Chris Lucas, PPJ, Week 6

Tasks:

  • Programming Meeting: 30m 
  • Character Concept Art: 2hr
  • Murder-board Prototype Connections: 3hr 
  • Asset Pipeline Research: 1 hr 

Total Hours: 6hr 30m 

Positives: This week the prototyping team met up to discuss how we should handle prototyping the Murder Board. We decided to divide and conquer. One of the tangible parts about the Board is the ability for the player to draw their own connections between different pieces of evidence in red string, which is what I worked on. I made some custom scripts for Unity’s Line Renderer that allow us to draw different lines between evidence with one renderer, to and from different spots on a piece of evidence, and then move that evidence around during gameplay without breaking lines. I also spent some time researching Zbrush, Daz, and Marvelous Designer as potential programs to use during our character creation pipeline, so that after we finish character concept art, we can begin 3D style tests. Earlier this week, I also made a more defined version of one of my thumbnail sketches from the previous week.

 

Negatives: I was sick this week for almost 5 days, and mostly in bed. I got my prototyping done without having to go test in VR, but that’s a definite next step. The way the line renderer is implemented, the lines should be drawn based on the positions of the cards, whether they’re being moved around in VR or not. While I was in bed I researched art programs that might help us with asset production, but I definitely didn’t have as much energy as I normally do to work on this. 

Looking Ahead: Next week I should be up and about, and able to test in VR again. I’m also thinking that some of the line drawing scripts might need to be re-designed so that they can more easily handle non-linear connections between long chains of evidence from the same renderer.  

  • Continue Connection Prototyping
  • Merge Murderboard with VR hands interaction
  • Preparation of Week 7 Deliverables

 

Team PPJ, Fall Week 5

At this point, what ISN’T a prototype?!

We’ve had a busy and productive week here at Prediction Error Productions. From two extremely informative meetings with Professor Rob Lloyd and Jaleese Blanding-Coates to hours and hours of prototype completion, we made progress on all fronts.

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We discussed the design of themed attractions and entire experiences with Professor Lloyd, did some thinking about puzzle design, and spent time in a VR museum exhibit discussing challenges of the medium with Ms. Blanding-Coates. The art team completed several character concepts and a floorplan of the laboratory, from which we’ll work this week to expand the greybox room that was made today.

unknown.pngSamara, Erin, and Chris all worked on mechanic prototypes, continuing to iterate on work from previous weeks. Samara added sound files and dynamic reactions to the conversation system and created a rudimentary teleportation system from which we can build a more refined one. Chris got a set of VR hands working so we can craft interactions with the Oculus SDK (which we decided on after trying both it and VRTK). Erin designed and assembled a version of a puzzle that will end up in the game – it’s not much of a puzzle without art, but it will eventually work once it’s integrated into the scene.

teleportationPrototype

The sound team met to discuss direction and has started compiling a foundation of inspiration for the game’s soundtrack, including works from contemporary games and recordings from jazz greats such as Miles Davis.

Next week, we’ll be finishing up bringing our prototype work together for a deliverable work-in-progress, and continuing to push forward on the art front.

Chris Lucas, PPJ, Fall Week 5

Tasks:

  • Meeting with Jaleese Blanding-Coates: 2h
  • Character Thumbnails and Gothic Fashion Research: 1h
  • VR Scene and Hardware Debugging: 5 hr 
  • VR Hands Scene Grabbables Development: 2 hr 

Total Hours: 9hr 

Positives: This week the rest of the team and I had an amazing meeting with Jaleese Blanding-Coates, a Drexel Grad student currently making a VR game, and were able to demo her work, as well as talk to her in depth about the problems she was having with development, how to fix them, how she was approaching things like motion sickness and locomotion controls, how long each part of her development was taking, and more. She was an amazing resource for moving forward, and we got her contact for future demos. Using the Oculus Avatar SDK, I was able to get hand presence and finger motions implemented this week, as well as grabbing, throwing, etc. I also did some character thumbnail sketches to get a feel for what mix of gothic fashion and robotics we want in our characters.

Negatives: The bad came from development and hardware bugs. Unity not recognizing oculus apps, the oculus playing audio only and no video, SDKs in the project overlapping and throwing a billion errors, things like that. I also got a new laptop that can run VR so I can test on my own, which is a major “good”, but also bad because of initial setup bugs and admin problems needing to be smoothed out. Luckily most of these bugs got fixed Monday night, so the next week of development should be a lot more straightforward, fixing bugs in what we made instead of bugs in the hardware. 

Looking Ahead:

  • More expansive hands interactions 
  • Murderboard Prototype
  • Preparation of Week 6 Deliverables
  • More testing and prototyping in VR
  • More solidified concept art

 

Team PPJ, Fall Week 4

It’s been an intense week of concept arts and prototyping for the Prediction Error team.

 

Our art team met on Friday evening to discuss aesthetics. They assembled moodboards, discussed art style, specific requirements for concept art to be finished this week, and worked the rest of the week on creating concepts and making sure the whole team was aware of the visual direction for the project.

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unknown (4).pngPinterest boards created by the art team.

 

Programmers (and Chris) were hard at work on crafting tech demos and prototypes to be shown in Tuesday’s public pitch. Chris completed a demo for our camera mechanic, which both ‘takes’ pictures and recognizes the objects in front of it. Samara inegrated her database work into Unity and set up a complete conversation interaction with two separate conversations. Erin worked to blend these prototypes into one scene. This is in preparation for a complete greybox with all interactions included – the camera and conversation this week, plus one prototype puzzle, teleportation around the room, and a murder board for next week.

 

Chris’ camera prototype.

 

Samara’s conversation prototype (which also includes a second conversation if the player walks away and returns).

 

On Monday, our team sat down with Dr. Frank Lee to discuss lessons learned from last year’s project Shadow of a Doubt, so we may avoid some of the pitfalls that team ran into. Corey Arnold, Program Manager for the Entrepreneurial Game Studio, was also present in the meeting and helped the team a great deal. We discussed the shortcomings of many senior projects: organization, project management, and having someone there to make final decisions. We also talked about why we were working in VR instead of other mediums.

Dr. Lee stressed the importance of creating visceral emotional experiences, especially when it comes to VR, and suggested some other ideas as examples of what we could do. Corey, also present at the meeting, facilitated plot discussion. He explained that if we were going for high emotional reactions to situations, a detective is the cool detached persona and might not evoke the reaction we want in the player. He also suggested that we think about having the body of the victim in the room with the player. We left the meeting with several ideas on how to improve the player’s experience in our story, and how to continue to scope down to manageable level.

Finally, the team and leads spent time refining the new narrative idea and preparing for our second public pitch on October 16th. Next week, we’re looking forward to lots of new concept art, a GDD overhaul, new mechanic prototypes, and a full greyboxed room with all these interactions!

Team PPJ, Fall Week 3

This week marked large changes for the Prediction Error team. After a meeting with our advisor, Dr. Muschio, we determined that it would be in our best interests to pursue an idea of smaller scope for our senior project. This determination led to a Monday evening work session, where the game development and programming teams met to discuss a new idea. We decided to shift to a puzzle detective game, still in virtual reality, without the weight of discussing such a delicate topic as sexual assault, which would require a larger team and more development time to handle appropriately.

 

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Our new direction focuses on the murder of an esteemed local inventor, who is killed during a public expo of his works at his mansion’s laboratory. Suspects are trapped in the laboratory via a “panic button,” and the player must uncover the gruesome truth behind the inventor’s experiments.

This week included a great deal of work creating asset lists and other elements for our new direction. We, as a team, explored the questions and interactions that we wanted to guide our game. We listed the types of puzzles we’d like to include around the room, placing particular emphasis on those that would be interesting in VR and make the best use of our medium.

 

Organizing thematic material on Dan.

When you run out of handy wall space, improvise.

 

Documentation and concept development continues to be a priority as we prepare for our second public pitch next week and begin work prototyping…

 

Ah yes. Prototyping. The other main task for the team this week was the beginning of proofs-of-concept and interaction prototypes, which were created and added to the repository. Two prototypes were created: one demonstrated the “camera” mechanic we plan to include and tie into our player’s “murder wall,” and the other modeled a very simple puzzle that featured VR interactions, including grasping objects, snapping them into position, and event handling through VRTK, the virtual reality toolkit asset we will be using to aid us in developing interactions for VR and handling input from various headsets and controllers.

 

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There’s still lots of work to do. From completing our Gantt chart and refining our asset list to beginning to block out our scene in the Unity editor to drafting artistic concepts and meeting with our sound team and writing dialogue, we have plenty of good work to look forward to.