Thesis: Week 10 Feedback

My short week 10 presentation slides can be viewed here through Google Drive.

This post is mostly about the very informative feedback I got after the presentation and what it means to my project.

It was clear that I need to build a lot more story and context around these perspective shifts in order to gage whether or not they have meaning. It was expressed that interactions made through text can be amusing but it might be better to show them through animations. I find short text interactions really fun (pretty simple underlying logic, but surprisingly satisfying to interact with),  but they may conflict with the theme of daydreaming. I find animations pretty easy to make, but figuring out how to implement them in my newer version of Unity is one of my next steps.

People found it important to think about the settings and daydreaming quality I’m trying to evoke when considering whether or not to use text or narration. Text may conflict with the idea of dreaming, as it’s not typically something you can do when you’re dreaming. Voice-over can play to the idea of daydreaming and thinking to oneself. It can also be a way of adding the personal element of your own voice. My response: I find voice-over narration detracts from interactive environments, and that I skip over long blocks of text, but I know people who really appreciate things such as interactive text adventures. I think that the ways people are comfortable interacting with stories really varies and may be dependant on the story telling forms they grew up with.

Wes Anderson was mentioned as a reference for his use of still shots and timing. These aspects can set the scene and make the viewer anticipate what will happen next. I appreciate Wes Anderson’s creation of stylized but consistent environments, partly through the use of specific colour palettes. I’d also like to take inspiration from film makers such as him to understand how scenes can be initially presented to “set the scene”.

Alice in Wonderland was also mentioned because of its shifts between the main characters point of view and omniscient narration. Narrative shifting may be considered as a perspective shift; eg.: shifting between exploration (player POV) and narration in the game. But really consider what parts of the story should be exploration vs narrated. Alice in Wonderland also plays with scale, and there are numerous noticeable transitions to look at, such as falling backward and getting smaller. This can be tied into the idea of playing either as a the main character at school or as the meta-fictional character that this character embodies. The playing through the first character’s view could reveal story in a more exploratory way and playing through the second character’s view could have more elements/aesthetics taken from novels, e.g. the traditional story telling method of a 3rd person omniscient narrator.

Another feedback point: The narration/storytelling style should probably match (so no text unless it is subtle) the subtlety of the environment that has already been made.

My response: Subtle elements can be overshadowed by non-subtle elements. If you have all subtle elements and no overt story telling devices that people are used to in games and film, then the player gets into a more critical or thoughtful or searching mode of analyzation for meaning. You can have a scene with minimal objects in it that has meaning, but maybe you need to give the player time and focus to question what these objects mean.

I also asked for tips on the technical side of making transitions. People suggested locking the camera until the new scene loads. It was also suggested to use Unity to see if the player is looking in the right place by finding the dot product of the camera’s normal vector and the target object’s normal vector. This can be used for both the lake transitions and in situations where things happen outside of the player’s view.  There is a function in unity called dot product.

I’ve been using raycasting and colliders to do this sort of thing already, but the method that was mentioned may be more accurate, and wouldn’t require the positioning of colliders on objects. I will write more on my latest technical adventures with perspective shifts in a following post.

Feedback thanks to:

Parth Soni

Dani Jones

Chris Jadoo

Muddassir Iqbal

Kevin Back

Rosalind Chapman

Emma Westecott

Joshua Martin Salvacion Salvador

Anth Rodi

And also thanks to everyone else, who listened and said small things that weren’t caught on record.