Interaction design company Kaliber started a project a few years ago to marry virtual gameplay with physical activity. They have developed an interactive skate ramp that allows skaters to play video games while skating, using their own bodies and boards as the controller. Kaliber teamed up with the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht in order to bring in new, fresh ideas to this project. Our project team was tasked with designing a new, fun game that would excite children ages 6-14.
In our research we found that many of these kids can have trouble taking the first plunge on the ramp, and even after they do it takes a lot of practise to keep momentum back and forth. We designed a game that would make this first experience fun and exciting, and would help practicing more fun.
In this prototype two players must work together to overcome intergalactic danger. Skaters can fight off an enemy fleet of spaceships while defending their fellow player atop the ramp. The game tracks the location of the skater, who can destroy spaceships by simply skating over them. Their partner on the ramp controls a moveable turret through a phone app that allows him to assist. The two must work together in order to defeat the myriad of different ships that threaten their lives!
Roles: Initial design, concept art, UI design, communication liason.
project happy aging
Project Happy Aging was a group project in which a team of five was tasked to create a game or app that would improve upon one problematic aspect of life for an elderly person. While many veered straight to health related problems such as sight and memory our group found through research that many of the elderly are quite lonely. Their world becomes increasingly small as friends and family become more distant or far away. On top of this there is a lot of elderly people that are incredibly intimidated by the exponential growth in technology, making it even more difficult to keep in touch.
We decided to focus our experience on bridging the gap between the elderly and their grandchildren; we felt that if young and old could learn from each other in a fun, engaging way they would both enrich each other’s lives. This is why we developed a virtual trivia game very reminiscent of the boardgames our grandparents were so familiar with. The prototype focused the line of questioning on technology; questions about older technology illicited stories from the many grandparents that came to the HKU to test these games, while questions about social media and gaming culture seemed to open the door for a discussion.
Roles: Research, 3D modeling
Project sell it
Project Sell It was a short 3 week proof of concept project. We were tasked with creating a concept for a simple game to assist in the treatment of children who suffer from bladder control problems. These children are often relatively young and the treatment consists of keeping a wet/dry diary. A lot of families stop treatment midway through because the children aren’t filling out their diaries. The complaint? It’s not fun!
Our team drafted up the plan for a mobile game that would make keeping a diary fun. Children would step into the shoes of Walter, a small boy growing up in a circus family that is too young to participate in the “grown-up circus” since he still wets the bed. He wishes desperately to prove himself worthy, so he runs his own mini circus. Players can save up points for new acts, decorations, and costumes to improve their circus. They can, for example, recruit a lion act by finding a fur scarf, a stray cat, and a hoop.
Points are gained by filling in the diary daily; the longer players keep up, the further they can travel away from the circus since Walter can leave the circus longer without needing to pee! The gamification of their treatment will make keeping the wet/dry diary fun and rewarding as children make the journey alongside Walter to overcoming their problems.
Roles: Research, 2D prop & creature art
project design for space
Project Design for Space challenged teams to create an immersive and atmospheric 3D environment. Our team chose to tell the tragic lovestory of a man who had recently lost his wife to cancer and who, when revisiting the place they honeymooned at, would see things that reminded him of her everywhere. We created a small, pictureque Italian town reminiscent of Venice. We aimed to create a conflict of feeling; the environment was sunny, warm, and bright, yet the sounds around you and the story you unraveled were bittersweet and sad.
Roles: Artstyle design, UV mapping, texturing