Phase 3- Week 8: End of week review
Updated: May 5, 2019
There has been a lot of progression of potential projects this week. I started the week by looking over mine and Rubi's goals for the project. We had far too many, some were contradicting and we needed to narrow it right down to create a game that achieved a few of them. This led to us looking at these goals and how to achieve them:
A tool, narrative or game to help connect family members
Encourage physical/tactile interaction
8-12 year old audience
Utilising technology and its connectivity.
I applied these to the game creation process and created 3 new additional game ideas. The first looked at passing objects between players and creating a set of your chosen object to become a winner. It is a fast paced collecting game, that applied similar thinking to that of speedy pathways; but the gameplay is static with players sitting down, the object always passing to the left to the person next to you. This game uses many devices connected together, by the passing of the object to the person on the left. It is a simple game that could work with our target audience of 8-12 year olds.
The second design idea was one that utilised AR technology and the 8-12 year old fantasy interest. The family work collectively looking after mythical pets on the app and keep their needs up by interacting with them in AR mini games. The games are competitive with different family members taking on the role of a different 'pet' each time. The AR mini games include a race, a snack feeding shooter and a pipe drinking game. All of them put the gameplay into reality to add extra dimension. There slight competition in this game, however it works well as it only lasts for that period of the mini game. The 'pets' then go back to their resting place and the results of each mini game effect each 'pets' needs bar. Pets are reassigned each game making it a continuous cycle of competition and communal pet needs.
I found that our final game idea I created was the most interesting. The focus with this game was the 8-12 year old appeal. To appeal to this audience I needed to find an interest that I could apply. I gained influence for this from Emma Reay's lecture last week and thought about the literary interest of the target audience. At this age there is an emerging interest in the fantasy genre, having progressed from chapter books. I started thinking about what appeals within that and came about witches and magic. This started the idea of 'Family Magic', a digital-physical hybrid card game where the family takes on the role of a magic family. The idea is that you have a shared familial goal, encouraging you to work together. This targets the goal of limiting conflict. Within the shared goal the family undertake quests which lead to a spell which you and family must perform with your object cards. You place the cards in the artefact cauldron, which acts as an enchanted object, sending you object combination to the device. Finally you take the companion app and see an AR result of the spell. The use of AR is used to bring the magic to life, giving it further purpose. I considered incorporating Rubi's research of customisation but I felt that there was too many rules and conditions to the piece already.
I then shared this with Rubi and she thought that this was one of our strongest and we should dedicate some time to define and establish it further.
Selection of ideas
During Tuesdays session with James we looked over all of our ideas and identified the ones that we would take forward to presentation next Friday. We chose Speedy Pathways, Family Magic and Rubi's game idea, 'Shared narrative'. Rubi's last idea used multiple devices and had skill distribution to ensure that conflict was kept at bay, keeping to our goal of limiting conflict. We choose these ideas as the didn't shoe-horn in the use of technology, however they did demonstrate the positive use of local familial device use. They all make families work together and limit conflict through shared familial goals.
Family Magic paper prototype
The Family Magic game needed some more work as the mechanics were still somewhat undetermined at this point. We created a player journey using post-it-notes to understand what both our key understandings of the game were. We produced a loose improvisational witch family narrative with a plot of losing a family pet. What emerged was a gameplay and the mechanics within it (user journey- sketchbook).
The gameplay goes on at the end of the narrative with tasks to perform (spells) to get to the next task. The lead witch dictates the narrative from 'the book of secret spells', knows the spell secret (which must remain secret!) and plays their chosen ingredient card as the known ingredient. Other players attempt to cast the spell with their chosen ingredient card with the lead witch in the cauldron. For the purposes of the paper prototype this was a paper board. The outcome of the spell has a system of success: with ultimate success (perfect #), success (+/-1), fail (+/-2) and ultimate (greater than +/-2). This takes the family onto the next task or requires the next player to try, continuing in a round until the family succeeds.
The key mechanics consist of the witching cards- determines the lead witch for the round, the ingredient cards- to cast to spells in the cauldron with the lead witches ingredient card, the spell card- to determine the spell type & combination value and the spell result- the system of success. Along with the familial goal of casting to spells to move through the narrative.
Through the play testing we found that the narrative is highly important, it's formed into a 'book of secret spells' which is highlighted in the gameplay. Despite liking the improv narrative in the play test our game intends to be about the user experience not story creation and therefore requires a specific narrative. It would also give an age advantage of an older 12 year old to the 8 year old. With this in mind we'd like the narrative to be held on an app along with visual scenes.
As well as this we found that pure volume of card types was confusing, with taking this into a
digital system on the application this will be less confusing. These mechanics will not be cards with the players figuring out sums, the app will simply dictate the figures. This goes for the figures as well as they don't currently add up. We will have to create a digital system (maybe next semester?) to organise possible combinations of cards to figure out a range for the ingredient values and combination (success) value.
Thursday Tutorial- Adam
Later on Thursday we had our tutorial with Adam. There is still a lot of family play research to be done in lots of areas, we need to ensure were not looking into childhood development or education. The purpose is fun. There are several questions we need to ask about play; why are adults playing separately from their children? How can parents find time to play with their families? Why is family important.
8-12-year-old's primary research
I spoke to a 12 year old about why she didn't want to play with her parents or her family.
She explained that along with general parental annoyances, its to do with skill level. With either a lack of knowledge of the technology or controls and not wanting to teach their parent, or prior knowledge making parents tactical. They prefer to play with their friends due this issue of varying skill levels. This showed us why parents are not involved in their child's gameplay and has made us think about how we can tackle skill level. This has led me into some research about Dynamic Game Difficulty Balancing and how that can be applied.
At this point in the module, ahead of the one-to-ones, we have looked at individual elements of the marking criteria to understand how we can make sure were addressing them in our work. Myself and Rubi did this by picking apart the words in the statements and understanding applications of them that we can show through our work.
We’ve been quite focused on family magic this week. It’s perhaps distracted us from the core aims of the project. We should make sure we’re addressing the right audience and environment (i.e. families at home). Further research and analysis is needed in this area.
I have also found about the accelerometer in the iPhone for the functionality of Speedy Pathways. And practically thought out how iPhone could potentially send bearing location (with opposites resulting in a game pass). We’ve discussed finding out where this information library might be found and whether it can be accessed. We will look further into this next week.
To ensure that we are prepared for presentation, myself and Rubi have divided up roles for phase 4 so that we are not repeating tasks and that we have responsibilities for the GPP :
Discussed the potential of teaming up with AJ. Although yesterday we came up with some defined roles, these were specifically for the development of one game idea. We therefore feel this might be better during phase 4 as AJ is passionate about the family magic game specifically.