nlov_proto_1 2015-03-03 01-57-16-20
“No Lack Of Void”, Prototype I

After an intermission an update. Yesterday was the first official review by all dedicated teachers of the progress made thus far. Although the recent impassivity of this blog does not reflect it, I have made some considerable headway as far as the feasibility of Exit Pursued By A Bear. The first prototype is complete, and based on findings yielded by it I found myself able to draw up a more detailed production plan for the coming months. Lastly, the feedback received has been both encouraging and useful.

Firstly, the prototype. No Lack Of Void (Prototype I) features two playable blobs in a featureless void, save for one deceptively real tree. The blobs can move about with the left stick of a controller, while the right stick is mapped to the neck bone  of the character model, enabling the player to precisely control the head movements of his or her blob, effectively being able to puppeteer a performance. Other features of the prototype are teleporting zones just outside the camera’s bounds, resulting in any object leaving the stage left entering the stage right, and vice versa.

Surprisingly, the simple empowerment of having your character look up, down or to the sides was quickly picked up on by most test players and used to its full expressive advantage. Players emoted sadness, confusion, derision and many other expressions through the simple act of moving their necks. It was generally thought of as a fun feature, which allowed them to play in ways games generally don’t allow for, which, considering that is more or less this game’s mission statement, is quite encouraging. Therefore, this feature can be considered somewhat proven and worthy of further research.

The presentation itself was largely a fermentation of things already mentioned on this blog. The main question still stands and the sub-questions have not meaningfully changed or progressed. There has been a considerable précis as far as the actual research path is concerned, which I’ll outline below.

Research Trajectories.

Basically, considering the large amount of unknowns in this project, I thought it prudent to split up the bulk of the research into four separate but intertwined Research Trajectories.

  1. The MacGuffin Trajectory. This one deals primarily with the formulation and execution of gameplay scenarios that aid but do not directly mandate self- and inter-expression.
  2. The Expression Trajectory. This one researches what manner or range of expression can or should be used, the minimum amounts
  3. The Visual Trajectory. This one deals primarily with visual design of the characters, the world and the governing aesthetic.
  4. The Player/User Trajectory. This one deals with player experience, installation designs and further study of extraludic intraplayer relationship.

These trajectories are easy to spread over a working week and can accommodate each other. This and next week are proving grounds for this – evaluation to follow.