Final: Project and Process
We designed a balance-board style game controller. The player uses the controller by standing on it and shifting their weight in one of 8 directions.
We also designed a corresponding arcade style video game where the player wanders around a post–apocalyptic world collecting trash. As they collect each item they slowly heal a disintegrating ozone layer. If the player collects all of the trash, and heals the ozone layer, they win by saving the world.
This project started with, my collaborator, Nilomee and I exploring a lot of different ideas and mutual interests.
We started with a desire to use gestures to affect movement, sound and animation on a screen. We were interested in gaming environments; presenting the viewer/participant with a challenge to overcome.
And figured out pretty quickly that we wanted to make a playful immersive gaming experience with a fun message. We wanted to experiment with new ways of interacting with and controlling game play. We were interested in moving away from a tradition controller which uses only hands and wanted to create a fully physical experience, using alternative methods of control. We were also interested in the challenges of physically building something and wanted to make an object. Not just design for the screen.
Process, Fabrication & Tech:
After a few sessions of play-testing we figured out that people responded well to the idea of a foot controller. Something that the player would stand on.
So we came up with a rough system design:
And spent a lot of time researching foot controllers for video games.
We figured out that there were about basic 3 types of foot controllers: ones that work like pedals in a car, ones that were a mat which used data from FSRs and ones that pivoted/tilted. We decided to play test with all three of these designs.
We got the best response from the board that pivoted/tilted and immediately began prototyping with that design.
We used Unity and Unidiuno to design a prototype video game and connected the board (with an accelerometer) to the game.
This worked! Very exciting, but also we came to realize that the accelerometer might not be the best sensor for us to use – as it was not precise enough and could be hard to control. So we came up with a design that used buttons.
And immediately began to alter our previous design to work with larger arcade style buttons.
Nilomee continued to make great progress on the video game.