Monday, 8 November 2010

Vertical Slice Meeting

Thursday 4th November 2010. Interesting and useful meeting with the guys from Vertical Slice (Graham, Gareth and Pejman). Talked through the goals of the project and the VS team's unanimous verdict is that we're attempting an impossibly ambitious task and should severely reduce the scope of the project and put the focus firmly on our DPhil work. Particular concerns were raised about the challenges of the game design and creation of assets. Specifically they suggested we restrict our project goal to developing a prototype game and set aside plans for coding a polished production version of the game. As regards this issue I think the point is well-made though (hopefully!) the VS expectations of a production game (with music, sound, professional artwork etc.) are somewhat higher than those of IDS. The primary concern I take from this is how we successfully integrate our DPhil research with the project work. At first glance it seems to me that we need to be running field trials and gathering data for our DPhils in Year 2 – which gives us little time to design and code up a prototype game with the flexibility to tweak or radically change UI and gameplay features as required for our research work.

There were questions raised as to the necessity of creating a multi-user game – could a single-user game not achieve the same learning outcomes? Although a single user game removes networking concerns, it requires the development of credible AI functionality.

Gareth suggested we first create mock-ups of the user interface on paper or using PowerPoint. There was some disagreement about how polished the UI needs to be for effective user testing. But also some positive input on game usability testing – user testing very quickly highlights problems in games (a subject to return to later in the project). We also touched on the difficulty of coding good quality user interfaces in Java - flash might be a better option here.

Graham talked about the importance SMS texting has taken on for communication in developing countries – something we could usefully employ in the game.

Pejman suggested studying other games designed with similar goals in mind . Games mentioned included:

A Tale in the Desert - an MMO set in ancient Egypt which focuses on crafting and trading, with social challenges See also

Farmville - a real-time farm simulation game where players manage a virtual farm by growing crops and raising livestock. Farmville is available as an app on Facebook, Android and iPhone. .

No comments:

Post a Comment