Last week was my first at the Centre for Digital Media. It was a frenzy of meeting new faces and getting a feel for what is to come in this Masters of Digital Media program. We did a lot of team building and name memorization activities, which were very helpful. Our cohort is 55 students strong, but I already feel as though I know everyone pretty well. There are so many talented and interesting people from wildly different backgrounds. I'm very excited to have met them all and to get working on projects together.
After the pleasantries of orientation week died down, we were challenged last Friday to participate in a Design Jam. Over the next 48 hours, 8 teams of students were tasked with designing their own museum exhibition. The theme was space exploration. After the briefing, we quickly assembled into teams. Each team spent a couple of hours brainstorming for their prototypes. Within forty five minutes, our team had decided what we wanted to do. We assigned roles for the development of the prototype, and a project manager from each team assembled to ensure there was no overlap between exhibitions.
Our team decided to create an exhibition that educated children from ages 6-12 about what makes a planet hospitable to life. We designed an interactive game that operated as a questionnaire and planet generator, prompting the user with various questions about what the specifics of their very own planet should be. The user defines how much water, the size of the planet, proximity to the sun, how many moons it has, etc. The questions were designed to be easy to understand, and imaginative, yielding fun and personalized results. We made a bare bones prototype of the planet generator, which the user can operate on a screen with and iPad controller. The outcome of the planet generator is that our application determines whether or not your planet would be comfortable for human beings.
After the user goes through the process of defining their planet in our generator, they can acquire a digital file, and/or a print out of their very own planet. If they're so inclined to do so, we also included an arts and crafts station at the end, where styrofoam balls and paint are at the museum goers disposal. They can paint a representation of the planet that was generated, or a new one.
From a technical and creative standpoint, my contribution to this project was that I created the planet generator in Substance Designer. Together with Yang and Raphael, we worked on the look development of the prototype and got the generator working in Unity. I also established the arts and crafts station, which everyone responded very well to.
Going forward, we have decided to develop this idea into a full product. Our plans for the future so far are to make the generator a lot more fun an imaginative, but still holding on to what makes it educational. Our challenge is to make our planet generator function in both a museum exhibition setting and as a stand alone product for mobile devices and web platforms.