Ever wondered if you remembered to lock the front door to your house? Is that your second or third cup of tea today? You unlock your cell phone every day, but you sometimes can’t remember those darn 4 digits? Well, you’re not alone.
We’ve all felt it, some of us earlier than others. Problem is, many believe these small brain malfunctions only happen due to aging. Thankfully, cognitive decline does not only depend on aging. The brain, like most of our other organs, is working on a “use it or lose it” basis. Which is actually great news!
Although there are many things you can do to protect your brain from cognitive decline, Harvard Health Publications claims you can implement a set of 6 very simple steps in your everyday life and start sharpening your brain immediately.
Our goal at Total Eclipse is to offer our players unique, memorable experiences through games that are fun and engaging. If at the same time, our games can contribute in other ways, we feel we made the difference we want in the world. It took us a year to release A Clockwork Brain, one of our most important projects so far, which is a collection of puzzles that brings together benefits from both gaming and brain training in an effort to complement the brain’s natural ability of neuroplasticity.
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
The modern day has seen some dramatic changes in the field of writing. Less than a hundred years ago, a reader could expect a novel with paragraphs that went on for a page and exposition that carried on for an eternity. That was a time of tell, don’t show and visual writing was unheard of.
A novel these days tends to be quick paced, consisting of three lines conjuring images to the mind. This has largely been the result of how pervasive movies have become. Eventually, the precepts of screen-writing seeped into novels and short stories, changing the nature of writing at its core.
My education was firmly rooted in classical literature. I’m a movie fanatic and love plays. Video games were a hobby and pastime that I really loved but I never thought about writing for them more than passively (usually when a game’s story was bad and I thought that there was no way I could do worse). Still, familiarity breeds curiosity and when the opportunity came about, I couldn’t turn it down. Read More
This article was originally posted at Gamezebo.com on Aug. 30th, 2010. We have since updated some of the images and text.
The birth of The Clockwork Man World
Think London, England, turn of the 19th century. You are walking down glistening wet streets dressed in your best Sunday dress (or gentlemen’s suit). Something momentarily blocks the sun; you glance up and see a commercial zeppelin flying above, probably bound for Heathrow. The world of The Clockwork Man is much like our own, and yet not. It is filled with wonders of Steampunk fiction, where the ingenuity of the industrial revolution blends with futuristic steam-powered machines. An amalgam of anachronistic technology, Victorian values, fashion and décor makes up this familiar and yet fictitious world that had never been attempted in a casual game before. Back in 2008, creating something like this was quite a challenge (and risk) for us in Total Eclipse.
They say “better late than never” and this is very fitting for us finally starting a blog, after being active in game development since mid-2004.
There are a lot of people who simply have no idea of our existence (even in our own country) and it is due to our introversion these past years. We have, however, been actively getting out of our shell more often, especially since our first public talk in Open Coffee Athens (Apr. 7, 2009).
This blog will serve as a mean for us to publicly write our thoughts about the Industry, our games and those of other developers, our design process and generally share information that will hopefully help you all in a way.