Week 2:
Gameplay Ideation

Thursday 10th  - Friday 11th February 2022

WEEK 2 -

TO DO: IDEA GENERATION

 

PURPOSE FOR IDEATION

What do we need to think about? We have a clear idea of what we want from our project, the goals we are trying to achieve and how we intend to make players feel. This can be found within our Project Proposal. However, as of right now, we have not concluded on gameplay, mechanics or player interactions. It's necessary for us to begin idea generation based on what players will be doing, what they will be interacting with, and the visual design of our space - including the content/subject matter, theme and art style. Once we have concluded on an idea we are happy with, we can progress with the creation of art and sound bibles.

WHAT WILL WE BE DOING?

After discussions with both Adam Procter and James Stallwood, Kiera and I have made the decision to begin idea generation based on the content, theme and gameplay of our physical space. We plan to spend the last few days of this week brainstorming ideas and concluding on our design choices to speed up the process of design and development. Our discussions with our tutors were extremely helpful and we now have a clearer idea of where to start. With the topic of discussions fresh in our minds, today we plan to spend the rest of the evening thinking about what most interests us and if we had complete control, what we'd like to do in the space.

GOALS FOR THE DAY

By the end of today we should have brainstormed ideas for gameplay/mechanics for our project and narrowed our ideas down to at least 3. From here we should be able to make a quick and informed decision based on which we think would be strongest and most feasible for this project.

TEAM WORK - WHERE DO WE BEGIN?

We're going to begin this task with a discussion regarding our talks with our tutors, and a brainstorming activity to outline our interests and what we'd like from this space from a personal perspective. From this, we can then think about gameplay, interactions and mechanics, tying this into what we have set in stone already - such as the use of a physical space and touch controllers as our method of input. I plan to first note down our requirements and what we aim to achieve from gameplay which'll stem into potential ideas.

QUICK PLAN FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS

Thursday 10th - Friday 11th February

  1. Discuss with Kiera and evaluate conversations with tutors

  2. Brainstorm what we'd like from the space, our interests and personal preferences

  3. Idea generation - gameplay, mechanics, refer back to Project Proposal and research!

  4. Establish strongest ideas and come to design conclusions.

  5. Refine Schedule to begin Week 3

TASK 1

WEEK 2 - DISCUSSION WITH KIERA

Thursday 10th February

PURPOSE FOR DISCUSSION

Reflecting on talks with tutors and discussing next steps for the next few days.

NOTES:

  • Discussed on our opinions of 3D environment - I don't think this would best best in terms of showcasing what we can do best. For our last ever project I'd like to work towards something that will showcase my best skills.

  • If we use 3D packs it won't necessarily be our work as such and we both like visual design/asset design etc.

  • 3D would've required us to learn new skills and time isn't on our side.

  • Wouldn't have been as effective considering it's not what we are most interested in.

  • 3D space would be too big and we would spend a lot of time on this rather than the other details that matter the most.

  • Storage is not on our side!!!

  • Agreed to stick with 2D and overcome any issues that we may face.

  • Where should we begin with gameplay? - Brainstorm what is our idea of a safe space/environment? What will make us feel most calm/relaxed?

  • What do we both enjoy? - Touched on the idea of a 'late night drive', listening to music and watching the stars.

  • Personally, I love looking at city scapes, sunsets and views from a high. I love the idea of looking over a town/village, similar to the Amalfi Coast or some place pretty in Italy. (Viewpoints)

  • We should channel these ideas through a quick brainstorming then we can think about gameplay.

  • Put our ideas into a 'cool wall' and evaluate which ideas are the strongest/weakest, choose an idea we like best and run with it!

  • Re-create our schedule and assign roles.

CONCLUSION

EVALUATION 

Kiera and I came to the conclusion to stick with what we know best and continue the project working in 2D. Although 3D was suggested to be much easier we'd both much prefer working in this medium as we can showcase what we do best and would have more fun with it this way! The 3D option would have been great but not as impressive, and would also require much more time and a lot of effort. This way, we can showcase our skills and focus our time on other components just as important.

NEXT STEPS

  • Today we will be doing the brainstorming activity and coming up with a handful of gameplay ideas - using our Project Proposal and research from Sem 1 to help.

  • Generate gameplay ideas and place into 'The Cool Wall' to evaluate strengths and weaknesses.

  • Choose final idea.

  • Re-create schedule to begin the following week. (Week 3)

  • Think about the roles we will each have - this must be set in stone and in place before we begin Week 3 to ensure we have everything together.

TASK 2

BRAINSTORM WITH KIERA

Thursday 10th February

TO DO:

Outline the requirements of the space to familiarise ourselves with our limitations and what is most necessary for our experience to be as effective as possible. Brainstorm our personal interests, what makes us most calm and what we would most enjoy in the space from a personal perspective. This'll allow us to think from our own point of view and establish our own preferences before thinking about what a wider target audience would enjoy.

REQUIREMENTS

  • What's necessary to fulfil our goals for our experience, for our gameplay and for the physical space?

Project Goals and initial Essential Experience can be found here: 

https://ep3g19.wixsite.com/year3/projectgoals

https://ep3g19.wixsite.com/year3/projectgoals

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IDEATION

I noted down the requirements for the main components of our game including the physical space, the gameplay and the main player experience so when we generate ideas, we have a clearer pathway instead of thinking too broad! The requirements of the space was more or less set in stone last Semester, therefore, we should start thinking about gameplay mechanics. The experience should make players feel comfortable in the space as well as induce feelings of calm and peace. Keeping this in mind, it would be ideal for gameplay to be kept minimal and as basic as possible. Our game is built around the experience and is focused more on the effectiveness we have on players through game components like visual and sound design. I believe we should have maximum one or two mechanics and keep interaction to a minimum. With our chosen input being 'Touch Controllers', it allows players to interact physically and translate this into their digital environment, which encourages more movement in comparison to a traditional gamepad/controller. To not overcomplicate things,we shouldn't expect too much from our user considering the purpose of our space. It's not so much about what are player is doing, it's more about how they feel.

PHYSICAL SPACE

We have established that we will be constructing our own physical box for this project with a built in Surround System and Projection Mapping set-up. Our task for next week is to get into contact with the Fine Art Department and alumni in charge of projectors to discuss next steps for this. Our goal for the physical space is to make it as immersive as possible and to create a potential product that could be provided to schools/universities to assist students in emotional regulation.

 

The requirements for our box are:

  • Physical space for players to walk into

  • Ability to project visuals onto 4 walls (360 degrees)

  • Interactive projections through Touch Controllers

  • Surround Sound System

PLAYER EXPERIENCE

The tone of our game should be kept relaxed with no element of pressure or challenge. The most important thing to us is making players feel comfortable in the space and at ease while playing. The gameplay should then be designed to keep these emotions stable therefore players should remain calm throughout. Our aims are to reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm through an immersive gameplay experience.

The requirements for our player experience:

  • Reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, overwhelm and panic symptoms/sensations.

  • Lower heart rate

  • Evoke feelings of calm and relaxation

GAMEPLAY

The goal for our gameplay and player experience are fairly similar but they come hand in hand. The game we design must fulfil the player experience. As our experience is based off inducing feelings of calm and relaxation, gameplay must be kept to a minimum and require minimal effort. During times of discomfort and distress, it's important to practice mindfulness and bring your mind and body back to the present moment - we can achieve this through gameplay by providing the player with one objective and simple interactions/mechanics.

The requirements for gameplay:

  • Require focus yet minimal effort

  • Induce feelings of calm and relaxation

  • Simple interactions and mechanics

  • Basic objective

  • Encourage slow body movement/motion and hand gestures.

PERSONAL INTERESTS AND PREFERENCES

What would we want from the physical space?

As a student, our opinions matter too! James encouraged us to think more about what we would find useful as students rather than making assumptions and progress from here. For this activity, we plan to map out our own preferences interests in regards to the following questions:

BRAINSTORM TIME!

  • What makes us most calm?

  • What would we enjoy in the space?

  • Any preferred location/environment?

  • Things we might do there.

  • Things we might see.

  • Things we might hear.

  • Other comments.

HOW CAN WE USE THIS?

Separating ideas for the physical space into individual questions will encourage us to think more deeply into each game component. For example, we can think about our preferred location for a space like ours which might lead to a design conclusion. After gathering and reflecting upon our own preferences we can make decisions on what to go forward with and what to leave up to our target audience - through surveys and questionnaires. Ideally we should be organising this next week.

SEM 2 - Interests.jpg

WHAT MAKES US MOST CALM?

  • Drawing and doing art

  • Relaxing on our own

  • Nature spots

  • Listening to music

  • Long car drives with music

  • Simple, low effort tasks

  • Sitting with friends and family

WHAT WOULD WE ENJOY?

  • Freedom in an open landscape

  • Peaceful environment

  • Sit and observe

  • Simplicity

  • Meaningful interaction

LOCATIONS/ENVIRONMENTS

  • Italy, Amalfi Coast

  • Somewhere green

  • Late night, starry night

  • Still environment, small details

  • Viewpoints

  • Mountains, ski resort

  • Sunset views

  • Cosy loft room

  • Campfire

  • Somewhere with water

THINGS WE MIGHT DO:

  • Sit and observe

  • Deep breaths

  • Play music

  • Reflect and think

  • Hum or sing music

  • Pick out things in the distance

THINGS WE MIGHT SEE:

  • Birds flying

  • Animals moving

  • Nature, plants swaying in the breeze

  • Running water

  • Clouds moving

  • Sun setting

  • Things moving in the distance

  • Slow motion

THINGS WE MIGHT HEAR:

  • Soothing singing voices

  • Piano

  • Favourite music

  • Nature sounds, river flowing, trees shaking, birds chirping, waves crashing

  • Fire crackling

  • A friend

EVALUATION

What would we want from the physical space?

From our responses and discussion it's evident that we'd both like an open space where we can just sit and observe our surroundings. We both touched on the importance of music in this space which we have already considered and plan to compose with the help from our Sound Designer, Harry. We both had different options location wise however, have spoken before about mountains/ski resorts which be both thoroughly enjoy! We both agreed that we would prefer to observe a still environment and pick out the 'small details' in the distance which could be trees shaking, clouds moving or birds flying for example - this helps us focus on the moment that we are living and distract ourselves away from any negative thoughts. This gives me the idea that we could create a still environment with intricate detail and meaningful interactions within it - this encourages players to observe and point out their findings.

In terms of what makes us most calm, we agreed getting creative or doing some form of art is most relaxing. This allows us to express ourselves any way we like, whether this is with shape, colour or the medium we choose! This could be a fun way to encourage self-expression through gameplay. In addition to this, from research and brainstorming we know that nature is a big thing when it comes to relaxing the mind and body - it's also used in therapy! Because of this, we are pushing more towards a natural environment, rather than an abstract style piece.

DESIGN CONCLUSION

To conclude this activity, Kiera and I have agreed that the theme of the space should be built around a natural environment. This allows us to work with ambient sound and intricate animations around the space which allows players to engage with and become immersed with. We like the idea of appreciating the smaller and more 'insignificant' things you can see, which at the end of the day are just as important as anything else! Within the Project Proposal, we provided examples for art style and theme which we plan to gather feedback from through our survey. As for the gameplay, we have agreed that players should have one simple objective to work towards to provide players with a sense of achievement and agency in the space rather than being completely free. Mechanics should be kept simple and the method of input will remain as 'Touch Controllers' to allow players to physically interact and become more involved in their surroundings.

NEXT STEPS

What are our next steps? For the next task, I plan to do a 5 minute brainstorm to identify different mechanics which could be implemented into our natural environment. This will then stem to different gameplay ideas! I can use these to generate ideas for gameplay with Kiera which we plan to do later today. Once we have this down, I aim to create a survey/questionnaire for our target audience to come to a conclusion regarding theme/subject matter and art style. We hope to have the results for this by mid-next week so I am able to begin forming an Art Bible by Week 3/4.

For now, we will be continuing with the design of our gameplay and aim to recreate our schedule with our new plans.

TASK 3

MECHANICS!

Thursday 10th February

TO DO:

GAMIFICATION! Begin thinking about different mechanics and ideas for gameplay in the space. I aim to do this in a quick 5 minute task which Kiera and I can use to generate ideas later tonight. Thinking about the requirements of the space as identified above, the interactions in the space must not require too much effort or thought, therefore, mechanics shouldn't complicate gameplay and only require one thing from players. Mechanics should also tie into the method of input being Touch Controllers, so I need to think about how players could use gestures to fulfil this interaction.

5 MINUTE ACTIVITY

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WHAT DID I DO?

Thinking about our previous activity, I used our ideas to create draft 'pitches' for game ideas. I thought about what we would find most calming in the physical space and used gamification to turn these elements into mechanics. Our chosen input method is Oculus Quest 2 Touch Controllers which essentially allows players to translate physical movement into the virtual world - keeping this in mind, I brainstormed different mechanics which tied this together nicely. An example of this is 'Reveal' which would require players to use motion with their hands to reveal something, whether that's part of the environment or colour within the environment. I also thought about 'connecting' which could require focus and a steady hand from players.

MECHANIC IDEAS

  • Modify

  • Compose

  • Accompany

  • Reveal

  • Control

  • Adapt

  • Collect

  • Connect

GAMEPLAY IDEAS

I brainstormed ways these mechanics could tie into gameplay in the box and the way players could input these actions. Relating to my previous research into regulation, self care techniques and our own preferences I was able to generate ideas for gameplay in the space relating to music, colour, art and the natural world. Kiera and I plan to take our favourite ideas and generate 'A Cool Wall' which was a technique Megan Matthew's used last year to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses and riskiness of her ideas. This will allow us to be more direct with what we can achieve and what will be feasible between us, considering we are both 2D artists.

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TASK 4

THE COOL WALL

 

What is 'The Cool Wall'?

The Cool Wall is a method we can use to evaluate the success of our ideas. Considering we have around 10 weeks of development, at this stage we should be considering what is most doable between us. It'll be good for us to measure our ideas against 'riskiiness' because we don't want to begin to develop a game that is out of reach. After this activity we should have at least 2-3 ideas we are happy with which we can progress with and plan for.

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EVALUATION

GAMEPLAY IDEAS

  • Small subtle environmental interactions (shake the tree, birds fly etc)

  • Traverse environment as an animal

  • Collect items to encourage exploration

  • Fly high like a bird! Or an owl

  • Interact to add colour to the environment - through swiping motions

  • Fly / control animal to add colour to the environment. "Bring to life"

  • Traverse the environment to play a song, control animal/object.

  • Traverse on beat/rhythm to produce a song. Interact with platforms or other objects.

  • Fly/traverse through environment to collect music notes/music triggering items and play a layer of the soundtrack e.g. harmony.

EVALUATION OF IDEAS

Kiera and I discussed our ideas and placed them on our cool wall from 'cool to amazing' and then judged the riskiness of each idea. The meaning of riskiness evaluates how hard the game is to develop based on it's gameplay. An idea with a larger scope/features would be most risky considering the amount of time we have for example. The further to the right the idea, the better we felt the idea was - taking into account our initial project goals and essential experience.

Our choices between ideas were based on the feasibility of each idea and which we felt would be most useful for students!

QUICK SKETCHES

Our Top Ideas

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REASON FOR CHOICES

ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCE/PROJECT GOALS

When evaluating ideas we thought about our initial project goals and our essential experience. We chose our top ideas based off what we thought would be best for our user in the moment of discomfort and distress. It was essential for our experience to have an element of music to it and make use of regulation techniques to support players with managing challenging thoughts.  As music was one of our main research topics, we thought we should incorporate this into our gameplay as we're aware of the benefits of music and impact on both physical and mental health. Our top idea involves the player interacting with their natural environment to collect items which triggers music or a layer of the soundtrack - This would require players to use physical gestures to collect items on screen. We also had the idea of using motion to reveal colour within the environment, which relates back to the self-care technique being journaling and art as a form of self-expression.

REASON FOR CHOICES

OUR PROJECT PROPOSAL

In our Project Proposal, we proposed to create a game that supported students in moments where they might be struggling with handling their emotions and provides them with a method of escapism. We proposed to achieve this through immersion and the use of a physical space, with a heavy focus on the art, visual and sound design. With this in mind, we chose a final idea based on which would tie this in nicely and achieve the effect we desire. Music and Sound is a huge part of our player experience so we like the idea of combining this with gameplay and focus on how powerful it really is. This way, players can not only listen to a unique soundtrack, but have agency over the way it sounds. From previous research, I understood the importance of Player Agency and how this can encourage players to feel more in control in their environment, which is extremely useful for our players to remain calm and grounded.

REASON FOR CHOICES

THE IDEA

The mechanic we have chosen to progress with is 'collect'. Our vision involves the collection of items which once picked up or interacted with, will trigger music. For this idea, players are in control of a bird through motion, to traverse the natural environment and collect musical items (could be in the form of music notes or another object) which trigger the soundtrack and builds up over time. I had the idea of separating the different layers of our soundtrack, which would build up over time as the player continues to interact on screen. This provides players with agency over their environment, making them feel a sense of achievement and as if their actions are influencing gameplay. In addition to this, the natural sound of the harmony/layers of sound overtime is known to excite and satisfy listeners. Players will have a basic objective to work towards which won't require too much effort but encourage them to stay focused and observe their surroundings - the key to regulation!

TASK 5

THE GAME IDEA

Friday 11th February

PLAN FOR TODAY

Now we have a gameplay idea, we both feel more comfortable with our position in the project. Our next steps for this will be to continue concept sketching, storyboarding and to create mockups to ensure we have the main phases of gameplay set in stone. Today I plan to begin sketching how I visualise our idea and how the player will interact with the 360 environment within the game box. With a brief idea of how things will work, next week Kiera is scheduled to begin prototyping interactions in a physical space in Virtual Reality - which we can use to prototype before the box is built!

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

GAMES DESIGN! I have to ensure I have enough of a foundation behind this idea before progressing with development. This involves basic game design principles such as gameplay loops, storyboards and prototypes/mockups. My task today is to outline the basis of the game idea, including how I visualise it. I then plan to create quick visual mockups and prototypes to further demonstrate gameplay which will allow us to have a greater idea of each phase of the experience.

WHAT IS THE GAME IDEA? - THE BASIS

Players essentially enter the physical space in which the game is projected into, where they are given the opportunity to interact with their surroundings using touch controllers! Using their controllers and a steady hand, they must fly a bird through the natural environment in order to collect objects and trigger different layers of music.

HOW DO WE VISUALISE THE IDEA?

I picture players entering a space, big enough to fit a human, almost the same size as an average bedroom. They enter the space when they're feeling low, overwhelmed, stressed or simply feelings of discomfort - their aim is to escape to somewhere they feel will be a good distraction for them, where no one will interrupt and they can take a few minutes out of their day to reflect, calm down and wind-down. I picture the touch controllers being set up ready for them, potentially hanging on the wall besides the door, players pick these up which immediately trigger the projections on screen. (Same way picking up a VR headset works) Considering the students current situation, I feel User Interface or the expectation for players to press play or adjust settings at the beginning is far fetched, and should present players with the tranquil environment almost as soon as they step into the room. We want the game to be intuitive as possible and not require too much thought from players, especially to set up.

 

Once the environment is projected around the player, they will notice a hovering bird starting in the position nearest to them. Out of curiosity they will move their touch controller and notice that the bird starts to move with them. As they wonder what they do with this bird, they'll attempt to fly the bird around the space slowly. They should then begin to notice the objects that they hover over to 'collect', which eventually triggers the music playing around them. This will start of slowly and develop into multiple layers overtime.

As the player comes to realise they are in control of the 'level' of music played, they will know to begin flying to collect these musical items around the space. This should encourage them to work towards something, by moving slowly, gently and appreciate the world around them. The combination of relaxing play, a detailed 360 environment and soothing sound will provide them with a fully immersive gameplay experience and perfect requirements for escapism.

NEXT STEPS

Breaking this down into a simple gameplay loop!

GAMEPLAY LOOP

What is the game idea? What do players do? What are players rewarded with? What opportunities might they face?

Activity

Players enter an immersive physical space and traverse the environment as a bird using touch controllers, to collect music-triggering objects.

Reward

Players are rewarded with a beautifully sounding soundtrack, the ability to have control over their space and the means to escape from their worries or negative thoughts.

Opportunity

Players have the opportunity to traverse a 360-degree environment on their school/university campus. Opportunity to regulate their emotions through simple gameplay. Listen to soothing music and use slow motions to interact in the space.

CONCEPTS & SKETCHES

Friday 11th February

Now I have taken note of the foundations of the idea, I'd like to further demonstrate this through visual concepts, sketches and prototypes. This will be a great way to visualise how exactly things will work in the space and what the game will appear like. I plan to use the methods of the following to do so:

  • Quick concept sketches, annotations and labels

  • Storyboards

  • Basic prototypes to mockup gameplay

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  • Players direct bird using ONE touch controller.

  • Players use 'raycasting' to interact with bird on screen - essentially, points the touch controller to the screen which moves the bird.

  • Player walks around the space, leading the bird from one screen to another.

  • Player collects objects, layers of the soundtrack develop.

GAMEPLAY STORYBOARD

  • Player visits the Getaway on campus

  • Player enters the physical box and picks up the touch controller

  • Player directs bird through the environment

  • Bird collects 'music notes' and notices the music develop overtime as they play

  • Player feels calm and relaxed

  • Players leave the box feeling recharged

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VISUAL MOCK-UPS

GAMEPLAY: How will it work?

I've drawn up some quick sketches to demonstrate gameplay. The red dots represent the musical items that players must pick up by directing the bird as their 'main character'. The player will use their touch controller to guide the bird, through simply pointing their controller in the direction of where the bird should fly. The bird should track their movement using 'raycasting' - similar to how Virtual Reality games translate physical movement into a digital world.

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WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT THIS IDEA?

I took note of the main points of our Project Proposal, similar to our project goals, and compared the different elements of our game to this, to evaluate whether or not it fulfils our initial requirements and aims. The game takes place in a physical space and allows players to move around and wander freely, which essentially provides them with a space to escape and immerse themselves into their surroundings. In addition to this, gameplay involving control over the bird in order to collect musical items, provides players with agency in their environment, allowing them to be in full control. On top of this, music plays a huge part in evoking particular emotions which aims to calm players, as well as give players influence over how it sounds - this is both rewarding and satisfying!

WHAT DO WE NEED TO IMPROVE?

After seeing gameplay visually, I was able to break our game down into a series of questions to test its success. Asking questions helps to find flaws in your ideas, which was helpful as it made me think broader regarding the way the game will work.

  1. Will objects disappear once collected or not?

  2. How many objects do you need to collect before a "layer" of music begins?

  3. Will the bird consistently fly or hover when the player chooses to stop/pause?

My first response to these things were, we must test it! Although, we don't want to spend too much time testing too early on, it's necessary for us to make these rapid decisions which we can progress with. To reflect upon these design questions I have taken a few notes which I think are relevant and may help us a long the way.

REFLECTION

 

Will objects disappear once collected or not?

I believe it depends on the options we choose for the environment. For now, the theme of the environment is subject to change and we will come to this conclusion after gathering research from our target audience. But for now, this is something we can just touch upon. Although, as we previously decided for the content of the game to be a 'natural environment', we should keep it this way. I don't think it'll be a problem whether or not the item disappears, however, I think it would convince players that they are having control over the environment rather than just passing them. It'll visualise them actually doing something, rather than just hearing - but does there need to be both?

 

How many objects do you need to collect before a "layer" of music begins?

To fulfil this goal, the soundtrack will have to be split into individual layers. Because of this, we want to avoid having too many layers of music which can result in sounding overpowering and unbearable in times of distress. This also makes it sound too busy and less relaxing. Because of this, I believe there should be a threshold on the number of objects a player picks up before triggering a layer of music to play. This might mean for every 3 items a player picks up, a layer of music is played. Meaning, if there were 3/4 items per screen, there would have to be around 4-5 layers of music in our sound design.

Will the bird consistently fly or hover when the player chooses to stop/pause?

There definitely has to be a way for the bird to hover when players choose to take a break or stop flying. Constantly having to fly may cause arm ache or frustration, which we want to avoid at all costs! To make the player experience more relaxing play it'll be necessary to allow them to take breaks whenever they feel they need to. Because of this, we will have to implement a way for the bird to be on 'idle' mode during these moments! (When the screen cannot track the players hand)

VISUAL MOCK-UPS

GAMEPLAY: How will it work?

SCREEN 1

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VIDEO DEMO

Basic video demonstration to show how the bird will move with the direction of the players hand. My hand in this case represents the touch controller in control of the birds movement.

The music in the background of this demo showcases what the music should sound like in-game.

WHAT DOES THIS SHOW?

To further elaborate on the idea of having a threshold for the number of items a player can pick up, I have drawn a scene to represent 1 screen of the 4 in the box. The red dots represent the items which the player must collect by directing the bird in green. The first three dots should trigger one layer of music, then the next three, and so on and so forth.

NOTE

There should be a layer of music playing already to avoid awkward silences during the first stage of the game. This'll be nice to set the tone and ease players in too.

SCREEN 1-4

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VIDEO DEMO

Similarly to the previous demo, I simply demonstrated how players will control the bird across all four screens. The design of each screen should vary in terms of where the items are placed to enhance replayability and make the experience different each time you play, otherwise this may become too repetitive. (can use AI to do this or can just be fixed)

WHAT DOES THIS SHOW?

To further gameplay design, I drew up a demonstration of the game on 4 screens. These screens represent the 4 walls of the box. Each screen should have an altered version of the environment on it, potentially consisting of different animations or other elements within the scene itself. Each screen will consist of a number of musical items, either 3/4. If we keep the idea of having a threshold (Kiera and I both believe this will work perfectly), then for every 3 items collected, a layer of music will play. In this case, the soundtrack should be split into 6/7, including the first layer to ease players into the game.

DESIGN CHOICES

 

Will objects disappear once collected or not?

From carrying out these simple tasks, we have already answered a handful of design questions which we can progress with. Things we need to consider include:

  • Allowing players to take breaks/pause, meaning the bird needs to have an 'idle' mode.

  • The number of musical items per screen, how many items trigger 1 layer of music? (Around 3 - 1 ratio)

  • Objects to disappear or not once collected - can test to see how players react to this later on in development.

  • Avoiding User Interface or asking too much from players - make it intuitive, not require too much thought or set-up!

 

REFLECTION

 

GAMEPLAY

I think so far we have a great foundation for our game. I think if executed well, the outcome of our game will be perfect for what we are trying to achieve. In terms of our initial aims, this is focused most around the player experience therefore, should carry out regular testing in the next few weeks to evaluate whether or not our design choices are having their desired effect. I also believe we should spend our time thinking about the set-up of the space, as this has a major influence in how players are engaged and the level of immersion we want to achieve. A thought I had after creating my last few gameplay mock-ups was that players should be given the ability to traverse the environment once they have collected all the items and listen to the music they essentially 'created'. Because of this, we could touch on the option for physical items in the room such as seating, maybe bean bags to give players a place to sit?

THINGS WE NEED TO IMPROVE & CONCERNS

We need to begin thinking about the set-up of the box and how we will work with this in terms of implementing our game into the space, onto 4 walls. We are concerned around the technicalities of our idea as it is a hugely ambitious idea however, with hardwork and perseverance I am certain we can overcome any hurdles and still achieve the same idea we began with.

NEXT STEPS

To assist my personal development journey, I plan to finish the day with an Experience Map and Beat Chart. The experience map will allow me to separate each stage of the game and evaluate what happens during each phase as well as how players should feel and what opportunities are available to them. In addition to this, a 'Beat Chart', recommended by Steve Rogers, is a great way to split the game into individual components and note down exactly what is needed or expected from each stage or level. This might include sound effects or haptics.

GETAWAY: EXPERIENCE MAP

A breakdown of gameplay stage by stage, including the actions that take place at each phase and how players should feel at each moment.

Getaway Experience Map.jpg

HOW CAN WE APPLY THIS TO OUR DESIGN?

Referring back to this experience map will allow us to make the most effective design decisions. As the heart of our experience is built around the emotional state of the player, it'll be necessary to evaluate whether or not gameplay is having its desired effect or not. Gameplay MUST evoke these thoughts and feelings, and we can evaluate this through testing.

THE BEAT CHART

Inspired by Steve Rogers! The Beat Chart will allow me to breakdown the components within each stage of the game, to identify exactly what needs to be developed to fulfil each stage of the game.

Screenshot 2022-04-12 at 17.37.22.png

HOW CAN WE APPLY THIS TO OUR DESIGN?

The use of a Beat Chart is a great way to separate components to be more clearer with what is expected from us during development. The next few weeks will be spent ensuring we have every element of  the game set in stone, and using this chart allows us to identify these elements, at each stage of the game.

REFLECTION AND EVALUATION

Friday 11th March

Kiera and I are both much happier knowing we have a game idea set in stone and we are feeling more confident towards the development of this project. In terms of the gameplay itself, I think it's a great idea in terms of what we aimed to achieve in Semester 1 and if executed successfully, will result in a great game. We have a lot to cover during the next few weeks, especially with the set-up of the box and ensuring this works as we intended it to. I imagine the next few weeks will be discussing our options, problem-solving and testing. To reflect upon gameplay, I personally really love the idea of the musical influence players will have. Putting this at the heart of the experience showcases the power music has on our emotional states, which we both find extremely interesting and I can't wait to use this to benefit others.

With a breakdown of our components and experience maps in place, we can now progress with the design and development of the project. Using what we have established this week, we can continue with the project with a clear image of our final deliverable in minds - this has certainly made it easier to visualise a successful outcome!

 

NEXT STEPS

What next? With the weekend left of Week 2, it's time to complete the final task of the week - Planning and Scheduling! As our project has evolved since our Semester 1 Project Proposal, we intend to refine and finalise our planning for the project. This means adjusting our project schedule to fit our new scope accordingly. As well as this, we must update our Trello 'to do lists' and ensure to update these things weekly/daily if necessary. In essence, we will be finishing the week by creating a new schedule and organising ourselves to complete this project by the 26th May.

The final task for this week can be found here:

Schedule & Planning

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