This report is written to give details about a game designed by my partner and I according to a project prerequisite in Novell interactive course. The game (Mind game) is written in processing language (a java platform programming language) with a processing IDE which is made purposely for processing. This report gives description of the game as tangible user interface. It also explains the game play and the rules of the game. Evaluation of the game is also elaborated, explaining the types of evaluation used and reason for its use. It also explains the conformity of the game with certain known principles, the implementation process and my part in the game implementation.
Game design is an integral part of technological development. It has developed from personal use to commercial business. The sales of games are a black gold of programming as most I.T firms of modern world has added it to improve business. With the different learning potentials of kids, different methods of teaching have been adapted and the use of educative games to teach kids is also a good innovation. In kids games design, the use of reality based design is used as the kids are used to using real for learning as its create better imagination in their minds. This brings about the use of tangible interface for implementation of the game. This uses real life object that can be touched and moved for the manipulation of the game which should in turn give information of reality based response of the object. The manipulated objects are technically called fiducials.
Description of the game
The game is titled 'Mind Game' is designed with Processing language and Tangible User Interface framework. It was designed for Human Computer Interaction and designed based on User Centred Designed. The Game was evaluated using Heuristics evaluation pattern.
Mind Game is divided into three stages which are separated by splash screens. The initial screen is not user controlled.
Depending on the stage you are, you have to match a certain pictures or words that will appear on the screen. The way you control this using a fiducial ID will determine either the target is correct or not. The goal of the game, depending on the stage you are in is to safely move certain number of pictures or words into a box. But there are a few challenges as well. For example, the pictures do not always appear in the same box and at random time intervals. For successful completion of any player that get the highest marks is the winner and there is a chance that the two players can score equal marks and finish the game as draw, because there is always a limited time required by the system for the players must finish a level. Therefore they will end up with a winner or draw.
C:\Users\AKINOLU\Desktop\omale ochai\mind_game\splash1.png C:\Users\AKINOLU\Desktop\omale ochai\mind_game\background.png C:\Users\AKINOLU\Desktop\omale ochai\mind_game\background1.png
Fig a: backgrounds of the game [first splash, stage 1 and stage 2.
Mind Game as TUI
The use of TU bring about a new dimension to educational games design by bringing us closer to about real object manipulation. This real object manipulation is more effective in passing down of information the digital-keyboard based system has imagination is widen with real object than mere pictures.
The characteristics that makes Mind game a tui are
Computational Coupling of Tangible Representations to Underlying Digital Information and Computation: In TUI, physical objects are mapped to meaningful digital information. In Mind Game, the physical models of different object are mapped to their corresponding digital information in terms of exact pictures.
Embodiment of Mechanisms for Interactive Control with Tangible Representations: TUI digital representation must have the same characteristics and interactive control as the physical objects. In Mind game, the movement of physic object brings about corresponding movement of its digital representation.
Perceptual Coupling of Tangible Representations to Dynamic Intangible Representations: This is the use of digital feedback for interactive control. This feedback may be in graphic or sounds. In Mind game, the placement of wrong object shows a wrong graphical symbol on screen and right symbol for correct object.
Purpose of the game
The game is implemented for kids between the ages 4 - 8. The game is to educate the kid in developing their brain in identifying an object and mapping this object to their spelling. It is believed to develop the kid faster as the game is supposed to bring about the zeal to learn this aspect of their education through the fun the game brings.
Analysis of the game
In order to analyse the game properly certain HCI principles were considered. The principles are:
This involves the game being played by more than one person without defeating the purpose of the game. Collaboration is implemented in Mind Games as two players can play simultaneously without affecting the other. Scores of each player is shown at the end of each stage bringing about competition between each player. Two players can try to get the correct object even at the same time.
Fig C: Collaboration in MIND GAME
From the purpose of the game, it is clear that the game is designed mainly to educate the kids on identifying real world object to their spellings and vice versa. This will help develop the child imagination in fixing the real life object to its spelling.
With the animated splash screen, the scores showing for the different players bringing about unconscious competition between them and the quest to win the game brings about fun to the game.
Fig D: Different scores of players
In the designing of the game this principles was taken into consideration because the game play needs the player to see clearly the image(s) or the word shown to play the right reciprocal on his box.
While designing the interface and backgrounds of the game consistency in color layout and placement of digital images was maintained. For example in all background boxes to exit and move to other stages is placed at the top of the screen. In the figures shown below stage 1 and stage 2 have almost the same blue color (stage 1 background is lighter than stage 2).
Reality Based Interaction Framework in Mind Game
Reality Based Interaction (RBI) Framework is a framework that ties up the rising human to computer interaction techniques to reorient the knowledge of both computers and interaction and how they increase the realism of interface object, allowing users interact more directly with computers. RBI has four themes that describe the interaction between computers and humans. They are:-
Naïve Physics: This is the perception of the basic physical phenomena. Mind game teaches the kid the perception of inertia when the kid places the fiducial on any part of the tabletop and it maintains position for some time.
Body Awareness and Skills: This is the ability of humans to be conscious of his body ability and maintain control over them. With the restriction in the players playing area, body awareness is encouraged as the player is area of the other player and at the same time have to co-ordinate his body to fit the right piece in the right area in his playing area.
Environmental Awareness and Skills: This deal with the skills individual possess to manipulate their environment. Mind games gives the player the ability to manipulate the environment by allowing free movement of his objects across his playing area without affecting the game but restrict the player to his playing area.
Social Awareness and Skills: This theme deals with the conscious knowledge of the presence of other players and how to interact with them. With the two players game play and the separated play area and visible scores, individual is aware of the presence of the other player and the status of the player is also known. The player can also copy the other player and therefore learn from the other player.
Rules and Features
Players are expected to identify their play area. Black squares for player1 and Colored Square for player 2.
The images show five times in each stage.
The images shown are randomized.
Insert the right equivalent of the object shown. Image for stage 1 and words for stage for the words and images shown respectively.
Leaving the corresponding correct answer do not add extra mark to the player's score
Two players can play level 1 simultaneously while 4 can play stage 2 at the same time
Using the wrong fiducial only brings feedback. No reduction in score.
Playing in the opponent playing area only adds to his score if correct and gives feedback if wrong.
Scores are given to each player separately.
To meet the aim and goals of the game, some requirement were listed by the group members and divided into functional and nom- functional requirement.
A player should have full control of his playing area.
Feedback should be shown at right places.
The game should be self-explanatory.
There should be guidelines for players to use while playing the game.
The game should be challenging and cognitive.
Object used must be familiar to kids.
Scores should be based on correct answer and not be manipulated by players in any way
One player can play the game at the absence of another.
User Centered System Design:
In order to meet the needs of players, user centered design was applied. This helps in focusing on the needed objective that will help in implementing a game suitable for the target user.
One user was invited to participate in the test. In the following we provide for a brief description of the client useful outline, and keep them intact about its relevance to his expected performance in the test; the name was changed to respect confidentiality.
• Characters and game play elements
In this game there are only objects controlled by the player with a fiducial ID that represent the object under it. We also highlight a to locate these objects and the colorful pictures accompanying the demonstration of success. Two separate targets to match with different fiducials were created: Pictures and words.
• User interface
User interface is based on the hand control and movement of any colorful contrasting object (like small ball) enabling the mouse movement on the computer.
• Sound and music
In the game, sound works mostly as a motivation source, in a constant musical environment. We use two different sounds to indicate correct and incorrect matching and background music.
Mind game design process
In the process of implementing the game some steps were taken to ensure implementation of an excellent prototype. The steps taken are:-
Planning and Prototyping
Designing and Implementation
Evaluation and Analysis
After some time spent on research, the team came together to analysis the game look, rules and analyses on the game meeting on the requirement. The game prototypes are:
Good design but too many distractions at the back of the main box. It also did not meet our proposed color scheme. There is also no space to implement two players play area.
Good design and enough play area for two players. After weeks of paper designing, this was chosen for the game screen.
The final prototype is made up of two stage of almost the same color combination, splash screens to give the user the necessary attachment and fun and at the same time meet the requirement that makes Mind game follow the HCI principles, a RBI framework design. The first splash screen which is made up of a bouncing ball and fire is gets the game loading. And keep the user anxiety high enough to wait.
The first stage is made with a blue color screen in order to make the game look attractive as kids love attractive things and will be laid away by colorless games. The game can be played by more than two people simultaneously but at the absence of one player, one player can play the game without problem.
Stage 2 is made up of a darker blue color scheme to stage 1. Unlike stage one, stage 2 can be played by four to one players but only two scores to be shared by two or one person. After the end of each stage a splash screen is shown to give the status of the players. The status includes the players' scores and analysis of their scores.
The pictures below show the first splash screen, stage 1, stage 2 and different status given by the splash screen. Description of game play can be seen in the features of the game.
C:\Users\AKINOLU\Desktop\omale ochai\mind_game\background.png C:\Users\AKINOLU\Desktop\omale ochai\mind_game\background1.pngStage 1 Stage 2
C:\Users\AKINOLU\Desktop\omale ochai\mind_game\mercury.jpg C:\Users\AKINOLU\Desktop\omale ochai\mind_game\fun.png
The tools we used for the implementation of the prototype of the game are as follows:
Processing Programming Language.
ReacTIVision / TUIO Simulator for mapping fudicials as physical objects.
Adobe Sound booth CS5 for Editing sounds
Adobe Photoshop CS5 to Edit the Prototype to be integrated with other aspects of the game.
This is systematic inspection of a project or prototype in this case a game prototype in order to determine its efficiency, affordance, effectiveness and its fitness to use. In order to have an efficient evaluation the team decided to use the two known evaluation; user evaluation and heuristic evaluation.
Heuristic Evaluation: After deciding to use Nielsen heuristic evaluation as one of the methods to evaluate our games using expert, some guidelines based on this evaluation pattern were written. These points are
Proper mapping of fiducial to object
Consistency in design
Flexibility and efficiency of use
Aesthetic and minimalist design
Help users diagnose, recognize, and recover from errors
Help and documentation
Recognition rather than recall
Match of the game to real world scenario
Analysis chart from Heuristic Evaluation
. These questions are based on the following points:
Fun in playing the game
Easy to play
Challenges in the game
Chart analysis from User Centred Evaluation
We consider that the results obtained with this test as an encouragement, regarding to the implementation of the design procedure and the configuration of hardware to support it. People were able to understand the game play framework and having fun with it, in spite their individual limitations. The combination of hardware and software worked, although some modifications have to be done to in order improve the functionality of the game.
The User 1 concentrates and followed all the test session with interest and surprise. Moreover, his fair level of good humour was a powerful ally to facilitate his involvement and commitment in the TUI environment; this is confirmed by his early use of the vocal technique allowing object localization. Allow us to remember that this user never played a tabletop game before. The realization of the design guidelines previously presented to our team resulted in a game with potential for adaptation to an audience with boundaries, although by adding something in terms of innovation for a target audience. The game could enhance with consideration by reinventing the objects and environments with a more attractive and actual plan, which can generally be done and without upsetting the program setup.
Just by allowing simple fiducial moments that require the mobilization of basic competences (such as communication, construal and motricity), our game enable a friendly environment for their development, and can also be suitable incorporated in global environment of the activities taking place in TUI. We did not measure the use and mobilization of any specific competences and a single test would not be representative to draw any conclusions regarding their progress. Although simply by implementing this proficiency it can be imagine that they have been trained in principle.
After using the types of evaluation the game was rated by the team based on this evaluation
The game was rated based on design and functionality.
Design rating 60%
Functionality rating of 70%
My Contribution and Experience:
Contribution: The game started with the team which is made up of Sadiq and I having a meeting on what the project is all about. After reading and analysis of the game, we broke down the game into work to be done, milestone and deadlines. From the work to be done, I took over the programming part of the implementation while Sadiq took care of the design. Since we are both new to HCI, we decided to do it together with the help of our classmates who have good knowledge of HCI.
In the implementation of the first splash, I decided to overwrite Sadiq design because there was need to bring about fun and attractiveness into the game. This I did by adding fire code from processing fire example and I added the bouncing ball to give the kid something to watch before the game begins.
The stage 1 functionality was implanted in such a way that the users decide when to start the game but the game ends at its specified time.
The stage 2 functionality is just the extension of stage 1. The mid splash screens are implemented to show players status.
After months of Mind Game implementation I made some observation from my experience.
Firstly no project can be done perfectly even when requirement are totally met and extra features are added.
Secondly, users have different views about the same features. For example, some users do not like the blue color scheme because they preferred color riots while some others were thrilled by it.
In conclusion, in today's world of technological advancement tangible user interface stands a chance in been the most used interface has it has the features that improves, allows user control and brings users closer to real world. This combined with other principles would help in making TUIO a stepping stone in future technological advancement; with this, in place Mind games also stand a chance of been the most played educative TUIO game.
During this project I have learnt many things, such as working in TUI environment, processing programming and also learnt how to create dynamic sound and more. I have something in mind which to keep on trying to accomplish the actual requirements and design and also in future, I would like to take this game into the next level and make more fun by adding some features that will getting it more closer to reality. I would like to also design and programming this game to a smart device, such as Android which required learning of Android programming. But this may be a very good plan to imaging as a future improvement or another version of our game, since for now it is out of our game requirements.
The design of the game shortly was to create a game, that support the movement of physical object i.e. Tangible User Interface and the concert of playing skills generally, by considering the usefulness of accessible technical clarification and the adaptability to different contexts of implementation, within the reality of TUI. The MIND GAME project achieved this challenge and opened new and accessible opportunities for participation in computer-mediated activities within the TUI environment. The guiding principle of design stuck the functionality and the needs for implementation. This combination of hardware and software also allows other media such as music to be played in TUI environment, if they are also considered adequate and useful for intervention.