ARIS Basics & Content Creation

In this week’s lecture we learnt more about ARIS games and the platform in general. I set up an account for our group so we were able to try out a couple of things before we actually started to create the game.

At first we were going through the basics of ARIS and learnt more about objects such as plaques, conversations, items and scenes. It is also possible to create quests in your game and users can unlock  content which is really cool and interesting to implement in a location based game, since everything is not straight forward anymore.

We checked out some alternatives to ARIS such as Taleblazer, Scramboo and there is even a company called Locomatrix which is based very close to us but overall I liked ARIS most because of the easy user interface.

After playing around with ARIS we moved on to content creation. Our lecturer informed us about some great apps like MORFO, which makes it possible to animate characters. We got some examples of characters that we used to create little voice-over animations.

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The next thing that we looked into was Aurasma. It is one of the world’s leading augmented reality platforms. I already mentioned Augmented Reality in a previous blog post, so make sure you check it out if you have not already. Aurasma put very interesting content on their website and I liked one video specifically – They experimented with augmented reality at the Disney Star Wars Weekends 2015 and enabled people to engage with certain objects and let them experience augmented reality.

> CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO <

Game Concept & MORFO Characters

This week we were meant to develop the concept of our game. We received a couple of characters that we can use to experiment with MORFO and also an example how we can plan our location based game.

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Our idea was to have a leading character in our game which is a zookeeper. Children then go to the animals and listen what they have to say (scan QR code for the purpose of the demonstration when we present our game in class) and they tell their stories and ask the kids questions about the previous animals.

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Here you can see my first attempt of drawing the leading character of our zoo game:

Photo May 08, 9 43 27 PM

But unfortunately (or fortunately) someone had a better suggestion.

 

 

Six Thinking Hats & Creative Methods

This week we learned about Six Thinking Hats. The lecturer brought 6 hats in different colours and each hat had a certain task.

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After the lecture we got into our groups and continued working on our location based game. One person decided who gets which hat so not everyone can choose what they are most comfortable or used to. Unfortunately we were just 4 people in our group so two group members had to wear 2 hats but that was not a big problem.

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Overall it was really funny to try this method because people had to stay in their characters. So for instance if you were wearing the black hat you always had to be kind of “negative” and tell everyone about the risks and weaknesses of our ideas. I had to wear two hats – Green and Yellow – Which was very difficult because the green hat alone would have been a difficult task since you are the creative character and have to come up with ideas while also being extremely positive and pointing all the good things out (yellow hat). We also changed hats every now and then so we have a lot of ideas and basic approaches.

After we were done doing the Six Thinking Hats we tried a similar method to the Ideatoons Blueprint because we felt very creative in that moment so we all took a piece of paper and thought about our challenge and drew something that was in our mind related to the game. After a certain amount of time we passed on the piece of paper to the next person and they had to add something and so on. In the end we had 4 pieces of paper with interesting drawings on them and put them in the middle and tried to force relationships between them and how we can extend our drafts and come up with new ideas for our game. We came up with a lot of new approaches that we have not thought of yet, such as game logos and game context.

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Context Aware Design

Our next challenge is to create a location based exhibition, game or trail. Our lecturer told us more about QR codes, RFID and a lot of other tools that we can use.

QR codes

… short for quick response codes, are very handy when it comes to location based games, but also for many other scenarios in life. It is a 2D bar code which can be read by simply holding the camera of a mobile phone in front of it as if you are taking a picture. Usually those codes are being used for promotional codes or so people do not have to remember difficult URLs and they can just scan the code and a web browser opens on its own and redirects you to the website you want to go. Over time people found more uses for those codes such as for location based games! They are very easy to use and you can also generate them with very little effort on websites like qrcode.kaywa.com or qr-code-generator.com!

RFID

… is pretty great because people do not actually have to scan anything like QR codes. RFIDs use electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. On the lecture slides there was a great example of a student bar in Westminster where people can order drinks and chat with other people in the bar using their phones and RFID.

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Augmented Reality

…  is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. This new technology blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell so you can basically modify what you can see on the camera and put objects wherever you want. I found a great website who has many blog posts about this topic in case you are interested in that – Augmented Reality Trends.

MORFO

… is an app that makes it possible to animate faces. It is pretty straight forward and easy to use, you just have to upload your picture of a face and then set the points for mouth and eyes. After that you can record yourself and the app will animate your uploaded face to your voice-over.

Morfo1

 

After the lecture we got into groups and started brainstorming. We decided to make a location based game for kids based on GPS/QR codes. We used a new method called “A-Z method” where we thought about different places that we can use for our location based game and we had to go through the ABC and think about a place for every letter. The very last one “Zoo”  for Z was the one we decided to focus on.

Our general idea was to get kids go out more often to the zoo and learn more about animals. The game should educate children in a funny and entertaining way. I looked up some zoos nearby and we eventually decided to take the Drusillas Zoo Park as location for our game.

Review of Phone Apps & Brainstorming Methods

In this session we reviewed our phone app designs. In the picture below you can see my designs.

app logo designs

  1. Frisbee society app – for meetings and locations (parks)
  2. Multiplayer game messenger – see who is online and what they are playing
  3. Freshly baked bread smell – shows next bakery locations
  4. Cheese app – Price lists of cheapest cheese and were you can get it
  5. Drama society – shows next social events and shows
  6. Locations – pin on maps where you’ve been (traveling)

After we finished reviewing our apps we got into groups of four and had to brainstorm more apps but the task had a little twist on it.

There was this colour wheel with different categories:

colourwheel

And we had to categorize our apps and think about how we can mix the category that is on the other side with our already existing app. So for instance if you have an app that is about shopping then you have to think about a way how you can link the functionality of your app with either food, hobbies, learning, etc.

We had a couple of great and extraordinary ideas but my favorite ones were HotDog and TUNEz. HotDog works basically like Tinder, it is a dating app for dogs but the target audience are dog breeders. There are a lot of similar apps like TUNEz already on the market but we thought it would be great to scan a song of which you want to know the name and then also album information and lyrics so you can sing along (like the Playstation game SingStar).

Synectics

“the fitting together of seemingly diverse elements” .. is how my lecturer introduced the Greek word.

When googling the word this description pops up and I think it cannot be described in a better way: “a problem-solving technique that seeks to promote creative thinking, typically among small groups of people of diverse experience and expertise.”

You should basically use Synectics in planning as well in the idea-generating sessions. Since we had to brainstorm in this session we learned more about it and how we can achieve the most out of the brainstorming process. The key is to not be shy and simply say what is in your mind related to the topic. Risk taking is a key word because you are supposed to express your ideas without having the fear of failure or what people think of you. Every idea can improve or guide the end product and lead to success.

Introduction & Phone Apps Brainstorming

In this session we got an overview of the entire year in form of an approximate timetable and also talked about the assessment. There are 3 different practical design challenges that we have to master:

  1. Mobile App ideas
  2. Contextual Design (+ presentation)
  3. Wearable Technology concepts and model

Additionally we have to keep up a blog where we reflect on all the things that we have learned throughout the module.

After all our questions about the challenges and assessments were cleared we moved on to the first challenge which is about mobile app designs. For this task we were divided into pairs of two and we had to talk about ourselves, hobbies and what we like or not like (just some extraordinary facts that nobody knows). This was not only extremely funny but also helped me getting to know people from my module.

My partner was Dominik and he told me a lot of interesting facts about himself that I would have never guessed! Our next task was to tell everyone else in class what we just found out about our partner and after that we had to think about 6 different apps that could be useful for our partner based on the facts that you just found out about them and design logos for each of the apps.

Here are my notes about what I found out while interviewing Dominik and my first brainstorming process of possible app designs.

Later on I drew an actual phone screen and tried to design each app logo and think about what this app logo does and how it could help Dominik.

Photo Apr 24, 8 17 21 PM
Notes while interviewing Dominik
Photo Apr 24, 8 17 33 PM
First attempt designing each app & their purpose