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Music
Written by Luke   
Sunday, 21 March 2010 14:50

What it says on the tin. I've been composing 5 pieces of music over the last week or so, one for each of our characters. There is no research and case studies up on the wiki yet but there will be in the coming days. It was difficult to capture the right mood for each of the characters, especially the likes of Helena and Rendon, who I had to try and make more ambient and less memorable than our narrative based characters. Finding the balance with Jake was difficult as well, but I'm happy enough all 5 themes work as they should.

 
KTS
Written by Luke   
Saturday, 06 March 2010 14:25

My task for this week is to do some more detailed research into the Kiersey Temperament Sorter. Namely, the sort of questions it asks, the accuracy of results, time taken to complete and how we can go about doing this.

The test can be taken FREE at http://www.keirsey.com. It requires a log in but after creating an account you seem to be able to take the test as many times as you want. I've taken it more than once on my account and it hasn't stopped me yet, anyway. After completing the test, the website gives you what they call a "Mini report". This tells you which of the four 'Temperaments' you fall into and gives an explanation as to what that consists of. For example, here is the first paragraph or so of my results:

 


 

 

Your Keirsey Temperament Sorter Results indicates that your personality type is that of the

Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self -- always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials.

 



 

This result is free. Now, within each temperament there are four 'Types'. For example, the four types of idealist are 'Champion', 'Counselor', 'Healer' and ' Teacher'. In order to get an 'advanced report' including these more specific results costs about $20 each time, so that's about £15 per person we test. Fortunately, we're not concerned with this level of result, so the free test will do us just fine.

The KTS itself consists of 71 questions and takes around 10 minutes to complete when answering questions honestly. There are some questions that make you think "What do they mean by that?" but these don't crop up too often and for most of the questions I felt that one of the two otpions given applied more to me. Here are the first 5 questions on on instance of the KTS (Each time you take the sorter the order of the questions are randomized, it seems, but the questions themselves remain the same):

 



 

1. If you must disappoint someone are you usually:

frank and straightforward OR warm and considerate

2. Which appeals to you more:

harmonious relationships OR consistency of thought

3. In sizing up others do you tend to be:

friendly and personal OR objective and impersonal

4. At work is it more natural for you to:

point out mistakes OR try to please others

5. In making up your mind are you more likely to go with:

data OR desires

 

 
Alpha
Written by Luke   
Monday, 01 March 2010 03:47

Well the team met up yesterday to compile scripting work that we had all done for the artefact. Each of us had taken one or two scenarios to create scripts, conversations and animations for et cetra. To be honest there was quite a lot that needed fixing and re-scripting with a few of the modules people had done. Mine, for example was pretty rubbish as my test characters kept getting killed by the enemy I had spawn in as part of the scenario! But when one of us isn't too good at an area the others in the team are doing a good job in picking up the slack, so after a long old meeting we got everything done that needed to be done. Ross and Lloyd also put together the milestone presentation that we'll be giving this week.

The next step is to test and refine the functionality of the artefact, both within the team and with people we know that we wont be using as subjects in the testing phase. We're still working out the exact timings but most likely I'd say this will take up a week or two before we're ready to get stuck in and think about moving onto the testing phase.

Luke

 
Words words words
Written by Luke   
Sunday, 07 February 2010 14:02

Right, update from the last time I blogged, which I believe to have been at the end of the cretaceous period. My duty over the winter holiday was to create out 'Marketplace Hub' level, something I completed with a good amount of detail and I was very happy with the result. That is until unexplainable problems stopped us being able to load the module, and when we finally fixed that some buildings when placed in certain positions on the map decided that their blocking volumes should be three times the size of normal, causing pathing issues.

Still, with a few prop deletions and some moving about of houses, we managed to get it working. Rich is now looking at 'Idle' NPC behaviour scripting whilst I took up the challenge of writing dialogue for Lauren, our 'Personal Narrative' character.

At today's meeting I will be showing this to the rest of the team, as we are all collaborating the tasks we have done, whether that be dialogue, scripting, whatever. It's always a strangely nervous thing, showing your team your creative...works. Whilst in my head all this dialogue sounded good, to someone else it might be rubbish. We'll see.

One worry I'm having is that we pretty much decided as a team not to have recorded voice acting for various reasons. Namely that of the testers recognizing the voices of whoever we got to do it. This is all well and good, but I think Lauren will need a VA. In the short amount of time the player will be spending with her, I don't think we're going to be able to get the right level of emotional delivery from text and animations alone.

Luke

 
Customary pre-meeting blog!
Written by Luke   
Sunday, 29 November 2009 14:34

This week we completed our first milestone revolving around narrative. Seeing as or presentation of said milestone is next Friday that puts us about a week ahead of schedule! So with that done I have been mostly chilling out, though we are beginning our level design and prototyping phase now. As a result since Friday I've done a few rough layouts for the marketplace hub, but only really happy with one of them. All pen and paper at the moment and I'm not Captain artistic, but I think the layout is decent at least. We'll talk about it at the meeting in half an hour and whatever final designs we decide on will be done properly in MS Visio before building them in the NWN2 engine.

Luke

 
Drunk on Power
Written by Luke   
Sunday, 22 November 2009 02:32

I am in charge of the team until the conclusion of the first milestone next week! It's going well so far, nobody has attempted a coup d'état yet, so that's a positive. In Friday's meeting we established about 90% of the world narrative, which is excellent, and brainstormed a few character ideas. We are all brainstorming more character ideas at the moment and will put them together at Sunday's meeting at 3PM.

We have pretty much decided on the use of a Market Place as a hub, however I have a minor problem with that setting. My worry is that to make a convincing market, we'll need quite a large amount of NPCs. Now it is easy enough to make these random NPCs uninteresting and we can simply not give them conversation trees, but we must make sure our important characters stand out as we don't want randomers to become distracting in such a short artefact. 70 hour Dragon Age, this is not.

Player Character - Leon

A high ranking member of the town guard, the artefact takes place during his daily patrol of the market. He knows all 5 NPCs personally. I have given him a name, though this is not a necessity. But it might be more believable if our NPCs refer to him by name in certain situations, and it also makes it easier to describe the NPCs relationship with the PC in designs. I chose Leon because it is relatively interesting and uncommon, but not too much of a mouthful.

Rosa

I thought Rosa was a nice, simple, and appropriate name for the 'personal narrative character', ie the love interest. She is a seamstress, and sells the clothes she makes at a stall in the market. She is friendly with Leon and speaks to him every day as he does his patrol. She lives alone in a small house near the market. This house is owned by her mother, but she works as a servant in the castle and so lives there. Her father died of an illness a few years ago. When Rosa meets Leon in the market, she asks for his help in ridding her house of a spirit that has appeared. When Leon arrives it is a very small task to remove it, and then the scenario can focus on the interaction between the two.

Despite needing help with the spirit and not being a fighter, Rosa isn't easily scared. She has to be likeable, and will be confident around Leon. She takes quite an obvious interest in him, but doesn't make conversations awkward. She has a good sense of humour and likes to ask Leon about his history and dreams, and enjoys telling him about her own as well. She is lively, cheerful, and likes to make physical contact alot. Her humour is very important, and I think it is important the player can have the option to make jokes at her expense and have her laugh about it. Characters who don't take every little thing to heart tend to me much more likable. (Morrigan Disapproves - 10)

Moravici

I have no idea where that name came from, I was just thinking of something Italian sounding after playing far too much AC2 and that came to me. I think it is quite suiting for an elderly scholar, which is what I consider our world narrative character to be. Moravici works at the castle and has spoken to Leon on a few occasions there. He is in town picking up some more writing equipment, and when the player speaks to him the conversation ends with him offering to explain to Leon a bit about the history of Northreach. Moravici says he will be available in the castle library all day.

Anton

This is 'Mysterio', and if possible I'd like to give him a big scar over one of his eyes. Because nothing is more intriguing and mysterious then wondering where a big wound came from. All that is known about Anton is that he is a former soldier who sustained heavy injuries during one battle, hence his diminished combat efficiency now. He lost something very dear to him a few years ago in a mission into one of the dungeons below the city, and he has finally decided to retrieve it. As such, he is in the market picking up equipment and looking for somebody to help him.

Draco

The gruff, buff, 'Tank' character and another part of the Town Watch. He's in the market looking for Leon, and says that some monsters have managed to get in the city and are causing mild havoc at the library. He wants the PC to meet him there ASAP.

Lucinda

She is the healer. Very similar to Draco in her personality, what little of it there is to concern ourselves with. She passes on a message to Leon from his superior that there are some bandits hanging out at one of the old abandoned warehouses on the outskirts, and he has to clean them out before the end of the day. Lucinda has been told to back him up, and she will be waiting for him outside the warehouse when he is ready.

 

Right, I think that's enough for character brainstorming! Back to Assassin's Creed 2.

Luke

 
Creativity fail
Written by Luke   
Thursday, 19 November 2009 13:14

I'm good at writing narratives so I'm irritated at having a bit of a creative block at the moment in regards to our artefact. The main problem is the length. When you're used to writing stories for 30+ hour RPGs a 30 minute adventure of which only a portion of which will involve experiencing the narrative is rather challenging. Usually I like to make a world as deep as possible. That includes detailed history of the world and each town in it. In includes an in-depth examination of each nation's political structure, religions, economic and military strength. The laws of the world need to be decided ie is there magic? Why? How does it work?

Most of this stuff has to be done away with for this artefact. There is simply no purpose to create depth that is never going to be discovered. All we need is something to contextualise the artefact, and a relatively small amount of background information to give our narrative orientated NPCs something to harp on about.

At the moment, I'm thinking along the lines of a military occupation by another nation. This gives our love interest motivation: "Hold me in these times of need". Our bard has sufficient material for his lectures on: "These two nations have been at loggerheads since the dawn of time. Or a decade ago take your pick". Our gameplay orientated characters also have some bad guys to slay. Everyone likes taking part in rebellions.

Another idea is that the player character takes the role of a member of a royal guard, and is of relatively high rank. This should give the player reasonable access to other people at the castle. Fellow guard members for battles, scholars in the library for the world narrative, and I dunno....maybe a maid he fancies for the love interest, or the queen herself? A castle might also make quite a good and believable 'hub' for the player to wander around and find each NPC in their contextually relevant locations.

Luke

 

 
Brainwave
Written by Luke   
Sunday, 15 November 2009 16:26

One of the issues brought up with messers Brian & Phil when we gave out pitch presentation was the issue of scenario ordering ie. Which character scenario do we give the players first? The worry was that players would just vote for whoever they last played as, a condition we playfully refer to as X-Factor syndrome.

So I have just had an idea. How about we let the player choose? Imagine this: we have a central hub with 5 NPCs lined up along a wall/sat around a table/whatever. You can go up to any NPC and he or she will give you a brief introduction. So the love interest may say "Hello, my name is Laura. I think you are uber-sexy, would you like to come to my house where we can get to know each other more intimately?". Whereas the gameplay orientated "Tank" character might say "'sup. They call me Captain Death. Let's go smash some dragons with a spade".

This would allow us to find what type of NPC had the most initial appeal for each personality type. The player would then play through all 5 scenarios in whatever order they choose and then fill out our questionnaire, which would tell us which character has more lasting appeal for their personality type.

Discuss.

Luke

 
Minutes again
Written by Luke   
Sunday, 15 November 2009 13:16

Once again we are all updated in the minutes section, apart from the 3rd of November meeting where we received our infamous design document feedback, as we don't have a recording for that though. Subsequent minutes from the 10th summarise the main points.

Luke

 
Captain Blog
Written by Luke   
Friday, 13 November 2009 12:01

It's Friday today, and I am going through my usual process of catching up on all the backlogged minutes. So fear not all you avid Saturn Design enthusiasts, updates are on the way! More information will be revealed as usual in our quarterly newsletter, on the off chance that such a thing exists one day. It's interesting listening to the recordings of old meetings again now that they are out of date, especially the 30th October ones where we had a chat with Brian and Phil which led to the re-conception of the very fundamentals of our project. Our problem was twofold. Firstly: profiling and categorizing (<- Z or S? Cast your votes cause I don't bleedin' know! Google Chrome is happy with Z, but they're American) people into appropriate groups, and secondly retaining test subjects for two separate sessions. The latter was always going to be problematic, what with the needles and experimental drugs we'd be using if I had my way.

The solution was to not let me have my way, and also to reduce our experiment to one artefact, although in our report we will mention the second artefact as an area of further study if we were given more time and willing subjects. As for profiling, we will be splitting subjects into four psychological groups using the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which is just a quick google search away if you are interested.

We also got a good tearing into for our report writing after the submission of the design document, which is fair enough. We now know how to improve it for the final report so that we don't, you know, fail miserably!

Luke

 
Plumbing Complete!
Written by Luke   
Tuesday, 27 October 2009 23:47

No longer are the meeting minutes backlogged! Check the Meeting Minutes section of the Wiki to check out the awesome if you are so inclined.

Luke

 
Quick Update
Written by Luke   
Tuesday, 27 October 2009 04:23

OK, we have been working! Just alot of it has been planning and discussion rather than tangible stuff to go on the website. Made a new WIKI page now though and update it with some character case studies, I will edit them and add more as time goes on. Minutes from our latest meeting will be up some point tomorrow, with luck before Claire and Amanda's lecture, if not then later that night. Questionnaire task that I have to do is still in the planning phase, but there shouldn't be any rush as we have to complete design doc pitch and plan before this sort of thing becomes useful! And we will do plenty more of the design doc pitch and plan during our Team Meeting later later today (Meetings are usually on Wednesday but we have shifted this one as I will be away).

Luke

 
Creatve Blog Title #744-B
Written by Luke   
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 11:19

We met last Wednesday, met with Brian and Phil on Friday, Met again on Sunday and off very soon to see Claire and Amanda today. Noone can accuse this team of not being organised! This week I've been busy with lots of research and have filled in the wiki quite a bit. I didn't get as much done for today as I was hoping for, my race/age/gender page currently has about 3 lines on it, but I've found more relevant info and that'll be in the wiki before our team meeting tomorrow at 1PM.

I also typed up the minutes for the three meetings we had this week, and uploaded transcripts to the wiki. I may be submitting the original .doc files onto the media page as well, Rich is gonna run me through publishing bits on there today.

Luke

 
NPC - Additional Factors
Written by Luke   
Thursday, 08 October 2009 17:54

A thought occurs that I want to make a note of. In our discussions thus far, we've considered some factors that may help players become attached to NPCs, such as body language, dialogue, and how they are used in gameplay. But what about elements that have nothing to do with the NPC? What about things like environments, for example? Am I more likely to become emotionally attached to an NPC if I am interacting with them in a forest as opposed to an empty white room?

Also - Another book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1592003532/ref=sib_rdr_dp

Luke

 
Establishing Research
Written by Luke   
Thursday, 08 October 2009 16:00

We met up as per our usual meeting time on Wednesday and discussed what progress had been made, where to go from here etc. All the minutes from these meetings will be available at some point in the "Media" section of the website. Anyway, my tasks for this week were the minutes from the meeting, general research and filling out the Wiki, which I am in the midst of doing now.

 

Namely, I found an excellent article on Gamasutra, which is an extract from a book that I may well buy. I've fully referenced the article and the book it is sourced from on the useful links page, and I'm currently editing a new wiki page in order to pick out the important lessons from the article. Below is the link to the article and to the book preview on google books, I'll look through the whole thing later on and make a decision as to whether it is worth buying. I recommend everyone else check this out, there's lots of good stuff I found after a quick browse through the contents page, "Interview with Nicole Lazarro" being one of the stand outs.

Also note another good case study from this article: ICO.

Article: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3465/book_excerpt_better_game_.php

Book preview

Oh yeah, we've also decided to meet Sundays at 3PM from now on as well.

Luke

 
Minutes
Written by Luke   
Friday, 02 October 2009 00:16

Minutes from the Team Saturn meeting of 30th September have been transcribed and saved, let me know anyone who wants a copy. Just one page A4.

Remember: Meeting with supervisors 2PM in C1-08.

Luke

 
First Post and Link
Written by Luke   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 22:20

New website, new team blogs. Always an exciting time.

We had our first meeting today, we recorded a lot of the admin details, decided what we wanted to do for the website and assigned a couple of jobs for the first week. Mine, for example, is to type up the minutes of our first meeting, which I'll be doing over the next few days.

On my travels, I came across this report, which may or may not be handy. It's all about ethnic diversity in games and I thought it could be helpful when it comes to NPC design.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/18591840/Minority-Characters-In-Video-Games-Report

Luke