Sunday, 12 February 2017

Report on the installation for Digital Dystopias Festival at Middleton Hall

We were exceptionally lucky to have a test-run of the installation in a real scenario at the Digital Dystopias Festival at University of Hull. This ran from Friday (10/02/17) to Tuesday (14/02/17), and members of the public were able to play the game and give feedback on it.

Based on the feedback, I am thinking that the project is mostly successful, as people had fun playing it, gave some great suggestions to further the project, and also asked me very encouraging questions about the theme of it.

Here is a selection of the questions I was asked:
"What ship is that?"
"Why is this one called the Dianna?"
"Is this to do with Bowhead in the Maritime Museum?"
"Why did they hunt the whales?"
"Where did they hunt these whales?"
"What type of whale would they be hunting?"

The project seemed to be a hit with children around the age of 10, as they were repeat players of the game, even coming back to play it in between the events at the festival. They were also very observant, spotting a bug with a boat spawning before the game had started. They were also the majority of people who completed the game.

I was lucky to have a lot of Computer Science students at the event (due to the festival being centred on technology), and they seemed to all be very positive about what we had created, and also surprised that the project was from the Music department. Largely they were mostly interested in the Leap Motion itself, and asked a lot of questions about the device, and what it could be used for. This would suggest that the Leap is a nice talking point to entice visitors at the museum to get involved.

I found that asides from younger children, there was a definite spike in slightly older adults playing the game. This was great, and I'm not sure that would have been as much the case if we had presented a complicated game played with a mouse and keyboard. One major issue was that this group didn't always understand how to use the technology based on the message on the screen, and very few people read the explanation sheet accompanying the game. This means that the tutorial needs work, as I won't be (and should not need to be) there all week to explain the gameplay at the maritime museum.

The enclosure was not entirely up to scratch for the exhibition, having failed a theft test. Rob also wasn't happy with the aesthetic of melted plastic, so we are planning to fit a veneer over the top to address both issues. This should help by creating a more snug fit, whilst covering my blunders with the soldering iron.

Current to do list:

  • fix boat spawn before  the game starts
  • fix bug where timer doesn't stop if whale dies
  • speed up longboat movement?
  • fix a bug where harpoons sometimes don't return to the boat
  • reduce leap sensitivity
  • have a passive (indirect) tutorial - Ash has suggested recording a very brief video in the Maritime Museum with the finished enclosure to make it extra clear how to play the game.

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