Progress Update

Though sluggish, our team is still making progress towards producing our game. We have three current directions being taken to develop our game.

  • The Story – Both Sungwoong and Filiz are developing the story together, while implementing psychological components to enhance to educational benefits to the players.
  • The Graphics – We have all been working on small components to contribute to the collection of graphics we’re planning to use in the game. I have constructed the hand model that we will be using for the selections process, Sungwoong and Filiz have broken the construction of the environment into both the construction of the NPCs and the house model.
  • The Interface – I have been working to plug the Kinect sensor into the game engine to use what it sees as input into the game. Ultimately we will be tracking the players hand and using it to move objects on the screen. This is mostly going to be used for answering questions.

Our original idea of just having the child answer questions coming from some on screen avatar wasn’t comprehensive enough. Through the presentation of our game, and the feedback we received we have refactored the components of our game to provide more “game like” functionality. We made a decision and began working in that direction, but after reviewing where we started and where we ended up we learned a lot about how to improve our game.

Various components could go wrong in this game. The most likely candidate will be the natural user interface. Plugging the Kinect into the game engine proved to be easier than anticipated, however analyzing the data from the kinect, applying computer vision to it, and using the results as input is proving more daunting. There are many aspects that could go wrong, number one being processing time. Depending on the implementation I use to track the hand, if it is slower than the intrinsic frame rate in the game engine, then we will see the ever abhorrent, lag…

I am confident that most all users of this game will be impressed and pleased with the interface. Being able to use one’s body to maniplate the virtual world has always been something of science fiction, however with the advent of the Kinect it has become a very affordable reality. As a part of the feedback system to the player, we’re developing a sophisticated scaffolding system which should provide very ‘pleasurable’ feedback to the user in good light. However if the user is having difficulty making correct decisions, or is not following the rules of the game, the feed back will be more direct and stern. Our target audience is autistic children, so we plan to ensure that all feed back and game parameters are geared towards optimizing their in game experience.

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