1-5ICT Class Comments

Unfortunately the time has come to put away our swords, send the dragons back to the shire and move on in S2. Over the last couple of months you have had the unique opportunity to take part in the “Making Games in Schools” project. I would like to get some feedback on how you feel the whole thing has gone. I would like 5 minutes of your time to answer the questions below. Please reply to this post as a comment and add your thoughts.

  1. What would you like to do next in your game?
  2. What did you learn during the project (maybe top 2-3 things)?
  3. Was there anything that was difficult or challenging during the project?
  4. What would you change about the project for another time?
  5. Would you be interested in computer games design as a subject or club at school?

Thanks for your time.

And now the end is near…..

And so I face the final zombie
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I travelled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it the trolls way

Regrets I’ve had a few
Forgot the TAGS
That was a bummer
To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way

It worked the kids loved it
I did it my way

 

We have reached the end of the line, timetable changeover, classes moving on.

I have completed the online surveys at the end of the project, both the video based questions and the attitudes survey.
One note about these – it appears that the surveys are set up to only allow one submission per computer. This was a problem as we had 3 classes sharing one room. Simple solution is to clear the cookies from the web browser.

Further reflections to follow…..

Doors / Transitions

As we were nearing the end of our time using Adventure Author many pupils wanted stories to develop on more fully. To do that most wanted to go inside.

We introduced doors and transitions to the classes. This has been a relatively simple process. The one common problem is TAG errors, naming doors incorrectly and having a name mismatch.

Also, like conversations, pupils forget to select the transition from the drop down list in the door properties. But no major issues.

During the initial demo, I showed the classes how to make simple doors, but also tried to give them the idea of a fantasy story. They liked the idea that you could go in a door but if you immediately turn round and exit the door takes you somewhere else – Magic Transporting Door!

Now we have:

  • Tardis style tents!
  • Castles with a cave interior!
  • We also have one or two very complex interiors with multiple levels and doors leading to 3rd and 4th game areas!

Graphics Issue – Already solved!

I had been using the AA Toolset at home, with no problems. Testing the games, editing etc!

After updating the Graphics Driver for my Nvidia graphics card the toolset stopped working! The game continued to work perfectly, this was with all settings on the highest setting. Confused I looked at settings on the graphics card – all of them were fine, the same as before. My graphics card actually has a specially mode with specific setting for the game!

The problem I was facing is that the screen in the toolset was BLUE! You could just make out the outline of characters and trees, but it was unusable!

After much searching I found a really simple solution! In the tool set I switched the ‘Sky’ setting to False. Suddenly I could see my world again!

So, just a quick hint with graphics glitches. Take time to switch on / off the graphics options in the toolset – even though the game works, the toolset is separate.

Additionally – we have found that the toolkit on some computers will crash when there is a great deal of Smoke/Fog/Water etc etc – Turning shadows off can really help. If you get really desperate, you can also turn the Fog/Water options off as required.

To be fair the second issue is more than likely a Hardware problem, due to memory/graphics card limitations.

Menu Magic!

Thanks to Andy and Cathrin at HW we can now solve the problem of the missing menus.

I had thought that this was probably an issue with configuration files etc, but I had not taken long enough to search for the problem. I had looked at various visible config files in the installation folder and found nothing.

But Andy suggested removing the hidden config files forcing the system to go back to basics with the default configuration.

Here is the solution:

Open up Windows Explorer, and paste this text into the Address bar:

Windows XP: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data
Windows Vista: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local

Hit Enter. From there, delete the folder named NWN2 Toolset. That will reset everything for when you next launch the toolset.

Finally open the toolset and reactivate the plugin – selecting the ‘Load All Plugins’ option.

Joy! We no longer need to uninstall and start from scratch!

General Observations

Just sitting back and watching the class using the toolset today.

Everyone appears very comfortable using the Conversation Maker – lingering problem with some relating to TAGS! This is not really too much of a problem, most are using a mix of characters so the default TAGS are working, but it would make the development much clearer – I will remember these in the future!

I also noticed some pupils using the tree view to navigate around large conversations, this was done purely through them investigating the system and finding out about these features independently.

Introduced the idea of a one character conversation as an introduction to the game. The idea of a nice zombie telling Abigail about the terrible plague blighting the village “only she can help”, then zombie then dies. This worked well as the classes could really imagine something like this and link to other games.

Some informal play testing has been taking place. Pupils have been giving clear feedback and suggestions to others. This has been taken really well in all of the situations I have observed. Pupils have edited their worlds to improve them based on the feedback from peers.

File menus are ganging up on us!

The File menu has gone again!

More technical issues with the menus!

BEFORE                                                                                         AFTER

So far no easy solution. Uninstall all programs, restart computer, reinstall all is the only solution.

 

New Bug!

After creating a conversation we go back into the adventure author to link the chat with the character.

When trying to do this there are blank lines in the selection box, when selected the blank line is a conversation! It is selected and links to the character – it is just not listed in the selection window – weird!

Comment Cards

Introduced the idea of comment cards today.

Building on the idea of lots of post-it notes and grouping ideas into mini plot lines and twists.

The class have also discussed the idea of Beginning-Middle-End.

  • How do we start and draw the player into the game?
  • What puzzles can we create?
  • What will be to goal state to end the game?