Log entry 2: BVW Round 1

Where it all began!

The first round was our foray into the world of Building Virtual Worlds as a team. In this post, I'll try to talk about our experience behind designing the world.

Our world had a central theme of 'Helping'. The constraint was defined as:

  1. The guest helps character A who is afraid of character B.
  2. The fear must be shown to the audience throughout.
  3. The guest must directly aid character A.

We started off our first team meeting with introductions and discussed our understanding of the topic. We put down our thoughts onto paper and the end result was a mind-map:

Brainstorming

As can be seen from the image, our ideas stemmed from the central topic we considered important: Fear. Having an idea of the fear we wanted to portray helped to define our environment and characters. We also continuously listed down reference material for inspiration. An idea which we all seemed to agree on was 'flipping' stuff and we were all eager to implement it in our game. We decided to separate ourselves and spend some time coming up with the story and gameplay for our world.

This process continued until we had the first prototype ready. Our story was: Scientist Dr. Flipkenstein (Character A) is working on a robot (guest) but is interrupted by another one of his creations – the monster (Character B) who intends to kill him. The scientist flees the scene asking the robot to complete itself in order to be strong enough to rescue him from the monster. The gameplay involved knocking off things from a table and flipping it to reveal the upgrade part.

Interim

We received plenty of feedback from our instructors and our peers. Visuals, art, music and characters were appreciated whereas the primary problems were as follows:

  1. The actions being performed on the screen and the overall objective seemed disconnected. The gameplay involves the robot (guest) collecting parts to augment itself. This activity feels disconnected from the direct goal of helping the scientist.
  2. The progress bar is not sufficient to make the objective clear to the guest. It also does not convey the fear which should be apparent.

To address these issues we came up with the following major changes:

  1. Changing the objective from collecting parts to clearing obstacles in the way to reach the scientist. This met the requirement of directly helping character A.
  2. We decided to keep the monster and scientist visible on the screen throughout the game to provide immediate visual feedback to the guest.

The final version was much clearer than the interim version and the audience members understood the objective better. Overall, we were very satisfied with the end product and even threw in a surprise ending at the end! A video of the game in action can be viewed by clicking this link!

Final