Play testing ‘Will You Survive the night’

Play testing results. (What I learned through play testing)

  • The first two play tests were done without me around. This was quite deliberate as I did not want to influence what was happening so that feedback was very honest. When it came to feedback, the same problem kept coming up which was that the rules were very complex and lengthy. It was suggested that I keep the rules as they were, but find a way to simplify them to remove the length of time that people spent reading them.
  • Another issue was that players were not sure where they began, who got to start the game and what direction the game was played in. People were also unsure as to how they were meant to keep track of their hearts and bladder points, or what they used to play with (game pieces). It was suggested that I write out clearer instructions for each element of the game.
  • I then did a quick play test with Chris (teacher) to see if there were any other issues that the initial play testers may not have picked up on. This play test highlighted the fact that I had not specified which card meant what clearly. Meaning people would pick up a king of hearts thinking that they were paralyzed with fear, but also gained hearts because it was a hearts card. This made play very confusing and people were doubling up on damage which then lead to them dying faster. I also realized that when a player became paralyzed and were made to pick up more cards, they were then losing hearts and bladder points too fast, leaving them stuck over and over again.

Ways I fixed these issues:

  • I re-wrote out the rules, simplifying them as much as I could. I also broke the rules up into sections to make them easier, and faster, to read.
  • I increased the number of hearts and bladder points for each player.
  • Added a location where everyone begins.
  • I formulated a way for players to work out who started, and the direction they needed to play in.
  • I wrote suggestions on ways that people could count out their hearts and bladder points. Also, what they could use as a game piece.
  • I removed the use of cards to create their house and explained how people were to draw their own home, and what they needed to have.
  • I changed the meanings of some of the cards to make it easier to work out what happened when you drew this card. I was also more specific with the symbols and type of card related to the action so that there was no double ups i.e.: clubs numbered, queen of hearts.
  • Added a card that could “save” you from paralysis.
  • Reduced the number of rounds players got paralyzed.
  • I also wrote in suggestions on how people could time the game using either the suggested sound piece that I created for the game or their own chosen songs.

Example:

From this:

GAME: You are trying to survive the clock. Who will make it to the end of the night in one piece? Who will have lost their mind? Who will disappear forever? The player who has the most hearts by the end of the night wins, the rest, well, let’s hope they had enough to escape! (You must work out which player was never actually there to begin with?)

(2-4 players. I Hour playing time)

RULES: You have one hour to survive the house of horrors (can be reduced to 30 minutes if less players or any amount of time you would like if it does not exceed an hour). Each player must draw a card each time they move from room to room, with the acceptation of those who have gone to the toilet.  You will need 2 packs of playing cards (one to create your house and one to use in the game), 2 dice and a piece of paper and pencil each. IF the players wish, they can use both decks of cards for the game and draw their own house. If they choose to draw their house they will need to ensure that they have 3 bedrooms, one bathroom (separate to the toilet) garage, kitchen, dining room, hallway, basement and attic. They can draw in the toilet as well. The players will need to draw their hearts and bladder points onto the piece of paper. Draw these however, you wish, crossing them out or adding them depending on if they have lost or gained a point. If a player has purchased the full pack, then these are provided as chips, as well as a few house layouts to choose from. This game is interactive, you can get into character if you wish. OR make up your own scare stories. However, you choose to play the game, enjoy. Dice (there are two) – After picking up a card, the player rolls the dice to determine which story they get to read out of the book. (if they player has the pack, then there is no need for the dice). You do not have to use dice, if you want you can make up your own jump scares and really get creative.

To this:

Game rules

You will need: At least one deck of cards (can have two if you wish), a piece of paper and pencil for each player in order to draw your house, something you can use to keep track of hearts and bladder points (you can use matches, toothpicks, checker pieces, even lollies. Whatever you have on hand. You will need at least 45 for each person) alternatively, you can choose to keep track on paper. You will also need something for a game piece (chess piece, checker, key).

House: Each player needs to draw themselves a house. You can be as creative or as simple as you like. Each house needs 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom (separate from the toilet), toilet, 1 lounge room, 1 kitchen, hallway, and the dining room.

Gameplay: This game can be played by 2-8 people. All players begin in the lounge room, with the oldest person in the group going first. Moving in an anticlockwise direction, players must move to a different room and draw one card each turn. (and so on).

Full game will be available for sale soon. 🙂

 

Steve Reich

Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 musicians’ uses the repetition of notes and sounds in a minimalistic approach to generate a 1-hour musical masterpiece. While some instruments are given singular notes, singers or the xylophone have multiple keys which they play/sing over and over in quick succession. His chosen style has a straightforward approach, using combinations of simple motifs and harmonies (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Reich has also done collaborative work with his wife, Beryl Korot, who is a video artist on the Cave (1993), and Three Tales (2002).

His works are truly amazing and are capable of stirring up multiple emotions from those his audiences. As soon as ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ began I was instantly thrown into a different place. I had an immediate emotional response, feeling a sense of urgency. I wanted to get up and run, jump and move about the room. The fact that I was simply sitting and listening made this determination to move around all the more persistent. It was easy to envision this music being used at the beginning of a movie to indicate some form of travel, on a train or in a car, as this music to me indicates “transition”. Another of his works, ‘Clapping music’, it is quite literally just using people clapping. While each “note” is exactly the same, the timing of each clap generates a musical piece that is actually quite beautiful and dramatic. Again, it generates this immediate emotional response from the audience. For me, again, it was the desire to move.

This simplistic approach is something that I very much enjoy when it comes to music. I love the fact that, while the complexity of the music isn’t there, the final piece demonstrates that you do not need this in order to generate a piece of work that can have a major impact on those that listen to it. I intend to utilise this approach in my own work, using the repetition of singular notes or sounds to create a sound piece that will still stir up some sort of emotional response from those that listen to it.

Reference:

The editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, edited Viewed May 23 2017<https://www.britannica.com/biography/Steve-Reich&gt;

Steve Reichs 1978 instrumental piece, “Music for 18 Musicians”

Recording the world

 

Bernie Kraus’s wildlife soundscapes are truly amazing. How he has been able to capture such a variety of sound over his years of recording, not only for the purpose of re-using these sounds for artworks, museums and movies, but also as an environmental activist to provide evidence of global warming and man made destruction.

Every environment has a unique sound signature (2013), some, like the Amazon rainforest has an abundance of wildlife, all with a different call. These signatures contain an array of information, from the time of day it is, to the types of animals living within that ecosystem, to the weather. According to Krause, there are 3 different layers to any soundscape within any environment. One being the sounds that are not generated by “non-biological” (2013) sources like the wind or rain. This is known as the Geophony (2013) layer. The second layer is generated by the living creatures/organisms, known as the Biophony (2013). Then lastly this is the human sounds that are generated, mechanical or Anthrophony (2013). It is in these layers a listener can decipher the number of animals that are residing within one area.

Originally recording birds and later mammals and other organisms, Krause refers to these recordings as similar to dissecting Batavians fifth symphony. Disassembling the work and picking out the individual instruments in order to just hear that one section. Likewise, he believes that one can pin point different sounds and create an orchestra of animal noises from simply recording the ambient noises surrounding you in any environment, or a single animal and repeating this sound over and over. 

Kraus, however, does not just generate musical and ambient pieces from his own recordings. He reminisces about how when he began making his recordings there was such an abundance of wildlife that he could generate 1 hour of quality recording from 10 hours of work. Unfortunately, now he believes that this has been slashed by 50% due to the destruction of the environment curtacy of man. Meaning he could record up to 1000 hours of sounds, with barely any of this worth keeping. 

Kraus has gone to places, such as Lincoln’s meadow, to record the dawns chorus in order to understand the impact of mans destruction of environments. His work shows how incredibly different these environments have been effected. That the ears can prove that while the eyes don’t see any changes, the density of animals is altered dramatically. 

It is through his own work, that we can are able to “see” how dramatically the world is changing and how this destruction can take years and years to heal from our impact on the world. His work really is, truly, astounding. 

TEDGlobal, 2013, The voice of the natural world:

Soundtrack for Game

The sound piece above was created using only the recordings from a Drone instrument that was made during my CAVA101-102 Image and Narrative class. A task which I thoroughly enjoyed doing. (link to a shorter sound piece with a similar concept)

This drone instrument was made using wire and the sounds made when people ran their fingers up and down the wires. These recordings were then put into Audacity and manipulated into a 30 minute soundtrack for players to use when playing my game “will you Survive the night“.

By creating a soundtrack for the game I have, essentially, created a “real time” game, as the soundtrack determines, not just the amount of time you have to play the actual game, but how long you have for each turn (Kotaku UK, 2014). It generates it’s own sense of urgency and unease because players only have this time to “get out” of the haunted house (in the case of my own game). With this soundtrack, I am generating that creepy ambience within a board game that would otherwise have no music. Similar games like Zombie 15 and Captain Sonar are also use sound tracks/are real time.

The use of music, ambient drone noises and other sound recordings has always been an important part in the production of films, TV shows, and now games for some time. Sound designers and Foley artists work together to create noises that supports the tensions, or feelings that are being portrayed on the screens in front of us. The use of certain sounds or music can completely change the atmosphere of what you are seeing/playing. If you want to create tension, you can use a Waterphone to generate particularly creepy music that builds a sense of impending doom. Alternatively, if you want the audience to feel at ease, you might use the sounds of singing birds, and other cheerful noises like puppies and kittens.

Essentially, I am hoping to create the same discomfort a person might get while watching one of their favourite scary movies, but with a board game.

Below is the link to the original recording of the drone instrument.