September 2010 Archives
For my IF game, I'd like to try to create a murder mystery of sorts. This is the first time I've ever attempted to write a mystery, so it's gonna be an interesting experience.
1. Games that Inspired me
--Slouching Towards Bedlam. I played this game two years ago as a freshman in EL 236. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story
--9:05. I've always loved the double endings in this game...and also the fact that user typically doesn't realize he's the murderer during his first play through the game
--photopia. It's been a while since I visited this game, but I always loved the fact that it seemed like the user would move from setting to setting almost at random. Although I'm not planning to implement this in my game, I do value the complexity of the game.
2. Setting (see drawing)
3. PC is homicide detective, female. Has partner. Dressed professionally.
Inventory: notepad, cell phone, gun (loaded, safety on), pen, wallet (license, credit cards, a few assorted dollar bills--$34)
4. Concrete objective: find all the clues. Navigate through the house to collect evidence. Process at crime lab. Tell partner who committed the crime correctly with all evidence to complete the game
5. The body hasn't been taken to the coroner's office yet. The victim's blood is everywhere, on the walls, the ceiling, the couch, the floor...you never thought a human could have so much blood in his body. The living room is a disaster, even without the blood. The books from the bookcases cover the floor, and are covered with blood as well. It appears the victim put up a struggle. She didn't go down without a fight. Your partner stands in the corner, disgusted by e scene in front of him. You only have 48 hours to solve this murder before it becomes a cold case. You shudder at the thought of another murderer roaming free in YOUR city.
X living room: the living room looks pleasant enough, or at least it would without the blood everywhere. Yellow caution tape lines the doorways; only specific individuals, like yourself and your partner are permitted in the room. The vicitm's body is laying in the middle of the floor. There are books laying around the room, and you can hear a quiet hum coming from the tv. The evening news is on, but they haven't heard about is crime yet. If they did, they wouldn't be smiling.
A door leads to the west, south and southwest.
X victim: female, around 24 years of age, pretty girl. Blond hair, wearing a striped sweater and jeans. No shoes. The laceration to her skull appears to be the cause of death, but you wont know that for sure until the coroner takes a look. She has scratches on her arms and face, as well as a mark on her neck where it looks like a necklace was ripped from her. She is wearing a watch, and her cellphone is lying next to her as well as her purse. She was probably attacked as soon as she walked in the door today.
X cell phone: the last phone call received was at 1:32 pm. That was hours ago. How long was she lying here? The last text received was from one Benjamin Conrad. There are assorted photos in her phone and hundreds of contacts.
X purse: the purse contains a date planner, an iPod, the victim's wallet and a Luna bar (power bar)
X wallet: inside the wallet is the victim's license, her pnc debit card, $1000 cash ( who walks around with that much money in their wallet, and why didn't the murderer take the money?) a folded up piece of paper, her blood donor card, and a picture of the victim and a man (her boyfriend?)
X license: according to her license, the victim's name is Felicity Williams. She turns 25 today, October 2, 2010.
x photo: the back of the photo says, Summer, 2008 in the picture, the two stand in an embrace, genuine smiles on both their faces.
X paper: the paper simply reads, "see Rudy about $$$"
6. The player will figure out what to do because I will include a brienf "tutorial..."
You only have 48 hours to solve this case, so you better start investigating and EXAMINING evidence. This is a big house after all.
7. The game will get harder, because the game will count the steps of the user. When they reach 25 interactions, the clock loses an hour. They must complete the game in a certain amount of time. The player must not only collect information but must also process evidence at the lab.
8. The game will have 2 endings. To win, you must collect x-amount (tbd) of evidence to convict your suspect. Once you have enough clues, you jut need to interact with your partner, and say something along the lines of "Suspect (John doe) is the murderer" the partner will not agree with the user untill they collect enough evidence.
The second ending: if the user does not solve the murder mystery in "48" hours, they will lose, and the murderer will strike again. This time, you are the victim.
9. If I run short, I'll limit the amont of rooms accessible for the time being and will make the number of required evidence smaller
10. If I have extra time, I'll include some other areas away from the home and crime office to investigate, such as the victim's job and boyfriend's apartment.
In a good usability test, your testers will use your document to do whatever your real users want to do.
I've already worked through a couple usability tests. Both have been very successful, and have proven the above statement. However, because this statement is true, I've still got a lot of work to do on my project. At this point in time, both of the individuals I used for testers looked to me for directions on exactly how to play the game.
"Do I just use the arrow keys?" They both asked me, so it looks like that's where one of my greatest weakness lies. Because of this observation, I'm moving that up to the top of my list on my agenda.
I like to think of Usability testing as a parallel to asking someone to read over my rough draft of a big term paper. I usually lose points on grammar, because I've read something so many times that I cannot see my own errors. In a similar fashion, it helps to sit back and watch an outsider work her way through my program, because it shows me where my strengths and weaknesses are. For example, I mentioned in my progress blog last week that my first usability tester found an alternate route through my maze. Had I not done usability testing, future gamers would've avoided much peril in my game.
At this point in the stage, I'm still working out a lot of bugs, but the project's becoming quite polished. I need to do probably two additional usability tests to work out the remaining kinks. I'll try to blog again with those results as well.
At this point in my scratch project, I've developed two distinct maze levels for the user to navigate through. I created three sprites thus far that generate a game over screen when the user's sprite (mickey) touches them. I'm still in the process of creating an "intelligent" game sprite that can navigate its own way through the maze levels. I've got a few ideas on how to make this happen, but I'm focusing on creating the third level at the moment.
So far, I've had one successful user testing subjext. One of the freshmen on my golf team trie to navigate through the first level of the maze. As it turns out, she was unsuccessful, because there were a few narrow coridoors that were not passable. My tester also found a second way to navigate through my maze. This second route was not my intention, because it took about half the time compared to the other route. Since her testing, I've created an additional wall to block off that route.
At this point, I'm still having some glitches when the user runs into walls. I keep finding temporary solutions, but I'm not satisfied. I'm really worried that I'll have to make the corridors wider, which will make the maze easier in my opinion. I'm going to further explore my options before settling for a less extreme version of the current glitch.
Here's my list of things to do by next thursday:
- Create 2-3 more levels (5 total?)
- Create the intelligent sprite(s)
- fix the on-going glitch where the user sprite gets stuck on walls
- Create an introduction
- Create a button sprite on the game over screen that will start the user back at level one
- Create the "win" background
- Make the bat and cat sprites hover over the actual navigating antagonist sprites.
These goals are in no particular order, and I'm aware that I probably won't complete every task on my list. I'm determined to finish as many as I can, but I'm going to focus the majority of my energy on making the bats and cats over, creating the winning screen and fixing that glitch.