Project Name:”Meet you in the heaven”
Project Producer:Anna Li(Antonia Li)/ Chenchen
For the final project, we created an interactive game within a story, which is about a man rebuilding his wife. The context of this story is that the husband treated his wife bad and regretted after her death, and then an angel came to him, saying that she could help him rebuild his wife. So the whole game is the man’s adventure in the heaven to gather his wife’s soul and body to make her reborn.
There are two parts of the game. The physical part is made of a small map. There is a movable human figure for user to move, and several little golden circle on the map where user can put the figure on and trigger the plot.
And on the computer screen, the plot will be showed. There will be conversations, or little games.
The Whole Process of the Project :
In our mid-term project, I and Chenchen made a visual story where the users can read a story while the scenes in the story were physically made, and the user has to find the right time line and choose the right scene to the story continue to happen. But this project has a vital defect that nearly all the users fail to understand what they should do and get lost. However, both the professors and my classmates think it’s a good idea to make a story with physical scene. So in the final project, we decided to continue and improve our mid-term project, add more new factors on it, and make it more understandable.
So we decided to work on those defects our mid-term project has, and we decided to make three improvements:
1.Users themselves can choose which scene to go next.
2.There will be three endings, and the story will not be linear anymore.
3.To make it more interactive, we decided to create little riddle games.
So basically this is our new plan, and then we began to work on that.
Stage 1. time planning
Actually at first we were quite confused because the project is quite big and we had no idea where to begin. So in the first week, we were just doing some random things. Like I found some figures or backgrounds that might be used in the game, and edited them in the Photoshop like:
And Chenchen and I both began to think about how to write the code for those little games like one part called “the potion part”. However, Leon came to us that we shouldn’t do those very detailed thing at first. What we need is to write down every thing we need to do, and make a time table for each thing. Do the general plan.
So we made our flowchart and our own time table.
So then, we began to develop everything by the timetable and our flow chart.
And my part is mainly about the plot writing, and turn them into code; backgrounds, figures combing, circuit soldering and connecting, and physical part making.
Stage 2. Plot writing
At first, I Planned to write a very complicate story with interesting plot and deep reflection to our real world. However, I found out that it would take too many words for such a story and the user might lose their patience for such a long plot.
So I decided to simplify it. I talked with Leon about it because I found it too hard to tell a story in less than 100 words. But then he suggested me that not every story needs to be told in words. We could use images to tell stories, which is more interesting and good for time saving. So with this idea, I decided to make an animation that could easily shows the story at the beginning.
So I began to draw. I used the figure on the internet and edited them in the Photoshop. And then used the mouse to draw different position of them, and saved every picture.
And then I used iMovie and Final Cut Pro to combine them, adding the music. And it turned out that I like this small movie very much and so do my friends. However, after I talked to Rudi and Leon, they found out that one-minute video is too long. So I managed to cut it to 37 seconds, which was the best I could do. I was not very willing to cut it too short because I thought it was telling a story, and if we cut most of it, it would not make sense and will lose the most interesting parts. In my views, a video at the beginning of the game could make the people calm down and gradually immerse in the atmosphere of this game. 🙂
And here is the 37s video(which later Chenchen cut it to 19s):
Stage 3.Backgrounds, figures combing
I chose very difficult backgrounds and animation figures at first (as above), but Chenchen reminded me that the flower in the game she made were quite simple which could not match those complicate figures. And then Leon told me about the importance of consistency in a game, which the figures, backgrounds, and other elements should be in similar styles. So I have to use more simple figure and backgrounds.
So I decided to continue using the figures from mid-term projects, but in a different ways. And I found and drew some backgrounds in the Photoshop using the simple gradient ramp, which turned out to work quite well.
So it would be much more consistent than the preview ones.
And then I combined them together, and for the first time, I learned how to create function in the Processing with ease. And my understanding of functions in Processing has been improved much more during the coding process. And then I found out that most difficult thing is to calculate the location of the text and how much time users need to read them. And it’s totally a math thing.
Stage 4.Circuit soldering and connecting
After I have turned all the story part into code, I gave them to Chenchen and she began to work on the whole structure of the coding part, and I began to work on the circuit connecting part.
In the project, we planned to use conductive tape as switches. It is disconnected at first, and when user put the human figure on it, it will become into access. So my job is to think about how to make it more beautiful as well as easy to control. There are seven parts in the physical map, one start point, two Angels, two little games, and two Holy Lands (the waterfall and the fire), and there are 11switches. So I began to think about how to make each of them.
For the Angels, I chose to make it more beautifully. So I chose to make a heart shape switch on it. And when the user put the figure on it, it looks like that the Angel is lifting him with her hands. And this might make it more sacred.
And for the other parts, I made them exactly the same to make it more consistent and easy for users to understand. So I cut several circle of the same sizes, and attached the conductive tape on it. And then on the back of those circles, I soldered two short wires to make it through the paperboard and attached them on the back of the board.
Then the most difficult part is to connect all those short wires to the breadboard. And I did that with Chenchen together. We tried our best to solder those wires together, and make sure that they would disconnect.
Stage 5.Physical part making.
After we connected all the circuit, I began to work on the surface of the board, the map. I bought several elements on Taobao and also made some on my own. Like the flower, or the bottles for the potion. And this was the most fun part of the whole project, “it’s time when all the project becomes beautiful”, as Luise said. So I tried my best to make it beautiful. I drew the two Angels on the board, and made those flowers.
Stage 6. the Outcome
We videoed our outcome by recording several small clips:
The flower part:
It was quite a long time preparing this project, and I’ve learned a lot.
Now I know that every elements in a project should be similar so that the consistency of the whole project would not be damaged. And one project should only have one style, it could be creepy, cute, but can’t be both at the same time.
With the help of Leon, we learned that for a big project like this, we should make a time table and clearly know about what we should do and what we should do next. That’s the only we to insure that we would not miss something or fail to complete it on time.
I worked with Chenchen this time as well as last time. And Rudi, Leon and other fellow have come to talk with us. I found it was actually not easy in a project to collaborate with other people, because every one has their own thoughts about the project and sometimes are very different. So it’s quite difficult to really decide. And fortunately, I and Chenchen worked it out, and at least 80% of time we reached an agreement. And it was totally fine to have different opinions, that is the way to make our project more colorful.
I wrote the plot coding part and gave a basic logic of potion parts, which was quite meaningful for me because I found it very helpful for my understanding of coding. Coding has been a large obstacle for me, but doing all this helps me understand it more and have more control over it.
5.circuit connecting and managing
I found out that it’s actually very difficult to manage the circuit, and very hard to make it clean and tidy. And it’s a big headache for me. But fortunately I worked it out, although took a long time. And experience told me that next time the management of the circuit should be considered at the very beginning or every thing could be a big mess later.