Portfolio for My First Scratch Game (Unit 1), "Late for Class"

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About My First Scratch Game: "Late for Class"

 

The Games of Inspiration - Mad Libs and The Scratch Story of Hope D

 

Mad Libs is self-explanatory. Players entered words into questions asked. At end, answers were placed in a story that the player hadn't seen until the final scene.

Story of Hope D is a narrative that tells the story of how one user found Scratch, developed games, loved it, and created a story about it. Players click on a character that says "Next" to progress/read more

Mad Libs later faded in my mind, but I kept the idea of "chose your own" way. I found inspiration in Jessie Krehlik's maze. Krehlik's maze inspired me to create more levels that take my character in other directions. She had an idea of several levels and once you reach a target, it takes you to the next level.

I wanted to combine the two (Hope D and Krehlik's maze) into a story that had some interaction/maze-like qualities. The game turned out to be mostly a narration/story with minimal interaction because the complication of coding a maze was more than I was looking to tackle.

I followed Hope D's source code for the beginning in switching backgrounds and having the link to the story be my character. At the time, I didn't have source codes for the maze so I tinkered with the commands until I got the character to move properly in one direction.

Opening Scene - The opening screens have minimal instruction. The character says "Hello" and if that doesn't prod a click, she then says "Poke Me!" The text in the background tells the short story of character Africa who is late for class.

Section One - The player now moves the character to the school using the arrow keys. Each time you reach a door it takes you to the next level. Each completed level gets the character closer to class. The directions are simply: "Help Africa get to class." After clicking on the character doesn't work, testers always went for arrow keys.

Section Two - This level is a bit more challenging. The background has stairs going up or down. If the player chooses down (or the wrong direction in any other screen), the character says something like "Um...no" or "It's not time for lunch."

When the player goes up, I designed a block (with the help of Dr. Jerz) to follow the character up, blocking her torso so it looks like she walks up the stairs.

Section Three - Taking the upstairs will get you to the last task screen. This has encouraging words saying, "There's her classroom. You're so close." The door to the classroom is on the left and once the player touches the door, they get the win screen.

Win - The win screen has no win or lose appearance. The character is always late to class, but you get confetti for trying to help.

Lose - As mentioned before, if the player hits the wrong button, they are sent to the FAIL screen. It says "FAIL: This encourages the player to not fail so hard and so they try again.

 

Credits:

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/HopeD/208289 - Scratch Story of Hope D

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/funnyman1120/1177753 - Mad Libs

Jessie Krehlik and her maze

http://www.pennsylvaniamentor.org/campustour/undergraduate/660/Seton_Hill_University/Seton_Hill_University1.html - Seton Hill picture

Usability Testers - Jen, Brian, Katelyn

 

 Usability Report for "Late for Class":

 

Abstract

In testing my first scratch game, "Late for Class", I found the majority agreed that the directions were unclear and the game too short. Players also believed the game was intended for children because of its simplicity.

If I were to spend more time on the game, I would add two more levels after the second level so that the game was more challenging for a player. I would also make the game more maze-like, taking from Krehlik's code. For example, the player would have to avoid a piece of paper on the floor or the character would slip, like Krehlik's pawn who avoids the floaters for fear of starting over.

To solve directions, I would take out the "Poke Me" in the beginning and make the sequence timed to switch screens/backgrounds automatically, leaving the player to work only with arrow keys.

 

First tester: Jen, female, 20s

Took 1 minute to click the girl. After clicking twice (click stopped working), immediately went to arrow keys. After win screen, she tried again with same result. Then asked if it was over. Total playtime: 1.75 minutes

 

2 positives -

Amusing and relatable about being late

Told a story

 

2 negatives -

How quickly it ended

Not challenging - good and bad

Unclear instruction

 

Game was funny/fun: Agree on both

Game is finished: Disagree - needs more levels and directions screen

Directions are clear: Disagree - Don't know to click the girl to start.

 

What is age group?

Elementary

 

What can be improved?

Add more levels and detail to second level screen. Add directions page.

 

After this tester, I added words to the second level screen and added, "Poke Me" to the girl's salutations in the beginning. I also stopped the commands/arrow keys from firing the fail screen if the player wins.

 

Second Tester - Brian, male, 20s

Took 10 seconds to click the girl. After click stopped working, he tried to drag the character to the school. After 3 click/drags, he used arrow keys. Failed once, going down the stairs on second level. After win screen, he tried again as he asked if it was all. Total playtime: 1.5 minutes

 

What are three striking aspects of game?

Polite - gives you confetti so as not to kill your self-esteem

Tells a story

Graphics are fun, but childish

Short

Not difficult.

 

(The last 3 are negative.)

 

Game was funny/fun: Agree on fun, not funny. - There is one punch line at end

Game is finished: Disagree - needs length and instruction about where class is

Directions are clear: Disagree - Goes from clicking to arrow keys

 

What is age group?

5-10

 

What can be improved?

Pick either arrow keys or clicking. "I don't normally see both in games." Tell the location of the class at the beginning like second floor in such building. Add levels/make it longer. Make it like a maze where target can be seen, but it is difficult to reach.

 

I noticed that both parties guessed about the ending, not knowing it's a win screen. However, they did not list that as a negative or say it needed to be changed when asked. I changed the text for my last tester so that it reads "You win...Kinda" with further explanation and confetti.

 

Third tester - Katelyn, 19, female

Immediately poked/clicked the girl and went through the screens, but at first level with arrows took four click-and-drag-tries to then use arrow keys. Clicked the wrong arrow key on second level, but then clicked the appropriate key. The FAIL screen is late in coming up so it showed up on the last screen. Took the player three tries to realize this error. Total playtime: 2 minutes.

 

What are three striking aspects of game?

Fun speech bubbles

Lack of instructions

Fantastic Lab Coat

 

Game was funny/fun: Agree on fun

Game is finished: Disagree - (Kinda) There is no win, but it has all the parts. There could be more levels.

Directions are clear: Disagree


What is age group?

Elementary


What can be improved?

Give a clue on what to use (to move character).

 

In this test, I found the player did not ask if it was the end. She knew it ended. She did mention the not-so-win screen though. After this test, I changed the glitch with the late FAIL screen.

 

Conclusion

The directions are ruled unclear on every test even after changes. If given more time, I would take out the clicking and leave on arrow keys and test that before adding more direction.

I would also add more levels and make the game more challenging by adding more maze-like qualities.


See other game reports and portfolios on the class blog.

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