Week beginning 13th – 19th March
This week has been a bit of a muddle. What with the Reflective Journal deadline looming, the whole team have been feeling the pressure of trying to multi-task this demon alongside the Twilleir project. Due to this, I’ve found that progress has been slow with my area of the FMP sprint this week as I’ve been trying to get the RJ to a finished state. Although, despite this, I feel that my time management hasn’t been too awful as I’m still managing to multitask my tasks in between writing which has helped the workload.
Monday – Wednesday
I’ve also taken to working from home for most of this week, mostly because the stress and pressure of travelling between two places up to six times a week is becoming a bit much for me and affecting my work ethic. By taking Monday through to Wednesday ‘off’ from the studio and working from home, I’ve been able to power through my essays and started backburner tasks for Twilleir. This has been beneficial and it’s made me realise that sometimes I need to think strategically about what’s best for my work ethic and the project over whether I’m physically in the studio or not. The Twilleir team have already proved on many occasions that working via Skype and through screen-sharing has been working well to keep each other up to date. On Monday, James screen shared the progress of the Garden’s level to us where we could see all of our work come to life. With it being so near completion, it’s exciting and helped to motivate me in moving on to the next tasks and levels in Twilleir.
The fact we have been able to communicate effectively through Skype is promising news considering Easter is around the corner and we’re not all going to be together all the time like we are in the studio. I plan to have weekly Skype calls to set up Sprints and see how we’re all getting on so that we can stay on top of Twilleir and get it finished to a great standard.
On Thursday, I worked alongside Millie to create the UI for the Gardens which are some of the last pieces to go into the level. Now that they are completed, it’ll be exciting to see all of the assets into the Unity project and mean that we can properly playtest the Gardens to see if the Player understands how they play and what they can interactive with. Once James has collated it all together, we will be planning to test it through playing, surveys and taking notes of Player’s reactions to the game in order to gather feedback, which if needed to, we shall implement.
I will be creating a paper-based survey and so have been looking at questions from articles from Gamasutra and Reddit forums that are beneficial when playtesting in order to get better responses that you can then fix and implement.
- Was there anything that you wanted to do/click on that the game didn’t let you?
- What was your most favourite interaction and why?
- What was your least favourite interaction and why?
- If you could add anything or remove anything from the game, what would it be?
- To what extent did you feel that you were in control of the outcome of the game?
- Based off of what you’ve played so far, would you want to play other ‘levels’ in the game (Twilleir)?
Reddit also had plenty of questions that we should be asking ourselves based off of Player’s actions and responses which we shall be recording through notes and video to get the full benefit of playtesting and feedback.
- Did the Playtesters appear to be enjoying themselves?
- Did we notice any game-breaking strategies?
- Did Players seem to understand the instructions set before them?
We plan to either Playtest on Friday 17th or Monday 20th (after RJ deadline when everyone will hopefully be less stressed!)
Today, we had various musicians come in to talk to us about music and narrative and what the common uses are:
- Character theme/”Leitmotif”
- Contextualising emotion/feel of scene/place
- refining the style/ general aesthetic of the piece
Alex also mentioned about having the same score in each room or place but slightly differing it depending on where you are. This was some really handy advice and definitely something to look into and experiment with.
1-1 Talk with Alex
- avoid repetition
- Winifred Reynolds??
- embrace minimalist and cleverly
- creating music that feels unpredictable so the brain doesn’t get repetition
- Make the pieces longer – less repetitive
- Enough variation of pieces (saving grace)
- More iPad music pieces – great
- could program so that you have layers and naturally builds within the game – makes it unpredictable
- music to create a space
- keeping a central motif – what we want to play around with
- Cave track – take time to bring layers in
- make it easier for yourself and label layers one, two, three and layer unevenly – brain takes longer to learn it – tricking learner into not remembering
- aim to have something that’s maybe 4 minutes or longer?
- create a sense of unity in the world by having a main tune/part of the music
- He showed us one of the tracks he made for a game – layered up gradually with different instruments and behaviours – using fading in and out to help this. Also changing keys could work too.
- Using layers to create situations – cues. I.e. was relaxed in his music and then it ramped up immediately – like they’ve just been attacked etc.
- Create a track that’s constantly moving along = less repetitive, not distracting, sounds like a new track each time. There are limitations but this may be the way to go with our music
- Give yourself 5 bars, loop, paste it over and play around
The talk and the 1-1 with Alex was really useful and it’s inspired us with the sort of direction that we need to go. He liked the music that Millie had already been working on and gave us some great advice (see notes above) as to what we could do next or how better to improve our work. Using his advice, we will be working on making the music less repetitive and more unpredictable so that the Player doesn’t get annoyed whilst playing.
Today, I sat down with James and Millie in order to work through the Trello tasks to see what exactly we had left to do. We’ve fleshed out each card with checklists now so we know exactly what is expected of us and what we need to get done. It does look like a substantial amount to do in the time that we have left, however, I feel that over Easter we should be able to progress through quite a few tasks as we won’t have workshops or have to travel into university meaning there’s more time to work on Twilleir.
The next environment that we will work on will be the Shop but we will also be working on the Harvesting mini-game at the same time so we can gradually build Twilleir. It’s handy that James has already been building the majority of these systems so he can help to guide me and Millie in what he needs and how he needs it (transparent, different layers etc). This sort of teamwork has been crucial in getting our game off of the ground and with this continued input, I believe that we’ll get the game completed in the allotted time.
Over this weekend I will be taking the Saturday off due to personal reasons (it’s ma birfdaaaaaay) but I will be looking to take Sunday to double check my Reflective Journal pieces as well as continue working on the design for the Greenhouse. If I manage to get the Greenhouse designed this weekend, we can get it painted and implemented into the code then meaning that Gardens and Greenhouse environments are complete! Yaaaaaaay.