Game Design (Part 1)

Following the last week, I was tasked to come up with some initial game ideas. I proposed three:

Initial ideasResponds for these three game ideas were good. People tend to preferred either Blue Creature or Trash it. Ultimately, it turned out that there are enough people in the class who are interested in working on the Blue Creatures idea with me. So we are trying our best to bring it to life!

Out team: 3 Computer Scientist, and 1 designer (myself)

Blue Creatures:

You are a Scuba diver! the objective of the game is to catch Blue Creatures but you need to physically set up traps to get those Blue Creatures! The more traps/baits you set up underwater, the more chance that you will get Blue Creatures faster! However, the harder for you to watch out for all your baits. You have limit amount of bait to use. Once they are gone … the game is also over.

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Paper Prototype:

After a team discussion of how the game should work, we went ahead and try out how the game may work with paper prototype. It was very interesting to observe how people play our game!

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Paper Prototype_2

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People like the game play! They feel that there are enough component going on in the game that keep them interested. Yet, it is not too complex that they cannot handle the level of difficulty.

What we learn:

a. Items that player use to eliminate other creatures need to be use in a close range. Otherwise, people would simply stay on one side of the screen and do not maneuver around.

b. The speed of diver relative to all creatures is crucial, we need to pin down the speed of the game.

c. People did not realize that they can move the bait up and down. Probably need a better indication/ interface design.

Our next steps would be to do more testing and get into more details of the game. Stay tune for my blog next week !



Library Observation: Week 1

First week of my in dept research class, we had to go out and observe how people behave in libraries. The assignment seems simple but it actually required a lot of patient and good observation skill. You will be amaze how many people react in the exactly same in a certain situation. Sometime they did it without realization. Below are some of my recording and some insights I got from my observation:



10.30 am: The library just suddenly gets quiet. A moment ago I can feel the loud ambient noise but not now. There are significantly less people walking in-out the library. Wonder why?? (Assumption: it must be because classes start at this time. People are probably hurry to their class. A library is not only a place where people just come and study, it is also pathway where people use to go to their destination)

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First floor elevator: the elevator is open by itself?! 12 times already. I only see a few people use the elevator on this floor. But the elevator open by itself many more time than people using it.

Art exhibition: one person glance at it but no one touches or even take a look at it. I am curious to know why because it is so obvious and also in the center of the open space.

Alarm: only goes off once. People are looking at it but no one does anything.

People: There were a lot of people walking in and out of the library. Many people walk with head phone and ear phone. Some of them walk with friends and some of them walk by themselves. Quite normal at this point.

11.06: I am now on the First floor Suzzallo library, midway from the main entrance and Allen library South wing. On my right, there are many computers where student can use. On my left, there are countless books and bookshelves. All computers occupied but there was no one looking at any books on these shelves. Am I in a library or computer lab? lol.

Wait, I just saw this one really old guy was reading a book without any computer equipment.

11.25 am: I am following people from the entrance of Suzzallo to see where the big crowd would go. Surprisingly, many people went straight to the other exit of the library and I am back at the same spot I was before (the entrance South wing of Allen library). It is loud and many people are walking relatively fast. I am wondering if it will suddenly get quiet again at a half hour…

11.28 am: alarm went off but no one does anything.

11.31 am: The ambient noise suddenly gets very quiet. There now much less people walking in and out the library at this exact time.

Conclusion from observation

Maybe all people want is some place to sit down and study. Thousands of books are sitting on bookshelves; however, I rarely see anyone actually looking at them. Books are apparently obsolete and most people use computer device in library. Library now is really not as much of a place where people usually come and find or see new books. It is more like an open space where people can come comfortably do their work. They can sit down and rest. Allen/Suzzallo library in particular, does not seem to have much of a group work activities that I observe. I mainly see individual working by themselves.



Research Observation #2 (observing the same place for a second time)

1.45 PM: I am sitting at the same spot as I did last Friday (near the South wing exit side of the library) to observe people’s general behavior in library. Not many people are walking around the library at this point. The library seems quiet.

The same art exhibition which sits in the middle of the big empty space in front of me is still here and no one is looking at it. People walk right pass it like nothing is there ….

The elevator which locates directly in front of me still accidently opens by itself like it did the last time I was here.

2.59 PM: I am now in the Harry Potter Library. This place is still very quiet. I see no one is talking to each other. Everyone is working on their own thing. Many of them have either a cup of coffee or water bottle next to them. I saw on person is comfortably sleeping.

Nothing else really change or different from the last time I observe.

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3.36 PM: There were many people who come to this library just for visiting. They use their cell phone capture image in the library.

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Conclusion from observation

I wasn’t notice much different from what I observe last time. Two new observations I didn’t realize before is that people like to have their water bottle with them when they are working in the library. Secondly, not only people who wants to study are here at the library. There are also those who visit the library because it is so pretty : D


Coding Pong!

For this Spring quarter of my Master Degree in Human Computer Interaction and Design, I am taking a Game Design in the CSE department. That’s right Computer Science … that means coding! Even though I am a designer, I also have some coding background. I know the basic Java programming and web languages (html, css, php, jquery, ajax, and abit of database). I thought I knew what I was getting myself into but … our first assignment was to coding a “Pong Game” in Flash! Of course, it was tough because I have never code in Flash using ActionScript before. We were given spec for the assignment and … that’s it! I had to figure everything else myself.

Well, for those of you who are learning basic game programming in Flash, and if you are frustrated/confuse the first time around… you are not alone! I had the same experience. However, if you stick to the end and finish coding your game … it was such a joy to see the game working : D

After I code this game, I totally understand how programmer thinks when he/she is coding. Their objective is to get the program to work! and that’s why they have no time to think about how the interface is going to look (this is where designer like myself comes in). I now have a very clear understand of how programmer think and concern the most. Check out my Vimeo video of me playing my Pong game against myself   : )