Lance Laughlin

I'm a graduating New Media Interactive Development student from the Rochester Institute of Technology. I blog about open source software and web development

Month: December, 2013

Fractionauts Play Test

So this week some members of my team went to the Allendale Columbia School to play test our game: Fractionauts. Allendale Columbia is a pretty nifty private school in Rochester that focuses on preparing students for college at a very young age. I was unfortunately not able to go to the play testing sessions due to having classes; however, my team filled me in on how the play tests went.

Overall, we got some pretty positive feedback from the kids but they obviously had some criticisms as well (which is awesome! That’s what we needed). Some of the criticism we received was:

  • More on-screen directions, make it very clear
    – This is definitely some good feedback and we already planned to add more directions to the game. This is actually one of the deliverable I’ll be adding to the game before we release it.
  • Give feedback when the answer is wrong (it’s only given when the answer is right)
    – This was a planned feature as well. Should be fairly easy to implement since we already have the correct answer screen. We will need to decide how we want to handle incorrect answers. Likely they will just be given unlimited shots at getting the correct answer
  • Beating the game should increase difficulty, or difficulty should increase as you progress through levels (right now it’s kind of random)
    – This is definitely needed. Currently our levels are just pulled in for jSON. I’ve been working on a questions class that will randomly generate a new questions for the player. We will need to implement a way of gradually increasing the difficulty of the questions.
  • Kids suggest putting buttons in top-right
    – This can be done…will need to see what the rest of the group thinks about this. Mostly a trivial issue.
  • Kids suggest a “hint” button
    – I think this could be beneficial especially if the child is having trouble with a question. Ideally I would like to make this work in a way that they are given the choice for a hint after failing 3 times or something similar in order to deter kids just from grabbing a hint without really trying to solve the problem

It’s beginning to look a lot like quarters

….everywhere you go. Aren’t we supposed to be done with classes now? This time last year we would be starting new classes with a clean slate. So far this semester things have felt a bit…slow. You have longer to work on projects and you cover more things in class; however, there is a lot of uncertainty felt by both students and professors (I think anyway). Unfortunately for me, I got caught up in the slow semester system and now I’m being faced with a large chunk of work and short amount of time to complete it. It looks like my last 2 weeks or so will look and feel a lot like quarters did.

Before the end of the semester I have: A PHP movie-based project (which is currently on hold because Rotten Tomatoes has yet to activate my API key…it’s been 3 weeks.), a portfolio redesign, our HFOSS team project – Fractionauts, a data visualization project that will map crime data in Rochester as well as a final paper for my Civil War America class and 4 journal entries also for Civil War America. I’m starting to feel a bit overwhelmed; however, I know I can get it done.

Our HFOSS project is slowly moving along. We are mostly on schedule and once we finish the first level implementing the remaining levels shouldn’t be too much trouble. Everyone in the group has been pretty good with contributing to the project, I think having Thanksgiving break and all of us being pretty swamped with work has definitely made things a bit more difficult. We will probably have to sprint to get everything wrapped up that we had planned. I am confident we’ll be able to pull it off though.

I forsee a few all-nighters in my future. Let’s do this.