Concept development · mockups · prototype · brand design · facilitation · client pitch
Concept and prototype for augmented reality game
As Denmark's largest hackathon for students, AUHack invites students to complete cases from various IT companies. As one of the case contributors, LEGO Education’s case dealt with shaping the education of tomorrow. More specifically:
Create a fun and engaging learning experience combining LEGO products with other technologies or domains to explore new opportunities and innovate the world of education (source).
The video below summarizes AUHack 2018.
The process was based on traditional brainstorming session followed by a strong planning session because of our limited time.
Given that we didn’t have more than the weekend and that we were only three people in the group, we realized we needed to come up with a realistic plan.
Our first step involved a traditional brainstorm session including five minutes of individual noting on post-its. After sharing these notes, we then decided to brainstorm the various concepts which led to a chaotic discussion with the whiteboard as a victim of our ideas. 😅
After heavy discussion, we decided that we wanted to create something that not only demonstrated a cool technology. We wanted it to be an entire game from start to finish that was well-thought out, and we wanted to use game rules and visual materials as a way to use storytelling of the game for the jury. After some time, we settled down on a treasure hunting game that would utilize our learnings from the augmented reality workshop in Unity.
Then, we defined key tasks and started working throughout the weekend (while still having fun! It’s a hackathon after all). While the others focused on the development of the prototype, my role was on the experience and the design of the game.
My role included the following tasks:
Talk with the LEGO Education jury to juice out key insights about the target group
Create game rules
Think the product into the schooling system
Decide on the brand and visual style for the game
Stickers for augmented reality scanning
Banner for presentation
Print print material for when judges would come and check out prototype
Our product includes a game concept, visual materials, and a working augmented reality prototype.
The game is based on a combination of treasure hunting game, team-playing, technology, and educational material as challenges, and gamification. Use the step-wise explanation below to understand the basics of the game.
We wanted to incorporate principles from gamification so we added leaderboards, limited time, and thematization through LEGO characters to enforce playfulness and joy.
In an effort to make the game scalable for multiple difficulty levels, we also incorporated some added elements to the concept. First of all, the game does not run by itself. It requires a teacher to spread these challenges on various physical locations and mark them on the map. In that way, regardless of physical location and depending on the desired physical activity, teachers can use location as a way to manipulate the game.
Logo & Banner
The banner was designed to be very simple, yet fun and inviting. To get a feeling of how people react to the banner, I would stop random people from the hackathon and ask them to tell me their initial thought after showing the banner. After they had agreed, I’d turn my laptop screen and show them the banner and logo, and almost all of them would say “I don’t know what this is, but I want to play it!”.
Not knowing augmented reality technology, I first made these simple LEGO blocks that would be used to enable AR technology.
But for some reason, our Unity prototype could not recognize the blocks from each other. After a quick discussion with our AR expert, we learned that a hexagon was easier for the camera to read and that multiple high-contrast colors needed to be present. Thus these stickers were made instead.
Based on AR’s possibilities within Unity, we idea generated 9 different styles of challenges. Some include more challenging puzzles like building geometrically correct triangles and using match and LEGO to get through a maze whereas others are more easy and is about counting the amount of LEGO the children see.
Very interestingly, 1.5 months after AUHack 2018, Apple released ARKit 2.0 which pushes the possibilities with AR beyond the technology we used for our concept. In fact, LEGO Group showcased how they adopted AR to let kids engage with LEGO in new ways. Had we had this technology, we would be able to use LEGO block combinations instead of stickers as a way to enable AR interactions.
Mockup of UI
The interface had to be super simple for kids and even more simple so that the jury who would have less than 5 minutes to evaluate the concept be able to understand how it would work. Furthermore, we did not have enough time to include all of these features in our prototype so therefore we just made a mock-up as a way to explain the concept.
The interface consists of an initial welcome screen, picking a team, and then the game-play screen with three tabs:
The first tab allows access to the maps where kids can see where the challenges are located.
The second tab takes them to the AR camera that is used to scan stickers.
The last tab reveals leading teams.
In our prototype, we wouldn’t be able to show that we intended the AR to show leaderboards and