Category: Month 2

Week 7: 2/21-2/27

This week, True North tackled more prototype integration, story iteration and design execution.  We two meetings this week to tackle our major project components.  In addition to these points, the team is working with the MP class to continue paper playtesting for the story and choices.  The first technology playtest will be on March 14th, and at that point we should see the story integrated with art and how that will affect the choice moments for the player.

Character Emotions implemented in scene – Neutral Ryan pictured

For programming, Hilman, Emily and Tim met with Mike (our project instructor) and Bryan (Senior Research Programmer)  to present a code review, client and server implementation, code structure, documentation and logging information.  In addition to the review, Emily

IMG_7658 (1)
Morality Play Code Review

implemented 3 of our dramatic scenes into the prototype, with the branching structure reflected in the choices you can currently select.  Hilman worked on visual fx for the enviornments and point tracking (friendship and integrity points) and also integrated the character emotion tagging for the scenes.

For design, Tim continues to iterate on the design of the interaction, including character placement, in game phone and email interaction, and UI design.  He worked through the script to tag friendship decision points

ui ex
UI Examples

and created a spread to map tracking those moments.  In meeting with Melody and Xiaowei from the MP class, he outlined pipeline needs for the project in their UI concept designs.  In addition, Emily and Tim have brainstormed about sound in the game, specifically speech voice over (whether or not we can include elements of that) and ambient audio fx.

For the story, Sarabeth met with Chris (ETC Professor), Ralph and Mike (Project Instructors) and Sarah (MP Class) for a table read through of the current version (Draft 6.5) of the script, focusing on story arc and characters specifically.  The story met with favorable feedback, and some concrete points upon which to move forward.  As the team approaches the halves presentations, the story will need to solidify so we can make plans accommodate certain project elements, for example possible voice over elements.

On the Art front, Ross completed in scene characters (to click on as you

Art by Ross Houston, In Scene Character Clickable Objects

enter the scene), the library scene, additional character line art as well as starting on the cafe environment.  He’s also been working closely with the MP class members to integrate their character coloring and bar environment into the game.

Moving forward, the team will focus on implementing the remaining scenes into the prototype, solidifying on a UI design, playtest preparation and continuing the work on the Art assets to implement.  Below are some updates from the week:

Design / Story

  • Script Read through w/ Chris
  • Story board review – visual comp. focus
  • emotion tagging & friendship/integrity meter tagging of script
  • Phone interaction design
  • UI research w/ class


  • MP Class meetings, playtest feedback
  • 2nd Playtest planning – 3/14


  • Code review w/ Mike & Bryan
  • Multiple expression for character
  • Multiple backgrounds classroom and UC
  • Scene 1, 2, and 4 with expression
  • Save data across pages (phone picked up at scene 1, mentioned in scene 2)


  • Library environment

    Cafe Line Art
  • Cafe environment
  • in scene character objects (Ryan, Cat & Priya clickable objects in library scene eg)
  • Bar objects (beer glasses, wine glass)
  • Bar environment (MP class to complete)

    angry ryan
    Angry Ryan Line Art

Week 6: 2/14-2/20

Screen grab from Prototype #2

This week, True North integrated new assets into the prototype, continued story iteration with a new draft of the script, conducted a paper playtest and continued work on the art assets of the project.  After receiving our Quarters review feedback, we challenged ourselves on how to push our parallel work schedules to focus even more on implementation of design plans and assets.  This is necessary to get a read on what’s working and what needs to change.

Screen grab from Prototype #2

For the new prototype, we implemented the second scene of the current story draft, complete with the framework for how the underlying scoring system for integrity and friendship will play into how the story branches.  In looking at the new compositions of the prototype, we continued to brainstorm on how to make the existing character poses more dynamic, with eye contact, body direction and group layout.

For the story iteration, we’ve settled on a framework for the structure.

Storyboards, Design by Sarah Keller (Morality Play Class Team)

The story has 3 decision moments for “academic integrity”, one moment for “personal integrity” and 3 aside moments to reinforce the story and give added depth to the characters.  We’ve iterated on the ending to add the added depth of allowing all the choices to play a role in the player’s consequences.  Moving forward, we’ll be focusing on the characters a bit to orchestrate their own story arc as you play through the experience.  We also have a skeleton storyboard, courtesy of our partners from main campus, who have also helped with art assets and playtesting.

Playtest 2/17
Playtest 2/17
Playtest 2/17

During the playtest, ETC and MP class members interviewed 18 students,and focused on testing the moments of “academic integrity” decision making.  Overall, we saw that the characters did not come through as sympathetic (not a surprise given any development was cut) from these moments.  We also noticed that the “bad ending” was chosen quite frequently, due to a mix of people who were truly unknowledgeable on the code as well as people who objected to it as a rule entirely (which is another conversation).  It also led us to alter the endings a bit to make the player feel their consequence was based on more than that last integrity decision, and therefore more “fair”.

For the art, we’ve been integrating the class into the pipeline a bit, and we look forward to seeing their UI concepts next week.  We have almost all the interior environments done, and are well along for the line-art in the character emotions.

As a final note, we played an academic integrity game produced by Simcoach, and noticed that they tackled many of the same story points and issues we’re trying to in our game.  We plan to follow up with this, and see if there are any lessons there that might help us in the design and production process.

Below are some detailed updates from the week.  Looking ahead, we will be continuing to iterate on the story for character relatability, and continuing to implement assets into the prototype so design innovatio n can become more integrated with our existing work.

Design / Story

  • Draft 5 of story
  • Friendship Meter Outline
  • Integrity Meter iteration
  • Storyboards w/ SK


Playtest to Refine Composition Box
  • First “public” paper playtesting
  • Process grade meetings
  • MP class focus group concentrations established, work produced (eg. Story, playtesting, art), integration into the team pipeline
  • Playtest to Refine Workshop – player focused


  • Implemented relationship and integrity systems.  slight branching of dialogue based on relationship with characters,
  • Scene 2 is in, but not finished.  Undergoing some improvement tweaks for the transitions, image stretching, and character placement
  • Mouse hover effects on interactable objects and choices


  • library environment     prof
  • classroom environmentclass environ
  • 3 character line art
  • UI research & concepts

Week 5: 2/7-2/13 – Quarters Sit Downs

This week, True North presented our project’s progress during the ¼ walk faculty walk arounds and ¼ sit down meetings.  Faculty feedback was mostly positive, and we encountered many of the same questions as we proceeded through the eight different sessions.  Specifically, our comparison to the previous MP project – Decisions that Matter, user relatability to the material, international student “ignorance of law” and narrative engagement.  During our sit down discussions, we talked about violations from the professor’s perspective as well as how best to approach developing a transformational game.  In looking at the Schell Games Transformational field guide as a starting point, we’ll be framing our development with key elements such as identifying our “barriers”.  In addition to addressing these with our faculty during quarters, we met with the client during the class time on Thursday (2/11) to review story structure, content accuracy and experience goals.  Splitting the class into pipeline “focus” areas (Interaction, Art and Story) has allowed us to narrow in on a direction for the experience.  The class will be focused on exploring paper playtesting, environment concepts and storyboards. Looking ahead, we will be refining the current story structure, implementing design refinements into the prototype (quantifying integrity score e.g.), and continuing to produce character emotions and environments.

Design / Story

Tim’s notes on transition / “asides” between scenes
  • 4th draft of story
  • Revised story structure road map
  • Morality Play Draft 4 Structure
  • Continued iteration with Sarah G, Storyboards started
    • To do: TB with Ralph / Chris on table read
    • TB with Client on story content / violation feedback
  • Updated 1page designs for features, story, and mechanics
  • Paper playtesting with MP class (date tbd)


  • ¼ Reviews, ¼ sit down meetings
  • Thursday class progress meeting with Client
  • Tentative playtest schedule
  • Broke out into focus groups in the MP class
    • Art, Interaction, Story
  • Playtest to Refine workshop (next week)


  • Cleaned up hacky codes for 0.25
  • Implemented Flow (Simpler way to describe what is happening on scene, define animation, dialogs and choices)
  • Implemented Interactable Objects
  • Textbox supports multi-line
  • Implemented choose location interaction
new ryan- happy jpg
Art by Ross Houston, redesign of “Ryan”


  • 2 completed looks per character (e.g. Happy, Neutral)
  • 2 character redesigns – Ryan and Professor
  • 1 environment location, additional environment concepts
    • MP classstarting on the environment assistance

      sweeney-happy jpg
      Art by Ross Houston, Prof redesign

Week 4: 1/31-2/6

Story Iteration, part 1
Story Interaction Map

This week, True North focused on story iteration and our upcoming quarters presentation.  For story iteration, we’ve broken down the narrative into key plot points, and continue to revise interaction and scene interactions.  The story currently concentrates on the core violations of cheating, plagiarism and unauthorized assistance, but a core focus for the narrative is an emphasis on engaging our user through compelling story and character connection.  To do this, we must find ways to avoid falling into stereotypes and cliches.  For a topic with an educational goal in mind, this will continue to provide challenges.

For quarters preparation, we’ve developed a preliminary prototype with one of the drafted scenes.  It shows a rough outline for what the interactions will be as well as transitions between scenes.  Right now, we have our introduction scene represented, along with a couple of choice and decision interactions.  Though the art is still incomplete on it, the prototype gives a rough gauge for how we envision the experience to feel.  It also gives you a visual context in which to place the characters in the existing story draft.

Looking ahead, discussion with the “Home Team” class continues to bring up important elements to consider for the experience design.  We have made a time to meet with them outside of class so that I (Sarabeth) can discuss with them in person my process on the story creation, writing and direction.  Because I have not been able to attend the class, story iteration in partnership with the class has been slower to evolve.  We hope that interacting with them outside of the class this week will give us a better way to approach our partnership with them, and keep momentum for the experience iteration moving ahead.  Ultimately, we want to have the class partner with us on story, design and playtesting in a way that efficiently gives ownership to all parties involved.

Below are some additional updates from the week.

Design / Story

  • Iterated on story
  • Completion of draft #3, iteration for draft 4
  • Finishing one-page design documents for story outline and game systems
  • Created class and syllabus outline for “Programming and Society” (in game course)
True North Team Photo


  • Established extra mtg with “Home Team” to go over focused collaboration eg story
  • ¼’s prep
  • Team photo – pictured at right


  • Display text box
  • Merge emily’s code and tim’s code for movement and transition
  • Start work on scenes to show on 0.25


  • Finalized branding materials
  • 1 pose per character, 4 total