This week I plan to be very productive with a series of design sprints and a co-design session to generate ideas for the game concept. I know that I want to have an adventure / exploration game as it feels like it is more open to interpretation, as well as fulfilling the needs of the 'explorer' player behaviour archetype of the KASE matrix. I am wanting to design a concept that appeals across the matrix (ideally achievers and explorers) and having an open adventure world or story, seemed like a good way to encourage 'explorers' to play the game. As a result, I came up with the following themes for games I could potentially explore in the design sprint sessions this week.
To be able to explore these themes, I decided I wanted to get insight from parents, who also happen to be video game fans. As a designer, I really appreciate the ability to bounce ideas off of others and have enjoyed this part of the course in the past. So it felt like a good point of the design phase to get others involved. Luckily I was able to recruit some willing participants and (who are the parents of Caitlyn that I observed during the research phase) and organised for them to come in tomorrow for a co-design session. The plan for these sessions are to convey my ideas to the participants of the session and use these as a starting point to discuss and generate new ideas. Then from these ideas, the objectives of these sessions are as follows:
- Quickly prototype various adventure style games to generate content for MK1 prototype
- Create potential early art work and mini-stories that can generate further exploration
- Establish what area has the most potential to include physical activity and room to expand
- To help inform the form and design / further development of the "costume"
- Improve illustration and animation skills, learning new techniques whilst creating various prototypes
- Establish what tech + softwares I can get a grip of easily, and what functionality is available
- Experiment with new techniques knowing it is part of a learning exercise!
Bonus: To create app art work & assets, define a basic narrative, concept goals & aims of the game, up to 5 different simple games to get feedback from.
Before hosting the co-design session, I decided it would be a good idea to complete a pilot session by myself using the theme that I have already explored of space. This was to see if the plan for the session with Cherlea and Connor would work the way I had planned.
I started by looking further in to what space adventures for kids already exist and I came across this video on youtube called Epic Space adventure.
It works on an A-Z idea, where the story rhymes and it really got me thinking about the possibility of the story being an A-Z game, with each letter being a mini-game. The rhyme could potentially spell out the aim of each mini-game. For example "Jumping on to Venus, the hottest planet yet. That rain is made of acid, be careful - don't get wet." or "Now climb the highest mountain, and then the valley floor." Could be mini-games as explored in these sketches:
I also found themed yoga videos for kids on Youtube, that had a space style theme. Because this involves movement I was also really interested to see if this is something that could work for my concept.
I wanted to attempt to prototype the game sketch ideas in Unity, to have something to show Cherlea and Connor at the co-design session tomorrow, and also to get familiar with the programme and building levels within it. It was a lot more complicated to get my head around than I had initially expected, as a result I followed tutorials to create a world with pre-existing art work which meant that it doesn't have the space theme. However, it did give me the chance to get to grips with Unity a little more.
In addition to this, I found a product on the Unity asset store that can use the accelerometer and gyroscope within your phone (as well as other functionality) to set the phone up as a controller. It is called Airconsole and there is an option for developers to use the API to attach to their Unity games. This is a really exciting development, as it may give me another option for the technology side of the project. I found a hub of games for airconsole, which I will use within the co-design session tomorrow to help get us all thinking in a gaming mindset, and add a playful twist.
It's been a really exciting day in terms of developments and productivity. Tomorrow is the co-design session and I will start by explaining to Cherlea and Connor what I have done in today's session and we are going to discuss possible narratives and generate ideas for an around the world adventure (as this was the option they picked from my list).
I am also really intrigued by the A-Z rhyming narrative idea and want to try and adapt the story I found on Youtube, in to a version that can be used to explore potentially mini-games.
Decide if I am hoping for a 3D game or a 2D... (will the movement translate effectively on screen if the character is not 3-dimensional or would that be confusing?)