Final Reflection for my Project Four. Click the link below to go to that page!
The Story Lab – Final Reflection
This week we had the last two meetings before the final day (D-DAY!). The first was on Monday (30th May 2016), where we presented our almost finished puzzles. We gave feedback on the instructions, whether they were clear enough to be understood or if it’s still messy and needs to be rephrased. It was a quick informal meeting because I had to rush to work. I had completed my puzzles already by then. I uploaded my puzzles up to the Google Drive and my team members tried solving the puzzles. Everything went well for my part so I was good to go.
Tuesday’s meeting was postponed to Wednesday due to Stefan having an emergency at work. On our final meeting, we did a round of testing all the puzzles with the narrative. I went ahead to solve Griffin’s match sticks puzzles. Let me just say, I was having the time of my life. Did I mention that I love puzzles? Yeah… Anyways, Steven, Farina and I went ahead and challenged the puzzles while waiting for Stefan to arrive. The instructions were somewhat unclear and because we were stuck on the previous puzzles, some of them became a little confusing. For example, the first puzzle required us to only MOVE the match sticks to create squares whereas the third puzzle was to REMOVE to match sticks. They were a little confusing so I failed to solve one before Griffin told me the answer because she figured her instructions were unclear so she showed us the answer instead. We revised her instructions and when Stefan tried it, it went smoothly. Stefan was on a roll with all those puzzles! I solved all the puzzles earlier so I tried “hinting” to Steven and Farina the answers. Well, Griffin found my hints very “creative”. I only just told them the answer but they all figured I was just being philosophical. The answer was really outside of that box. They were so fixated on removing the box inside the square when all they had to do was remove the matches that were OUTSIDE of that box. Needless to say, everyone was reduced to laughters due to my not-so-obvious hint. Griffin had a great time watching us suffer with her puzzles but they were interestingly unique and not at a mind blowing difficulty level.
Stefan arrived not long after and we moved into a classroom to practice the flow of our game. We played our video clips and went through our roles for the actual day. We did not officially test Stefan’s puzzles so we took the time test his puzzles. He had a target challenge and a information collecting challenge for his spec ops/comms role. We all had a go firing Nerf bullets to hit the target. I realised my hidden talent of aiming as I had 4 out of 5 points for the first puzzle. Hey! Guess I’m suitable for the tactician and spec ops role too! (Woohooo I’m an all rounder!) Because of that, we had doubts on our background story for our characters as well. Farina even mentioned the tactician was supposed to be a soldier in the past but Griffin scored 3 points (lol)! Fun and jokes aside, we had Stefan test all the puzzles after all the changes and it went smoothly and he got all the correct answers within the time limit. We also fixed Griffin’s final puzzle as well because one part did not make sense at all. We needed a clean transition for the puzzles.
After everything was finalised and having many bullets fired, we called it a wrap for the final meeting. Here’s to hoping for a well executed game when our lecturer tests the game this Friday! (fingers crossed.)
Video logs and audio logs ! We met at uni on a Friday morning to shoot our video log. We wanted a digital platform to help drive the narrative so Steven wrote up the script for the resistance’s leader. Griffin and I collaborated on finding the best lighting that would create a mysterious feel by creating a silhouette of the leader. Griffin took production courses prior to this so she had the most experience in lighting. We finished shooting within an hour and a half. Efficiency ! Well, it helped that we only had three small parts to film. Farina raised an interesting idea of recording our audios for the in-game experience for Dan so that we have proof recordings of the game experience to go with our project. So while we are to act as our characters on the day itself, we can also have an audio file to hand in with our project.
After the progress update on Wednesday, I tested Griffin’s puzzles and we worked on rewording her questions to give a clearer instructions on what the players should look at. The puzzles were relatively easy and requires a little bit of effort in thinking. I enjoyed the puzzles and the ideas Griffin came up with. Farina was working on the logo and the base layout. As she worked on the base layout, I realised there were three doors on the map and decided I should create puzzles for each door for the hacker to unlock.
Therefore, the puzzles I’m thinking of was becoming more complex like decoding audio wave files, creating a puzzle and circuit flows. Typically all those movies you watch on automated security doors, I visualise what it would need to unlock those type of machines in a simple puzzle. I’ve also simplified the sudoku and I might probably use riddles and hints to help the players.
That’s the end of the third update! Till next time.
Just this week, we had the progress update “talk”. We say talk because presentation is so formal and intimidating. So this talk was about updating our peers on the progress of our work – both the finished and the future progress. To summarise the talk, here are some slides that we created to show our progress:
THE NARRATIVE STYLE
THE PUZZLE DEVELOPMENT
THE FLOOR PLAN
THE EXECUTION PLAN
THE NEXT STEP
That’s just about what we have done for the past two weeks after the Week 8 presentation! It’s very exciting yet daunting at the same time to see the project coming together. Hopefully the players that play our game will have as much fun as we had making these puzzles.
Week 10 was the week where we finally solidified our narrative. We have been going around the narrative, creating a rather complex story and then narrowing it down. The endless puzzle ideas have created a disorganised workflow and we were running out of time. It went on an endless loop of debates. Finally, as a group, we finalised the narrative and we stopped thinking of the puzzles that could complicate story any further. We decided to fit the puzzles according to the narrative instead.
Before the meeting, I have created the first puzzle for ‘The Hacker’. This puzzle is a sudoku piece with a hidden password in it. The reason is to create a false sense of “algorithm” decrypting act. As a terrible hacker, I can only create puzzles based on number games I’ve come across before (DISCLAIMER: I have never learned to hack nor do I have the interest to be one in the future! …but they’re cool). I took 12 minutes to complete the puzzle. After solving the puzzle, I added a little flare by inserting a hidden password so it gives a sense of completed decryption. Bringing this puzzle to the table, we have finalised the narrative and since we have an overlap of “location” puzzles, I’m changing my hidden password to unlocking doors that have been shut tight during the lockdown.
At the same time, we received feedback for our pitch presentation that we presented in Week 8. It was a little disappointing but admittedly reasonable as our pitch was all over the place. We tried to keep information of our puzzles, in fear that we would have exposed our ideas too much. That led us to our slight downfall. During the feedback, we were told that we did not explain much of our puzzles and it was disappointing because we actually had the idea in mind at that time. All in all, it was a valuable experience that we should be as detailed as possible without giving out too much of our motifs.
Week 9 has just passed by so fast. We are definitely behind schedule in the execution layout. Due to the time constraints I suggested to do an episodic game. Instead of completing the whole story of the alien invasion, I suggested to do an introductory episode like training the new recruits.