Chapter 4: Production
2 shows an overview of the elements concerned in the game. The
user hears several sounds, with different functions. The user has
to isolate certain relevant sounds from the wall of sounds. The
game-system distracts the user with other sounds (e.g. a passing
motorcycle). We call this force-focusing.
Figure 3 shows
the concept of the adaptive music used in 'Drive'. It illustrates
the composition-method. First there is an intro followed by a first
set of 3 different loops that are triggered by the intensity level
(speed), measured in the game. The distance the player has traveled
in the game then triggers a new set of 3 loops. Again, each of these
is triggered by the speed. Depending on the distance, a "break"-loop
is triggered for contrast and variation.
Figure 4 is an
overview of the process of this project. A research-phase with several
aspects results in a concept that forms the product. Note that we
verify the concept with our research.
We decided to make the music depend on the actions of the user.
The speed controls the intensity of the music in a subtle manner
while the distance controls the chronology of the composition. When
the user drives faster he will reach a certain distance and hears
music according to that distance.
shows a brief overview of the content flow of the game. It helped
us with programming the game and reasoning the logical aspect of
4.2: Tests and feedback
To test our
prototypes and receive feedback we made some visits to Bartiméus.
These are brief summaries of some of the visits:
22nd, 2001: prototypes ' shuttle3' and ' shuttle4' and music
We went to Bartiméus to test the prototype version of our
game on the same children we first interviewed in the research stage,
and let them hear some different music loops to see which one they
choose as their favorite.
The goal of
the test was to find out if the children did appreciate the basic
elements of the game, if they had fun and if the sounds we used
were chosen right. We also asked them what they wanted to see improved.
We tested it on Pentium II 500Mhz computers.
picked up the basics of controlling the game really quick. While
playing certain things came up:
- If the number
of collected boosters is high and they are activated fast the
maximum speed is too easy to reach. And at this maximum it is
also too easy to maintain this speed and pick up boosters. Also
the more difficult version of the game we brought was too easy
at this point. To make sure to pick up every booster the player
can press the booster pick-up button frequently. This is of course
not what we want.
- The used
sounds appeared to work very good. It were only temporary ' test'-sounds,
but they seemed to be representing their function very well.
- We asked
the children about the 'passenger Bob' character. They said they
would like it to be a man with a funny stem in opposite to another
voice that is giving useful information.
the music, the children preferred uplifting, not too soft tracks.
Too much strange sounds will be a bit too confusing.
December 14th, 2001: prototype ' Drive beta 3.0'
Today we tested the beta version of our game 'Drive' on four of
the children of our first test session. In general they liked it
very much. They thought 'Drive' is the one of the best games (using
sound) they had ever played. Several children also noticed the adaptive
music and thought it was a nice feature.
Furthermore, we discovered this during the tests:
- Music is
at the checkpoint twelve in the game a little too loud.
- The character
'Bob' is received as being 'quite funny'. But some children thought
he was a little bit irritating when they were driving really slowly
(because of the negative comments he gives in that case). These
negative comments are currently repeated too often.
a key cuts off the helicopter sample sometimes.
- We discovered
one misplaced sample.
4.3: Production Results
During the production
phase we made a website (www.soundsupport.net/Drive) which contains:
- A downloadable
self extracting file which contains the total demo of "Drive"
with all sound effects, background music and passenger Bob. Of
course we added installation info, system info and a guestbook.
In addition we uploaded two music files containing the same material
as the background track and a trailer.
- A highest
score with a hall of fame. This is an element of meta gaming:
the battle of gamers to reach the highest score.
- A report
site which describes our research and design process.