Positives: After having a good long discussion with the rest of the artists on the team about aesthetic, we found we all agreed on a futuristic but Gothic look for the game. A few Pinterest boards later and we all set off to do concept art for different things. I worked specifically on how to combine Gothic and Brutalist architecture designs by drawing pillars with different levels of accents and light paths.
Next I drew some super basic layouts of the room we talked about, and how the wall modules will be able to switch places by sliding up or down. This will let us add walls if we have time to make more assets. I also sketched up a small bio room to show what a wall module would look like.
Negatives: We haven’t had a discussion about specific walls yet, so I wasn’t sure what exactly we wanted drawn up. In this next week I want to draw out in-depth concepts for each of the 4 walls and have a extensive drawing of the pentagonal room itself.
Positives: Full steam ahead prototyping! Almost all of the main components of the camera and image capture mechanic have been developed. It now renders to the viewport, identifies items (like what evidence a player is photographing) in the scene, and prints photos taken to a model, which was exactly the goals set out for last week. Character concepts and art styles are coming into focus as well after meetings this week, and we have a cast of 3 potential suspects with their own backstories and designs. Moodboards have also been heavily developed, with a large volume of images and references compiled into a team Pinterest.
Negatives: This week was actually pretty smooth sailing. There were some merge conflicts in our scenes, but actual development met the goals defined for last week, and the combined demos in our new VR scene work nicely. By necessity the Polaroid object requires an extra camera rendering and saving out textures, which will need optimization best kept in mind now rather than waiting until later. Making an effort to keep the Profiler open during development should hopefully keep this out of the ‘bad’ section in future PPJs. Another negative I can think of is that though we’ve made great progress with concept art and moodboards, the majority of reference for what we’ve found is 2D or painted, so the next wave of reference should include examples of lower-poly assets from games.
VR Game Research – Puzzles, Interaction, Locomotion: 3h
UI storyboarding: 1h 30m
Meeting Notes Formatting: 30m
Total Hours: 7h
Positives: Lots of meetings! The art team got together and honed in on a style that we all felt was visually interesting and usable, while our faculty meetings provided us with some great insight into what we could do to improve our project. Prototypes were made, too! Object interaction, photography, and speech were all coded up into unity and merged into one branch. This means that I can start working on player controls and actions within our game world, tweaking our existing prototypes to feel better for their next iteration. We also have a master asset list, and a timeline that will significantly aid in our workflow and generating assets quickly.
Negatives: Unfortunately, I felt unable to provide meaningful feedback on our early prototypes, or how player interaction should have been handled this week. It is one thing to be able to mock up 2-dimensional UI elements, but it’s another thing entirely to hone in the user experience. I went back and played some VR games in order to study how they got around certain problems, and began a taking notes of common solutions, along with what I thought these games did right or things that could be done better given the medium. I will be using these notes to try and create a document of player interactions, complete with storyboard sketches and marked up environment art as a section of our GDD.
Player Interaction Document added to GDD
Developing UI further for:
Creating a custom slide deck for our next presentation
Positives: We met twice this week and put the pedal to the metal when it came to pivoting. We agreed that with the time frame we had, the idea we all loved was not do-able. Our hard pivot has landed us in a much more comfortable position, especially with all the prototypes that have been worked on in the last week. We’re focusing in on why it is important that our game is in virtual reality and how we can make it fun that the player is placed in the world instead of sitting on their couch.
Negatives: Not really a negative but I attended a wedding over the weekend which ate up a lot of work time. Also, the pivot has rendered work we’ve already done useless, but our meeting Monday made up for a lot of that.
Concept art for the main room and wall panels
Concept art for the cast
Writing some dialogue for actor auditions
Week 4 requirements
Starting to plan a new murder with new motives and NEW alibis
This week marked large changes for the Prediction Error team. After a meeting with our advisor, Dr. Muschio, we determined that it would be in our best interests to pursue an idea of smaller scope for our senior project. This determination led to a Monday evening work session, where the game development and programming teams met to discuss a new idea. We decided to shift to a puzzle detective game, still in virtual reality, without the weight of discussing such a delicate topic as sexual assault, which would require a larger team and more development time to handle appropriately.
Our new direction focuses on the murder of an esteemed local inventor, who is killed during a public expo of his works at his mansion’s laboratory. Suspects are trapped in the laboratory via a “panic button,” and the player must uncover the gruesome truth behind the inventor’s experiments.
This week included a great deal of work creating asset lists and other elements for our new direction. We, as a team, explored the questions and interactions that we wanted to guide our game. We listed the types of puzzles we’d like to include around the room, placing particular emphasis on those that would be interesting in VR and make the best use of our medium.
When you run out of handy wall space, improvise.
Documentation and concept development continues to be a priority as we prepare for our second public pitch next week and begin work prototyping…
Ah yes. Prototyping. The other main task for the team this week was the beginning of proofs-of-concept and interaction prototypes, which were created and added to the repository. Two prototypes were created: one demonstrated the “camera” mechanic we plan to include and tie into our player’s “murder wall,” and the other modeled a very simple puzzle that featured VR interactions, including grasping objects, snapping them into position, and event handling through VRTK, the virtual reality toolkit asset we will be using to aid us in developing interactions for VR and handling input from various headsets and controllers.
There’s still lots of work to do. From completing our Gantt chart and refining our asset list to beginning to block out our scene in the Unity editor to drafting artistic concepts and meeting with our sound team and writing dialogue, we have plenty of good work to look forward to.