The Progression of The Game
The game progressed through two stages: prototyping and first draft. For the prototyping stage we, my colleague, Yasser Tamer, and I, had rough drafts of three scenarios. The main points that we got pertained to increasing the number of options that a player can take so to make the game more engaging. Also, we were basically told to “show, not tell,” so that instead of just saying that someone was angry with another one, we had to describe in detail how that “anger” manifested. We took that into consideration while preparing for the first draft and that, interestingly, garnered us positive feedback from colleagues as they said that they started relating to the visually impaired. I also learnt that scenarios that included only one mandatory option were not considered “scenarios” as the player had no real option and, thus, we omitted some of these non-scenarios.
In addition, we received feedback on how disconnected the scenarios seemed from each other. As such we adopted a certain philosophy while constructing the scenarios: continuity. We basically decided to take the player on a journey, detailing how the day of a visually impaired person looks like from the moment they wake-up, commute to university, walk around there, participating in classes, handing assignments, being ostracized and sometimes unaccommodated. This, we believed, would make the player more empathetic about visually impaired persons since it’s the same character that is going through all of those ordeals this whole day. Having presented the first draft in class, we obtained feedback on the game, with some colleagues commenting about how some prompts felt lengthy or that they “felt lost” in the middle. So, we had to reduce some of these lengthy prompts, making them concise. Some colleagues liked the visuals in the visually impaired path, especially the self-recorded video, so we added some pictures and statistics in the sighted path; this helped them stay “entertained,” as one of them said.
What you would have done differently if you had more time
If I had more time, I feel like I would have added another scenario or two to the sighted path, doing some extra research as opposed to just surveying friends and relying on my own experience. This would make the game more well-rounded overall. On another note, I would have increased the amount of self-caught visuals as we received a sheer amount of positive feedback on that cash-reader app video (almost everyone was surprised to know about its existence). I felt like we could’ve expanded on the visually impaired path, too. We could’ve covered other instances during early childhood, such as during adolescence and childhood, covering aspects like learning how to read, write, and braille, and how all that shapes their social life.
Firstly, I believe I became more receptive of feedback on my work, albeit it being seemingly harsh. I recall being somewhat critical and somewhat irritated by the feedback I got, during the prototyping phase. By sheer contrast, I went after each and every one of my colleagues who played the game (during first draft) as I wanted to hear something negative; the overwhelmingly positive feedback did not suffice for us as I reached the realization that feedback is there for improvement of one’s work. The bottom line is, I learnt how to not take feedback personally. In addition, it seems like visuals help audience stay attached to presentations in general, as per the feedback about images that we got from colleagues, and so I would make sure – in the future – to include graphics and reduce words in presentations. Speaking of words, our group learnt how to be concise in wording so to ensure players did not slack off from the game. We had to maintain descriptive prompts while being to-the-point to achieve that. As such, I learnt how to assess my work from the eyes of an outside, ordinary user which, in turn, had me asking questions like is that too long? Is this extra detail necessary or should I just omit that for clarity? Should I add a visual here to demonstrate what that looks like? The latter question had me install the cash-reader app, register for a two-week free trial version, shoot a video showing how that app works because I believed that the description needed a visual demonstration for clarity, engagement, and fun.
I almost forgot, you can find the link to the final draft of the game here.