Testing the Magic

The Wizard Tag Wand creators are project managers most of the time, coordinating, budgeting, and planning, but sometimes we get to have fun and do some of the work.  We work with hardware, software, design, and circuit engineers.  There are contract and patent lawyers.  Accountants, manufacturers for electronics and plastics, packaging experts and distributors.  

When new software arrives, we load it into one or more wands and test out some new functions!

Testing the Magic in the Wizard Tag Wands

Why is testing the wand so much fun?

At this point, we have already received over 30 batches of code to test!

It’s always a great day when we get software, because programming software is the hardest part of the project to predict.  You can’t say exactly how long it is going to take and you don’t always know what kind of challenges you are going to encounter.  That is why each time we get something to test, we can tick off that functionality from our list and get one step closer to the goal!

All of the other parts of production are so predictable.  You can ask when something is scheduled and how long it will take.  Sure, there are problems with hardware and design iterations, but for the most part you can get a good production timeline.  

Loading new software and seeing, hearing, and feeling immediately what was created is so satisfying!

Since everything except the power button on the wand is motion controlled, testing requires constant “spell casting”.  Seeing spells that we wrote on paper becoming real with the magic in the software is so cool.  Casting a spell is great, but being an author and then seeing your spell is even better.  (If you are a D&D fan, then I would refer you to Tenser, Leomund, or Mordenkainen!)

What kind of tests do we do?

Here are some of the tests that we have performed:

  • Light animation 
  • Gesture recognition
  • Infrared communication
  • Infrared range and off-angle detection
  • Sound effects and voice
  • Menu navigation
  • Game modes
  • Vibration
  • Settings

What have we learned from conducting tests?

We provide copious amounts of feedback and have a great time being wizards each time we get software to test!

Since the menus are virtual, you have to imagine them, which is helped along by the verbal assistance of the Wizard Guide.  

Navigation through the menus is easy and you can always tell where you are by what the Wizard Guide says, but it is also reinforced with light animations, sound effects, and vibrations.  After a while it is easy to tell which game mode we are selecting, without the sound, since each mode has a unique lighting effect.

Here is some of the feedback we gave:

  • Light animation – Notes on designing unique animations for each game mode
  • Gesture recognition – 30+ iterations each to see if each spell is recognized, making sure there is no confusion between spells
  • Infrared communication – Sending and receiving messages with the wands
  • Infrared range and off-angle – Validating ranges and angles, determining hardware changes needed to achieve distances and area of effect
  • Sound effects and voice – Testing sound in the case, volume ranges, correct file selection
  • Menu navigation – Smoothly moving through the virtual menus, commenting on what would make navigation easier
  • Game modes – Validating animations and game settings are as designed
  • Vibration – Correct vibration associated with the right spells
  • Settings – Adjustments and ranges for volume and brightness, muting, and turning off lights
Everything above was just to get us to where we can do combat tests!  Soon, all of the above will be combined and we will start casting spells to test the combat modes.  Then there might be a beta test happening near you!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you ever played laser tag?
  2. Can you imagine playing laser tag with wands?  What would be different?
  3. Would you rather fight wearing street clothes, or dress as a wizard?
  4. Are you more interested in the laser tag game modes, or the other functions of the wand?

Want more Wizard Tag updates?

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