Week Three.

Everyone’s work has been moving along on pace. New art assets are being made and tested in Vive, the puzzle API has a usability deadline of this upcoming Wednesday, and each designer has had their major tasks for the sprint defined. David and I have spoken a lot on how to tell the narrative, providing what I believe (and hope) will be our last major pivot on what the story’s intended experience is. Now that is it defined, we decided I’d finish the character and plot outline writing so they’d be more naturally connected to puzzles. In the mean time he’ll be handling our audio design work for the sprint (music research, foley asset generation, and editing). Mike and I have spoken a few times about how to handle level design, since which hes looked into the project file, begun visual design documentation, and sketched out several tutorial routes. This week has been great to see each designer’s different tasks make meaningfully progress.

Speaking with Ben (Professor) during class this week had I as well as a few others think over exactly what the product is now and how to concisely state it to someone completely unfamiliar. My current iteration of our statement:

“Dissonance is a narrative VR puzzle experience for the HTC Vive. You wake up in an abandoned home and while trying to make your way out, find yourself lost within the memories of its former occupants. By following cryptic messages appearing on your phone, you will unravel the story and space around you towards eventually escaping.”

He provided a though provoking string of questions to much better define and communicate what we have and intend for the project. I do think they certainly helped JC and I get on the same page as far as our market goes. My favorite part of the discussion was probably when he drew a line labeled “Intensity” between Gone Home and Resident Evil 7 and asked where Dissonance would be marked between. I placed it considerably closer to Gone Home, though certainly left room because this is by no means a love story. With that we also spoke about how to properly set a player’s expectation towards a product even when fundamental parts of the game’s tone and them could be recognized as spoilers. It was an interesting talk.

To touch back on the technical issue of last week. Brian seems to have remedied the broken shader issues without too much of a word (There’s a reason hes listed as Art Wizard in our Wiki). Though apparently now we know that with the forward rendered our entire lighting configuration is screwed unless we fix our level loading. One of the dandy workarounds we’ve had with Unreal and VR was Gill’s decision to use level streaming for our room transitions. Therefore avoiding the immersion monkey wrench that is VR loading screens. Though with each room streamed into the same level, the lighting now overlaps each streamed space, making it quite the lighting data mess. Luckily it’s an easy fix moving each scene a distance from each other and just tying them together with code when played. If I had to have a technical concern at the moment it’d more likely be our new hand code, just for being buggy as hell. Thought I expect they’ll settle out once Gill can focus on them, just a pain to test with.

The next upcoming Wednesday will mark our transition to “Sprint 2”. We don’t have official sprints any more so it’s mostly self imposed to organize. This transition marking the need for a STABLE build for all varieties of content to be implemented, beginning work with our outsourced audio friends, and actually starting the game’s QA for this semster. Heres hoping we stay on track enough to achieve each by the sprint’s first week.