November 2010 Archives

Final Project - Inform Extension

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My term project for EL405: New Media Projects will be an extension of my Inform Seven "Rebellion Run" game. Not only do I intend to add more detail, but I want to make a fuller story, closer to my original desire for the unit two project. I am not yet sure if I want to create it as a separate chapter/a whole new game, or a new scene, or just an add on to the rest.

By Thursday, I will have the rest of the rooms created and, hopefully, detail in the appropriate places. This will challenge me to come up with a creative storyline (extended from where I am now, and shortened still from my original thought). This will also challenge me technologically because I will need to create more commands and interaction with characters. I also will have to more closely understand what my players expect from my wording because the end won't be so simple now.

By Tuesday, I want to have an understanding of what commands will be difficult to implement and where I need to spend my time. I want to be able to reach/make one distinct ending (though overall I'd like to have several endings).

I feel confident in my understanding of Inform Seven and abilities to work on it by myself if necessary. I also find this to be the most fun option out of the three to work with. It gives me creative ability not found in Scratch, but with structure so I'm limited and don't overwork myself.

So recap:
  • Extension of Inform Seven Game
  • By Tues - all rooms and simple descriptions
  • By Thurs - one working ending
  • Goals - To have fun, not be too stressed
  • Refresher - On code for keys and locks, and character interaction
  • Confidence - Creative capability

Revised and Updated: New Media Portfolio

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Since my last portfolio, I have conducted more usability tests that were recorded and uploaded to YouTube. I have continued to show my mental flexibility in creativity and technical writing. I now not only have complete projects, but projects that are more detailed and complex throughout the game or website.

In this I simplified the keys for the user, added more instruction, and expanded the original game.

For this revision, I worked on deeper descriptions, a way to encourage the player to interact with another character, and a last ending for those who get stuck.

This was the easiest fix by far, mostly because I had Dr. Jerz and Maddie Gillespie's help. I plan to further this project for my final project. My goal is to create a more complex website for Eye Contact, and a simple way for submitters to download the Guidelines as an app. I forsee a problem though because I cannot find my own iPad to work with at this time.

It's Really A Resume

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My last project was an html page that was suited for the iPad. I would like to be able to download it as an app for my final project. Though the webpage is not optimized for every browser (explorer), the page shows up well on the iPad.

Before my first test, I changed the color to a darker red as some had suggested before. I also centered my picture and made all the links even.

After my first recorded usability test, I found that my tester did not realize the home page was a resume. So I added the word resume to the title and inserted three supplemental resumes as pdfs to the homepage. Maddie Gillespie was able to assist me with this.

A last problem was the format for the iPad. When turned on its side, the screen wasn't fitted properly and would not zoom in or out to compensate. This would have been a big issue, but Dr. Jerz had the coding answer and I was able to simply plug it in.

The last thing that came up was the preference to color. My tester actually did not like the darker red and would like to see it lightened up. This may be something I explore further for my final project.

Money and Conflict

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"Instead of yearning for a bigger budget, decide how to do things differently and successfully with what's available. Start thinking from zero-based premises" (110).

I found this interesting and I must have missed it in the original source. Eye Contact's budget is shrinking and it seems like we're trying to do everything with what we have and still raise money. Recently, we've decided to cut some things. We're cutting the amount of copies so as to have a larger book. We've raised just enough money to have a color cover next year.

We've put off ordering T-shirts, pencils, and other things that we'd like to have. We aren't printing the Pirates issue, but putting it online. We have a thermometer poster to show us how much we've raised. We're cutting corner's where we can and focusing on what we do have rather than what we don't.

"Anticipate trouble. Move quickly to confront it. When appropriate, apologize fully" (111).

This doesn't always help and my main problem is: "Don't bear grudges. Have an argument -- then move on to new business" (111). 

This also interferes with the Setonian. When someone fails to write an article or gets into a personal conflict with me, it is difficult for me to let go and move forward with them. Really, I end up excluding them and I'll have to work on that.

See more from other students

Informing Users On My Inform Seven Skills

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In this blog, I demonstrate my ability to find and fix coding errors in a code more flexible than Scratch. This also gave me the ability to create my own commands (like to flush). My Inform 7 game "Rebellion Run" first needed to be expanded in the ways of synonyms.

Before testing, I implemented (to the best of my ability) changes to the game that my three previous testers discussed.

Like most Interactive Fiction, players want to be able to use different words for the same action. This fix was easy: "understand 'object' as synonym" or make multiple commands with the other word inserted.

I had some scenery as well that needed to be elaborated on even though it had little to do with the story. I had included it and therefore should do something with it.

A big difficulty was the secondary character. To get to endings, you must interact with her. My first tester did not know how to ask her things and I didn't want to give too much away. There are "ask [character] about 'blah'" would end up with a result, and so would "tell about" or "show". I tried to give these hints to her verbally. To solve this problem, I changed some of the verbiage and added more synonyms or responses that would lead to the proper answer. My second tester was able to not only find an ending, but the winning one.

The last major problem was that when the user got so far in the game to move the secondary character, I forgot to add a description of her in the room she entered. So there was some mix-up and the tester didn't know what to do until the timer ended the game for her. This can be heard at the end of the first screencast.

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