• Sarah

Phase 4- Gameplay: Spell Casting

Updated: May 5, 2019


The ’spell-casting’ takes place at the end of each chapter in ‘The Book of Secret Spells’. This is where the actual gameplay begins, with the ‘lead sorcerer’ having selected an ingredient card to play. The ’spell-casting’ itself is achieved by placing both ‘ingredient cards’ in the physical cauldron one after the other; the ‘lead sorcerer’s’ card is chosen and put in first, followed by the next player’s card. The ‘spell-casting’ mixes the two cards ‘mystic quality’ values together, extracting the randomly app-determined value which covertly expresses the ‘spell’ success.

The ‘mixing’ is achieved by identifying NFC tags on the ingredient cards; when in the cauldron, the chips are read, and that data is sent to the app via a Bluetooth connection. The combining of the ‘ingredients’ together, aiming for a ‘success’ in the sum of qualities, contributes to the shared familial goal of completing the narrative. The family is encouraged to play together through the dual gameplay, with each individual member having opportunities to work with potentially every other player. Additionally, by requiring both players to place their chosen card within the cauldron, it increases the tactility of the gameplay which can help younger participants or those with difficulties engage better. The ‘spell-casting’ is designed to feel intuitive and easy to comprehend, making it effortless.

Playtest findings

During the play-test with a 3D prototype, the players engaged differently than each other. One player put the card directly into the cauldron, whereas another simply tapped it on the top of the cauldron. To emphasise the idea of combining and ‘mixing’ of spells, it should be obvious and instinctive for the cards to be put in individually and left together until the end of the spell (during the success/failure outcome AR animation). This will be developed with further play-testing, studying the players initial understanding of the interaction and how we can infer the correct approach to optimise engagement within the theme. As well as this, testing specifically families will be further explored, looking at optimising intuitive use of the 3D object.