Week 6 – October 7, 2022

Playtesting first versions of prototypes

Our 6th week started off in preparation for our school visit on Wednesday. The agenda for the visit would be in 3 parts : 

  1. Get both groups of students to play a previous SMALLab project
  2. Get both groups of students to play the first version of our collaboration game prototype 
  3. Playtest the first version of our mindfulness prototype with the therapists 

  1. Researching with a past project – Color Streamers 

In order to test different interactions on the SMALLab platform, we explored some previously developed projects. From the ones we played, we shortlisted the ‘Color Streamers’ project. 

Therapists playing Color Streamers

This game allows players to use wands to generate colorful spreading dots all over the mat. These ‘dots’ also interact with each other and change colors based on the player’s position on the mat. This experience has no “winning” clause, and only had free-form interactions.

Playtesting the experience 

On playtesting this experience with the students, we observed that many of them thoroughly enjoyed the idea of having no “winning” clause for the experience, and they could freely interact with the space as they wished. In a discussion afterwards with the therapists and students, the therapists made a reference to this experience and noted how all the students were very “present in the moment”. 

The other things they enjoyed from the experience were – 

  1. Loved the discovery of different spots showing and mixing different colors
  2. Loved trying out different movements to see what would happen 

2. First version of collaboration game prototype 

Based on the game design flow made by Valerie last week, we began development on the first version of our game prototype. The main highlights of this first version are: 

  1. 3 Players in the space 
  2. Collaboration with a flexible rope connecting them 
  3. Differently colored balls that they are able to collect, with different difficulty levels
  4. A final place for them to take the balls to 

Purpose of this prototype: 

  1. Test the collaboration aspect of this game design 
  2. Test the ease of movement around the mat while interacting with the platform 
  3. Get insight from students based on difficulty level and how easy/hard it is

Playtesting with the students 

Students playing around with our game collaboration game

The purpose of the students being our client is also for them to co-design these games and experiences with us. Keeping that in mind, we constructed a survey to gauge their input regarding the features they liked and disliked in the game.

Elements of the experience they enjoyed : 

  • Discovery of interactions such as dragging, tangling and moving
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Challenge and competition of finishing the goal

Elements that we will work on: 

  • More visual variation and sound effect
  • Add feedback on scoring goals
  • Add more challenging aspects such as obstacles and increasing challenging levels

Having narrowed down on the interaction of the game, we would like to integrate more mental health related aspects to the game going forward. 

Game design

Considering the input we got, Valerie has started development on the game design flow for the second version of this prototype. 

Potential Game design idea for the next stage

This would integrate the “coping” aspect of emotions. There are elements and cases we are discussing to iterate on this current design. We would like to ideally stress on color and movement to represent emotions rather than explicitly state their names. 

3. Mindfulness demo 

Based on our findings in the previous week’s development of visual effects and the SMALLab platform, we had an established pipeline on how to begin developing. 

For the first version of this prototype, we integrated elements of nature and water into the scene. The main features of this prototype include: 

  1. Lotus leaves for the players positions
  2. Flowers that players can interact with
  3. Ripples in the water around them
Screen capture video of experience on computer

The main purpose of this prototype and testing it with the therapists was to confirm the direction of development. We wanted to confirm the mindfulness aspect of these effects and environment we are creating. 

Visualization of scene on SMALLab

Playtesting with the therapists

The therapists tested our experience and gave their insight, especially regarding its relationship with mindfulness. They thought the environment was appropriate and provided a calming feeling.

We had gone in with the assumption that this experience would preferably be a solo activity, however the therapist encouraged us to make it a multi-user experience. They also encouraged more visuals and interactions in the space, along with audio feedback.

Next steps

Based on the idea of mindfulness and feedback from the therapists, we planned our next steps. 

Stressing on the idea of focusing on the present, we would introduce elements one-by-one, so as to not overwhelm the user and the space.

Further, we would also add more interactions with each individual element, with growing intensity and also test out audio feedback in the space. 

Plan for next week

  1. Half presentation rehearsals 
  2. Begin development on second versions of the prototype