Erin Truesdell, PPJ, Fall Week 8

Testing, Testing…

Tasks:

  • Playtest Prep: 6h
  • Playtest & Setup: 4h
  • Bring Polaroid/Additional Assets into Greybox: 1h
  • Add biowall puzzle to prototype: 1h
  • Work on Murder Board Line Drawing: 2h
  • Add 3 NPC placeholders to scene: 15m
  • Implement soundtrack sample track: 30m
  • Team meeting: 1h

Total Hours: 16h

Positives: Wow, it’s been a busy week. On Tuesday, the team decided that it would be wise for us to host an early-stage playtest in order to get a handle on what puzzles were accessible, issues that might arise with audiences who weren’t VR developers, and force ourselves to get functionality in a presentable state. For me, this meant overhauling the piano puzzle, pulling Samara’s biowall puzzle into the scene, and taking care of logistics. The piano puzzle is still in progress – I spent a few hours working out the physics on paper/tablet but the coded version still had plenty of bugs, to the point where we actually made a modification mid-playtest. There’s nothing like waking up at 4 AM to implement a puzzle into your prototype.

 

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Saturday’s playtest yielded tons of useful information. We watched moms, cousins, and a few actual Drexel students try to figure out what was going on in this big spacious room. What I was able to see by watching them was eye-opening: some players breezed right through the puzzles, and others seemed to have no idea of what to do. (For example, a 12-year-old immediately picked up that the flower labels were color-coded, while several adults didn’t catch that at all). The information I gleaned here focused mostly on user education: it’s clear we need a “tutorial” of some sort to acclimate the player to VR interactions (teleportation, grabbing, etc), as well as a more obvious way of guiding the player when they are dropped into the scene.

 

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Testing…

 

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Relaxing after a long day with some Beat Saber.

 

ALSO, our sound team sent over a first track and it sounds MAGNIFICENT. You can hear it in the video above.

Oh, and the Polaroid camera has a working viewport now.

 

Negatives: One of the things our advisor feared when we told him about this playtest plan was that it would hold up our development schedule. I hate to say it, but part of the reason I didn’t finish the murder board line drawing mechanic was because work on the demo took precedence. Additionally, the playtest fortunately drew our attention to several bugs that need fixing, and that’s never a pleasant thing to see as a developer. There’s still a LOT of work to be done, but frankly I’m more worried about deliverables and bugfixing than features – I’m confident we can get those done, so long as we don’t get too bogged down by paperwork and technical issues.

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Since our two leads and our lead developer live together, impromptu meetings are common, shown here in Erin’s bedroom.

Looking Ahead:

  • Finish murder board line drawing
  • Debug piano puzzle
  • Import Samara’s door puzzle to main scene
  • Refine sample soundtrack to include different musical lines based upon relationship