Sunday, December 4, 2011

Building Virtual Worlds - Round 4 - Mouse Heart Mouse

Building Virtual Worlds Round 4 is the Storytelling round.  Groups are given three weeks to build a world that lasts 3 to 5 minutes that tells a complete story.  Students have two days to come up with and pitch two story ideas to the professors and the class and receive feedback from them.  They then choose one of these ideas to build storyboards for, which are presented at the end of the first week.  Over the next two weeks students build the world laid out in the storyboards.

My group’s story told the tale of a mouse who meets a computer mouse atop a desk in a messy dorm room while scavenging for food.  The two fall in love at first sight, but are separated when the owner of the room returns and sits down at his desk and reaches for his computer mouse but grabs the furry mouse instead.  Shocked, he flings the mouse away and runs from the room screaming.  Our hero must find a way back to the top of the desk to reunite with his love, and then the two must find a way to escape the room and enjoy their freedom and their new life together.

My team this round worked exceptionally well together!  We all really liked the idea we came up with and that lead to very good buy in from all the members of the team.  Everyone made strong creative contributions to the project and we all worked very hard to make Mouse <3 Mouse a big success!  One of the things that I believe greatly contributed to that success was our choice of platform, the Nintendo Wiimote.  Since this was a small, simple piece of hardware, we were free to use it at our desks and we could playtest and iterate constantly unlike the rounds where I worked with the Kinect.  Since the Kinects and televisions were in very short supply, teams had to schedule limited time slots to playtest and it was harder to get a feel on how the world plays and make adjustments when working with that platform.  The freedom to playtest regularly on the Wiimote made it easier to fine tune the controls and left more time to polish the room and make it as lively and interactive as possible.

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