On Sunday night I FINALLY finished the PersonalPI prototype. I know, cutting it fine. But I'm so proud of where I've come and the journey this project has taken me on. Ultimately I'm very happy with how this prototype turned out, and this is my reflection on that process and the final outcome.
I loved working in this style, and implementing it was quite simple too. Especially once I had perfected my pipeline using the tutorials I used, working with both vector art and hand drawn sketches became simple.
I think it fits my personal criteria of being eye-catching, stylish and easily-understandable. I set up a few actions in Photoshop to help me do this, which I spoke about in my process pipeline article.
One thing I discovered is that it's very hard to get art looking good but also running well. My prototype slows to a crawl on mobile right now (probably the 15k background.) Looking to get that fixed pre-showcase!
I enjoyed using proto.io- all too often developers jump right into engine, but UX process advocates testing ideas in something with rapid iteration and design focused sensibilities first.
It was absolutely the right choice over Axure, and though I think I could have done the same or better in Unity I don't think I'd go back and change it, if I could.
Sorting the game logic was difficult- I expected it to be so, but handling data efficiently and consistently, especially in a system not really designed for that, was even harder than I expected. Ultimately it game me greater appreciation of the work of a programmer when implementing art - things that can seem simple to an artist can have a lot of logic running behind them which are difficult to re-route.
Proto.io employs a visual scripting language similar to Scratch, shown below.
Here are some game logic / scripting elements I'm particularly proud of.
Money changes, and you can only buy binoculars if you have enough
Colour of investigation buttons dynamically changes depending on whether you have accepted the quest, or if there's a notification, or if it's inactive.
There's the start of a branching narrative, with certain quests only getting unlocked once others have been done.
Quests can be passed or failed, with corresponding rewards or fines.
The correct photos show up once you've taken then, and not before.
Informal feedback and usability issues
I put it out there and already got some great feedback on facebook. I also noticed playing it myself that there are still a few bugs I'd like to fix.
Use of the framework
As I've learned more about UX over the course of this year I've applied more and more UX ideas to my game production process. This can be seen in my analysis of previous projects against the EGUXF.
Here is this project's production techniques mapped against the framework:
As we can see, my UX process were heavily loaded onto the front end, in the concepting and implementation phases. To me this makes sense, as I was just aiming for the prototype, something completed within the implementation phase.
I expected this form the start, but actually found myself doing more informal testing than I expected. As people played my paper prototype/interaction tests, it was clear that although UX principles had been followed, the game was not fun. This led me to iterate and revise my design, something I had aimed to do at the early concepting stage. However I think this was imperative to the finished product and am glad I did it.