So, the presentation of our prototype to the council went smoothly. Some remarks were made about the prototype that we didn’t think of, such as the loading feedback when a user is trying to select a difficulty level on the screen, and that the mighty Kong should perhaps be rewarded with something else that is gender-neutral as to be more user-friendly (spontaneously we came up with a couple of idea such as Kong rescued his little cousin instead, or perhaps there would be a treasure chest/mini-game). Other than that our prototype was acceptable. We peeked at other monkeys’ prototype and some of them really look impressive (screw those artist monkeys with their creative and wonderful ideas~).
For now, our journey continues and it is set forth at presenting the prototype to potential users. Thus we embarked again to the neighboring jungles to meet the other monkeys…
Prototype Presentation Study
•• ST ••
Our first encounter was ST. As ST approached our prototype, he was relaxed as if he had always known about public interactive display. When the playing mode-screen (single- or multiplayer) is show, ST has absolutely no difficulty in understanding that he had to put up his hand on one side for a couple of seconds to choose a playing mode (thanks to the loading bar we built into the prototype that serves as a feedback for the user). This is also the case with the screen where ST had to choose the desired difficulty level.
As soon as the (prototype-) “game” starts, we flashed ST a tutorial that says “Start stomping the ground to get points”. ST complied and noticed the points he gained, however he had difficulty recognizing that the building was collapsing due to his stomping. Instead, he thought that he is climbing the building. He didn’t understand that he could avoid objects which were thrown at him either. Neither that he understood that he could catch boxing gloves (but he did this nevertheless). However, as a harmful object (a 23 tons frying pan) was falling towards him, he instinctively punched the object away, and laughed as he realized that he had punched the pan away. However, he did understood that banana had to be a power-up object that he should catch.
ST concerned himself about his score and the remaining time he had left. He continued the stomping and he seemed to have a lot of fun. At the end of the game, when ST was showed the ending-screen he looked baffled (perhaps disappointed that there was too little information to be seen)..
Some remarks that ST made during the prototype study is that he didn’t understand what the black boxes on the building were and when we explained to him that those are windows, he then asked us if it were possible that we mark the windows where items are about to be thrown out so that he could plan his next moves. ST also asked about how many points he would get from catching a banana so that in difficult situation, he could consider whether catching the bananas is worth it.
The dynamic tutorial (directly integrated seamlessly in the game) is approved by ST. We asked ST whether it is helpful for him that we color-coded the items (green for good items and red for harmful objects) and to this he said no since the items were really hard to recognize anyway. The last remark ST made was that he would like to be able to recognize the remaining time better.
Being not satisfied, we continued our journey and we met MM on our way to take a break at a nearby river and naturally, we also presented our prototype to MM.
•• MM ••
MM walked bravely towards our prototype and chose the playing mode as well as the difficulty level with ease (which makes us real glad). Having seen the flashing tutorial, MM started stomping the ground and he started to have fun!
Avoiding objects through body movements was intuitive for him but he had difficulty in recognizing what kind of object was thrown at him. When he got the boxing gloves, he intuitively punched objects away, claiming that he didn’t know that he could do that but he tried anyway to see what happened. Ending screen was understandable for him.
When asked about his thoughts about the prototype, MM said that he understood that he should stomp the ground to make a progress in the game but he didn’t understood about having to constantly stomping the ground. MM said that it was not clear as to which items were power-ups and which are power-downs. However he said that it was good that it wasn’t clear and that “learning by doing” was a good concept. The only item he understood to be “good” is the banana since he, as a monkey, loves banana (who doesn’t, a banana a day keeps the doctor away!).
MM did not notice the remaining time at all, he thought it was a cigarette (sorry MM to disappoint you with our bad artistic skills). It was not clear to him either that the remaining time is further reduced when he was hit by harmful objects. He proposed that some hints such as “HURRY UP!” on the screen would hint the players that there is a remaining time.
Furthermore, MM understood that the building was collapsing through the stomping and that he was not climbing it. He also asked about what kind of mode there would be for the multiplayer. To this we said that both the co-op mode as well as the versus mode will be available in the future.
MM made some last remarks, like: “high score is absolutely important, especially in multiplayer mode”, “it would be great if there is something like ‘The WINNER is… player 1!!'”. MM regarded the high score as one of the major factors of people wanting to play the game again and again (and again and again and again and again and again and again…).
Still, none of us five monkeys was satisfied with the insights. We thought that we would at least present our prototype to one more monkey. We traveled through the jungle and ended up on a snowy mountain. Guess who we met there? It was JD, the monkey we interviewed couple weeks ago! We were very pleased and thus, eager to show him our prototype.
•• JD ••
Since we had interviewed JD before, JD had no issue at all during his interaction with our prototype. Everything was quite intuitive for him and JD knew how the game should play out and he had no trouble understanding it in the prototype.
To JD’s opinion, we did a great job in prototyping our idea. He liked it and the only thing that he wished he had is an explanation of the items, which items provided what kind of power-ups. Otherwise, he was satisfied and the last thing he said was “the high score name-input could simply be an initial, you know, three alphabets long should be more than enough”.
The prototype study with JD was quite short but that was (unfortunately) to be expected due to the fact that JD had already been interviewed on our application idea before. Nevertheless we thanked JD and rewarded him with a sour pineapple (because JD loves sour fruits).
After the prototype study with JD, Alwin the monkey was already too tired to continue our journey (plus he had to do his business in the toilet, but of course he made excuses such as headache instead) and so we went home and let him rest.
During the time, we put some thoughts into what we should change subsequent to our prototype studies with the monkeys. Since we have gained further insights, we should build them into our prototype and thus we decided on some changes for our prototype and we named it “Le Prototype V.2“.
Le Prototype V.2
There are actually not much that we would change on the prototype. Having said that, we would still present to you a rough list on what we did to our prototype:
– Drew some angry humans on the building windows to let users understand that the angry humans are very mean towards monkeys in general (especially towards the mighty Kong even though he is actually soft and cuddly inside).
– Remodeled some items and used higher quality pictures so users can recognize what items are being thrown at them and thus making it easier for them to judge whether they should catch or avoid the items.
– Installed a better high score screen which has a list of high scores achieved by other players. On this screen there should be a way for users to input their initials as well. Moveover, users should have the option to continue playing with next difficulty level on this screen.
– The last change that we made was adding a screen before the high score screen where the remaining time will be added to the player’s score (thus motivates the player to finish a level quicker to gain more score).
If we had the time, we would also change the rewards at the end of the level. Instead of a princess, Kong should be rewarded with something that is gender-neutral such as a treasure chest.
Now with this list in mind, we started tinkering..Finally, we finished with “Le Prototype V.2” and here are some pictures to please your eyes:
And we are at that part again, this time there is no pineapple around so, papayas are flying across the room instead. It was a delicious round of monkey-arguing. However, credits still have to be given where it is due so here goes the list:
♥♥ Alwin ♥♥ Participating in some prototype studies (2 of 3), managing the blog
♥♥ Jan ♥♥ Continuing his research in the mysterious coding world of Processing.
♥♥ Jörg ♥♥ Participating in some prototype studies (2 of 3)
♥♥ Max ♥♥ Participating in all prototype studies, upgrading the prototype to v.2
♥♥ Viktor ♥♥ Participating in some prototype studies (2 of 3), creating the very first visual design of King Kong in Town.
That is all for the past two weeks, monkeys signing out.
Peace and Bananas!