Progress Report (Week 4)

Hello everyone! It’s AJ…back at it again with the blog posts! Here are the team and I’s updates for this week…

  • We started the week by having a meeting on Sunday, September 18, 2016 in which we devised a QA Plan, as we planned on having two separate informal testing sessions on the following day (Monday).
  • To help us prepare to successfully describe each game idea to the testers, we wrote down descriptive words of each idea on the board.
  • Following this, we then discussed all three ideas briefly to flesh them out a little more…
    • For My Prices Are More Than Fair, we decided that it would be more like a Quest Giver game where you send the customers out on quests and equipping them with things they would need (from your inventory). As you progress, you can add more to your shops (i.e. how in real life stores have a bakery section, clothing section, etc.)
    • For Wizards in Training, this idea is pretty fleshed out already, but we talked about art style and how we would like to go a more cartoonish route. We’re still not too sure about the setting.
    • For Warm Fighter, we still want to keep it as a boss rush, but we want to stray away from it being solely that. We suggested levels where the player tries to get to the boss, as well as your hub ship (which was briefly mentioned before).
  • We then spent the remainder of the meeting doing work. Said work was on the prototypes, the QA Plan, and on documents.
  • On Wednesday, September 21, 2016, we called a meeting together to analyze the feedback from our informal testing sessions. To keep it brief, the gist of the feedback are as follows…
    • For Wizards in Training, the feedback was mixed as there were people who liked the concept and there were people who thought it was boring and was very confusing. The negative comments were aimed at the controls as well as the reticle, with one person saying it wasn’t engaging enough.
    • For My Prices Are More Than Fair, most of the feedback was positive, with the majority liking the idea. The only problems that were addressed were that it was a little repetitive and that more needed to be added (which was obvious since this was the first prototype). One tester thought the leveling up was arbitrary and should be organic instead. Another one thought the player should spend the entire game as a back alley, trench-coat merchant instead of upgrading to a cart, then a store, etc. Most people were also worried about this idea (despite liking it) due to the need of an economy system.
    • For Warm Fighter, the responses were mostly positive as a lot of people liked the idea. The negatives here were that some thought it was just a generic shooter (but it’s also a prototype right now too, so..) and that it may have been a little too easy to hide from the boss. One tester preferred that if the game is going to stay a boss rush, then have the player only fight bosses, instead of having small levels before each boss.
  • Following this, some members had to leave, so the remaining members (including myself) created one-paragraph pitches for each idea as well as look at vikings and a rust aesthetic to get ideas for the art style of the Vikings in Warm Fighter.
  • On the following day (Thursday), we had a formal QA session, while simultaneously having a meeting somewhere else. (Half the team went to QA, the other half were at the meeting).
  • The members at the meeting spent the time working to catch up on documents. After about 2 hours, the team members at QA then joined us and we analyzed the feedback from this session. They are as follows…(the only problem was most of the testers were Freshman and were expecting a full game instead of just a rough prototype)
    • The feedback for Wizards in Training were that a lot of people liked the idea, but the controls were a little wonky. Someone did point out that a lot of special effects would be needed for the spells, which can hurt the team. Some people felt the game was a little bare and the camera was a little messy…but it is just a prototype.
    • For My Prices Are More Than Fair, just about everyone loved this idea. One tester said even for a prototype, the world was pretty immersive. Some negatives were that some felt the exploring part should be taken out (which we had already planned on doing), as well as some people thought it was a little repetitive with finding items, then selling them, and repeat.
    • For Warm Fighter, a lot of people liked this idea as well, with many enjoying the boss fight and praising the animation. Some negatives were that some thought the game was too difficult at first, and most didn’t know the concept of the Heat bar. The testers who didn’t find it difficult had found strategies to make the boss fight easier (such as hiding behind certain pillars).
  • In the QA Feedback Form, we asked each tester to rate each idea out of 10. After taking the averages of the scores, Wizards in Training came in last with an average of 6.1/10, Warm Fighter came in second with an average of 6.3/10, and My Prices Are More Than Fair was the most liked idea with an average of 7.2/10. This won’t decide which idea the team chooses to move forward with, but it will definitely be a contributing factor. At the conclusion of this meeting, we decided to scrap Wizards in Training and just keep the other two.
  • Finally, we had a meeting on Saturday, September 24, 2016 and thus starting our crunch time before our stage challenge on Monday.
  • The main thing we did was list our pros and cons for both Warm Fighter and My Prices Are More Than Fair. Our individual lists are as follows…
    • I felt that Warm Fighter was unique when it came to the “Warms” and that there was many different ways the game could go forward, but was worried about making each “warm” boss feel different, as well as a worry of it being too repetitive. For My Prices, I thought that it was a unique idea as a whole, but felt that the economy system would make the game more difficult to make, as well as the team still being unsure on how the player would level up.
    • Aaron felt that Warm Fighter would be easier to market, would use more animations (which is his forte), and is more fun, but thought it wasn’t too original with the challenge being “selling” the idea to teachers and classmates, as well as needing lots of polish. For My Prices, he liked how it is narrative heavy considering we have a narrative designer, and thinks this game can have a very comedic tone to it, but would be a lot of work on the art as it would require a lot of character models and 2D menu art.
    • Tony felt that Warm Fighter has a good aesthetic and is more fun, but it would require a lot of polish and is less innovative. For My Prices, he liked how it is a management game (due to being a fan of management games) and thinks it has a great hook, but feels like it needs a really good narrative and could end up being repetitive which is the challenge.
    • John felt that Warm Fighter fits more to his and Tony’s fields of systems/level design and thought playing the game would give players a good challenge, making the player wanting to kill each boss, but thought that because of the challenge, it’s not an easy game to test, as he noticed frustration with some testers which can possibly lead to negative feedback. He also believed that the idea isn’t as fleshed out as the team thinks, as he is still not sure what the full game loop is. He was also worried how well we can portray the viking culture, as the player’s character is a rust viking. For My Prices, he noticed how more testers leaned toward this idea and also pointed out in one of our early meetings, that all five of us put this on our list when we were narrowing down our 30 ideas. He also liked how this idea is not action-oriented, whereas most ideas on every other team is, which gives us the innovative edge that our professor is looking for. His cons were possibilities on player’s finding a dominant strategy, as well as the number of systems that need to be implemented and pointed out that a notoriety system would need to be added. He was also worried about getting the game to a level that would get it through to the spring semester.
    • Dmitri felt that Warm Fighter would be fun to play and can be picked up very quickly and it is easier to demonstrate to an audience. He also pointed out that there would be a lot of energy with the game due to its fast pace. It can also be prototyped and iterated on a lot quicker. His cons were that he has never worked with a boss mechanic at this scale, as well as adding in environmental hazards and obstacles, etc. which he found to be pretty daunting. He also thinks it is lacking systems and the idea needs more fleshing out. For My Prices, he liked how most testers enjoyed this game, as well as it having an edge over other teams in terms of innovation. He also thought a pro was that he would get to work with a bunch of systems working together, which is something he has never done, but something he would like to learn. The problems he has with the idea is that it’s a short window between now and the winter showcase, so he was worried if it could even be done enough to the point that we have a good vertical slice to show and that lots of testing would be needed. Another problem involves the pro of working with all the systems, as he has never done that before, which can slow down the game’s progress. He was also unsure about the game’s appeal, as he pointed out that most testers had their own ideas for how the game would look.
  • We then weighed our options, with Dmitri reading a Rationale Statement that he made, arguing his side for Warm Fighter which was a very good argument, bringing up a big point that it involves all the areas of work that we are studying. It has narrative (for Tony), animations (for Aaron), levels and systems (for John), etc.
  • Following this, a designer from a different team came in just to say hello, but then I came up with the idea to pitch the two ideas to him and get his opinion. He suggested that My Prices would be our best bet in terms of innovation and getting people to like the game, but Warm Fighter wouldn’t be as stressful to make and would still also be a good game. He also mentioned that for My Prices, there could be a deal screen where the player can sponsor a fledgling adventurer and in return the adventurer would go into the dungeons and get items for you. (We already had this idea, but didn’t have an incentive for the adventurer to do this for the player).
  • After still weighing the options, the team still finds itself stuck in the middle between the two ideas. There are good arguments for both sides and while 3 of the 5 wanted Warm Fighter, the decision is still unofficial. Next week is our final decision, stage challenge, and updates on whether our team successfully moved on to Deep Dive, or if we have to spend another week in Initial Concepts. Stay tuned for updates!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s