Cycle 1 – Reflection

IGB100 Reflection  Discussion topics:

1. Professional Development and Practice Guiding points:

The development of first game in this unit is quite challenging for me because I was stuck with an illness and the fact that I’m also not familiar with the software unity. I was lacking in any real experience in programming and building a game. This made the whole process changing for me. However, I hope to try hard and learn how to improve my skill in programing and the other area that I’m lacking. Overall, I learned that having a plan and asking for help when you need help is the best way to improve and the process a shown that my skill maybe better suited for managerial role.

2. Working in a team Guiding points:

For this Project, I found that working in these types of groups confusing this is because I didn’t feel like we really worked as a group. It felt more like we were just simply two people working on two different project that had the same overall goal. Aside from that I found that we probably need to work on the activity together and we need to improve our communication. However, most of the blame was my fault for the lack of communication as I was effect by an illness during this period. Although when the studio need my help I would always respond as fast as I can. Using the Facebook message system, we were able organise a meeting and talked to each other outside class. I felt that when we did communicate we were listen to each other idea, worked well together and respond positively to the feedback we gave each other.

3. Working independently Guiding points:

I really struggled with balancing individual work in a team-oriented environment because I respond better in a team environment. This is because when working in groups I find it easy to stay motivated as I don’t want to let my team member down. It also makes it easier to respond to challenges because I can rely on the other when it comes to the parts that I lack. However, I have found through this project that I need to improve my own individual work ethic by working with other to help keep me motivated.

4. Ethical considerations Guiding points:

The game aimed to create a calm and relaxing experience for the player which differs from the more common SHMUP games. All the elements of the game that are designed to relax while keeping the game entertaining. I believe that the game could impact the world stress level. However, only by a little bit and nothing that would enhanced the quality of life in the whole world.

 

Cycle 1, Activity 6: Playtesting Plan

 

Date Session Participants Overall approach, including resources required Session Goals Method How to Analyse
Number Who (characteristics of your play-testers) What to measure How to test
20/3/2017 1 5 Confidants, Naive The player will play level 1 of the game for 6 minutes. Before the player plays the game they will have to fill out a questionnaire. After completing the level’s objective or after 10 min the testing will stop and the player will fill out a survey. During testing we will ask the player question on the game and also by getting the player to speak out loud about their thinking and their actions.

Resources: questionnaire linked here Questionnaire, survey linked here Playtestsurvey level 1 of the game, recording device such as phone or other device, pen and paper, laptop or computer.

Goal 1: Player is able to complete the level The player ability to achieve the main objective of the game. Observation of the player destroying  the 3 main building and completion of a survey question 1,2 and 3 Review of notes taken during play test, The answer to the survey completed at the end of the play test
Goal 2: That are game meets our PX goals Self-reported amount of fun and relaxation in the game Observe the player ability to answer question and thinking out loud and completion of a survey question 1,2 and 3 Review of notes taken during play test, if the player felt rushed or too challenged, The answer to the survey completed at the end of the play test
Goal 3: that the games mechanic crate a high level engagement. Withier the player finds the game to easy to play and doesn’t get bored with the game Observe the player speed of completion and the completion of a survey question 1,2 and 3 Review of notes taken during play test, the time it took to complete the entire level The answer to the survey completed at the end of the play test

Cycle 1 – Contribution Post

The final prototype of SHMUP game is developed not only by personal technical skills and hardwork, but also by external sources. In this post, all utilised external resources that improve the gameplay of the prototype from both mechanical and visual perspective will be outlined.

  1. Wispy Sky (Skybox)

Retrieved from: Unity Asset Store – Mundus Limited

Wispy Sky is a skybox design that shows a day-time cloudy sky and dark blue sea. This help bringing the visual sense of joy and relaxation to the player.

  1. Water, Land, and Trees (Standard Assets)

Retrieved from: Default Unity Standard Assets

The water, land, and trees help visualising the world of the prototype. These elements are utilised to create an isolated island in the middle of the sea as the main gameplay ground. The terrain are mainly designed to be greenly environment with beach and mountains to bring the feels of natural relaxation to players.

  1. Space Shooter (Model)

Retrieved from: Unity Asset Store – Duane’s Mind

The Space Shooter is a spaceship model for the player character. It is the one which best suit the main theme of the game to represent a UFO ship, yet it is also free. The model also shows simplicity from its design perspective which is good for players who look for relaxing games.

  1. LowPolySoldiers (Model)

Retrieved from: Unity Asset Store – Polygon Blacksmith

The LowPolySoldiers is the model that represent the enemy characters. It is the one which best suited the main theme of the game to represent the military soldiers and it comes with animation pack, yet it is free.

  1. HeightTower (Model)

Retrieved from: Unity Asset Store – Chia-Hsien, Chu

HeightTower is a model that represent the enemy’s core buildings. It is the one which best suited to be used for the three core objective buildings as the model is designed to be easy to locate from the background terrain and the model is free.

  1. Detonator Explotion Framework (Effect)

Retrieved from: IGB100 Resources Pack

Detonator Explosion Framework is used for showing destructive effect and play the sound effect when the player bullet hit the terrain, kill the soldiers, or destroy the core buildings, as well as when the player get hit. The cool effect it shows will help player’s engagement to the game.

  1. Mystical Ocean Puzzle Game (Music)

Retrieved from: SoundImage.org

Mystical Ocean Puzzle game is a music pack utilised for a relaxing background music of the prototype.

Cycle 1 – Playtest Report

The aim of this playtest is to identify whether player is able to understand the objective and complete the game, the gameplay meets the player experience goal, and if the full mechanics can create a personal engagement to players.

Data Collection

The playtest was conducted to five participants, including one playtester from studio member, for around 5 to 10 minutes for each participant. All the playtests were conducted on 22nd of March 2017. The session began with filling the questionnaire form to understand the player demographic. It is then followed by briefing about thinking out loud before the playtester playing the prototype. Around five minutes were spent for the player to play the prototype and speak out what they were thinking, while I took notes. After completing the game or roughly five minutes had passed, the playtester were instructed to fill the survey form.

Below is the summary of the quantitative data collected.

Question Player Response Intensity of Issue
1 2 3 4 5
The game was easy to learn how to play. 0 1 0 1 3 Moderate
The game was fun to play. 0 1 2 1 1 Moderate
The game was frustratingly difficult. 2 2 0 1 0 Major
The game was extremely easy. 0 1 1 2 1 Major
The game’s controls made it easy to do what I wanted. 0 0 0 4 1 Major
The game’s background and world was enjoyable to look at 0 0 2 1 2 Minor
The game is relaxing 1 0 0 2 2 Major
I always understand what I should do next to achieve my goal 0 1 0 3 1 Moderate
I want to find out what happens next if I were to continue playing 0 0 1 2 2 Minor
I find the gameplay is very entertaining 0 0 3 1 1 Major

The playtester participants are all experienced in video games, but they are differ in terms of the number of hours they play in a week. Two participants play more than 20 hours a week, the others play less than 10 hours. All participants are familiar with keyboard controls since they are all computer gamers. Their preferences are ranging from casual players to intense players, but all of them are already familiar with the movement controls of the prototype.

Please refer to appendix A for the complete notes, questionnaire, and survey forms.

Key Findings

Four out of five players managed to locate the objective and complete the game. However, based on the observations, playtesters tend to understand the objective once they encounter buildings and try to shoot them. The players that see the building destroyed are more likely to get the objective faster as they realised the number of “Building Remaining” text decreases. From the quantitative surveys, there are three people ticking number four for questions “I always understand what I should do next to achieve my goal”. This indicates that they are not yet 100% confident about the objectives eventhough they managed to complete the game. Some improvements to the informative aspects are clearly needed.

Even though the game has been designed to meet the player experience goals, which is to be relaxing and entertaining, one participant still feel the game is not relaxing. This can be seen from the quantitative data questions 7. Deeper analysis showed that this single participant only plays game two hours in a week, which indicates that the difficulty is too hard for his background, and thus do not create relaxing atmosphere. Overall, the game is entertaining enough since most of the participants indicated that the game was fun too play, the gameplay was entertaining and the game was in the right level of difficulty.

The full gameplay mechanics can be said to have created a good personal engagement, but not 100%. This can be seen from participants indicating that the game’s visual is enjoyable to look, and they want to find out what happens if they continue playing the game. From the observations however, participants tend to start getting bored when they were exploring the map to locate the buildings. They also see no points on killing the enemy soldiers if the spaceship actually will still hardly die because of them.

Recommendations

Based on key findings and playtester feedbacks, some potential changes and improvements to the game need to be considered. These includes:

  • Add mini-map to track the location of the player
  • Create engagement from more varieties of challenges during the exploration of the map to locate the core buildings to avoid boredom
  • Give feedbacks when player’s health running low
  • Reduce the effects on enemy’s projectiles to decrease intensity and increase relaxation
  • Allow players to speed up and speed down
  • Design the environment to be giving clues for players to locate the core buildings
  • Give GUI texts stating the current objectives
  • Allow players to change the direction of the projectile
  • Show the remaining health of the core building to inform players that it is the object they need to destroy

 

Appendix A – Playtester Notes, Questionnaires, and Surveys.

Playtester #1

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Playtester #2

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Playtester #3

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Playtester #4

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Playtester #5

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Cycle 1 – Reflection

How well my skills match the task required

The development of first prototype in this unit was quite challenging because I have no personal experiences with Unity nor 3D modelling nor animations. However, I believe I possess a strong background in programming as I am a computer science student. Therefore, to create a great player experience, and to cover my lacks of knowledge in the design perspectives, I placed much effort in the scripts by giving players more controls and mechanics. Overall, I learned from the development process that designing a game which meets player experience goal will produce much more powerful games than solely creating a game with complex rules.

How I approached learning new things and finding new information

I spent most of the development time for understanding and adjusting with Unity. As computer science student, I commonly learn and practice new concepts online. So, this does not appear to be my first time totally learning new concept within a short time expectation. To better understand the basic settings, creating objects, linking object relation, building world, and modifying object’s properties, I tried to complete the video tutorials on Blackboard before started working on the prototype. Now, I become more prepared to develop more complex game with Unity.

Effective strategies for managing team activities

The main concept of the game development is designed together in a studio team meeting which normally happens after workshop class. I have a principle to always make a checklist to point out what the expected outcomes will be from team meeting to keep it effective. That checklist would help the discussion to keep on-topic. Also, Facebook Messenger as team communication channel for further mobile discussion is settled. From this, I learned that delivering the team meeting outcomes into organised notes or sketches will significantly help the next team meeting.

The effectiveness of work habits

I have registered Monday and Tuesday to my calendar for this unit. Personally, I prefer to spend a complete single day working on a big part of a project instead of making a constant not-significant progress everyday. According to my previous semester experiences, switching focus to another project requires more time for re-adjustment and reviewing last work progress. Therefore, by keeping the switching focus at minimum, the work will be more effective. This working habits shaped me to be more discipline with my project-time allocation.

How the product I’ve created might enhance the quality of life

My designed game aims to create a different experiences from the common SHMUP games, which are creating relaxing and entertaining feels for players. The world, music, elements, and gameplay mechanics are designed to give players a sense of entertainment with no competitive or intense aspects as well as relaxation feel. I believe the final game would help people from frustation. However, I learned from INB280 that those designs might not meet the expected player experiences, and thus need to conduct a playtest to justify it.