One of the first mini-games games we designed for A Clockwork Brain was Scrolling Silhouettes. The idea came from the hundreds of items we had from The Clockwork Man. These 1,500 items provide a huge variety of shapes and forms. The concept was to take advantage of these, and create a game that uses item shapes and pattern matching as the core mechanic. This is how Scrolling Silhouettes came to life.
Last week we almost completed the porting of three more mini-games. More specifically, we began tackling the tile-based games, Sculpt Away, Size Matters, and Logic Tiles. These three games have very different mechanics, but are all based on using and manipulating blocks of tiles. The first part of last week was spent building the tile engine that would be used in all three games. After that, Sculpt Away was the first game to be finished. Size Matters was done next, but it gave us a bit of a trouble as there were some performance issues when moving lots of tiles of different colours. We promptly fixed that, and moved on to Logic Tiles which should be completed later this week.
It is with great pleasure that we can finally announce that A Clockwork Brain will be released for Android devices, later this winter.
We have been secretly working on porting A Clockwork Brain to Android for a few months now, but we really wanted to make sure the project was running smoothly before we shared this great news with you!
This is the second in a three-part series of articles detailing how we designed and deployed usability testing for our latest iOS game, A Clockwork Brain.
The research, design, and deployment of usability testing took one month from start to finish. Prior to this, none of us had any experience with designing formal usability testing. I, myself, have had some experience in questionnaire design and facilitation of experiments, based on previous work in university research.
The first article explained our choice of hardware and software and detailed the set-up costs. This article examines the game itself and explains its usability testing procedure.
The following topics will be discussed:
Knowing your game.
What kind of players we wanted to invite and how we recruited them.
Discovering what to test.
Designing the first (of the two) usability scenarios.
Using the iGEQ questionnaire and open-ended questions, during testing.
As some of you may know, Total Eclipse is a small studio, with a core team of five. Even though we’re small, we consider usability testing very important.
In the past, for three of our largest productions we had a publishing agreement. The publisher had been in charge of doing usability & beta testing for our games, with camera recordings, questionnaires, targeted player groups, the whole lot. We used to get the videos and watch them as a team afterwards. I’ve got to tell you, especially during the usability, those videos were most of times heart-breaking and not in a good way. That taught us how important usability is and how crucial it is to test things outside our core team.
In our studio, we also tested our games with friends and family but in a much more informal setting – them playing, and us, behind their backs watching and keeping notes. However, for the last two years we’ve turned to self-publishing; we no longer have access to a publisher’s usability perks. As a result, for our latest iOS game, A Clockwork Brain, we decided to design the usability session from scratch. Read More
Our latest endeavor at Total Eclipse is a puzzle game for iOS devices, titled A Clockwork Brain. It’s a spin-off from our very successful Hidden Object/Adventure series, The Clockwork Man and we’re about to release it in the coming weeks.
There came a point in the production of the game that we decided it was time to move from the prototype graphics we’d been using until then, to the final ones that we had envisioned.
That meant that we had to look for an artist, who would be working remotely, full time on the illustrations and UI elements that were needed for the game. Since this task
was to involve a freelancer, I decided to place an ad and wait for the right person to
come by. Read More