Now it’s your turn…

The wait is finally over! We can reveal that despite many Photoshop breakdowns, countless gladiatorial debates, and CSS crises; the game is live!

After weeks of design and production, and despite many set-backs right up until the very end, the game we have poured so much time and effort into it is complete. We’d love to hear any and all feedback on what we’ve created – leave us a comment below.

Roman Malton awaits, if you love the game visit Malton Museum, in Malton, North Yorkshire!!

Click the Image to Play
An image of the opening page of our game showing the entrance to a Roman fort with the text "How long would you survive in Roman Malton".
The opening page of our game. (Photo credit: Isobel Christian)

 

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STRESS STRESS STRESS

Production week has finally descended on our small group of four, and as anticipated, there have been several moments within the past two days where I have wanted to take the University owned laptop I was working on and throw it off the top of the Minster.

The reason behind this irrational thought, Photoshop. Before this week I had naively thought that our short crash course in Photoshop would be more than enough to cover the Photoshopping we would need for our game. I was wrong. So very, very, wrong.

Monday morning I had a great time working on the CSS for the game with Tara, which basically consisted of changing the colours and making the game look pretty. CSS was something I felt confident with, I knew what I was doing provided Tara was next to me the entire time in case I messed up! However, this is a group project and so my stress-free morning did not last as I took up the new task of using Photoshop to edit one of the images we needed for the game.

After I had opened up the image in Photoshop, something I did with great ease, I

A image of the Twine software, and mechanics of our game.
A screenshot of the mechanics of the game in Twine.

knew I had misjudged what I was getting myself into. It was in that moment as I stared blankly at the screen before me, I had no idea what I was doing. What followed was what I can confidently say one of the most frustrating and painful experiences of my life. Whenever I stopped to look at how Hayden was managing to do everything that I couldn’t, I imagined running away from King’s Manor very quickly and never returning. Somehow though, I managed to remain in my seat and through what can only be described as a miracle I managed to muddle my way through and edit the image to something we could actually use.

Tuesday morning dawned and all I could think was that if I had to use Photoshop ever again I might actually just break down on the spot. My first job was indeed to use Photoshop again. Tuesday was off to a great start.

However, to my surprise and probably the surprise of everyone else, I quickly managed to crop my image and resize it to the correct dimensions. In hindsight, it’s no surprise I managed it as it was probably one of the simplest jobs I could possibly need to do. The next image though was definitely going to test my meager abilities, but thankfully Tom from the University’s IT department was in and managed to explain to me exactly what I needed to do in order to sort out my image.

Ironically, this afternoon I cruised through the rest of my Photoshop work, and to my immense disbelief even managed to enjoy myself. This was an unexpected turn of events, and I’m convinced I must have hit my head at some point, either that or Photoshop isn’t as bad as I thought, but I’m not convinced.

The end is in sight

As we were faced with our final full week on the project a sense of impending doom fell rather heavily on my head for the Monday morning commute. How was this game going to be completed on time? Were we even going to produce our minimal viable product? And why in God’s name am I not a Photoshop voodoo master by now? Terrifyingly, at the time an overarching to-do list appeared on the wall with far too many sticky note for my liking, and an exceptional amount of words and phrases I still didn’t understand. However, as the day progressed and tasks were distributed between the four of us, what appeared to be a rather well-functioning game appeared before our eyes; proving ultimately that something from the past three weeks must have stuck. Looking back at original versions of the game and old tick lists the extent to which progress has been made is something I did not think possible this time last week.

This demanding to-do list however became my best friend as I felt I was back in primary school gaining a gold star every time a sticky note was moved into the completed section. Following this, phrases such as CSS and variable implementation became as clear as, well a fogged glass, but this was still progress from mud. Although all this progress did not come without difficulty as the incredibly frustrating challenges of Photoshop layers and editing tried all of our patience to the limits, with laptops close to being flung out the window. Still, there was a definite overarching enjoyment in seeing something that started as nothing being moulded and sculpted into a product that we could happily give to the museum. This excitement was emphasised when  I found I was able to create edits in Twine by myself and not see the game implode in front of my face. Due to the project having a focus none of us undergrads are familiar with, this allowed for all the less than small victories to feel like conquering the world, which has been a welcome contrast to the constant state of confusion.

Seeing the end in sight has, if anything, made us focus more and want to create a product that is the best of all our abilities. However the counter-effect of this means that the frustration level in one room has reached an arguably dangerous pitch as glitches and white marks on edits are finalised for the fourth and fifth times. The anticipation of what our finished product will look like is driving all of my efforts to complete this project.