Finally, the day has come where I can give you a little preview of what I have been working on over the last months as part of my master’s thesis project. The project is not finished yet, and quite a bit rough around the edges, but the project’s core should be usable enough to show it to the world and to maybe even get some feedback!
Space Walk is a real time telemetry and analysis platform/framework that connects to applications/games remotely over the network. It is built on current web technology and the idea of sharing, cooperation and open source has been integrated from the start. The project is built around plugins that can be developed by everyone, and simply hosted somewhere on the web. If I want to use such a plugin, all I need is its address and I am good to go. No set up, no install, no nothing.
What it can do so far: Quite handy for development is the Simple Telemetry plugin to visualise sampled data. It is just a simple graphing application, but it is immensely useful when working on games. Are you tired of printing variables to the console every frame, trying to make sense of the numbers? Fancy graphs are here to help.
Since my master’s thesis revolves around user input, I also developed a simple controller data visualisation. This can be used for instance during playtesting, when it might be hard to see what buttons the testers are actually pushing. It comes with two button mappings, but further mappings for different OS/game pad combinations can be added fairly easily.
If you want to dive deeper into testing, the input complexity visualisation might offer some insights. It is yet in a raw state, but it might already be of some use. It takes the idea of [Swain 2008] and generalises it to a real time applications. It basically shows you how many input dimensions are used at a time.
More: Space Walk also comes with a more elaborate documentation, that will also evolve over time. It also goes into detail about the core protocol, one of the three pillars of this whole project.
As always, I am happy to hear any comments and suggestions. I hope that one day this project is useful outside the limited scope of my master’s thesis.
References: Swain, C. (2008). Master Metrics: The Science Behind the Art of Game Design. In K. Isbister & N. Schaffer (Eds.), Game Usability: Advancing the Player Experience (pp. 119–140). Morgan Kaufmann.