Thursday, 21 April 2011

Photographing the campus buildings

iCreate visited the University yesterday to photograph the various buildings on the campuses for use in the game environment. They covered the whole of the locations at Beaconside, College Road, Leek Road and Blackheath Lane, along with selected parts of the surrounding area.

This gives the basis to start work on the 3D modelling that will make up both the game environment and the "flythrough" of the campuses.

The process took approximately two days to complete and the process involved:
  • A guide from the University
  • An account handler making sure that the correct areas were photographed
  • A photographer.
Initially, we shared our static 2D maps so iCreate could grasp the scope of this part of the brief; we are a two campus university and there is also a split on the Stoke campus (Leek Road, College Road, etc.)

The process was to photograph the campuses at set points, and then spend around 3 weeks modelling. Google Maps and other tools will also be used to show more clearly the area surrounding the University. We have supplied further imagery of the new 6th form college and science centre so that the map can be as realistic as possible.

We have another use for these maps already: iCreate (for an extra cost) will put the maps into an "app-compatible" format so we can show our campus more easily at open days and UCAS events. This will be part of the app that was designed earlier this year.

Linking to the University's web presence

At some points in the game, the user will need to be taken to a part of the University's web presence in connection with the relevant "goal". This will either be to complete a specific task, or to get further information that is managed my a specific department.

A provisional list of pages that could be used has been identified as follows:

Point in game Purpose Possible page
Student Card Where they have to upload their photo and complete the e-enrolment form
GP Registration Information on the vaccinations they should get
SU Goodie Bag Introduction to the Student Union
Bus Map & Timetable Local travel information & orientation
Entertainment Flyers Information on upcoming events
[something related to IT] How their e-mail address and user account will be set up
Room Key (non-local only) What to do on arrival No current page
Shopping List To give information about local amenities around the campuses No current page
Timetable (Monday Morning Room Number) Where to go on the first day of term No current single page, but each faculty has a version, so it may be useful to provide and addition central page

A number of these pages will require rewriting as the relevant content is part of a longer page, while three remain to be created.

The next stage will be to identify which service looks after which content, and for Chris to liaise with the relevant staff members who manage the content via the University's CMS.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Levels information and draft wireframe

The game as we have planned it has three levels:

Level 0

Starting with the UK-in-Europe aerial view, and zooming in to the region, and then the Virtual Campus Tours.  The user can navigate around the campuses freely, chatting to Purple Helpers if they wish or to FAQ Avatars to get answers to our list of FAQs. 

Level 1

Welcome Week Journey Part 1 - On Arrival - Collecting your Key and Student Card. The player visits the Enrolment Hall and visits a series of four desks to collect items for their inventory - key, student card, GP registration and goodie bag (highlighted in Green).  When they have collected all these items, they are shown to their Halls and their room by a Purple Helper.  For local students, they are prompted to 'Go Home' -> move on to Level 2.  

Level 2
Welcome Week Journey Part 2 - Your Room - We figure that all students will have a room, whether they are local or non-local, either at home or in Halls.  The level opens inside the generic bedroom, which features a Notice Board.  This has a place for each of the 4 items already collected, and empty spaces for 6 new items.  The user undertakes a series of tasks (which involve walking around the campus to find people / items / locations) to collect the 6 items for their inventory and Notice Board

Story lines

At the moment there are 9 items to collect (IE 9 story lines).  Each item ends up on the notice board, and relates to a URL where the student can access real-world information:
  1. Student Card - URL for where they have to upload their photo and complete the e-enrolment form
  2. Room Key (non-local only) - URL to page about what to do on arrival
  3. GP Registration - URL for info on the vaccinations they should get
  4. SU Goodie Bag - URL for Student Union Website
  5. Timetable (Monday Morning Room Number) - URL relating to their course/faculty?
  6. Bus Map & Timetable - URL to bus timetable/map
  7. Shopping List - URL to page about local amenities?
  8. Entertainment Flyers - URL to SU website?
  9. Something related to IT (eg their uni email address?) 
Wireframe of the game: