Hey Folks!

 

"companion" cube...?

“companion” cube…?

pillow castle reporting in on week four of our progress to build the game of our dreams here at the¬†Entertainment Technology Center. It’s been a productive and surprising week for the team, capped off by the completion of some beautiful branding artwork and a team photo that will probably be held over us for years to come (at least Xiao…)

The goals for this week were to begin development on our second “demo” level – the problem was, we weren’t very happy with the progress we had made with the first production level, and the process of developing the thing was like a drunk trying to walk in a straight line — it took far more energy and created far less results than we wanted.

the drawing board.

the drawing board.

Back to the drawing board, then! Where are the post its and whiteboards.

Last week we had decided to focus our attention on a short demo for our time at GDC showcasing the new direction for the Museum of Simulation Technology demo. In order to better achieve that, we chose four distinct levels we will be re-engineering for the demo and structured a development calendar that rotates through each area of development twice, allowing us to effectively schedule iteration without running over scope (we’ve got five weeks!)

After putting together this development cycle, we then went to work trying to further define what it was we were producing in the first place. We met with David Culyba, our adviser on the project, and his guidance helped us choose a few ways to begin defining the world we were creating.

word hart

don’t even get us started on “jazzy”

The first fruit of this labor is our “Prioritized Project Feeling” chart that we constructed on the wall. This chart not much more than an organized word cloud, bringing a lot of our disparate ideas about the game down to a two-dimensional level, allowing us to prioritize and reorganize as a group rather than as individuals. It’s also kind of fun. And will hopefully be a great touch-stone for our team to maintain a consistent tone throughout.

The team also took this opportunity to define the direction a little further by creating some design philosophies that we all believed in.

  1. Don’t waste the players time.
  2. Be unique in our execution.
  3. Use our small team size to our advantage.

Pretty lofty goals for a bunch of sleepy dumbheaded game developers strung out on diet dr. pepper. This is gonna be fun.

the new logo. slick rick.

the new logo. slick rick.

We conducted a successful playtest on Friday with five individuals taking a run through the Museum of Simulation Technology demo. We learned some invaluable information about the true nature of “intuitive” controls, where we really needed to improve player feedback, and where we are actually further ahead than we thought. The audience for GDC will luckily be one familiar with games, so we aren’t worried about bulletproofing the experience, but we are concerned with being able to play the damn thing through.

final_poster_jpgWhile we were working on this big picture stuff, we were also producing and finalizing our branding content. We have an amazing poster promoting our project thanks to Zhengyi, and a great half-sheet that depicts our work this semester. We’re really happy with the end result, and will be using portions of it for our “promotional” ¬†efforts at GDC. If there’s some interest, we’ll develop a version of the poster for a high quality print to order over the web (this is mostly selfish. It’s a beautiful work of art, and I’d love to have it hanging on my wall near my battlestation.)

Next week’s goals are to produce, produce, produce. We have a short iteration cycle to produce the skeleton of two complete levels. Zhengyi will be concepting both areas while Albert, Xiao, and Yuxi work on designing the layouts of the puzzles themselves. Allen is working on iterating the narrative into something tangible, and our intern Rod is in charge of donuts and coffee. But I heard he’s going back on Sunday. We’ll miss you, Rod.

half_sheet_jpg

That about does it for team pillow castle. we’re going to continue to be a little quiet as we crunch to GDC but rest assured when we have something totally awesome to share, we’ll share the hell out of it.

The team, health wise, is doing great, and thanks everyone for the well-wishes for Albert’s fish. The fish wasn’t real, it was more of like, a metaphor, but the positive energy was felt in pillow castle HQ all week long.

Until next time, here’s my dog hiding from the awesomeness of pillow castle.

his name is cooper and he does not understand forced perspective. big bones are just as tasty as small ones.

his name is cooper and he does not understand forced perspective. big bones are just as tasty as small ones.