Week 13 Soft Opening

This week, we had our soft opening on Wednesday. During the Soft Opening, many people from EA would come, playtest our product, and give some valuable feedback. In order to prepare well for that, on Monday and Tuesday, everyone worked very hard to present a delightful and complete gameplay experience.

Last week, we got a lot of valuable feedback on our current demo from our faculty and clients. During internal playtesting, we also found a lot of places to improve and to iterate.

We summarized the most important feedback as follows:

  1. It is hard to see the interesting training process we have gone through only with the balanced brain. It is interesting to see the two extreme conditions when hippos are selfish and when hippos are altruistic. We need to think of a way to put them into the game.
  2. Gameplay UI is confusing to the player. The player is not sure whether to drag/drop or to click on the buttons.
  3. It is good that we have two modes. However, there is no ending scene in the adventure mode. The player doesn’t have an interesting curve while playing the adventure mode. The ending should be meaningful with an emotional arc.

Based on the feedback, we updated our game development backlog, set up priorities, and made sure everybody knew what they needed to do next.

We retrained our hippos in the new map and recorded new videos in the new gameplay scene explaining each brain.

Altruistic hippo – Hippos become altruistic and help each other when there are too many fishes inside the scene.
Selfish Hippos – Hippos become selfish and not helping each other when there are few fishes inside the scene.

The reason we use the ratio between fishes and hippos to control the hippos’ behaviors is trying to mimic the supply and demand relationship in reality. We implement three different brains of the hippos to show three different behaviors. We want the player to obverse these interesting behaviors during the gameplay. The video below explains the exact ratio better:

Three brains combined inside the game: altruistic, selfish, and balanced brains

We also implement a story at the beginning of the adventure mode. The story is about a crocodile is invading the baby hippo spring and the player needs to help the hippos from the crocodile before the zookeeper comes. The time set for the game is 90 seconds. If the player could save as many hippos as possible within 90 seconds, the player wins the game; if after 90 seconds, there is no hippo left, then the player loses the game.

The UI and ending scenes are shown below:

Story scene
winning scene animation
ending scene animation