Harvey: A Post-Mortem Reflection

It seems like Fall 2014 was just yesterday and the Digital Humanities seniors and Design Animation and Modeling III class were merely brainstorming ideas for what would soon become Harvey; a virtual and interactive representation of UW-Stout’s Harvey Hall.

Outside view of virtual Harvey Hall
Outside view of virtual Harvey Hall

Now, 6 months after the project officially ended, I turn to Brittany Zimmer, one of the graduates from the Digital Humanities concentration, to reflect on the pros, cons and various aspects of the project.

Marisa: What did you like about the creation process of Harvey?

Brittany: My favorite part about the Harvey Hall Project was taking a huge step outside of my comfort zone. Not only had the Digital Humanities students never worked on such a huge research project before, we had also never worked with such a vast array of people outside of our program. Getting to meet the students that actually designed and developed the game, and the in-game videos was so much fun. I never thought that I would take an interest in designing video games, but watching the students who were studying to become professionals in that field was really eye opening. It changed the process from being semester full of tedious research to something fun, tangible, and exciting.

The Spring 2015 Harvey Team
The Spring 2015 Harvey Team

M: On the other hand, what was challenging about the process?

B: My least favorite part about the Harvey project was the confusion it brought. Before we really dug our heels in and understood our separate roles in the game development process it was total chaos. We did not have a good way to keep track of our research and the weeks started to blend together in their similarity in that we were told to go to the library and find old pictures. The problem was that no one really knew what they were doing yet and although that was definitely a huge part of the project, and a lot of the fun as well, we certainly didn’t know it at that point. The uncertainty and misunderstandings in the beginning definitely set us back.

M: What would you say is your favorite part of the Harvey game itself?

B: My favorite aspect of the Harvey Game is the realism that the Digital Humanities students built into it. Everything is based off the original 1916 and 1950 eras. The music, clothes, classes, even the building reflects all of the research that was done and helped make Harvey more than a game. It’s an experience for people to take advantage of and learn about their school, as it was when it was just getting started. And the wasps. I cannot forget about the wasps.

A memo from the UW-Stout Archives discussing the wasp problem in Harvey Hall
A memo from the UW-Stout Archives discussing the wasp problem in Harvey Hall

M: The wasps are my favorite part too!

Well there you have it. Research, chaos, wasps, and much more went into Harvey’s creation. See it for yourself at the 2016 Independent Game Festival! If you cannot wait that long, Harvey will be available for download in early 2016!


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