Behind The Scenes


The design and development process behind ‘Getaway’.


The process behind the development of Getaway.

WEEK ONEMonday 31st January

  • Image and Branding
  • Social Media
  • How do we want to present ourselves online?

Project ‘Getaway’ kicked off with the creation and realisation of both our studio, and games identity. We, BitShort Studio, had been working together on the design of the ‘Getaway’ with two key themes in mind throughout: Mental health management and self-care. So when it came to creating our brand, we knew exactly how we wanted to present our studio to the public, and that is as supportive and optimistic studio that cares for their audience.

The process of kickstarting our identity began with the creation of the name ‘Getaway’ and the formation of our 2-person studio ‘BitShort’. We wanted the tone of both identities to be passive and casual and to present ourselves online as we do in real life, to be authentic, friendly and caring. This led us into the creation of our branding toolkit, identifying the colours, typography, tone and behaviours of our brand. To connect with our audience and help them feel cared for, we set-up our social media accounts with a plan to remind people to tend to their well-being, to check in with themselves and take time to “Getaway”.

With this in mind, Emilia began to design a series of logos consisting of both pictorials and wordmarks, to give viewers insight into what Getaway is about, and what we stand for. With our branding set in stone and our social platforms live, we plan to continue marketing throughout the duration of the project, to further promote Getaway and our end of year Arcade Events.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week One Journal

WEEK TWO Monday 7th February

  • Refining the Project Scope
  • Setting up Version Control
  • Ideation
  • Schedule & Planning

To begin the development of the ‘Getaway’ game, it was first essential to develop a refined project scope and schedule. Our project proposal was a large scope with great potential, but with only thirteen weeks of development, we knew we had to reduce the size of our scope, without losing our intended player experience.

After reflecting on our proposal and familiarising ourselves with our project goals, we brainstormed ideas for gameplay, mechanics and interactions. Inspired by self-care techniques, our own methods of regulation and gathered feedback from our target audience, we were able to come up with some amazing ideas to curate an appropriate environment with our desired purpose, focusing majorly on the idea of relaxing play. We used “The Cool Wall” method to evaluate the effectiveness of our ideas and came to a conclusion based on which we thought had the most potential.

With an idea set in stone, we spent the remainder of the week mapping out the player experience, undertaking design principles and establishing our gameplay loop. To end Week Two, we refined our original project schedule to manage our time better, by scheduling every task needed to fulfil Getaway, and distributed the tasks between us, taking into consideration our capabilities and skill sets.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Two Journal

WEEK THREEMonday 14th February

  • Surveys
  • Theme Research
  • Image Processing & Webcams

We are now working in line with our new project schedule and focused mainly on the theme of our idea, in preparation for visual design. Through play-testing and surveys, we were able to validate that the most calming environments were outdoors, surrounded by the soothing sounds and details of nature. Taking this into consideration as well as our personal interests, we dove into a visual environment inspired by Hallstatt, Austria – A beautifully quaint and sweet mountain village, surrounded by natural beauty.

Once we knew what we wanted to present in our space, we then looked into how we wanted to present it, with our own unique twist – the art style. We chose to proceed with a hand-illustrated art style, because of its familiarity and intimacy, as well as providing interesting textures and opportunities in detail to explore. Both members of the team are skilled and experienced illustrators so we decided that this was the appropriate medium to use to exhibit our capabilities and enjoy the process at the same time.

With the art style and game environment now established, we were able to reflect upon our decisions for interaction methods, input and gameplay. We knew we wanted to incorporate slow physical movement into the experience, similar to the means of Virtual Reality. This week, Kiera began to develop a Virtual Reality prototype in Unity, to explore ways we could do this. The prototype uses ray-casting to move an object around the space, allowing us to analyse how slow movement can affect the player.

Until… we discovered a process that was both fascinating and enjoyable. Image classification/processing! To put it simply, a process in which detects a chosen bodypart/gesture, which translates physical movement into the digital world. This method of interaction required no controller whatsoever, and was simply reliant on the players physical motion. We preferred the idea of leaving traditional controllers or gamepads behind, to avoid distraction, and have begun to experiment with this new and exciting process!

As well as this, concerns were developing over how we might project a three dimensional environment onto multiple walls in this box, so we made some inquiries with the universities technicians and carried out a problem solving session with our tutor. This was when the idea for image processing was brought forward and the realisation that we may have found a way to use gesture control within our gameplay.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Three Journal

WEEK FOURMonday 21st February

  • Gameplay & Interaction Design
  • Problem-solving
  • Documentary Planning

With gameplay decided, we were able to create a series of environment mockups and considered how this would work across multiple screens/walls in game. We drew up the plans for this and aimed to feature an interesting element of the snowy landscape in each sector. For example, an iced over lake in one and a small quaint village in another. Emilia produced a stop-motion animation video of gameplay to demonstrate this further. Visualising the game environment was helpful for us to refer to and create a list of assets that we will need to create. Using this drawing, we created a prototype to show how the player would use gesture to move a small bird through the environment, collecting snowflakes on its journey which would lead to the uncovering of a beautiful soundtrack.

This week we had to make some technical decisions about our physical game space. We had two options. The first was to build the game 3D in unity using 2D assets, creating layers of detail to form a detailed environment. Or, we had the option to create the game inside a browser and use webcam processing to allow the player to interact through gesture control. We came to the conclusion that we would use the browser game option, because it would allow us to work freely in 2D and we would be able to best achieve the experience that we desired.

Now we had to make some adaptations to the space and consider how we would implement cameras into the setup design and that might possibly be by embedding webcams into the walls and running the game from a laptop outside of the box. We also heard back from the technicians we made enquiries with and found out that to run 360 degree projections in the space, we would have to use short throw projectors because the space is relatively small. This meant we had to make some adaptions to the design, considering how the projectors are going to take up floor space and there were limited numbers of them available.

To deal with this problem, we made some changes to our project pipeline, deciding that we would handle the experience one wall at a time. Once we have the game working and projected onto one wall, we can try to expand onto another and carry out the testing required to get the interactions moving smoothly across them.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Four Journal

WEEK FIVEMonday 28th February

  • Update with Sound Designer
  • Art Experimentation & Art Bible
  • Asset Production Documents

Now that we had made changes to how the player interacts in the box and created a new pipeline process for its development, we had to re-asses the structure of the game box, beginning with the structure for just one wall and making sure we will be able to expand upon it. Furthermore, re-considering the positions of projectors, webcams and the surround sound system.

This week also kicked off the creation of the musical soundtrack. Emilia is working closely with our sound designer Harry Williams to create a relaxing, peaceful composition that is split into six layers. These layers will be uncovered by the player through interaction with game elements, so their experience will enhance and develop as they play.

Emilia also began to experiment with differently materials and surfaces to be better prepared for the Art Bible, which is a detailed document produced to define the look of the game. Alongside this, Emilia produced a series of documents to assess the creation of assets by outlining expectations and providing feedback. These documents will make asset creation more efficient and allow us to track progress, as well as keep the art style consistent between us. As we had now concluded on the art style, gameplay and created a plan for our game environment, we are scheduled to begin asset creation in the upcoming weeks.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Five Journal

WEEK SIXMonday 7th March

  • Priority Plans
  • VR Prototyping
  • Setting up
  • Testing Projectors & Equipment for setup

Prototype update: Ray-casting within the box. The prototype is developing as more is learnt about working in 3D and using programming. The purpose of this prototype is to test the experience and visualise how it we designed it to be: a complete 360 degree surrounding safe space. For this project, the final deliverable is going to look a little different than we planned, due to limitations and adaptations we have had to make because of them. As we create our assets and put them into the unity project, this prototype will become a demonstration of the complete experience.

After creating a priority list, we knew we needed to test the effectiveness of different projectors and setups, so contacted WSA Media Stores to organise this. We began to test the equipment available to us, using an online prototype that makes use of the computer’s webcam as a controller. We struggled to find experiences like ours online, which made us realise realise how unique our project is and its potential! Using the short throw projector, we displayed the prototype on screen to get a first-hand experience of a gesture control game, which helped guide our own design choices.

We also tested how our chosen art style would appear on a projected screen using our inspiration, Alexander Perrin’s, Short Trip. This browser game was created entirely with hand drawn 2D illustrations and is a peaceful journey along one path. This was helpful to confirm our design choices and check the quality of the projections.

As the complete experience is going to take place on the walls, using gesture control strictly, Kiera looked into what types of gestures and shapes we could use to interact with different elements of the game. This included selecting items, using the menu and starting or stopping the game. Through research and some demonstrations, we made some plans for such gestures which we hope we’ll be able to implement later in the project.

This week, Emilia also setup our page to allow people to have access to the browser version, if the physical space is not accessible to them. In addition to this, Emilia has made plans for future posts on our Instagram and Twitter.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Six Journal

WEEK SEVENMonday 14th March

  • Milestones
  • The Sound Bible
  • Game Version 1!

This week we refined our plans for the game and set up of the physical space, through a list of new weekly milestones. Plans were made for the very first prototype of ‘Getaway’ with our technical support, James. This first straightforward prototype entailed using a dot-on screen that follows the movement of the player (detects a specific point on the body). Eventually this small dot will become the bird in our gameplay and the player will used slow movement to explore the on-screen environment, as well as move about the space. From here, we refined our new milestones.

The Sound bible was also created this week, by Emilia, supplying our sound designer with everything they needed to compose and complete our desired soundtrack. The composition will be split into six parts, including atmospheric sound and 5 different individual instrumental layers. Emilia will continue working closely with Harry Williams to carry out quality assurance and provide feedback. We have scheduled to receive the first draft by the Easter Holidays.

We’ve had to move our schedule around a little this week, to prepare for our essay hand-in on the 21st March and ensure we have these written and finalised before then.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Seven Journal

WEEK EIGHTMonday 28th March

  • Easter Planning
  • Prototyping & Testing
  • Prepare for Games Day!

At the beginning of this week, we carried out some testing and gathered feedback for our game. This involved setting up a projection, and making a comfortable space for people to reflect over the art style, music and intentions of the game. We sat play-testers down, explained what the game was and monitored their heart rates throughout. We recorded their heart rate before and after, and then carried out a recorded interview with each user.

The first ‘Getaway’ game prototype has been completed this week and we carried out some testing, displaying the game on one screen. It involves using the nose to guide a bird around the screen and once it passes over the designated asset, the music begins to play.

Using this first version of the game we also tested the function of its gesture control to see if it worked the way we wanted it to. The detection system can pick up any of the joints on the body including the wrist, elbow and ankle as well as the ear, eye and nose. We experimented with different parts of the body and found that the detection for the wrist wasn’t functioning very smoothly but the program was having no issues picking up the nose.

We now know the elements of the game we have to refine and work on to achieve a successful outcome, and have taken note of issues that have occured and ways to overcome them.

Emilia spent the last few days of this week preparing the presentation for our Barclays Games Day presentation, where we have been given the opportunity to present Getaway! Exciting times ahead.

As the week came to a close, we created a detailed ‘Easter Break schedule’ to ensure we worked consistently and efficiently, despite being off campus and remote. We will be working according to this refined schedule for this period which is when we will be carrying out the development of our game assets.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Eight Journal

EASTER BREAKMonday 28th March – Monday 25th April

  • Game Versions 2 & 3
  • Barclays Games Day & Presentation!
  • Asset Distribution & Asset Creation
  • Sound Production
  • Game Version 4

From this first version of ‘Getaway’ we were quickly able to make our own adaptation using the assets that we had created so far. And this was just in time for our Barclays Eagle Lab game event in Southampton. Here we presented this prototype and carried out some play-testing, as well as giving a presentation of our project to the visitors of this event. The event was a great opportunity for us to showcase our game idea and gain some great connections with industry experts.

During this play-testing event we had to use the players nose for the detection system as the wrist was not functioning properly. This made it difficult for player to reach all four corners of the screen without jumping or crouching. However, the event went very well and we gained a lot of interest in our game.

In terms of the set up of the space and further technical development, we also need to work out how to set up gameplay across two screens now we have it working on one. We know that we will have to run two servers on two different laptops and in the case of the bird moving seamlessly through both environments, we are thinking of having it fade out as it reaches the edge of one and fade back in as the player begins to interact on the next screen.

Over Easter we have planned to focus on asset production, aiming to get it finished within the first two weeks. This includes all the moving parts inside the game as well as the backgrounds. Meanwhile, we are currently working on implementing the system for music to be played upon the collection of falling snowflakes. The assets were split between us, and Emilia as art lead, is carrying out testing and quality assurance of all assets to make sure our art style is consistent and assets meet their expectations. Emilia has also had an update from the Sound Designer, and we have a draft version of our official soundtrack! P.S: It sounds great.

Mid-Easter we had a check in discussion with James and progress had been made with the programming of the Image Classification program. At this stage (version three), the interactive snowflakes and musical system were built, and a begin button had been implemented. Further work required includes moving all of our assets into the programme, creating any necessary UI and programming the bird, clouds and cable cars to carry out their animations.

For now, we are to enjoy the rest of our Easter Break, and come back better than ever, ready for Week Nine.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Easter Journal

WEEK NINEMonday 25th April

  • Testing Setup
  • The Creation of Promotional Material
  • User Interface & Asset Review
  • Documentary Filming

Game assets were completed over Easter allowing for the development of Getaway version 4. This week we tested this version of the game with the projector set up and all of our own assets implemented into the game, also including the finished sound composition. After reviewing the gameplay, we made any necessary refinements to our assets and collected feedback. This is when we were able to expand our experience to two servers, and therefore two screens to interact with (Getaway version 5). The next steps for the game build itself is to insert the UI, and add all of the animations that we have created.

As changes have been made to our planned set-up for our final deliverable and the arcade events in the summer, it was necessary to check over the set-up again and make all of the required measurements. This allowed us to draw up new plans and send them off for the space to be built.

With three weeks left to go, Emilia began to create, design and finalise all promotional material, including stickers, posters and t-shirts. These have now been sent off for printing and we are excited to receive them in the next week or two. Our social medias have been updated throughout the project and it’s time to start advertising our final show to the public and begin fundraising to make the show the best it can be.

We have also been filming clips throughout the project to help build up our project documentary which will show the process behind Getaway as well as describe the decisions behind our design. This week we filmed our clips of us explaining the game to our audience and Emilia has been working to get this edited and complete, ready to be uploaded to Youtube and our BitShort.Studio site.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Nine Journal

WEEK 10 Monday 2nd May

  • Continue Marketing
  • Setup Testing
  • Game Version 5/6
  • Playtesting
  • The Final Documentary!

With just three weeks to go before the deadline, we have been prioritising our time to getting the game working seamlessly, refining our final assets and getting them into the programme. As we make changes to the experience, with additional assets making their way into the game, we have been collecting feedback through the means of play-testing to ensure that everything is working harmoniously, and to ensure the effectiveness of our experience is as desired. Through this, we have been able to identify any problems with our scripts or designs and are working to polish this project. This also allows us to test all of our features so that we can make the game the best it can be, with the final flourishes being carried out until the deadline.

Further testing was also required to support the set-up of our physical game space. We carried out testing with another projector as well as our detection system set up using webcams and placeholder walls as a game space mock-up!

The documentary is also complete and available to watch on our press page and new Youtube Channel – BitShort Studio! Next, Emilia is working on the game trailer to tease our experience to our audiences and help market our game before the arcade events which will take place in the summer. This material will be shared with our audience via Instagram and Twitter up to four weeks before our Degree Shows.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Ten Journal

WEEK ELEVENMonday 9th May

  • Final Flourishes & Refinements
  • Setup Testing
  • Playtesting
  • Game Version 7
  • Last minute Asset Creation!

Week eleven involved more game refinement! After play-testing sessions the previous week we were able to identify issues within the scripts to do with detection and the players interaction through gesture control. So we have set out to fix this and carry out any other further debugging. Kiera has been working closely on this, and Emilia has been preparing all marketing material in preparation for hand-in.

To prepare for the physical game space development in the final two weeks, we created another test scene involving two projectors, two webcams and our two separate servers running for complete gameplay. We were able to test the overall experience one last time, gathering feedback from our tester. Luckily, our tester commented on being able to visit the experience in times of stress, so we must be doing something right!

Emilia also finalised the ‘Loading Screen’ asset this week, as well as re-creating the ski-lift animation, which are now ready to be implemented into the environment, which we have scheduled to do mid Week 12. Alongside this, Emilia was able to finish editing of the Getaway trailer and is now working hard to complete our final video, the gameplay demonstration which will involve a showing of the complete gameplay experience.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Eleven Journal

WEEK TWELVEMonday 16th May

  • Asset Creation
  • Setup Testing
  • The Game Trailer!
  • The Gameplay Demo!

During Week Twelve, Emilia focused her time on finalising our Game Trailer and Gameplay Demo to further promote the experience, and Kiera has been working on the final flourishes, to ensure interaction works as good as it can. This involved a quick review of the detection script, as well as the creation of additional features such as our new ‘loading’ page! This aims to introduce users to the experience, to avoid concern or confusion. The experience must require minimal effort and allow you to get lost in your surroundings.

Our Youtube Channel is live and all material has been published. Promotional material is ready to be posted on our social platforms, and so far we have fundraised £780 for our Degree Shows! This is an amazing outcome.

We’re about to enter Week Thirteen and we are five days away from our deadline. What a journey! We are so proud of how far we have come. For now, we must focus on the last few tasks, to finalise and polish Getaway. During the next week, we will be focusing on promoting Getaway, our events in Winchester and London, and adding our final touches to our own documentation.

For now, we’ll keep grinding (our teeth) and next week, Getaway will be COMPLETE!

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Twelve Journal

WEEK THIRTEENMonday 23rd May

  • Promote Getaway & Arcade Events ‘Elevate’
  • Personal Documentation
  • Test final set-up for arcade events (with new projectors)

WE DID IT! This week we have made final touches and polishes to Getaway, and refined all material needed to successfully market our game and studio. We are so happy with the result, and we cannot wait for you to experience it. What a rollercoaster of emotions and an emotional week! We can’t believe our university experience is almost over, but not to worry, because we still plan to work with each other upon graduating, as Getaway holds a special place in our hearts.

In the words of Kiera Walton… “I’m going to be a millionaire”.

Links to documentation:
Kiera: Week Thirteen Journal


  • Organise setup for the space
  • Paint walls & embed webcams!
  • Further polish.
  • “Elevate” Arcade Events – Winchester & London.

The Final Logo Design
‘The Cool Wall’
Experience Storyboard
Version Control – GitKraken
Scheduling & Planning
Environment Inspiration Mood-board
Art Style Inspiration Mood-board
Ideal space setup
Raycasting prototype in VR
Image Processing – Gesture Control
Art Experimentation
Projection Testing
Sound Production
Getaway Version One
Getaway Version 2
Heart Rate before the experience
Barclays Games Day
Getaway Version 3
Getaway Version 4
Projection Testing
Merchandise Concepts
User Interface Designs
Documentary Filming
Getaway Version 5 Screen 1
Getaway Version 5 Screen 2
Projecting across screens
The Making of Getaway – Official Documentary
Setup Testing & Playtesting Day
GETAWAY – Official Trailer
Ski-Lift Animation
Loading Screen Design
Testing New Projectors!
The walls for the arcade have arrived!