop remotely. Since the experience is location-specific, the game was never truly and authentically playtested. This combined with iOS-specific development restrictions, meant that the game could never be deployed or played outside of the home of the programmer. While we did our best to work around these challenges (i.e. test android deployment, paper playtest through zoom, shift project goals to documentation, create trailers of edited footage, etc), final rounds of feedback pointed out the lack of polish in some parts of the game. 

Physical Materials do not exist

Setting aside the problems with remote work, designing the physical materials of this game would have been a time-consuming and serious undertaking: it could be one teammate’s entire job. Objectively, the team was unable to realize its design goal of an “immersive location-based” experience beyond the high-level design phase. None of the team’s expertise or technical skills lent themselves to building cardboard street signs or capturing the feeling of blackbox theater spaces. Even if we had gone to Barcelona, attendees of the conference would have likely been distracted by the walls, floors, and chairs of the venue itself. 

Audio-based mechanics were implemented very late

While compelling, the proximity-based voice lines and sound-based mechanics remain unpolished and rough in their current state. A sound designer was also involved in the team very late in the semester. While audio is a crucial part of effective storytelling, we were unable to create the sounds of our game until very late in the semester. Additionally, we never created a unique musical identity for the game’s trailers. 

Lessons Learned 

Playtesting is key to a high-quality final product. 

We had wanted to playtest often, with clearly defined questions, and diverse playtesters. This was also the key to many of our first design iterations (e.g. sign shape matching, iPad as mirror, etc). The project suffered when it couldn’t be playtested fully. While we developed a few different ways to playtest specific parts of the experience, the final product reflects a lack of polish and refinement that a final deliverable needs. 

Potentially, we could have pivoted the design of the project itself to be more easily playtested. Alternatively, if we had prioritized a narrative playtest tool, we could have addressed playtest questions sooner. 

Interactive storytelling is very complicated and can be one person’s whole job.

Conventional roleplaying is a strange and foreign concept to many people. The current project never came to a strong consensus about what a successful and emotionally moving playthrough of our game would look like. Text is also a necessary but insufficient medium to communicate narrative. It requires a lot of exactness to do effectively. 

Writing could also be the entire job of one team member. The team tried to disperse the responsibility of narrative design, but ultimately found most teammates focusing on their primary responsibilities before refining the narrative. 

Simultaneous production pipelines work best with familiar, repeatable processes

While we had a plan to work on parts of the experience simultaneously, we underestimated how long polishing each part would take. While our team was able to execute and build new parts to the experience, our pipeline did not adequately budget time for incorporating feedback or testing. Additionally the paper design phase of our pipeline was never really able to playtest mechanics and designs before being incorporated into the digital product. Since the steps for developing Part 3 differed from the steps to develop Part 2, we wound up with inaccurate time and work estimates.   

Last Steps and Wrap up for the Project

The remaining steps for memoiAR are to conclude final changes to the demo, conclude  a documentation package for future development, and to remotely present the game to the Snap Creative Challenge Summit on Wednesday June 17th. 

Our client Jessica Hammer expressed a desire to pursue funding for potential future development of the concept (thus the documentation package). Ideally, a future team should be able to read the documentation and continue development on its design themes. Additionally, PhD student Erica Principe Cruz expressed interest in pursuing academic publication of the design process of this project to interested HCI publications. The team plans to communicate with Erica further about the project following the conclusion of the semester. 

Week 14 – Softs and Wrapping Up

This week we focused on

-1) Soft Opening

-2) Finishing up the build and documentation

-3) Casting Actors to record dialogue

This week our team…

Derek – Preparing the Game Design Document and getting in touch with the drama school

Sally – Editing the trailer and archiving all our documents

Ryan – Programming the rest of the Chapter 3 and the transition

Minz – Updating the graphics and getting recordings from our cast

Chelsea – Assisting with the Game Design Document

memoiAR Softs Presentation

Soft Openings

To start off the week our team presented to faculty for Soft Openings in order to give them a feel on the current state of our project and gain valuable feedback as we are getting closer to completion.

We met with Shirley Saldamarco, Carl Rosendahl, John Dessler, and Moshe Mahler and gave them a summary of what we are trying to achieve with our project as well as an overview on what we accomplished so far. We got a lot of helpful feedback on what ways we can best present the story to give the maximum emotional impact that we want as well as suggestions on what we can do to make the overall experience better.

Softs Critique

-1) Develop the sound design more to fit the tone of the scene

-2) In the video presentation, focus more on conveying the story beats rather than the technical aspects and functionality of our game

-3) Add more user functionality if we can, to have players more engaged in the story flow

Client and Faculty Meetings

We also were able to meeting with Jessica Hammer, our faculty advisors Heather and Tom, and Brian from Snap.

On Tuesday, we met with Heather and Tom and they informed us on the feedback from Softs. We learned that we are in a good spot overall and if we are able to address as many as their suggestions as we can we can deliver a great product to our client, Jessica. The faculty understood what we were doing and mainly gave us feedback that was actionable, so we should focus on our next steps based on their critique and make sure we have good reasons whether we choose to address their suggestions or not.

On Friday, we met with Jessica and Erica. We had a short meeting, but we were able to discuss what faculty suggested to us and ask for her opinion on what she wants us to focus on. We were also able to show her our progress for Chapter 3, so we can get more critique. Overall Jessica wants us to make sure we have a full complete experience that she can continue to work on in the future.

After our meeting with Jess, we met with Brian from Snap and we discussed future plans and offered any technical help on his end. Previously we mentioned that we had full intent to present our work at the ACM IMX 2020 conference in Barcelona this upcoming June, however now the conference is going virtually. We are in the process of preparing our material to present online along with the other teams and share our work.

Wrapping Up

This week everyone focused on getting all of our documentation and builds archived so that our client, Jessica could hand it off to another team if she chooses.

On the production side, I was busy working on editing our trailer for our project website. Head on over to our home page to check it out! Derek and Chelsea worked on getting as much of the game design documentation completed based on our current build to submit to archives and will continue to be working on it until we wrap up production entirely.

Minz was creating graphics such as credits and improving the current ones in our build. Along with Derek, they were also reaching out to the drama department and getting actors to record dialogue for our game. We were able to get our budget approved by the department and can now set up recording sessions with the actors to get the sounds we need.

Ryan was busy getting the final story beats programmed into the game and should be scheduled to be finished the following week, so we can focus on getting our audio polished in the build.

We also just got our schedule for Final Presentations in the next few weeks, and will be preparing for that as well.

All in all we had a pretty busy week and we’re on our way to wrapping up everything. See you next week!

Week 13 – Beginning Chapter 3 and Chapter 2 Refinement

This week we focused on

-1) Production of Chapter 3

-2) Refining Chapter 2

-3) First Pass on Audio

This week our team worked on…

Derek – Reiteration of Chapter 3, Sound collection, and Softs Preparation

Sally – Created assets for Chapter 3 and Softs Video Preparation

Ryan – Chapter 2 Update and Chapter 3 Skeleton

Minz – UI iteration and sound collection

Chelsea – Chapter 2 & 3 asset creation

Client and Faculty Meetings

This week we began preparations for soft opening and met with various faculty to get more specific feedback. We got a lot of useful critique and although we can’t address all of them we decided to zero in on the changes that we can fix more quickly and will make the most significant impact with the time that we have left.

We also met with Jessica to get her opinion on which parts of the experience she wanted us to complete for the final deliverable as well as give us more feedback on our latest build. We also brought up the concerns from other play tests and she agreed that we should prioritize revising based on time constraints. Therefore we decided to rewrite some of the text in the dialogue box and improve the audio, two of the most common critiques we received from play tests.

Plans ahead for the final deliverable

-1) Complete Chapter 3

-2) Focus on improving the Audio

-3) Edit the dialogue and writing

Chapter 3 Updates

For Chapter 3, we were able to build out the skeleton this week with just the primitive logic and placeholder audio in. Previously, we introduced a new chanting mechanic and we were able to input that into the game. Minz was able to input a new UI design and audio to streamline the flow of dialogue without becoming overbearing to the user. Derek was able to recruit the help of a sound designer to aid in providing quality audio more fit with our story.

Chapter 3 Story Flow


-1) Annaliese makes tea

-2) She goes outside after hearing a crowd

-3) Prompted to chant “Give us our husbands back!”

-4) After chanting several times, audio gets louder and crowd joins in

-5) Door Cells Open

-6) Max and Annaliese are reunited


-1) Max enters Rosenstrasse

-2) Finds a scrap of paper

-3) Writes a letter to Annaliese

-4) Begins hearing chanting outside

-5) Door Cells Open

-6) Max and Annaliese are reunited

Before we want to show it off, we are planning to make some final adjustments to the audio to fit more in line with how we want the scene to play out, so we can record and edit the footage for more feedback.

As of right now, the final chapter is incomplete and we plan on being transparent about the current state of the build. However, we still want to use this opportunity to gain useful feedback as we plan on using the last few weeks of the semester to focus on finishing the arc and completing the narrative and tying everything together.

Week 12 – Chapter 2 Iterations and Playtest Day Results

Happy Spring! This week we focused on

-1) Playtest Day feedback

-2) Chapter 2 Iterations

This week our team…

Derek – Reiteration of Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 and Playtest Day feedback

Sally – Created assets for Chapter 2 and Transition Iteration and Playtest Day feedback

Ryan – Proof of Concept for Chapter 3 and Chapter 2 iteration

Minz – Flow chart for Chapter 3 and UI iteration

Chelsea – Reiterating 3D assets for Chapter 2

Client and Faculty Meetings

As we are getting closer to the end of the semester and Soft Openings, we decided to make some changes to our schedule based on feedback from both our client and faculty advisors. We had also received feedback from the faculty, students, and alumni during Play Test day and this also reinforced the decision to focus our energy on finishing Chapter 2 and redesigning Chapter 3 on those iterations to make for a better design.

We showed our client, Jessica Hammer our design for Chapter 3 last week and she gave us ideas on what mechanics we could try implementing for the story.

Chapter 3 Game Mechanics

-) Voice Recognition

-) Handwriting Mechanic

Based on her approval, Ryan went ahead and tested out those mechanics to see if they were plausible for our group to implement. He tested them and was able to show a proof of concept to the rest of the team.

On Tuesday, we met with out Faculty advisors, Heather and Tom to show them our progress on our new mechanics and design for Chapter 3. They expressed some concerns that the mechanics would make for some “inelegant design” about implementing a new mechanic so late into the story, therefore we quickly emailed Jessica about the matter and she decided that we shift our focus on reiterating Chapter 2 and introduce the mechanic earlier in the story. So we decided that we will try and quickly wrap up completion of Chapter 2 and start Chapter 3 next week.

Playtest Day Feedback

Derek and I went over the feedback we received from Play Test day and we received results that were mainly positive. The most pressing issue was polishing the video more so that people watching can understand the experience even more in depth without confusion and adding more story context in the game.


-) Most people were immersed in the experience

-) Understood what was happening in the videos

-) Felt comfortable playing the game after watching the videos


-) Videos need to show more context and information

-) Introduce Rosenstrasse for those who are unfamiliar

-) Introduce the Characters more clearly

We also received feedback from some faculty that wanted to talk more with us about the experience and we’re planning on reaching out to more faculty that were not as immersed in the experience.

Next week we plan on reiterating as much as possible to prepare for Softs so we can polish and finalize the full experience.

See you next week!

Playtest day Videos and Feedback Forms

Welcome to the Playtest Day website for We Choose Each Other (WCEO)! We’re making an augmented reality experience based on Rosenstrasse, the historical role-playing game about the Rosenstrasse Protests. On this page you’ll find videos demonstrating our experience so far as well as links to forms to leave feedback for each video.

In WCEO, two players take on the roles of Max and Annaliese. As a Jewish man and German Aryan woman living in 1940s Germany, players experience and role-play how their marriage evolves over the course of the war. The story finally culminates with players participating in the Rosenstrasse Protests, where hundreds of non-Jewish women protest en masse for the return of their Jewish husbands and family members by the Nazi regime.

To actually play the game, players walk between real-life street signs and then interact with digital scenes at those locations using an iPad. Players also role-play conversations with each other as Max and Annaliese.

Since our game was originally designed as a location-based experience, you can’t play the full experience remotely. So we made these demo videos to show you what we have so far.

Here’s how YOU can help us:

  1. Watch one of the Demo videos
  2. Click the link to the feedback form underneath the video
  3. Leave feedback based on what you saw in the video
  4. Do it again for another Demo video (if you have time)

Here are the Demo Videos and Feedback Forms:

Tutorial Playtest Video:

Please click the link below to give us feedback ↓

Part 1 Playtest Video:

Please click the link below to give us feedback ↓

Part 2 Playtest Videos:

Please click the link below to give us feedback ↓

Here are the things we want Feedback on:

We Choose Each Other (WCEO) is broken into 4 different parts that we work on in parallel. Here’s how they looked before we began working remotely at Halves (the halfway point of the semester):

Here’s how they look now:

You might notice that each part of the experience is in a slightly different stage of development, or “done-ness.”

With that in mind, here’s what we’re looking for feedback on specifically for each part:

  • Tutorial: Have we prepared you to play the game? How instructive is the Tutorial currently? Our tutorial has its core functionality, but does it actually teach you how to interact with the experience? Does it give you a sense of what the full experience will be like?
  • Part 1: Are you Max/Annaliese? Does Part 1 immerse you into the world and successfully ask you to take actions as either Max or Annaliese? How clearly do you know Max or Annaliese as people?
  • Part 2: Are things working or are you confused? Are the mechanics working? Do you understand what is happening mechanically? Do you require more explanation for what to do?

Additionally, we’d love to hear any suggestions about improving our videos or ways to get feedback remotely. Thank you all so much for your time and we look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Week 11 – Chapter 3 Design and Play Test Day

This week we focused on

-1) Designing Chapter 3 and client feedback

-2) Preparations for Playtest Day

As we are slowly wrapping up completion of Chapter 2, we started the pre-production phase on Chapter 3 in order to stay on track and have all chapter implementations completed for Softs. That being said we are still adjusting the final changes to Chapter 2 based on the feedback we’re receiving from Jessica. However we are also waiting on more feedback from faculty and friends the following week as we send out our play test videos.

Chapter 2 Flow Chart

We were able to implement Minz’s graphics for the maze mechanic and players now have a visual when they are walking through the crowds in AR. When Players make their way back to the House Marker they must pay attention to the screen and make sure they don’t bump into crowds of people.

We also implemented new assets from Chelsea to show a change in the environment when the players revisit the House marker in Chapter 2. Previously we decided that we wanted the players to visit markers they previously were and only show assets that they would have interactions with in order to draw their attention to specific objects and direct them on how the scene will play out. This will make role playing easier for the player.

We met with our client, Jessica Hammer again this week and gave her the rundown of our initial design for Chapter 3 and showed her our progress for Chapter 2 as well as the transition between Chapters. Using that we will begin building out the skeleton for Chapter 3 next week and update Chapter 2 with her suggestions.

Derek and I also split our time on get our materials and website ready for Play Test Day. Derek focused on getting the play test survey finished and I worked on editing videos of our whole experience thus far. As we had some difficulty running the build remotely ourselves, we also estimated that not many people would also have two tablets on hand to test the experience accurately. Therefore we instead decided to forgo having play testers download the build and showcase the experience on video so people could see it from start to finish. This way we could obtain as much feedback as possible since our goal is to have everything as completed as possible to get more feedback during Softs.

Minz also provided me some graphics to help illustrate the steps more thoroughly.

Here are a few shots from one of the videos we made.

This week our team…

Derek – Designing Chapter 3 and Playtest Day preparations

Sally – Editing Videos and Playtest Day preparations

Ryan – Completing programming for Chapter 2

Minz – Creating UI and Illustrations for Chapter 2

Chelsea – Finishing 3D assets for Chapter 2

We had a productive week on development as we’re getting ever so closer to completing the entire experience and moving forward to the polishing phase.

See you next week!

Week 10 – Chapter 2, Play Testing and Design Changes

Hello hope everyone is doing well out there in the world!

Moving forward this week we are

-1) Continuing design on Chapter 2

-2) Testing remote play testing within our team to gauge how we can enable play testing with others outside the group

Previously Jessica Hammer suggested we make some design changes to to the beginning of the chapter, so we went back to the drawing board and created a flow chart to set up the scene smoothly.

We added a transition scene between chapters using a montage to preface the players on their characters history and establish the change in their relationship over time.

We are also currently adding changes to the environment scenes and directing players on role playing by only displaying the objects we want them to interact with.

Ryan also had the chance to set up Test Flight, a remote play testing app introduced to us by our instructors, and realized that it doesn’t work well for our purposes. Therefore we decided to create a guide and have play testers build the app on their own devices and play test in the future.

This week our team…

Derek – Making Chapter 2 design changes

Sally – Created more flower assets for Chapter 2

Ryan – Implemented Chapter 2 transition from Chapter 1 and working on the logic skeleton on Chapter 2

Minz – Created new UI graphics for Chapter 2

Chelsea – Creating environment layout design and set pieces.

To stay on schedule we are planning to wrap up design on Chapter 2 at the end of next week and start production on Chapter 3.

That’s all folks! Hope everyone out there is staying safe!

Week 09 – Remote Setup and Project Goal Changes

We just came back from Spring Break and we are just getting used to our new set up now that we are continuing with the project and working remotely.

We don’t have a lot to update this week except getting used to the new workflow that we assembled, getting our equipment from the ETC, and paper prototyping and setting up the next chapter.

This week we are…

Derek – Paper prototyping Chapter 2 Mechanics

Sally – Remote gold spike and Chapter 2 design assistance

Ryan – Implemented Chapter 0 into the build

Minz – New UI creation for chapter 0

Chelsea – Remote gold spike

We briefly met with Jessica Hammer this week and sought out some feedback for our Chapter 2 designs and changes to the project goals.

Since we are likely not going to be attending ACM IMX this year we have to prepare for presenting our current work in other ways remotely. We are cutting design pillars and moving forward with capturing the game through video. Hopefully we can make it back into the ETC before the semester ends!

Week 08 – Halves and New Demo Space

The biggest challenges for this week were

-1) Final preparations and rehearsals for Halves

-2) Getting our new demo space ready

We successfully presented our halves presentation to get faculty up to speed on the progress of our project. We got a lot of feedback about what we can do to improve the projects and what our team can do to be better for Softs at the end of the semester.

We don’t have any updates on the project aside from getting a new space to showcase our demo for future play-testers and prepare us for how we want to set up in Barcelona.

All and all we decided to take it easier this week after presentations and during Spring Break as we now have an extra week due to the cancellation of GDC and SXSW.

Have a Happy Spring Break!