School visit and Gearing up for playtest day
The week after fall break started off by preparing for 2 different playtests in the same week – one with the students at Northgate School on Wednesday, and the other being Playtest day held at the ETC – where we invite students of different ages to come playtest our game.
We planned to playtest 2 of our prototypes – one being the Virtual Chill Room, and the other being the collaborative game.
Prototype 1 – Virtual Chill Room
With regards to the virtual chill room, Tairan started work on Stage 1 of our Interaction map.
This stage is an onboarding experience for the users into the environment, where their only interaction is the ripples within the water around them.
In our current plan, Stage 2 involved animation with regards to the flowers in the scene. In the process of troubleshooting the import process of flower animations into Unity and having only a few days to achieve that, Tairan moved on to the next stages of the experience for now, to ensure that there are sufficient interactions in the space while playtesting.
The version of the build ready for playtesting, for both students of Northgate school and the students visiting the ETC on Playtest day would be these 4 stages.
Survey for Playtesting
The main aim of this build would be to introduce all the elements of this environment to the students. We wanted to test the art style and music tied with one another, along with the 1-2 interactions we had currently integrated into it.
Further, we hoped to find out whether the students enjoyed this experience with one another, and if the message behind what we are building got through to them.
We built our survey around these questions and concerns.
Prototype 2 – Collaborative game about dealing with emotions
For the upcoming playtests, we decided to put a pause on the mechanics and develop further on the concept and idea of our game. Valerie began designing the final version of this experience, which we pitched to the therapists on our school visit.
Based on past playtests and survey results regarding emotion spheres, the final plan that we are aiming for would include 4 emotions – Joy, Anger, Sadness, Hope.
Further, each sphere would have a unique interaction with one another, as drawn up in the table below.
Further, there would also be only 4 sizes visible in the game, to avoid confusion.
Taking these factors into consideration, Valerie drew up our final game design plan for this experience –
A little hiccup but a quick solution!
On our visit to Northgate on Wednesday, 10/26 – the SMALLab platform tracking stopped working midway through playtesting. Consequently, the next few days before playtest day were spent trying to re-calibrate the system while working with the tech team at SMALLab.
With help from our advisor, John, as a plan B for playtest day – in case SMALLab unexpectedly did not work, we built a physical prototype of our game. We mainly aimed to playtest to assess communication and cooperation amongst the players, which we could achieve through this physical prototype.
For Playtest day, we were expecting roughly 20 playtesters, from all age groups but mostly concentrated between 8-14 yrs of age. Thus, we would be testing our experiences with the younger side of our target audience.
We asked them to fill a survey at the end of it to assess their experience, things that were uncomfortable and moments that they enjoyed in the experience.
- Analyze feedback from Playtest day
- Plan final designs on both prototypes
- Finalize third prototype design and begin development