What happened this week?
This week, Michael had planned to be done with the text-related technical backbone of the game, enabling him to add additional story segments in the coming weeks. He had also planned to write the texts relating to the first of the two “worlds” in the game, which was supposed to be based on debate. All of the above was finished on time, and the system Michael created for showing text and story bits is able to fade two text segments in and out, as well as fading the screen to a semi-transparent black. This was made to give the text more focus during the story parts.
Wrote first draft for story in world one
We did not start reading about Christianity and Secularism this week. We went to the library and ordered the texts we were recommended by the examiner, so hopefully we will get (and start reading) them next week. Because of this, it was harder than expected for Michael to write the story parts for the first world. He still managed to put together a first draft which we can update later, since it is easier to write about the differences of the two life philosophies than it is to write about their common aspects. Since the differences is what will be debated during world one, it fitted us to start writing about that first as the gameplay of the first world is nearly complete. Michael wrote 5 different story bits for world one, we will most likely only use three in the final product but it’s good to have several different bits to choose from.
Created highlights and scaling
Since he could not spend his time with reading, Michael decided to make the game more accessible to new players by adding highlights on spaces a selected piece is able to move to. This was initially meant to be done during the polish phase in about 2-3 weeks, but we realized that the highlights are necessary for us to playtest the game, thusly we had to create and implement them sooner. Below is an image of the highlights showing the movement of a selected piece. Michael ended the week with spending some time on making functionality for scaling the playfield, so that several different sizes can be made to fit well on different screens.
Background transitions in world one done
This week Calle has, just as planned, worked on the levels and their transitions for the first world in the game. The entire world is done, perhaps except for its introduction which we still feel is unclear. The technology behind the transitions and the visuals is however robust, meaning that making some sort of introduction will be a breeze. This also means that when the time comes to merge Calles and Michaels projects it will be without too many hiccups, since it is basically only dropping their scripts into the same folder.
Started creating concept art for the pieces
Concept art for the pieces has also been made, although only this last day of the week. During pre-production a lot of quicker concepts for the pieces were made, mostly to get ideas of what they actually were out there. The problem Calle faced was what the pieces should represent, since there are many different approaches. As it stands right now, the pieces show different types of arguments, or different meaning of the arguments. One piece is a tree, which could mean life or the natural. Another is a star which could indicate the scientific or astronomy. Even though there is an original interpretation of the piece, it should still be subjective. Calle feels it is important that it is still kept quite abstract, so that the player may be a co-creator and reflect his/her own views on the pieces, but that we as the artist start them off with a hint. The picture below shows the thumbnails of the book, tree and star (from top to bottom).
Research question and the work so far
Our research question is: How can game developers create entertaining experiences that have the potential to affect the player outside of the game?
In order to make the game affect the player outside of the game, we need to plant a seed of thought about the theme we’re trying to discuss within the game. The though planted can be different for every player, and doesn’t need to be mature enough to grant any conclusions. What’s important is that the game sets a thought in motion within the player that can then grow out from his subconscious during the weeks after he has finished playing. In order to achieve this we have chosen gameplay that will keep the player’s mind focused while at the same time giving the emotional part of his brain the chance to process what he has read during the story bits.
We envision the game to alternate between story (which will be shown with text and art) and gameplay. The gameplay will use the game board and pieces that we have spent our first weeks of production creating. So far, it has taken us a while longer to create the gameplay than it has to create the underlying story, which might feel odd as it is the story that will leave the seed within the player’s subconscious. However, if the gameplay didn’t exist, the message we’re trying to convey through the story might feel too pretentious and alienating to the player. By wrapping it in an entertaining game, we can lure the player to read our dialogue pertaining life philosophies and even question assumptions that he might not even know that he had.
Our plan going forward is to begin testing the gameplay and story to see if we’re close to affecting the user in the way we want. We haven’t settled for a method of testing yet, we do believe that it is more important for us to find a way to test the story bits than the gameplay as we have already tested the gameplay in analogue form.