P3 Reflection

I thought it was an interesting experience to create a systems game – we chose to do it on a digital medium instead of doing a board/card/physical game, which both helped and detracted from the experience and the amount we were able to simulate the system itself with justice. I think it would’ve been difficult to recreate the experience with a physical medium because we relied so heavily on having the “day” of sales itself simulated, taking into account certain customer preferences to allow for strategizing. The “memory” of resources like different ingredients and drink combinations and menu coupled with the feature of having ingredients go bad at different times would’ve been difficult to recreate – perhaps we could’ve done a card game of some sort but I think the way we implemented it was the best that could’ve been done to emulate the type of experience and teachings we wanted, namely resource management. I’ve played games in the past that emulate a sort of restaurant environment, and I feel like the requirement of making it through a realistic day with customers’ orders and processing afterwards to try to understand how to strategize is something best done digitally. Additionally, because we wanted to focus on just having one “owner”, we thought it would be best as a digital game that an individual could play on their own. It wouldn’t make sense to make it a multiplayer game because there aren’t enough managerial roles to split amongst the other players, and it wouldnt make sense to have people just play the role of a customer. This stays mostly faithful to the experience of “solo-running” a business – by design, the owner or player has to front and handle all decision making and strategy by themselves. It was interesting to watch people play it and interact with the system and see the types of decisions they made to rationalize their different purchases or menu additions. It was a little difficult to onboard to the GameMaker platform and figure out how to code up the interface. There were different requirements in the GameMaker framework to create different Rooms and Objects, etc., and have associated blocks of code in different constructs like Draw and Create to actually create all the game assets themselves and simulate the interactions and run different logic as well. It was interesting to see what expectations people had for the platform – little things, like intuitive undo buttons, etc – I was reminded of types of testing and heuristic evaluations that we learned and explored during CS147 likke error states and exit states and prompts and undo functionality, etc, which were actually pretty relevant because this was a digital interface. I think trying to code as we went did slow down the ideation process because we wanted to be able to keep pace coding with coming up with ideas, and we were reluctant to change or add features based on how difficult they would be to implement in the code. In the future, there are many other functions we could’ve explored to stay more faithful to the simulation of having the experience of running a business and associated learnings had we had more time to develop them out.

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