Progress: Extending too Far

As of recently, our group has come across a few difficulties in the project. Our school work, as well as other busy work has provided roadblocks of varying sizes. However, we’ve looked into alternative methods of working this project in the best way that we can. As of now, we’ve been working on early designs for the machine, mostly to see what we are capable of, but also to give the future group something to start from.

Early in the semester, We came up with many different machines that we hoped could make his project work, but as well looked into them some more, we began to see that some of these are too elaborate to finish quickly. We made a project pitch recently explaining how we want to make a game for this project, like an arcade game for kids to learn and play from, however, none of us know how to code a game, or even know where to start in development. So our team, consisting of a mechanical and electrical engineer, as well as a design student, have decided that the most we could do without these skills is create a plan that we can hand off to the next team. Our goal is to make as much progress on it as possible, and although it may not be complete, it should be enough to give the next team something to go off of, as well as be able to change and manipulate them in different ways as well.

The designs that we have worked on have been very barebones, however, over time, we will work with them, as well as begin the planning for the game itself. By the end of this year, we’ll have something ready to hand off.

What makes a Simulation Engaging?

When a person plays a video game, they look for engagement, as well as immersion. We as humans enjoy taking a break from our own reality, whether it’s reading a book, watching television, or playing video games. For our upcoming project, we are looking to create an experience suited for kids and adults that would test their ability to multi-task.

When visiting Sci-Tech Discovery Center, we noticed the children’s attention spans were shorts, and they kept rapidly swapping from one thing to the next. Some of them were incredibly cautious in their work, lifting the exhibit toys to get a good look at them, and others ran around punching the daylights out of whatever came their way. At first, it was hard to understand on what type of exhibit we would need to build that can handle the different styles of play.

The simulation would need to be incredibly short, and not drawn out in the slightest. It would need to teach it’s lesson in a short time as well, and when it gets to it’s point, it would need to be something that the kid can remember. So we thought of things that we could do, and had some interesting scenarios.

We thought of simple buttons at first, which would each do a different function, such as check the phone of the in-game driver, or look out of the window of the car, but the ideas seemed a bit stale when looked at. Then we noticed something interesting, which was the children’s fascination with the small and extravagant exhibits. They found quick and rapid entertainment in small objects that they could grab, twist, spin, and get a cool reaction out of. So we thought of a new method that may work wonders. What if we set small toys on the dashboard of the game itself, and although they won’t have a function on the in-game scenario, it may be the small distractions that we would need to keep the child engaged while they play. The child would need to drive the car, probably with a joystick of some sorts, and they would need to not be tempted by the array of objects sitting on the dashboard that they could be playing with as well.

This however is subject to change, the point of this insight was to simply see how our exhibit could be engaging enough to entertain visiting kids. We’ll look into it more, and hopefully see where this could take us.