Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Week 135

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.

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