Project Newsletter 6 (9/29 – 10/03)
Week Overview
This week the team worked hard to do the necessary preparation for our playtest, and we were rewarded with a successful playtest on Friday.  We gained a lot of information, both from structured feedback and from observing the players,  and we had the satisfaction of seeing the game we had been working on in the hands of the players.  We visited four different classes within Mountainview Elementary and had roughly 80 students from grades 3-5 play our game and provide us with feedback.
In addition to organizing the team’s efforts to accomplish as much as possible with the remaining time, James helped coordinate not only with faculty to get feedback on our playtest objectives and process, but also with the client in order to distribute surveys to teachers and establish a schedule for Friday.  As we approached our deadline for completing the prototype, James also lent a hand modeling assets and obtaining sound files.
After completing the specification for the clue system, Christian dedicated his time to preparation for the playtest by working with James to outline the team’s objectives for the playtest, develop separate surveys for students and teachers, and making process notes for instructions given during the playtest.  Towards the end of the week, Christian worked with James to find sound files and lent a hand with coding to get the sounds into Unity.
This week Eric completed the wolf model and its normal map by the middle of the week, and was able to mostly complete the lemming model prior to the playtest.  Eric also spent time creating the wolf’s texture, and modified the current terrain to make a winter terrain for the playtest.  Shashank recreated the quadruped rig to circumvent issues the team was having importing it into Unity, and he created additional animations allowing the Caribou model to graze and look to either side.  The artists also quickly mapped a walking animation to the wolf model in order to include it in the playtest.
This week Ken worked to implement the clue system, and also worked with Xinghu to add on to the binoculars prototype to allow players to log information on animals, which is than associated with players in database thanks to an API that Xinghu wrote.  Ken also implemented version of the digital logbook so that player’s could access the two animals currently in the game, and see their basic information retrieved from the database after logging their data.  Xinghu spent the end of the week creating an API to be used within gameplay to collect data on user actions during our playtest.
Next Week
In the upcoming week the team will go through the playtest data and results, discuss needed adjustments and changes based on the takeaways, and continue iterating on our prototype.  More details on our playtest process and results can be found under the design section of the website.