During the project pitches period the team cumulatively seemed excited to work on creating a mesh up of preexisting designs creating a new notion of gaming, rather new graphics to an old concept. Even though the path was more challenging we felt like we had a good idea and went with it. The goal was to experiment in hopes to learn new things in regards of game design while prototyping the idea for the class project. As the procedure for building the prototype began, we progressed slowly but surely towards our goals. We were focused on providing a “coherent conceptual model” (Norman) so that once a part of the interface is learned, the same principles apply to the rest of the platform. We also tried to experiment with our user interface in order to increase our efficiency and usability, after all “usability focuses on minimizing complexity and reducing user frustration.”(Lazzaro) The new concept was intended to make things interesting and partially vague, we had planned for the auto-generated responses of the silhouette character not to be so predictable but more spontaneous. They were based on a set of factors called the character moods. As the character interacted with the environment his mood stats changed and his interactions changed. Thus each object placed by the player into the environment would have multiple possible resulting animations. Each of these animations changed the future of the game even for a fraction of a percent to make it a little more intriguing and a little harder for the player. In various instances those slight changes could make render the player incapable of performing certain things. For example, if you place the hose – one of the objects – too close to the silhouette and then try to add the tire to it to try and make a swing, the silhouette might beet the player to the hose and interact with it before allowing enough time for the combination. Please note that in this exceptional incidence the game is experiencing inter-object interactions that are changing the base animations completely to create a new set of chain reactions. “In short a 100% success rate eliminates most of the aspects that make a game fun.”(Lazzaro)
Unfortunately time constraints forced us to continuously change options, graphics, and evidently remove certain features from the prototype in order to have a finalized draft by the due date. Some of the sacrifices made were vital to the feel of the game, such as having a entire dynamic house that the silhouette could move around, which required depth calculations, time, space, location calculations, which would have transformed our concept into a three dimensional world. But as Professor Celia point out in one way or another multiple times in class, that the higher we aim, the higher the chances of not finishing on time are.
Personally, my job was to create the artistic gadgets, as I was the only one in the group with previous artistic experience, specifically in vector based art, and exclusively flash. I started by researching for the similar assets that were available in other games in order to be able to picture the final objects, as well as to put the rest of the team into motion with respect to what they should expect to be dealing with. I than designed the user interface, which had to be edited and changed several times in order to better suite our modifications and better satisfy our user’s expectations. I tried hard to make things sharp, and as least cartoony as possible in order not to waste the seriousness of the situation that the character finds thy self in during the game. Once the interface was primarily done and ready to be configured by our programming team, I started animating the character and the objects simultaneously, by multi-tasking, in order to provide as many complete animations as possible, the idea was to have basic silhouette animations that took place if no player interactions took place at all. And then silhouette animations that took place in correspondence to and alongside object animations. As I previously stated more than one interactive animation exists for each of the objects, and thus some cut-down measures had to be taken there as well in order to be able to satisfy the bare minimum quantity while providing and maintaining a high level of quality. Overall, it was hard to put together something that the team members could not visualize or relate to due to lack of previous examples, we tried our best to make use of all the testing, and drafting, sketching, and all other methods taught to us in class in order to come up with a relatively genuine product.
I admit that it was a daring risk to try to implement a novel concept to our game design, but we put forth a lot of effort in order to come up with something as best we can in the time allotted to us. We all certainly learned a lot about the procedure of crafting, creating, and producing games. My only regret was that we did not have enough time in order to bring to life, or to the extent of life that we would have hoped for, our genuine concept of a mesh-up game.
Norman, D.A. (2004). "Affordances and design." http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/affordances_and.html
Lazarro, N. & Keeker, K. (2004). "What's My Method? A Game Show on Games." In CHI 2004 Conference Proceedings, April 2004. http://www.xeodesign.com/whatsmymethod.pdf
Lazzaro, N. (2004-2005) "Why We Play Games: Four Keys to More Emotion Without Story." Self-published white paper. www.xeodesign.com/whyweplaygames.html
Zimmerman, E. (2003). "Play as research: The iterative design process." http://www.ericzimmerman.com/texts/Iterative_Design.htm
DeKoven, B. (1978) The Well-Played Game: A Player's Philosophy. New York: Anchor Books. (2nd Edition)