After returning to my research from week 2, I had to compile all of my research into one single document. I started by writing the annotated bibliographies and pasting them over to my thesis document. I spoke with my professor during class hours to figure out the layout of some of my content. I realized that I have a lot of writing and rewriting to accomplish, but I left certain sections to be completed later on in the Thesis course.
Around this time, my biggest concerned revolved around my thesis statement, its relevance, and user testing. In regards to my thesis question, I had a rough time trying to redefine my question, and framing it to fit with the research I already had. Parth and I met up and exchanged our questions with each other in order to get insight on each others’ theses questions. We also came up with questions that would help us answer some of our user testing approaches, and clarify our methodologies. Some questions we asked ourselves for my thesis included:
- Can games evoke emotions in players?
- Is it possible for someone to not feel something?
- If people are feeling static, what is keeping them motivated in games?
- What activity contributes to bring out emotional values?
- What components contribute to evoking emotions in gameplay?
- How can you determine if those components are what is keeping players emotionally evoked?
- How can you test this research accurately?
- How can dynamics create emotional aesthetics?
- How do you know if they are emotionally enticed and not mechanically? Or is there a difference?
- Why are you researching this?
As a result, my thesis question has been reframed to:
- How can gameplay keep players emotionally engaged?
The answer to this question will be through enticement, where the motivational pull of games, game feel, run-time behaviours, emotional spaces, flow and affect theories, and possibly colour theories all play a role in keeping players emotionally engaged. I continued on with my research into how affect and flow theory plays a part in enticement. However, I had to quickly put the research to an abrupt stop in order to figure out gameplay in our prototype.
Once we had our questions and research settled, we continued to conceptualize our game and the drawing mechanic we had. We started to ask ourselves how it would be implemented in gameplay, and how it would not be a repetition of the games Okami and Okamiden. The main questions to our game were:
- How can players communicate with the forest?
- How is drawing glyphs to talk fun?
- What is the motivation in talking to forest objects?
We started by asking ourselves: How do people react to loss of a friend or family? We grouped some general emotions and decided to start with four common reactions that people have: shock, confusion, denial, and anger. Once we’ve listed a series of behaviours that people portray in these situations, we proceeded with listing steps that people do to communicate with each other, such as identifying the problem, listening to the situation, and offering a solution. We concluded that we can use glyphs as a method of conversing and asking for favours, while other interactions are mainly for creating action to the objects. We decided to should build a scene and test out the interactions before building the narrative.
After speaking with both professors, we were able to finalize the path we were taking to complete our research, and come up with more possibilities for our glyphs system. During this time, I started creating assets that can be put into the project. In order to begin, I spent some time figuring out the concept designs we would have for this scene. I started with the shrine.
While I thought drawing these concepts out would make it easier for me, I found it harder to conceptualize my thoughts through drawing. I decided to change gears and start to look at more concept arts from where I left off. With Parth’s help in finding concepts, I was able to generate a smaller platform for the shrine.
In the picture above, there is a harp placed at the centre of the platform. The idea behind the Harp is to use it as a gravestone for the character’s friend, as his name is Harp. After this idea was pitched, we decided to make our game have some relation to harp symbols, while Parth pitched the idea to use harp sound effects and music in the game.
At this point, I needed to create plants to detail the area a bit more. I started to look into plants, and how various dead trees/stumps. As a result, I created a low poly tree, where the branches can fall apart.
I continued to make assets for bushes. I decided to model one leaf and use that to model the bush. Considering our device performance, I kept the leaf at a lower poly to prevent generating a process-heavy object. As an end result, I created a small bush-like plant.
Since this did not work out very well as a bush, I carried on and tried other styles and methods to create a bush. Using the same technique, I rearranged the leaves differently to produce a bush.
Parth later refined these bushes in Unity using shaders. Continuing with the assets, I researched on various trees, and how different styles can generate various emotions. The tree is still incomplete, but in the process, I am also researching how to model trees effectively.
I painted a potential leaf for the tree in the process to see if I would be able to use it to model a “sad” tree. The idea is to use this image on a plane, and to manipulate the plane to form leaves for a tree to keep objects from having too many faces, which would make the game lag.