Charlotte Strethill-Smith

Digital Media Design Student

Applied Design Evaluation — May 19, 2015

Applied Design Evaluation

For this project I felt I struggled with keeping my ideas simple. I over complicated a lot of my ideas and should have thought more about time constraints and making sure the idea was doable, bearing in mind none of the group including myself had attempted this type of project. We worked well as a group and whilst this was an ambitious project I think we have all learnt and achieved something from it .I feel I learnt a lot about iOS developing and sprite kit which will be useful for future projects and my placement. I was originally upset when I created a lot of design work which was then scrapped but I learnt that in order to complete the project in time I needed to not be precious about my work, especially with such an ambitious project. As Design leader I should have stepped up to my role a bit more and made sure things were happening to the deadlines set. Whilst this project had a lot of set backs and a lot of scrapping and starting again I think we created a good product. I think our app meets the briefs criteria and is an educational game for children the age of 7-10 to enjoy before going to the Cathedral to enhance their experience of the Magna Carta.

Development of Elias — May 1, 2015

Development of Elias

After deciding Elias would be our main character, we needed to design what he would look like. The only reference we found was a statue dedicated to him for the architecture of Salisbury Cathedral. I based the design off this statue and looked into different styles. I wanted to take the long blue robes and dark brown bowl cut as these would be easily identifiable from other characters we might put in. His appearance shows a certain importance within society whilst not looking rich and luxurious.

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I originally looked into rounded character designs as I thought this would add a comedic element and be appealing to children. However, this style proved to take a long time to animate and difficult to keep it looking uniform throughout.

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This was also the time we were looking into using a pixel style. Personally I felt this style would be easy for everyone to replicate and for it all to look similar. It would also help with sizes as you can set up a grid and draw assets based on set sizes. For a while we stuck with this pixel style and I created the run animation for Elias. I found this easier than the previous sketchy animation and thought it looked cleaner. However, due to time constraints and the sheer volume of work we set ourselves the group decided this style took too long to create and opted for simplistic vector shapes. I then changed the work I had already done on the Elias animation to match the new style. If we had a longer time span I would have liked to carry on with the original style however, it is important that we made this change so everyone in the design team felt they could manage the work load.

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Background, Signing and Stone Henge — April 29, 2015

Background, Signing and Stone Henge

After changing the style to a more rounded vector graphic we decided to change the colours of the background to work effectively with the new design. The colours start dark to represent night, and then go into a murky green/blue to show the land is not peaceful and prosperous. It then switches to a dark orange as a town is shown to be on fire after being raided. It then switches back to a murky green/blue as the scene changes to full graveyards and sad peasants. The colour then picks up to a light blue as the Magna Carta is signed and the user is told that thanks to the Magna Carta we have Human Rights laws, some of which are in effect today. It was important to keep a dark background to interpret the problems which occurred and bought the Magna Carta into effect.

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Swift Complete Workshop Progress — April 24, 2015

Swift Complete Workshop Progress

Over the past few months our course have been given workshops on creating basic iOS apps using Swift in Xcode. We started by learning the basics including the storyboard feature. The storyboard brings up the view controller which you can drag objects from the object library and align there position. We started by dragging a label and a button to the view controller and then aligning them. This was to give us a basic walkthrough of what Xcode and swift were capable of and their features, as well as getting used to the storyboard and object library.

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We then developed this further over the next few weeks by changing the basic design elements such as the background, font and font colour. We also learnt about dragging the objects to the view controller code. By doing this we created a fact sheet app in which the used uses the buttons at the bottom to switch back and forth between facts. It is useful to know this if I wanted to change various elements on the screen by pressing a button. We also learnt about the slider objects and various other input methods. For instance the one we created could calculate tax on the input given. This is useful for creating forms and other inputs on an app.

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The next weeks followed on with using the object library to build lists and insert pictures. We then expanded on this by adding navigation controllers to the storyboard so the user can now go to another screen to add a list item themselves. This is useful for knowing how to add more pages to an app and use navigation features. It is also useful to learn about image sizing and formatting objects to restrict themselves in an app as it is a smaller screen. It is also important to know that apple does not like apps which use their objects in ways they were not designed for as it could create confusion.

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Design Changes — March 15, 2015

Design Changes

Our groups idea has now developed into a tapestry style storybook. We thought children would relate more to a game which had a story and we could get the idea of the Magna Carta across more. We decided the game needed to resemble tapestry to link it to the cathedral and the tapestry found there. We have carried on developing the pixel style and I think the individual pixels could represent the bare threads in tapestries and the blocky edges of objects you see when you look at a tapestry up close. I put together a quick sheet of references and used a pastel colour palette. We wanted a sense of day to night as you progress through the game so chose darker colours at the start to be night then bought in orange and yellow tones for sunrise, blues for day and pinks for sunset. We also wanted it to be dark the beginning to represent the villages in a bad state which will then move to brighter colours after the Magna Carta is signed to show a transition as laws are made.

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I started working on some buildings and natural structures for the background in this style. However, it became clear I was putting too much detail into each object and whilst I was working at a steady pace, I was still taking too long on each asset. I think the only way we can carry on with this style is if we had a lot more time. It became clear at this point we had set ourselves a very ambitious project for our first time designing and coding an iOS app. To resolve these time issues we are revising the design so as to complete everything we set out to do in the time and iron out any kinks.

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Project Management Methodologies — March 6, 2015

Project Management Methodologies

Our group is looking into different methods we can manage this project. Some methods are:

– Waterfall: This traditional method is a structured and sequential process. It splits projects into short numbers of large stages which include; research, requirements and scoping, design, development, testing, deployment. However each stage cannot be properly commenced until previous stages are complete. This makes this method inflexible as it is difficult to go back to previous stages when a problem arises.

– Agile: This is a more flexible and modular approach, broken down into smaller and numerous iterations called sprints. This is better for short term projects as the stages and milestones are based on weeks opposed to months. Changes are easier to implement and lessons are learnt quicker.

– Lean: This method applies to teams looking to introduce new products or services to market. It uses business hypothesis and driven experimentations to shorten product development cycles.  It also involves putting a bare minimum product out and then using feedback given to release updates based on that feedback.

Seeing as our project is a short live brief which is prone to change timescales at little notice, an agile method is preferable in our case. We are looking at various time management options such as using an online whiteboard to organise what we need to do, what we are working on and what has been completed for each week.

Forming Groups and Initial Idea — March 1, 2015

Forming Groups and Initial Idea

To form into groups our course laid out the mood boards of everyone who wanted to be a group leader on the floor. The rest of us then laid our mood boards underneath or on top of the idea we felt we connected with. I went with a group that were interested in a game design too and where the group leader had researched similar games to me. In hind sight I should have chosen based more on the research and style I wanted to follow rather than whoever wanted to make a game. However, I feel the group I chose had a very similar ideology of the direction we wanted to take the app.

We had our first group meeting shortly afterwards and put our mood boards together. Our group leaders idea was very similar to my original idea before I changed it as it was too ambitious. I bought up the idea of trying to simplify the game as much as possible with concerns of ability and timescale. The group agreed and we decided on an initial idea of a platform runner in which the main character would be going around the country delivering signed copies of the Magna Carta. We wanted the game to have an element of difficulty to it and discussed briefly the idea of jumping over obstacles and possibly more obstacles and a faster pace as the game progresses. Whilst this may appeal to older children who have more experience playing similar game apps on their phone, our target audience is aimed at 7-10 year old children and this may be too difficult and less of a learning experience for them. However, we chose a game to appeal more to the target audience and make it more of a fun experience.

We were undecided on the style choice but like the idea of a style such as the game Monument Valley (http://www.monumentvalleygame.com/). This game features a beautifully designed colour palette, which we feel was bright enough to appeal to children but not too bright as to not be able to fit in with the exhibitions colour scheme. I also suggested a pixel art style which could appeal to children and also create a uniform style for the group. This style could be easily replicated with a grid and keep the same dimensions for each object and character. I also felt this style would be easy for everyone in the group to do and would allow for everyones work to flow together without looking too dissimilar.

Here are some examples of styles and colours we were interested in using. I personally felt the dark blues and purples with the contrasting accents of orange and brighter colours would match with the cathedrals royal blue they are using.

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Individual Mood board Concept — February 22, 2015

Individual Mood board Concept

My initial concept idea was too much work for the amount of time on this project. I looked into simpler games which are still effective and found Cookie Clicker (http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/). Cookie clicker is an addictive game where the user repeatedly taps the screen to unlock upgrades and gain more points.

A concept I developed from researching this game was the idea of the player having Baron status in game and having to increase their food, knights and property. The player would tap on the screen repeatedly which would increase their number of resources and in turn level up the property. However, King John will regularly tax the player every few minutes which will take an amount of resources from the player every time and gradually increase. The aim would be to keep all of your resources for the longest time possible, this would be made difficult by the player having to tap the screen faster every time the tax was raised. This idea  is aimed at children between 7-10 year and has the intention of being played before arriving at the Cathedral as a way to understand the frustration the Barons must have felt over their food and knights being taken and taxes constantly rising.

This idea is the one I have decided to present in my mood board in order to assemble a group with similar Ideas. I also included various apps, styles and games which have developed my style and concept ideas further in order to create a group with similar interests in order to collaborate on a similar mindset. I took the majority of my inspiration from adventure games, which I feel is how I ended up with such a complicated original idea. Amongst the games I researched I found one aimed at children who were visiting a museum (http://www.mypoorbrain.com/project/timeexplorer/). This gave the children playing an interactive exploration experience and was informative about the various exhibits in the museum. Whilst I felt this would be too ambitious as a project, I still took into account what made this game informative and yet still a fun experience for children. The same creators also created an interactive for the science museum (http://www.mypoorbrain.com/project/carboncycle/) I thought this was interesting as it depended on a more interactive element and allowed for experimentation.

I wanted the style and colour palette to appeal to children so looked into minimalist styles and brighter colour palettes than the one the Cathedral had given. This could present a clash of styles, however I felt the colour palette the cathedral had chosen wouldn’t appeal to children playing a game. I also thought about making the game very easy with simple instructions to reduce any language barrier. I hope to take the ideas of creating a simplistic game with a brighter colour palette and interesting minimalist style into the group with me. I also want to look into ideas of an interactive element within the game and also incorporating useful information to also make it somewhat educational.

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Magna Carta and Applied Design Concept Idea 2 – Interactive Storybook — February 12, 2015

Magna Carta and Applied Design Concept Idea 2 – Interactive Storybook

Magna Carta is a famous symbol of  fairness, human rights and justice. it inspires and encourages movements for freedom in Britain and around the world. It was issued by England’s King John in June 1215 as an attempt to prevent a civil war between the king and his barons. Magna Carta simply means ‘great charter’. A charter is a legal document issued by the king or queen which guarantees certain rights. This Magna Carta has over 60 clauses, including the right to a fair trial. The one displayed at Salisbury Cathedral is one of four copies which survived of the seven written after King John agreed peace terms with his barons at Runnymede, which were sent around the country as evidence of the king’s decision. Medieval documents like this were not signed, but sealed. However, Salisbury Cathedral now only owns a replica of the seal. Continuing to use the target audience of 5-10 years, I thought about creating a scrolling children’s storybook app which could be interactive. This could follow the journey of King John and his misuse of the land by taxing, putting whoever he wanted in jail without a fair trial and taking ownership of a widows property before the Magna Carta was passed. This could be a scrolling adventure or could be interactive as you click or move objects to move on to the next scene. This idea takes inspiration from point and click adventure Broken Age. Which has a storybook type feel which you can interact with to tell the next part of the story. http://www.brokenagegame.com/ GirlDialogTree The style template would be a brown parchment textured book with brighter colours to accent the image and appeal to children. It would also be interesting to incorporate the stain glass windows and tapestry   from Salisbury Cathedral in the storybook in some way. The problems with this idea is that it could take too long to draw out all the backgrounds and animate characters. A way I could think of coding it would be to import each stage in the story to different view controllers in swift which then link by creating an object on a certain point in the image. These are examples on stained glass in the Cathedral, a statue depicting King John being forced to sign the Magna Carta and examples of tapestry with King John in to show an art style which could be used. Issue_53_2011_Feature11_49914561_magna_carta_07 lackland-smimages

Introduction and first concept idea for Applied Design — February 10, 2015

Introduction and first concept idea for Applied Design

For our Applied Design unit Bournemouth Universities RedBalloon Agency has been commissioned to create an app for Salisbury Cathedrals Magna Carta exhibition in 2015. This has been proposed at potentially being a series of exploratory interactive and educational works accessed whilst walking round Salisbury Cathedral and could potentially be geolocated.

After listening to the brief and lecture given by RedBalloon, the first idea that came to mind was inspired by listening to the hierarchy of the feudal system which forced the Magna Carta to come into effect. It was explained how the peasants gave their food and produces to the knights, who gave their services to the nobles/barons who in turn gave their knights to the King in exchange for land so the King could fight for more land or protect his land in France. This in turn led to the King losing a lot of money ,land and knights which led to him raising taxes for his losses. A group of rebel barons then revolted and forced the king to sign the Magna Carta which some viewed as an ancient English constitution protecting individual English freedoms.

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From this basic knowledge of the Magna Carta and by looking into the brief that the client would like part of the app to be marketed towards children age 5-10. I came up with a mini game idea which involves you taking the role of a rebel baron. You build up your lands food, resources and knights by playing various mini games such as tapping the screen to pick cabbages, and swiping  in different directions to defeat other knights. However as you progress through the game, the king randomly taxes you more and takes more of your resources until you revolt by pressing the revolt button multiple times and then pressing the kings hand down to sign the Magna Carta. All the mini games last for 6 seconds and you can play each multiple times. This might insight a basic knowledge for children on why the Magna Carta was first form of human rights and why it was important. This would be done in a very minimalist style to attract children and incorporate some of the brown parchment colour with brighter colours to appeal more.

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