Sunday, 12 August 2012

Feedback session: 3 weeks

After 3 weeks of development, we ran a feedback session in YCCSA to check that we were making a game people would like to play, and gather ideas for future versions.

After integrating the current game engine with the graphics, menu screens and levels produced so far, we gathered around 15 friendly people from YCCSA. They played the game on phones, tablets and laptops, and gave us loads of useful feedback that we will use to improve the game in future versions.

In general, people seemed to be really impressed with the game. They liked the originality of the game mechanic, the smooth, intuitive gameplay, and the graphics. In future versions, people asked to see more variety and animation in the environment, which would enable more puzzle-based levels and upgrades to exploit the complexity of the flocking algorithm.

We recorded 82 separate points that people made about the game! (A mixture of initial reactions, good points, bad points and ideas for improvement.) The main routes we identified for extending and improving the game are:
  1. Interactive environments
    1. Predators, water currents, animated obstacles.
    2. Feedback between the fish and their environment – the environment being able to damage the fish and affect their movement, and the fish being able to change and destroy their environment.
    3. This allows us to design puzzle-based levels, which the player must solve by understanding how the flocking fish interact with different types of environment.
  2. Upgrades
    1. Players can use points to buy upgrades for their fish/flock, and different types of fish.
    2. Different fish will have different skills, rather than being generally “better”. So the player can choose which fish/upgrades to use for each different puzzle level.
  3. Social Networks
    1. Different fish have different flocking parameters depending on which fish they are interacting with.
    2. This gives more mechanics for making puzzles, and more upgrade choices.
    3. Real fish behave like this, so this could make the game more biologically realistic, and allow it to be used for education/research, as well as for fun.
We also decided to make a website to explain the science behind flocking, and to host downloadable versions of the game.

A big thankyou to everyone who came to the feedback session. Your comments will really help to improve the game.

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