The objective of round 2 was making Oculus & Leap motion Virtual Reality game that has a theme “The game delivers the feeling of freedom/Naive Guest” in two weeks.
(The meaning of “game delivers feeling of freedom and naive guest” was the game that can indirectly control the player without any explanation but also make player think it is not compulsory)
Week 0 ~ 1 (Brainstorming & Prototyping)
New team – After round 1, every student was assigned to the new team. Everything was different from the previous team. We had a different platform, constraint, and teammates. It seems obvious that new team needed new standards and vision.
Co-producing – This was the first round that I co-produced. Sharing the responsibility was very helpful for my emotion, but it took a time to figure out what kind of responsibility we had to share. Finally, I became an internal producer and other become an external producer.
Brainstorming – Brainstorming process was longer than I expected. At first brainstorming, we got lots of firm ideas and we quickly decided to make the shadow manipulating puzzle game. It looks unique and cool. However, specifying the idea for actual prototyping was very difficult because we have to consider several constraints; virtual environment, leap motion and delivering the feeling of freedom/naive guest.
Problem – So, the biggest problem was nobody could be accountable for this constraints. we are not able to predict the consequences. Also, there were so many constraints at the same time. Everybody had a different opinion about the game and it was hard to prove or agree. We couldn’t progress or change the idea.
Solution – We found the way of testing the game without actual development. It was the paper prototyping. Everybody agreed that it would decrease the risk and help us to have all agreeable idea.
Paper Prototyping & test – We made 15 paper puzzles. Then, we started to playtest with our colleagues who aren’t familiar with our idea. We give them a paper puzzles, shed light on the paper and observe the reaction. Fortunately, most of the tester catch the idea and have fun with it. Also, we got lots of feedback from the colleagues and it helps us to decide the direction and move forward. We could start actual game mechanic development.
Problem – My team specified the game mechanic and basic game design but still we needed the theme of the art assets. But it was really hard to find the art style that fits shadow play game. Some teammate even insists having no theme.
Solution – One of the artists suggest hand-drawing brainstorming. We started to draw things on the shadow puzzle shape we made. Then, we could find the well-fitted theme that everybody agreed. We finally selected the theme that helping lonely shadow fox to find the other fox friend.
Lesson – I learn the importance of communication by drawing. Even my drawing is bad, it can be very helpful to deliver information and make teammates on the same page. I underestimated the power of drawing. Moreover, I felt the keeping balance between game mechanic and theming is quite difficult but important.
Inspirational art I draw for the artists(I think it only freaks the artist out more than inspire them because it was too much)
Day 4 ~ 7
Actual development process – As co-producer(internal producer), I focus more on managing the schedule and team dynamics. The other producer started to be a creative director for the technical and artistic production. At the end of the first week, we could barely make the first prototype.
Problem – One of the artists and one of the programmer was not familiar with the tool and game development. Therefore, the other artist and programmer had to take in charge of whole art/programming development process. So, development progressed very rapidly by those two who takes in charge. It was really hard to chase the work-flow.
Solution – I focused more on team dynamics, not a project management. I gave my authority to them and became a cheerleader for my team.
Week 1 (Interim Presentation)
At interim presentation, my team got generally good feedback. Most of the student liked our unique leap motion game mechanic.
However, there was also negative feedback, so I categorized and discussed the problem with my teammates. (The big issues are written below.)
1.Inaccurate detection system
2.Goal of the game is not clear without explanation
3.Can’t feel the freedom
4.Using two hands seems confusing
We decided to maintain the basic structure of the game and started to apply the feedback to it. Also, all the team member agree with making more artistic & peaceful game. Lots of compliment about our art style and game mechanic helps us to agree with it.
Week 1 ~ 2 (Iteration & Final Presentation)
Playtest – We did paper prototyping with our colleagues, so, we had to playtest with an actual naive guest. So we execute the playtest with the people who doesn’t know much about the video game or virtual reality. It executed like this; Greeting -> pre-test interview -> playtest(With observation) -> post-test interview -> Team discussion.
Result – Playtest makes us very frustrated because the testers felt difficult about our game and they found many little bug and functional errors. We arranged all the problem and started iteration right away.
Iteration – The development process was still led by the one artist and one programmer. After we decided to make more artistic & peaceful game, the whole direction of the game changed more fast and frequent by the two teammates.
Problem – Problem started from the leap motion. Poor leap motion detection requires the programmer to make manual collider for each puzzle, so if the art assets changes, the programmer had to change all the collider again. Also, communication between the programmer and artist was not successful, so they have to do work a couple of time for just one problem. It makes both of them tired. Moreover, Too much concentration of the work makes both programmer and artist exhausted and it caused little conflict between programmer and artist.
As a co-producer, I tried to stop the frequent change of the game, I was keep checking the progress and always give feedback & solution to other teammates, but my idea was not easily applied. I was able to persuade other teammates to apply my feedback, but I judged that it would be time -consuming and causing more stress. The deadline was coming and the conflicts were making the whole process slow.
Decision – I and co-producer made a decision. We stopped further development and ask our team to focus on polishing. We also adjust the difficulties very easy so that naive guest can easily play the game in the final presentation.
Actual naive guest played our game at the final presentation. We had to submit written prediction of what the guest will do in our game before the gameplay.(The video is rehearsal version, not a final presentation)
The result was too bad. We adjust the difficulties too easy, so naive guest clear our game within a minute. All the game design concern that I wanted to apply but gave up happens at the same time. Although many other students like the world, It was a disaster for me.
- This is a really fun idea.
- The look of the shadow world is interesting and compelling.
- The concept of using real shadows to acclimate the guest is a good one.
- You gave the guest choices about what to do, but they weren’t very meaningful, as one was clearly helpful, and the guest tended to choose that one.
- The ending didn’t make much sense and confused the guest and the audience.
- The guest successfully accomplished the tasks of the world but did not really comprehend or engage with the story.
- Everyone wanted more of this pretty and interesting world, and it ended too soon.
Lesson – I learn that assertive manner is always helpful for the team and I started to believe being blamed for assertive manner is much better than a low-quality game. I felt guilty because I expected the worst case, but I didn’t try preventing it. I just gave up convincing another teammate because of the relationship between them. Ironically, I feel embarrassed so I couldn’t get along with the round 2 team member for a while.
Team members: Joshua Hanjoon Kim (Producer/Sound designer), Pepin Hazan(Programmer), Kanishk Chhibber(Programmer), Elain Fath(Artist), Ivy Wang(Artist)