How Does Sound Affect the Player?
Me – Sound draws me into the experience and takes me out of the real world a little, possibly due to headphones. Footsteps make me feel like I am in the game space. Without sound I was still drawn into the mandala and still thought of myself making a choice at the doors, but the impact wasn’t as good. Visuals are working, they just work better in tandem with sound.
Playtester 1 – Didn’t notice the footsteps. Sound enhanced the experience, thought sound was appropriate for the game and was relaxing.
Playtester 2 – Felt that footsteps were too fast and loud, and it seemed as if they added a beat to the music, detracting from the experience. Music itself was appropriate and was better than silence.
Real Environment or Abstract Environment?
Me – Abstract environment. I feel it fits better thematically with the start of the level, and keeps me in an introspective state after seeing the mandala and the sign instructing me to make a choice. This is because it feels almost like you are in your own mind.
Playtester 1 – Abstract environment, felt it better suited the relaxing theme. Suggested adding subtle lighting to the portals to suggest presence in the space but not show a real environment. Thought the space felt dreamy and was drawn into the center of the screen.
Player 2 – Abstract environment, though thought it might change depending on where the prototype goes.
Portals, Cloth or Doors?
Me – Doors are more representative of a path than the portals, could doors and portals be combined? Coloured portals are better than them all being the same. The cloth might work well if it was more refined, it also has a mystic vibe to it. I don’t have a clear choice.
Playtester 1 – Cloth felt tranquil, doors were subtle. Thought portals were very in your face.
Player 2 – Thought doors were boring as the other two had movement that drew the eye. Cloth would work if kept abstract and bright coloured. Was unsure about colour differences in portals – depended on how much agency/hints you wanted to give the player.
The music is needed, though it isn’t overpowering the visuals. My current placeholder music works well. No preference on weather footsteps are there, but they need to be less overt and slower if they stay. The environment, at least for this example should remain abstract (possibly I can include a more environment heavy scene behind one of the doors for comparison?). Portal choice should be moving and vibrant, no clear decision but leaning towards the cloth.