Teams have already had one draft and revision for the concept document, so everyone is close to being done with that document. This assignment will let the team return to the concept document for inspiration. As with the Concept Doc, we want teams to think about promoting your game to receive funding or interest, but this time in a slightly different way: video.
The video that teams produce should be roughtly 2-3 minutes in length, aimed at an outside audience. Historically, this video would be great for applying to Boston FIG, which would have applications due very soon. However, COVID has really hurt the Indie festival circuit this past year, so there is nothing to apply for right now. But it does not hurt to pretend that you are applying for a game festival.
In creating the video, start thinking about it in terms of the Concept Doc, which had teams pitching ideas to an outside investor, very early in the development cycle. Now close(r) to being done, the video can promote the team’s work in other ways more sophisticated than the Concept Document alone could. For this assignment, all of the concepts that we have been trying to convey come to bear: audience assessment, message constraints, branding, tone, consistency, game development story, professionalism, and so on. Your game is going LIVE, and it is time to get the word out.
Artifacts that the teams have been capturing during term – such as photos, early sketches, drafts, and so on – can and likely should have presence in the video’s content. Tell the story of the game, the team, and how it all came about and needs outside support.
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Even when in years when Boston FIG was running a normal festival, we did not require all students to apply for the festival. Indeed, you have two different options for your video:
– Create a promo video that will work for a festival submission – Create a promo video for funding via Kickstarter or Indiegogo
Choice #1: Boston FIG Pitch
For this assignment teams must create a video that meets all of the criteria posted for a Boston FIG submission. We will base this option on the Boston FIG 2019 requirements, as that was the last year with an in-person festival. In addition, your submission must mean the criteria for this class (described below).
To understand the genre, here are some Boston FIG video examples from GDIAC past submissions.
The 2020 game Sweetspace is a has a very unique design, and its networking code is now the foundation for basic CUGL networking. This video was an exceptional effort by the onewordstudio team. All members spoke equally, the game and its development cycle were explained clearly, and any viewer of this video immediately is swept up in the suspense and drive of this networked game created to be played cooperatively with family and friends.
Another game from 2020, Spectacle was a modern take on a pinball game. This compelling video showcased the game beautifully. Engaging visuals, clear descriptions of gameplay, intriguing points about game development, and a history of how the game came to fruition keep viewers engaged and excited to try the game.
This 2019 promo video accomplishes its goals in a polished manner. We know who is on the team, why it was developed, the “story” of the game, and what their hopes are for play. The videos include development shots from paper prototyping up through various testing phases. It’s also nice that many voices from the team members move the narrative forward. The video’s tone, tempo, and narrative (which walks the viewer through and experience of the game and asks for action at the end) are superbly crafted.
Family Style also had a great promo video with the same features as Cluck Cluck Moose. We bring it to your attention because it demonstrated well the impacts of networking, using a single player mode, then multi-player mode. Watch and see how they do this. We also see players winning, which makes for a compelling snapshot of fun. Unfortunately, despite its massive eventual success, Family Style did not make it into Boston FIG because of a broken build (don’t be that group).
Another example from 2019, this is example hits a lot of the same notes as Cluck Cluck Moose. We include it just to give you another example that fits the format we are asking for. While we have other examples from before 2019, they do not necessarily meet the format we are asking for (they predate this assignment).
This video from 2018 is a great example, and not just because it was accepted to FIG.
It is scripted well, and it addresses quite clearly all of the Boston FIG video requirements, including the more nuanced angles of what makes the game compelling and unique within the market. The toggle between narrators is especially smooth (and all the student narrators are named). The beginning of the video has good branding. The game’s objective is clearly explained, and the gameplay is covered well. There is also a strong explanation of the project indicating that it came from a course.
Another FIG acceptance (this time in 2017), this video also has many strong points. There are easy-to-hear narration moments and strong, clean game captures in this video. It would have been better if the video started with identifiers for branding purposes; however, the game’s objective and unique gameplay is clearly highlighted. There is also a good explanation of how the project come from a course (see the minute marker 0:37+). Finally, all the student narrators are clearly named.
This game was not accepted to Boston FIG, but the video still has some strong features. Take inspiration from the narration because it is strong and clear. The “story” of the video is clear and energetic. We understand the compelling pieces of the game, and we can see the humor that propels playability. However, the presence of the game manual (this is a 3152 project) is neither necessary nor desired.
Once again, this game was not accepted to Boston FIG, but it still has elements that are good models. This team used a series of game captures with a narrative voiceover. As with the others above, the reasons for the game, its suitability for the “student game” category, and how the game is unique within the market is highlighted well.
Choice #2: Funding Pitch
In this alternative, teams must create a 2-3 minute promotional video that promotes the
game while simultaneously inspires micro-investors to support the game’s production.
The video needs to meet the criteria for this class (described below). But it also should follow basic Kickstarter guidelines:
There are no existing class examples of this kind of project. However, there are plenty of professional examples that can influence thinking about this option.
Wait, Family Style? Yes, after finishing the semester the team had a real Kickstarter. And they made their (modest) goal! A lot of the strong points of the Boston Fig video are here. But look at how they changed it to turn it into a funding pitch instead.
Jeff Vogel is a living legend, and the instructor has played his games from the very beginning. The nice thing about this video is how simple it is. It is far less professional that the other examples below. The strengths of this video are his strong branding, clarity about what makes the game unique, and he is straight forward about what he is asking to be funded. However, we caution teams against having to much of a talking head approach at the start.
The tone and atmosphere of this video is a bit grand for 4152 purposes, but keep in mind that this is a professionally made game. The strengths that we want teams to pull from this video are the discussion of the team (their talents and skill set), the compelling parts of the game, the early art artifacts, and how investors become part of the project. Weaknesses include a bit too much of the personal desires of the game makers versus what is likely compelling to investors and/or players.
Once again, keep in mind that this is a professional game company, and so some of the video is more grand than we would expect (like the opening moments). But we have the same strengths are here as with Project Eternity. There is a nice discussion of the game’s visual environment. There is also a great explanation at the end of how investors are needed and where the funding money will be spent.
With a strong opening full of branding, this video appeal is a great collection of gameplay explanation, a strong connection to place, a nod to funding/connectivity constraints associated with Cuba, obstacles overcome, and overall inspiration.
Regardless of which choice teams make for video, all videos will be graded by a uniform set of criteria. We will be grading it by looking for the following features.
The video should begin with venue identifier (BFIG or Kickstarter), the team name, game name, copyright symbol, and year. It should also have some sort of logo (such as what you might use later in the game’s store icon). Any additional branding is optional. The difference between the team name and the game name should be very clear.
The arc of the video’s story should organized in a way that makes sense for promoting the game for BFIG or Kickstarter. The content should include early shots of the design, levels or other visual assets as part of the game’s development story arc. It should also reveal how far along the team is in development (See Discarded at minute marker 1:11 for an example).
The video should mean the criteria of the target venue. For both types of videos, we recommend that teams follow the Boston FIG directions. We will look at all of the requested criteria for grading except the last one in the “Video Entry” section on page 4.
Overall, the video should leave the audience understanding the “why” elements of the game:
- Why is this game unique?
- Why is this game compelling?
- Why should people vote for/fund this game?
When you reach the conclusion, you should remind us of the game name (since we may have last seen it in the introduction).
The video should be edited well for visual flow, continuity, and liveliness. It should not be shaky or jumpy. It should be easy to see (not too dark or too bright). Any on-screen wording (captions, keywords, menus, other) should be proofread and edited.
The sound editing is just as important and should provide a clean, clear listening experience. Any narration given shouldc clearly compliment the on-screen content. This narration should loud enough and clearly articulated, and background noise should be at a minimum. The narration should also be energetic, and not monotone or overly scripted.
We ask that all members of the team are shown, if they are comfortable doing so.
For safety reasons, we will not make this a requirement, but it is great to show the whole team, not just the leads.
Finally, the team should avoid any copyright issues in regards to other-game screenshots, images, music, or sound effects.
Development and Submission
Due: Sat, Apr 17 at 11:59 PM
We actually want to see the process that you used to create the video, in addition to the video itself. Therefore, the submission is a multistep process. We expect some of these (particularly Scheduling and Storyboarding) to be completed before the video itself.
Part A: Scheduling the Video
In Google Drive/Docs, we want you to start a document titled “video schedule” and draft a schedule for drafting, scripting, video shooting, and video editing. The names of team members should align with responsibilities. Once this schedule has been set, it should also be visible inside Workflow, Milestones, or other scheduling “homebase” that the team has established for itself.
Part B: Storyboarding the Video
In Google Drive, you should start a slide deck called “Script” which will serve as the evolving narrative/voiceover document. It will be a set of visual cells that will serve as the team’s video storyboard. Each slide should have the following information:
- A visual (a drawing, a screen capture, or a set of words explaining what will be there soon) in the main area of the slide.
- The script for the narration/voiceover (if any) present in the Notes pane.
- Indication of who will be doing the narration/voiceover (if any) for this part of the video.
In essence, each team is making a PowerPoint/Slide Deck for a presentation, except that this time it will be seen as part of a video. Teams can choose to storyboard by drawing the cells with handwritten description for the notes, but the handwriting must be absolutely legible.
As with the visual design specification, organize the slides with the idea of “chapters.” In the end, each team will likely edit out the chapter dividers from the video, but it is a good early way to organize the flow of the video for this draft.
Part C: Submitting the Video
Upload the video either to YouTube or Vimeo. Submit the final storyboard script as a PDF to CMS. As the last slide of the storyboard, a hotlink to the video is required.
While you only get one shot for Boston FIG (if you were actually applying for it), you will get to revise the video for class. Teams will revise this video with the app store proposal in two weeks, and then again at at Showcase.