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:
- 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.
- Relationship decisions branching dialogs – right now we have a combined relationship meter, to get it implemented in the experience for the playtest
- Redesigned endings
- Sounds, including VO exclamations, replacing the timer
- More BGM – ambients and environment noises
- Feedback for choices made that affect relationship and integrity
- Character animations – We requested the purchase of Spine software to help in this process
- Remaining environments – Gym, professor’s office
- Finished in-scene characters (clickable objects)
- 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.
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
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