Prototyping, Malfunction! On the Orion Express, a reflection

Developing a dialogue system in seven days was more fun than I originally anticipated. I had little idea of what to expect going into the project, other than a basic outline for the structure of the game and that the team would be using an add-on in Unity called Fungus. This add-on is a dialogue system which unfortunately did not seem to work due to conflicts with saving between the team.

So, what did we have to prototype? Well, the short answer is the entire game. The long answer?

  • An entire dialogue system which covered:
    • Story line advancements
    • Alternate question points
    • Which character is currently speaking?
  • A streaming system to read a file with special characters

AIE has provided plenty of resources to for us as students to demonstrate what prototyping is and how it should be carried out, but it soon became clear that no matter how many resources are provided it still takes experience to prototype both effectively and efficiently. It is safe to say that for this project, a number of tasks carried out during the prototyping stage were done with the full project in mind.

The scene pictured to the left is what was produced during the prototype stage, however, the way in which this scene worked in unity changed shortly after. This art piece became the evidence scene where the player matched up words that were used during the investigation scene to items that are stored in the evidence scene.

Given that the prototyping stage is now complete and Malfunction! On the Orion Express has progressed onto the development stage it is now clear that the brute force approach of loading everything in one single text file was only ever going to be viable for a single scene. Upon reflection, it would have been smarter to create a storyboard and node system that loaded the text for the current part of the story and stored the words in containers through these nodes

Leave a comment