Month: April 2016

Week 15: 4/24-4/30 – ETC Showcase

This week, True North implemented final touches on the prototype in anticipation for ETC Showcase as well as the final touches related to our production.  We have some remaining details to hammer out, but overall we have hit the major milestones and feel confident in our ability to wrap things up before our finals presentation this coming Monday, and main campus showcase on Tuesday.  This week we also submitted our promotional materials to the archive, as well as our preliminary production documentation.  After our presentation next week, we will be revisiting the promo videos to add some nicer titles, but they are available currently at the end of this post (as well as on the Media tab).

ETC Showcase:
We had a productive showcase, talking with folks from a variety of backgrounds (ranging from educational, to multimedia and interactive narrative backgrounds).  Most expressed positively to A Fine Line, and felt that the art and the interactions worked well.  Our clients took time out of their evening to stop by, and complimented us on the project, and our progress since we had last showed them the game.

Technology Transition:
This week, Hilman and Tim met with representatives on main campus to discuss the needs and process for transferring the game to the university server.  The University has learned from their experience transferring over Decisions that Matter, and we anticipate having to make adjustments before we can fully grant them access and ownership.  We are in communication with the CMU IT team, and have begun the process this week.

Moving ahead, we are preparing for our final presentation for Monday, the main campus showcase, and wrapping up project production.

Week 14: 4/17-4/23 – Soft Opening

This week, we had our Soft Opening, a playtest and capped off our week with a client meeting during the morality play class.  We have one more week to go before our final presentation, and this week we’ll be making some final changes and wrapping things up before we hand over the project to our client.

Our softs feedback pushed us to take care of the remaining technical touches to the deliverable, and focus on polish.  For the content, they also pushed us to think about ways to make the story and decision moments more nuanced for the player.  In a follow up meeting with our instructors, we decided to implement some of these changes through dialog.  And, we need to make clear during our final presentation that the deliverable needs to be clear on academic policy, expectations and consequences for violations.

This week, we met with our clients and they expressed positive feedback on the prototype.  They suggested some minor changes, and all that remains for us to complete is adding the “results” screens to the end of the experience, and lock in our loading and introduction at the start.  We’ve begun conversations with the CMU technical support to transfer over our server before the end of the term as well.

Looking ahead, we’ll be preparing for:

  1. Making the final changes to our deliverable
  2. ETC Showcase day (this coming Wednesday)
  3. Preparing for the final presentation next Monday
  4. Assisting the Morality Play class as they present the project on CMU’s main campus showcase

Week 13: 4/10-4/16

Ryan feels good about that
Ryan feels good about our project

This week, we spent the bulk of our efforts debugging and implementing elements of our design into the current prototype.  In anticipation of Soft Opening, we created a 2-week action plan to accomplish and refine the outstanding elements of our game, for instance animations, UI and transitions.  In addition to implementing all these elements into the experience, we’ve scheduled an additional playtest, coordinated assets for post-game experience from the class, and scheduled a client meeting to make sure we have their input before presenting our final deliverable at finals.  

Things coming up:

  • Soft Opening
  • Playtest #4 – ETC concurrent with main campus
  • Client Meeting
  • Promo material shoot

Week 12: 4/3-4/9

This week, we at True North have been working hard to implement interaction, polish the experience in anticipation for Soft Opening on 4/18.  At the start, we took some time to go through playtest results from the week prior, and also attended Playtest Night at HCI.  Our priority for our remaining production time is to make sure all the elements we have ready to go are working properly, and that the experience runs smoothly.  Below features a bullet list of our workload from the week, and looking ahead we’ll continue to focus on polish, UI, and implementing the latest draft of the story.


  • Playtest results from ETC day
  • Action list for prototype implementation in remaining weeks
  • Playtest night @ HCI

Story / Design

  • Story Draft 10 & 11
    • Met with Clients to confirm content & draft
  • Feedback design
  • Ending screens design


  • All characters’ animations
  • Phone interaction with new UI
  • Text alignments & correct font
  • UI animations
  • Scene transitions
  • Blur effect, work in progress


  • Landing page concepts
  • Login page & loading page
  • Additional character poses (Ryan Happy ver 2)
  • In scene characters completed
  • User feedback icon – compass
  • Ricardo’s art feedback


  • Sound mixing for ambients

Week 11: 3/27-4/2

This week, True North worked to implement new assets into our prototype, in anticipation for the ETC playtest day on 4/2/16.

At the start of the week, we held a planning meeting to decide the must have elements we wanted to include in the next big playtest of our experience.  Based on our own brainstorm session, as well on feedback from our instructors and the class, we wanted to make sure we included the following:

  1. Story changes – made some story updates based on the last playtest results, e.g. the personal integrity moment swapped out a cell phone for a wallet.
  2. Relationship decisions branching dialogs – right now we have a combined relationship meter, to get it implemented in the experience for the playtest
  3. Redesigned endings
  4. Sounds, including VO exclamations, replacing the timer
  5. More BGM – ambients and environment noises
  6. Feedback for choices made that affect relationship and integrity
  7. Character animations – We requested the purchase of Spine software to help in this process
  8. Remaining environments – Gym, professor’s office
  9. Finished in-scene characters (clickable objects)
  10. UI changes – font update, text formatting

By the time of the playtest, we were able to implement most of these changes.  There are still quite a few bugs that appeared when we integrated the range of assets this week, but we feel the project is moving in a direction that will boost the feeling of interaction and render the 2D experience more dynamic and visually interesting.

Tim during ETC Playtest Day

During the playtest, we saw 14 testers, most of which were in the range of our target demo (college aged).  We had about an equal gender split, with about half affiliated with CMU.  The majority of the playtesters felt that they enjoyed the experience, and they felt that the choices

playtester 2
ETC Playtest Day

they made were relevant to the story result.  On the character front, we had results that showed Ryan improving in likeability as well as “being my friend” from the last 2 playtests, which is encouraging.  We learned that the sound and bg noises helped ground the experience well, and building off our last playtest, all of the testers knew that the experience taught about academic integrity (or morality in some way), without specific prompting. Finally, the majority of our testers also reported that the experience was realistic and made them think about their own experience and history related to academic integrity (both questions ranked 12/14 as scoring either 4 or 5 out of 5).

For points to work on, we need to continue iterating on the ending, and making sure that the character journeys end in a more satisfying way.  In addition, cleaning up the dialog in the next few drafts to make sure that the players don’t experience undue confusion for the story (for example with the phone interactions and exposition at the start).

Moving forward, we will be implementing the details and polish of our game, which includes working on transitions, finalizing UI and adding more dimension to the animation (both character and background) on screen,  Story iteration will continue, in the remaining few weeks of the semester.

Below features a list of our work from the week.

Story / Design

  • Draft 9
  • Drafts of result screen
  • Redesigned timed choices
  • Testing what to show players when they make decisions that affect integrity or relationship decision


  • Character animations pass 1
  • Animations for choices, text boxes, speech bubbles
  • Update story to draft 9
  • Add relationships dialogue
  • Add Voiceover
  • Bug fixes…


  • Prepared Character art for animation (separating body parts, creating blink animations)
  • Finished Gym and Prof’s Office Backgrounds
  • Scene Characters for Restaurant


  • Voiceover recording
  • Character greeting SFX implemented