So, this week was marked by something that felt like a return to normalcy. Which is to say, most of the time was spent on project work, with thankfully few distractions in between.
First and foremost, we made some great progress on Saba. Having wrapped up the paper prototype and its playtest, we can now move to designing and building a first digital version. So I sat down and sketched out a set of screens based on the content we’ve developed so far. Hanne took these, and wrote out copy for them, while Karel produced visual designs. Pretty straightforward but it’s nice to see things coalesce. We can move rather quickly because the major decisions in terms of game design have already been made in the paper prototype. Meanwhile in Berlin, Alper is getting started on a first iteration of the software. Once we have all these things, we can start integrating them.
Saba is a game played in a cabinet of curiosities. It is about observing closely and proving or disproving a hypothesis using these observations. To this end we’ve produced a large table of characteristics of animal groups, that players will use to label photos they take. This table is now under scrutiny from the subject matter experts in the museum, to see if it all makes sense and we haven’t made any mistakes, stupid or otherwise.
For Buta, I met with Irene and went over a couple of new blog posts I’ve been writing about the making of the video sketch. One goes into how we discovered light as a suitable medium for play with pigs. The other is about some of the considerations that went into the physical design of the things you see in the video, which is mostly the awesome work done by Irene and Hein. Those will hopefully see the light of day soon.
We’re also building a team to produce a playable prototype. It’s hard because we’re dealing with a pretty unique project requiring a disparate set of skills; hardware design, live video streaming, generative computer graphics… I’m hoping we can find some folks who are able to work across these skills as much as possible. Suggestions are more than welcome.
And finally, I rounded off the week with work in Hamachi with Tim. We went over our notes of the previous playtest, settled on some rules adjustments and wrote those up. We also came up with a new fictional setting that explains some of the weirder aspects of the game’s mechanics. This is mainly useful for easing players into the game.
I managed to squeeze in a playtest on Saturday with some close friends and got a lot of encouraging feedback. So I think we’re almost ready to publish the rules and materials. It’s just a matter of some more writing, and making illustrations. It’s nice to have a small project like this on the side which allows you to mess with all aspects of game design with just two people and get some tangible output that is shareable with the world.