For this week, we have been continuing to work on the ethics documents and revising game inputs.
In terms of the documents, we have been actively revising it through multiple drafts. Doing so, we hope to create a clear, concise and informative document for both the parents and child to understand the study purposes.
As for the game, based on feedback from the director after our presentation, we hope to have two modes. One would allow more mobility for the patient (if they feel better) by using inputs from the Leap Motion sensor and being able to move their heads while the other would be targeted for during treatments, where they will use a Wii remote controller to interact with the environment with an Oculus Rift strapped on for minimal movement.
Since this directed study is wrapping up soon, we are trying to finalize all game and document deliverables. However, as things have just begun to get heat up, we will potentially be extending this project, especially with the need to do a few focus group studies. Doing so, our project can be further elaborated and to complete a true research.
After meeting with the oncology director at BC Children’s Hospital, we are eager to announce that it will be possible for us to get physical user testing sessions in order to improve our game and gain insights.
As a result, we are currently working on an ethics proposal to invite a focus group of teenage outpatients. Hence, the game development has been set aside for this week. However, we are also considering of taking out the Leap Motion sensor as there will be fatigue when playing the game too long. Therefore, we are aiming to use a Wii remote controller as a patient can be in bed, wearing the Oculus with minimal movement. By making some changes to the design, the physical and mental abilities of a patient has been considered. Furthermore, it can accommodate a wider range of patients and can be targetted for during and/or after treatments.
In preparation for a proposal and meeting with the director of oncology at BC Children’s hospital, the team has been preparing documents and fine tuning the game (Alpha Code stage). Many of the features and core elements are in place and that the game is playable.
In the image below, it represents how the game is play. This consists of stretching out two hands to walk forward and explore the farm. To do so, there is a Leap Motion (gesture sensor) mounted on the Oculus Rift (virtual reality display) that senses a player’s motions. Furthermore, by making a swipe gesture, one can conduct an action, such as watering plants to grow carrots or harvesting them or putting a seed in.
Next, we have solved animation issues raised in the previous weeks. Rather than animating in Maya and exporting them to Unity, we have now simply made animations within Unity and so the cow companion has now come alive!
Lastly, the document below summarizes the ideal project ready to be presented (keep in mind that this project is still currently work in progress).
With a meeting set with a doctor to discuss the research game, the team have now been put into preparation mode where feedbacks and animation are integrated into the game to display a cohesive gameplay experience, in addition to making documents for presentation.
For the game, there has been some visual and technical changes and additional features implemented based on the initial design. For instance, there is now a redesigned cow as seen in the sketch and image below because the previous one looked more like a pig or penguin.
Furthermore, there will now be a score and reward system. To display information, a traditional game HUD will be displayed at the top of the screen with a number of carrots harvested on the left, while the timer on the right. If a player manages to get ten under one minute then they will receive a “Beginner Farmer Plaque”, followed by twenty under one minute would be an “Intermediate Farmer Plaque” and lastly if they get thirty under one minute, it becomes an “Advanced Farmer Plaque.” The design can be seen in the visuals below. By having a plaque and gold stars as rewards, it is intended to have something that young patients can look forward to every day when playing the game and beating their high scores. However, the original idea to keep patients motivated is to have different types of fruits and/or vegetables to grow that alternates on a daily basis, but due to time constraint, the idea has been adjusted with the previous idea in consideration for the next phase.
In terms of interactions, it is now using two hands to walk and a swipe gesture of any hand will conduct an action, such as watering plants. This is used instead because Leap Motion was having trouble detecting the small actions in the previous iteration and we had to consider patients with IVs on different hands while they are in bed. Therefore, this approach of hand interaction was more suitable.
Besides the game, a documentation is being prepared for presentation which encompasses a booklet with the design and process of the game.
And so, the team is now looking forward to pitching our idea to a children hospital and one day being able to offer pain distraction after chemotherapy treatments.
This week was an exciting week because the team managed to get a response from the hospital with a possibility to allow us to talk with them about our game design and potentially doing user study. Therefore, a piece of documentation was prepared for the face meet in order for them to have a buy in.
In terms of the development phase, the game world is near completion with all the visual and sound assets implemented. There is also an actual gameplay now where players can now plant, grow and harvest carrots. However, more animation is required such as pouring water on the field with the addition of changing colours, and the need to remodel and put more work into the cow companion as it is the main driving force of the game who is always by a player’s side, guiding them. Then, there is now the need to implement gameplay component using gestural base of Leap Motion. The team also needs to think about how the ghost hand can be integrated with the game theme.
As a result, we hope that things will go smoothly next week.
In terms of this week, the development process is still underway. However, the team managed to successfully fixed a few issues such as stabilizing collision when using the Leap Motion and all the colours are imported correctly into Unity. Furthermore, the game world is near its completion as well.
Throughout this week, more animation will be integrated and the actual gameplay will start to shape itself. The reason for more animation is to provide a more realistic effect rather than someone going into a dead space. The requirements for this week will also be to begin looking for sound to enhance the gameplay experience and immersion.
The images below shows what the game currently looks like.