Updated: Jun 4, 2019
Card string development
After creating the interaction model, I have been able to establish which cards are being used in the game. From this I have developed their NFC strings. They had to be in the same format and the same number of characters. These are designed as followed;
# number, x, First word letter, o, Last word letter
i.e. 1xToT is Tongue of Toad.
Final card strings:
Fragment of mystic ball- 1xFoM
Tongue of toad- 1xToT
Feather of Phoenix- 1xFoP
Blood of Lion- 1xBoL
Lucky Clover- 1xLoC
Scale of mermaid’s tail- 1xSoM
Horn of dragon- 1xHoD
Horn of narwhal- 1xHoN
Wall of bunny’s burrow- 1xWoB
Wing of owl- 1xWoO
Fang of a vampire- 1xFoV
Light of Firefly- 1xLoF
Echo of lost soul-1xEoS
Eye of newt- 1xEoN
Tooth of Tiger- 2xToT
Rainbow gold- 1xRoG
Finger of gargoyle- 1xFoG
Mirrors reflection- 1xMoR
Frown of blowfish- 1xFoB
Home of tortoise- 1xHoT
Ink of Octopus- 1xIoO
Tears of a donkey- 1xToD
Dandelions wish- 1xDoW
Fairy’s thinking chair- 1xFoT
Gill of salamander- 1xGoS
These will be matched next to each other using the piping in the game, to determine the success of the spell.
I have attempted several work arounds for the development of the Alexa game. This has
twine / ink integration- creating the narrative through an branching narrative service/language, however it is not clear how this can link to the pipping
unity ui scripting- creating a UI system in unity that uses the NFC pipping for spell casting
alternative model- utilising the NFC more simply to create a game where players are trying to find specific ingredients through the use of a rhyme. Myself and James developed this model, so that it could be used as a prequel to Enchanted Kin
For the degree show I ultimately decided it was best to showcase the interaction model and therefore worked with James to create UI unity scripting which myself and Rubi will operate during the degree show. It acts as a simulation with the audio output being blue-toothed through the amazon echo. It ultimately appears to be working through the Alexa. This can be seen throughout history with the Turk automated chess machine, which in-fact cased a human operating the board.
There was a bug with UI system, which saw me having to find figures to adjust the columns so that the buttons would work. Depending on the number lines in the top, I input a bounding area, that corresponded with it.
This model has formed the final game for Enchanted Kin.
It became clear that an instruction booklet was needed throughout playtesting sessions, although the game has 3 core commands, as a vocal experience it isn't always instinctive to start of with. I looked at classic board game instructions to gather how best to inform platers. I found that Although the game has a tutorial, the play tests have shown that it is handy for players who are introverted, warming them for vocal play.
With the design. I felt like it was important to keep consistent with Rubi's visual style and asked her to provide assets where possible. It uses the bright Enchanted Kin colour scheme fitting in with the branding.
I feel like overall this was a true test towards to end of the interaction development. After repeatedly adapting lines and concepts, it helped me pull together what the game has become. Although I have developed the game as simulation, it really helps to bring in the process of Alexa to iterate its interaction. We developed some suggested play options for the instructions, which came through observing the interaction with NFC on the Science and engineering day.
I think this will be really helpful at the degree show, when visitors just want to get involved. They'll be able to pick it up and follow and understand.
As I have experience in graphic design, I took the lead on final productions for the majority of the physical output. This saw me quality control Rubi's artwork to ensure that it shows all of its details and precision. We created a workflow, where Rubi would put the foreground and background assets separately on the drive; I subsequently arranged them to Rubi's design guide and input them into a layers template I created in InDesign. The purpose of this was to keep each card strong and link back to the style guide, however I missed out a vital part of Rubi's design. I left out Rubi's flower assets that are meant to sit on the lower panel. We amended this oversight by including them on the design of the inventory. They will frame the cards in an unexpected way.
Sourcing the cards has been particularly difficult, as I've been working on the development side, I knew that the lead time for this sort of thing could be quite far. So I spent a few weeks enquiring with different suppliers. Disappointingly the largest stock, PawerCoat Alive is only available in bulk, and additionally at production they encode the stocks by the box, thus you can only have 1 string/item across a large quantity. My research has shown me that there are very few producers and they are mainly used by corporate, which did cause us difficulty. We found a supplier, that agreed to double-back our cards with our NFC stickers between them. This not specifically NFC paper and for the quality, I think it would have been better to purchase specifically custom playing cards and have outer stickers. However these are protected in the cards and can prevent breakage by manhandling.
Alongside the card production I worked with how the players interact with the cards. A later playtest showed people didn't know where to put their cards when they were instructed to pick them up. Rather than see this as error I thought about ideas for placement and the mechanic interaction. People suggested a holder or a mat, to avoid the unnecessary constant use of the cauldron. We decided having somewhere to put them into would differentiate them further and prevent them being knocked off tables etc. This led to Rubi designing a physical inventory for them to go into.
I edited the 3D model from first semester so that it has an input for the NFC reader. From the playtest this was essential to case the antenna to prevent damage. I achieved this by created a blender model where there was an extrusion at the bottom to allow for the antenna to poke through, I believed this could be secured with blue tack, but it was not needed. When I received the 3D printed cauldron the first thing I did was try to setup the NFC antenna within it. I tested with the Arduino IDE and it worked well, consistently delivering the string. When reading with Unity however, it doesn’t always get the string right. I’ve practiced handling the cards in specific ways and have been trying to find a correlation; but I think ultimately a mixture of the varied chip locations within the cards and movement from the players hands causes this. This would be frustrating to consistently receive errors, with a player unable to establish exactly how to handle the cards, due to both chip and reader being unexposed. I think that a more specified production of the cards could help achieve better scanning results. As well as this I’ve considered a better solution with the design of the cauldron print itself. Looking back on early designs of the model and the antenna casing, there was an idea to include slots in the top of the cauldron. This could be adapted to the lower central scanning area allowing players to slot cards in, thus keeping them perfectly still. When choosing the design of the model we ultimately led to a more conceptual, open top idea; giving the players more freedom to place and encapsulate the true interaction with a cauldron. However by adapting it to the slot option could really aid our development. As well as this, this could provide a base to install LED’s on, furthering the magical experience. Ultimately I believe that this could improve both the interaction and experience of the game.