End of the Journey

After treacherous, skewered and difficult yet wonderful paths, our journey has finally come to an end. Being the diligent monkeys we are, every single one of us has put a lot of effort to make the dream of being the mighty King Kong come true.end-of-a-journey-314487 A lot of bananas have been thrown and eaten… A lot of papayas have been flying across the room… A lot of watermelons have been stomped… Alas, we are here and proud to present you the mighty King Kong! Emerge yourself in the dream and see the world from Kong’s eyes!

 

Advertisements

Software Prototype User Study

Busy Busy BusyLast week was the busiest week ever during the whole project until now. We had too little time to do way too many things. Especially when we are underpowered due to Alwin being disabled.

Nevertheless, we held on and fought through the stressful week and managed to deliver! (you could be kind and leave a big cheer to all of us.. Well, all of us EXCEPT Alwin)

Software Prototype User Study

Last week we presented our initial software prototype to the council, and they were satisfied with our work. However, we also received some hints from the council that we should really focus on the very essential tasks instead of fancy features which are arguably not necessary (narrow and deep vs. wide and shallow). We realized by then that we had to cut off and limit our ideas into very basic but fully functional features. Thus, we developed our initial software prototype to integrate the Kong’s stomping mechanisms which includes collapsing the building, as well as the engaging screen (“Come closer and play”) and the end-game feedback (high-score screen).

As you should have known by now, we ventured into the neighbor jungles to find some potential monkeys for our software prototype study. There we met with two monkeys sitting under a palm tree, sipping papaya juice in a fancy coconut shell. As we approached them they were really friendly and welcomed us to their humble jungle. We told them about our quest and explained that we needed to do a user-study and that they were the perfect candidate for our initial software prototype study. Having been praised so much, it was easy to make them agree upon anything. So we told them to come to Viktor’s house on Sunday evening at 7pm. We promised them some pineapple- and papaya cookies for their time.

When they arrived, we have already prepared everything. Cookies on the table, grape juices in the fridge, as well as Viktor’s magical machine for the user study. We also prepared some tasks that they should try to accomplish during the study. Obviously, before we start, we introduced ourselves properly and politely asked them to do so as well. They introduced themselves as Hum-Hum and Pom-Pom.

Hum-Hum is very much into chemistry and dreams to receive the Mnobel Prize one day. He doesn’t play video games and is not into IT generally. Pom-Pom on the other hand, is very much into IT and loves to play video games. With that being sorted out, we described to them first about the Think-Aloud method they should perform in order for the study to be successful. While using this method, they should perform three tasks:

  • Try to find the correct distance to interact with the Kong application
  • Try to recognize their high scores
  • Try to recognize the healthy- and harmful objects for the Kong

Having understood this, we started the application and observed their behaviors.SoftProtStudy_2 The major feedback we concluded during the test are that they are not able to understand why there are people hanging out of the windows of the building. “What are those people doing there in the background?” They also had difficulty recognizing the frying pans, mistaken it for knifes which is naturally too brutal for our non-rated application. “I don’t understand what gives me the plus points?” Apparently they demand a SoftProtStudy_0feedback given every time they gain points by doing something specific. “What is this shaking? Am I the one who is causing these earthquakes?” Again, the stomping purpose is not clear to them. On the other hand, they also ask an interesting question: “Will it make a difference if I stomp faster?” Moreover, they had trouble recognizing their points on the screen and they mentioned that the building is way too big in relation to Kong.

At the very least we all had good laughs and good drinks afterwards. Hum-Hum and Pom-Pom thought our application idea was cool and they were excited for the release version.

Conclusion

After saying goodbye to the kind monkeys, we continues our work right away (no time to waste obviously)Based on the feedback, Jörg continue the prototype development and made some changes:

  • Exchanged the frying pans into bombs for easier distinction.
  • Added the option to “Play Again” at the end of the game.
  • Point-system is updated so that the points will not go under 0; stomping will give 15 points, every banana caught will grant 10 points and every bomb-hit will deduce the points by 20.

56

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

Naturally there will have to be much more changes to the application prototype such as: implementing better tutorial to introduce user to the role of the people on the building and the role of the Kong which is to collapse the building as well as implementing the dynamic effect of the speed of stomping (e.g., faster stomp -> more shaky building and thus collapses faster).

Certainly this is just an initial user study with our software prototype but it looks quite well accepted with a couple of remarks that we definitely shall sort out before the release version.

Credits

Incredibly, perhaps due to exhaustion, the monkeys were not debating anymore about credits. We all agreed upon everyone doing their best to contribute to this project and there is not even a single grape flying across the room this time.

Tired monkeys signing out, peace and bananas!

ZzZzzZzzZzzZzz

Software Prototype

Happy New Year !

The last three weeks were consisted of two-weeks-holiday. It was definitely the most beautiful and loveliest time of the year25e77f73917418ade59c1f87f72dbdad-d39144t where each monkey looks back at the last 365 days he/she spent in the jungle and remembers all the ups and downs he/she went through. It was also the time where most monkeys, simple-mindedly following the footsteps of others, would make empty promises for the new 365 days without any real glimpse of hope to actually keep these promises halfway through the new year.

Nevertheless, we had a little bit of fun, some laughs, quite loud fireworks, and a lot of drinking (naturally, drinking for us only involves the utmost delicious banana juices). It was not until last week that we realized about our journey that has not yet reached its end, which led us to some panic and agitation. However, Jan, being the hero as he always has been, reminded us that he has meditated a lot and reached an enlightenment in the fuzzy world of Processing. Thus, he calmed us down but it was a little bit too late. Banana slipAlwin, being too agitated and stupid as he always has been, slipped on a stinking banana peel, knocked over a big pile of coconuts and rolled down the slopes into the mud. In this chaos, Alwin broke his left arm and had to stay in the jungle-shaman’s house for the rest of the week 😦.

Software Prototype

Obviously we have to slow down the pace of our journey due to the poor monkey. So, we decided to implement not the full software prototype like we did with the paper prototype but rather, we concentrated on the basic game-play of our application idea. Some aspects of the game-play we implemented are the user-tracking through by the device lent to us (shout-out to the council for that), basic movement of the King Kong, as well as harmful objects that would knock Kong’s points out. And so we managed to let King Kong starts having a bit fun in the town..

softwarePrototype0

The mighty Kong roars happily as he stomp the ground and the building starts shaking and collapsing.

softwarePrototype1However he should avoid falling harmful objects (which are simple rounded objects for the meantime). Prototype is prototype eh..

softwarePrototype2softwarePrototype3

Kong definitely is having fun, easily recognizable from his facial expression. Look at how he parades by pounding his bare chest!

softwarePrototype4Credits

insane_monkey

As per usual, the ritual started at every end of our journey-week. If credits were not given properly, the monkeys would go insane and start throwing hard shelled fruits at each other, so to avoid that, here are the credits:

↔↔ Alwin ↔↔ managing the blog (with the one hand he could use)

↔↔ Jan ↔↔ being the Processing guru and doing the hardest part (user tracking and Kong’s movements)

↔↔ Jörg ↔↔ dealing with the harmful objects (animation, speed, effects on Kong)

↔↔ Max ↔↔ animating the collapsing building (stomping event)

↔↔ Viktor ↔↔ delivering us all kind of images we required (editing, layering, etc.)

Paper Prototype Study

reliefSo, the presentation of our prototype to the council went smoothly. Some remarks were made about the prototype that we didn’t think of, such as the loading feedback when a user is trying to select a difficulty level on the screen, and that the mighty Kong should perhaps be rewarded with something else that is gender-neutral as to be more user-friendly (spontaneously we came up with a couple of idea such as Kong rescued his little cousin instead, or perhaps there would be a treasure chest/mini-game). Other than that our prototype was acceptable. We peeked at other monkeys’ prototype and some of them really look impressive (screw those artist monkeys with their creative and wonderful ideas~).

For now, our journey continues and it is set forth at presenting the prototype to potential users. Thus we embarked again to the neighboring jungles to meet the other monkeys…

Prototype Presentation Study

                                •• ST ••

Our first encounter was ST. As ST approached our prototype, he was relaxed as if he had always known about public interactive display. When the playing mode-screen (single- or multiplayer) is show, ST has absolutely no difficulty in understanding that he had to put up his hand on one side for a couple of seconds to choose a playing mode (thanks to the loading bar we built into the prototype that serves as a feedback for the user). This is also the case with the screen where ST had to choose the desired difficulty level.

As soon as the (prototype-) “game” starts, we flashed ST a tutorial that says “Start stomping the ground to get points”. ST complied and noticed the points he gained, however he had difficulty recognizing that the building was collapsing due to his stomping. Instead, he thought that he is climbing the building. He didn’t understand that he could avoid objects which were thrown at him either. Neither that he understood that he could catch boxing gloves (but he did this nevertheless). However, as a harmful object (a 23 tons frying pan) was falling towards him, he instinctively punched the object away, and laughed as he realized that he had punched the pan away. However, he did understood that banana had to be a power-up object that he should catch.

ST concerned himself about his score and the remaining time he had left. He continued the stomping and he seemed to have a lot of fun. At the end of the game, when ST was showed the ending-screen he looked baffled (perhaps disappointed that there was too little information to be seen)..

Some remarks that ST made during the prototype study is that he didn’t understand what the black boxes on the building were and when we explained to him that those are windows, he then asked us if it were possible that we mark the windows where items are about to be thrown out so that he could plan his next moves. ST also asked about how many points he would get from catching a banana so that in difficult situation, he could consider whether catching the bananas is worth it.

The dynamic tutorial (directly integrated seamlessly in the game) is approved by ST. We asked ST whether it is helpful for him that we color-coded the items (green for good items and red for harmful objects) and to this he said no since the items were really hard to recognize anyway. The last remark ST made was that he would like to be able to recognize the remaining time better.river

Being not satisfied, we continued our journey and we met MM on our way to take a break at a nearby river and naturally, we also presented our prototype to MM.

                               •• MM ••

MM walked bravely towards our prototype and chose the playing mode as well as the difficulty level with ease (which makes us real glad). Having seen the flashing tutorial, MM started stomping the ground and he started to have fun!

Avoiding objects through body movements was intuitive for him but he had difficulty in recognizing what kind of object was thrown at him. When he got the boxing gloves, he intuitively punched objects away, claiming that he didn’t know that he could do that but he tried anyway to see what happened. Ending screen was understandable for him.

When asked about his thoughts about the prototype, MM said that he understood that he should stomp the ground to make a progress in the game but he didn’t understood about having to constantly stomping the ground. MM said that it was not clear as to which items were power-ups and which are power-downs. However he said that it was good that it wasn’t clear and that “learning by doing” was a good concept. The only item he understood to be “good” is the banana since he, as a monkey, loves banana (who doesn’t, a banana a day keeps the doctor away!).

MM did not notice the remaining time at all, he thought it was a cigarette (sorry MM to disappoint you with our bad artistic skills). It was not clear to him either that the remaining time is further reduced when he was hit by harmful objects. He proposed that some hints such as “HURRY UP!” on the screen would hint the players that there is a remaining time.

Furthermore, MM understood that the building was collapsing through the stomping and that he was not climbing it. He also asked about what kind of mode there would be for the multiplayer. To this we said that both the co-op mode as well as the versus mode will be available in the future.

MM made some last remarks, like: “high score is absolutely important, especially in multiplayer mode”, “it would be great if there is something like ‘The WINNER is… player 1!!'”. MM regarded the high score as one of the major factors of people wanting to play the game again and again (and again and again and again and again and again and again…).

Still, none of us five monkeys was satisfied with the insights. We thought that snowyMountainwe would at least present our prototype to one more monkey. We traveled through the jungle and ended up on a snowy mountain. Guess who we met there? It was JD, the monkey we interviewed couple weeks ago! We were very pleased and thus, eager to show him our prototype.

                               •• JD ••

Since we had interviewed JD before, JD had no issue at all during his interaction with our prototype. Everything was quite intuitive for him and JD knew how the game should play out and he had no trouble understanding it in the prototype.

To JD’s opinion, we did a great job in prototyping our idea. He liked it and the only thing that he wished he had is an explanation of the items, which items provided what kind of power-ups. Otherwise, he was satisfied and the last thing he said was “the high score name-input could simply be an initial, you know, three alphabets long should be more than enough”.

The prototype study with JD was quitfruitse short but that was (unfortunately) to be expected due to the fact that JD had already been interviewed on our application idea before. Nevertheless we thanked JD and rewarded him with a sour pineapple (because JD loves sour fruits).

After the prototype study with JD, Alwin the monkey was already too tired to continue our journey (plus he had to do his business in the toilet, but of course he made excuses such as headache instead) and so we went home and let him rest.

During the time, we put some thoughts into what we should change subsequent to our prototype studies with the monkeys. Since we have gained further insights, we should build them into our prototype and thus we decided on some changes for our prototype and we named it “Le Prototype V.2“.

Le Prototype V.2

There are actually not much that we would change on the prototype. Having said that, we would still present to you a rough list on what we did to our prototype:

Drew some angry humans on the building windows to let users understand that the angry humans are very mean towards monkeys in general (especially towards the mighty Kong even though he is actually soft and cuddly inside).

– Remodeled some items and used higher quality pictures so users can recognize what items are being thrown at them and thus making it easier for them to judge whether they should catch or avoid the items.

– Installed a better high score screen which has a list of high scores achieved by other players. On this screen there should be a way for users to input their initials as well. Moveover, users should have the option to continue playing with next difficulty level on this screen.

– The last change that we made was adding a screen before the high score screen where the remaining time will be added to the player’s score (thus motivates the player to finish a level quicker to gain more score).

If we had the time, we would also change the rewards at the end of the level. Instead of a princess, Kong should be rewarded with something that is gender-neutral such as a treasure chest.

Now with this list in mind, we started tinkering..groupFinally, we finished with “Le Prototype V.2” and here are some pictures to please your eyes:

Prototype2_1

Prototype2_2

Prototype2_3

Credits

And we are at that part again, this time there is no pineapple around so, papayas are flying across the room instead. It was a delicious round of monkey-arguing. However, credits still have to be given where it is due so here goes the list:

♥♥ Alwin ♥♥ Participating in some prototype studies (2 of 3), managing the blog

♥♥ Jan ♥♥ Continuing his research in the mysterious coding world of Processing.

♥♥ Jörg ♥♥ Participating in some prototype studies (2 of 3)

♥♥ Max ♥♥ Participating in all prototype studies, upgrading the prototype to v.2

♥♥ Viktor ♥♥ Participating in some prototype studies (2 of 3), creating the very first visual design of King Kong in Town.

That is all for the past two weeks, monkeys signing out.
Peace and Bananas!

Paper Prototype

This week is an interesting week. Mostly because we get to bedetermination artist-monkeys to create what is called paper prototype. In a nut shell, we are creating the very first prototype of our King Kong idea using papers, some accessories (scissors, paperclips, post-its), as well as some creativity and determination! Naturally, it was not easy for monkeys to find such materials for our prototype (can you imagine a monkey walking into a store, grabbing some paperclips and trying to trade them with bananas?), so we would be grateful if you show some appreciation (a very subtle hint: you could leave nice comments down below or send us some bananas over *wink wink*)

Scenario

Before we start our artistic works right away, we had to think about what scenario we would build the prototype for. Due to the basic factengagingvs.annoying1 that we are extremely diligent (and intelligent) monkeys, we decided to build the prototype that would describe the whole scenario of a user interacting with our King Kong application idea. This involves the starting screen of our application which aims to engage potential users. We also had to keep in mind that too much engagement could result in annoyance and obviously we would like to avoid that.

After a successful engagement, we would show the users the screen where he/she could choose a desired difficulty-level (we still have an open discussion on how this process could be integrated better into the app, i.e., the simple easy-medium-hard *boooooringg* or associating it with different world choices: small apartment building – castle – great wall of China *who could say no to this?!*).

Next step is showing the users the main playing field where Kong stands in front of a building and starts stomping away on the ground. Actually this step is also a critical step where we were thinking about building a small tutorial for the users without disrupting the user from playing the game (dynamic game tutorial which does not pause the game, does not treat the users like they never played a game before, as well as the kind of tutorial that can be easily understood. A good example is the tutorial of the game Temple Run 2). Moreover, we would also include some snick snacks such as power-ups (bananas), power-downs (toilet seats), as well as score bar and time-remaining bar into the prototype. Other screens that we would build into prototype is the high score screen.

We hoped that through this paper prototype, we would be able to gather even more valuable insights into what our potential users desire and how they would prefer it, e.g., if they have difficulties at the difficulty-level choosing screen, we could ask where the problem was and how did the user imagine it should have been.

Le Prototype

And so our paper-prototype is slowly coming into reality. After hard works, we finally managed to bring the first prototype of our idea into this world! Here are some pictures, first off the “screen” where everything shall be displayed:

ScreenAs you can see, it does not look that fancy (yet). However, once we install some building backgrounds into it…

Building1Building2 Building3 Building4

Coupled with the engaging screen, difficulty level-selection screen, the mighty King Kong, some fancy power ups as well as obstacles, you will be looking at a fine paper prototype:

PrototypeInAction1 PrototypeInAction2 PrototypeInAction3 PrototypeInAction4  PrototypeInAction5 PrototypeInAction6PrototypeInAction7(You can also watch this in action!)

Ops, sorry, I forgot to mentioned that the one monkey whose job is to create the building prototype could not attend the monkey meeting that’s why you only see those black and white building instead of fancy colored one. Granted this is not yet a polished prototype, for example, we could still build the small tutorials (Post-Its) but as a rough paper prototype, we have managed not bad.

Since this paper prototype represents the whole game scenario, from beginning (engaging screen) up till the end (high score screen). We are happy to be able to present to other monkeys and watch their interactions so that we may better judge if our design idea is quite what the monkeys were expecting or not.

Credits

So, it is late and before the monkeys start throwing papayas at each other, credits shall be given where it is due:

♣♣ Alwin ♣♣ Creating the building prototype & managing the blog.

♣♣ Max ♣♣ Creating the screen prototype.

♣♣ Jörg ♣♣ Creating the King Kong prototype, including power ups & power downs.

♣♣ Jan ♣♣ Since Jan is our master programmer, he is already planning for the future and trying to track down how we could implement our King Kong idea using Processing.

♣♣ Viktor ♣♣ Creating the engaging screen & high score screen.scary

Next week, we shall present our paper prototype to the council and see their judgements. Wish us luck! The council is scarrryyy~~

Storyboard and Interview

Storyboards

For the last two weeks, we monkeys have been busy creating a set of storyboards for our mighty King Kong in Town idea. A long discussion was set on the topic of where the King Kong in Town idea will be installed and what purpose should it serve. It has come to our mind that King Kong in Town shall help relieve some stress or be a platform to let some steam off. This is the kind of approach where we already have a solution and we were looking for a problem, which can be solved by our solution (as is the case with most monkeys’ research projects).

Hence, the target group will be monkeys at workplace (office, or even libraries). We imagined that when the working monkeys have been having hard day coupled with a lot of stress at work, they might find it quite entertaining to let some steam off and admire the mighty King Kong.

Now the question is how could we provide the most entertainment value to these poor working monkeys, and how the King Kong should be presented. This discussion was split up in two major questions, each of which was provided with two potential answers. The questions in play were:

  1. Should King Kong have a life-expectancy? (The question of K.O.-System)
    • Yes, even the mighty King Kong is a mortal creature. (Hit points-based)
    • No, the majestic King Kong should rule the world! (Time-based)
  2. Should King Kong stay forever in the town? (The question of end-game scenario)
    • Yes, King Kong can stay wherever he wants for as long as he likes! (No limit, difficulty will be increased exponentially)
    • No, King Kong will fall in love with a female human and move back to the jungle with her. (Building limited, on top of the building, Kong and the female will fall in ♥ with each other)

Since we were monkey-arguing too much on these matters, which involved a lot of banana-throwing and pineapple-smashing, we have decided to let the potential users to take a decision for us. Let us hear what the other monkeys’ expectations are if they were acting as the great King Kong. However, before conducting the interviews, we need to help the other monkeys understand our mighty King Kong in Town idea by presenting them with some storyboards (we have to apologise beforehand for the poor quality of drawing, please understand that we monkeys are not that skilled in art). Here are the proposed storyboards:

  1. Storyboard with no life-expectancy and no end-game limit.
  2. Storyboard with life-expectancy and princess as the end-game limit.

We could only hope that the other monkeys would be open to our idea and able to provide us with crucial feedback. Only then could we decide on the King Kong in Town idea-design.

Interview

Interview

After designing the interview questions (the questions are in German but if you require an English translation, you can leave a comment down below and we will get back to you), we embarked on a journey to interview the other monkeys in the neighbour jungles. Naturally, we kept in mind the interview guidelines taught to us two weeks ago, such as concrete but monkey-friendly questions, avoiding direct questions without warm up questions, and many others.

Our warm up questions involved asking the monkeys whether they are working and/or studying and whether they would like the idea of playing a game during a break-time between their work- or study sessions. Afterwards we would ask the monkeys about the King Kong in Town application itself, which includes what the monkeys believe in; the mighty immortal Kong who is only limited by time or the mortal Kong who could be defeated by human beings; and whether the monkeys would agree on the idea of Kong falling in love with a female human being. Obviously there are also some unimportant questions such as would the monkeys be interested in the idea of mini-games in King Kong in Town application, would they be intrigued/challenged by the idea of different difficulty levels, etc. To round-up the interview, we would present some cool off questions to the monkeys, for instance would the monkeys use this application at work, would they enjoy watching other monkeys use the application, would they be interested in sharing the application with other monkeys (multiplayer) and what other critics/comments/tips/tricks they could have.

We interviewed three monkeys last week (initials are used instead of full name for obvious privacy reasons): JD, JW, and GT.

                            ♠♠ JD ♠♠
                      (original transcript)
                          (empathy map)

Our first interview starts with JD. He is a 27 years old research scientist who is currently pursuing his PhD title in computer science at the TU Berlin. Naturally, when he is pressed under strict deadlines with a big workload, he tends to get stressed easily and to relieve this stress, he would take some short time-offs to take his mind off like coffee breaks with his colleagues. JD also likes to keep himself fit by doing sports in his spare time. When asked about his experience with interactive displays, he claimed that he has used one before, which guided him through stores in a shopping mall.

JD is not a real gamer-monkey (despite the fact that he recently bought a PS4) since he usually spends no more than 2 hours straight up playing games (boo~) and again, being a believer in fitness, he plays mostly sport games and couple of “jump and run-“games such as Assassin’s Creed. “I play games when I feels like it, not necessarily because I’m bored” is what JD answered when asked about the reason of him playing video games. Moreover, he would feel more comfortable if public interactive display games were played anonymously (without audience or passersby recognizing the player). Thus, as long as the game is kept anonymous, JD has no problem whatsoever acting like a silly monkey pretending to be King Kong in front of the audience.

When we showed JD our storyboards, he prefers the time-limited King Kong in Town version (JD doesn’t believe that Kong can be defeated by mere mortal human beings). However, he didn’t completely disagree on the life-expectancy Kong version and even gave us some suggestions such as that Kong should face his arch-enemy before meeting the princess and that between each level a bonus level could be presented for the players to collect some bonus points. On the other hand, JD explained us with his preferences on the time-limited version, such as: the game should start at an according difficulty level (depending on some criteria such as age or body height of the player); this difficulty level should increase exponentially as the game progresses; and it would be cool if Kong could collect some power ups that would make him invulnerable for a limited time. Furthermore an OpenID feature (linking a player’s high score to his/her Facebook profile) might be interesting to some users.

If he were allowed a large enough space, JD would prefer to use his whole body to play King Kong in Town (arms to block harmful objects, or even feet for some special moves such as kicking harmful objects away for extra points or stomping the ground to shake the building) instead of just a certain part of his body. Assuming that the game is fun enough for him, JD would attempt to climb on top of the high score board. Other than that, JD’s thought about different scenery (buildings, areas in-game) is that they are not necessary but could prove to be nice visual enhancements.

Upon finishing the interview, JD left a couple of interesting remarks: when he thought about a monkey and a building, the first thing that came on to his mind is that the monkey will climb the building instead of attempting to bring it down. Thus, to avoid this misinterpretation, some characters could be chosen instead of the majestic and mighty King Kong like Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi (but seriously, which monkey would choose an Italian plumber over the great King Kong). JD also suggested some other more generic title for the game to further avoid the association of a climbing monkey (how dare you put King Kong at the same level as a monkey, King Kong is his own species!). And so our interview with JD ended and we moved on to the next monkey..

                            ♠♠ JW ♠♠
                      (original transcript)
                          (empathy map)

We moved on to the next interview with JW, a 24 years old student at the Universität der Künste (UDK) Berlin who is studying Social and Business Communication. Her study is bounded with a lot of project works and on top of that, she is working part time so she tends to get pretty stressed out during the week. Due to this, she has learned that time-offs and breaks are crucial to handle the amount of stress she is experiencing. Most the time she tries to take her mind off by chatting with friends about topics unrelated to work or study. On the other hand, she doesn’t reject the idea of taking a break which involves body movements. JW claimed that she has never interacted with a public interactive display but has ever seen some.

JW plays video games occasionally, but mostly multiplayer and sometimes single-player. She pointed out the example of a single-player game (Karaoke) which is short and thus everyone can take turns even when they couldn’t play together. JW said that she plays video games to take her minds off as well as to reduce her stress level. “Sure, why not. As long as nobody is disturbed and I don’t look like a fool then I would, gladly” is what JW answered when asked whether she would play interactive games in the public.

JW, like the rest of us monkeys, believes in the immortality of King Kong and she prefers the time-limited version of our idea. She didn’t agree with the idea of King Kong staying forever in town since she would want the feeling of having achieved something in the end of her game session. Moreover, she disliked the idea of having the difficulty level adjusted according to the player’s age or body height (or some other criteria for that matter) because she thought that since she has always been the worst player in any games, if the game is set to match her difficulty level, it would not be really entertaining for other better players. However, she agreed with the idea of increasing the difficulty level proportionally to the time spent in the game. Kong’s abilities to block objects and punching stuffs as well as mini-games sounded quite funny to her. JW does not care about high scores and she would prefer something “non-standard” as a high score board (something other than mere numbers). Putting her pictures on the high score board is not something she would do, unless she could do it with her group (again her emphasis on multiplayer feature). Aside from that, various building designs and views matter much more for JW than games functionality (JW is a visually oriented monkey).

Rounding up the interview, JW commented on keeping the game and story simple enough as well as making the game capable to entertain a group of people (be it multiplayer- or short single-player mode). “When can I try this game?” is the last word of JW’s interview. We monkeys are definitely excited upon hearing such words from eager users.

As the day moves on, we journey to other end of the jungle to meet with GT for another interview..

                            ♠♠ GT ♠♠
                      (original transcript)
                         (empathy map)

Our last interview is with GT, a chemical engineer. He said that his working place has a relaxing atmosphere (probably filled with as many bananas as he wants), and thus, he is rarely stressed out. Time offs for GT means mostly coffee breaks or snacking & chatting with colleagues. GT has seen interactive public displays but never used/interacted with one before. However, on the bright side, GT is a passionate console gamer and he plays mostly actions shooters and strategy games. How much time he spends on playing a game straight up depends on how good the game in itself is and when GT was asked about the reasons he plays game he said, “Gaming is like watching a movie except that you can influence the story”. Even though GT never interacted with public displays before, he has already played Wii in public so he has no objection towards people watching him (i.e., anonymity is not an issue for him).

Regarding King Kong in Town GT prefers the time-limited version and claimed that he would like to play this version with an ultimate ending to it, such as when the player has the sight of the beautiful princess, the game becomes a race against time to collapse the building as fast as possible. If, and only if, the player succeeded in collapsing the whole building, he would get to meet the princess and thus earn the big fat bonus points in doing so. On the other hand, GT likes the idea of difficulty level that increases proportionally to the time spent on the game, whereby the end of the “easy” difficulty level could be the start of the “medium” difficulty level, and analogue for the “medium” and “hard” difficulty level. Furthermore, GT dislikes the idea that the difficulty level is adjusted according to the players (age or body height) because this would mean that a naturally-skilled player would be disregarded.

Kong’s abilities such as blocking harmful objects with his arms sounds interesting to GT and he even proposed a suggestion that perhaps there could be some power ups such as “boxing gloves” which can only be obtained if the player reached out his/her hands to capture the gloves, or even “special boots” and “special helmet” which could only be obtained if the player capture the items with the corresponding body parts (i.e., boots with the legs and helmet with the head). Moreover, GT would like to spice up the game by having the players avoiding huge rocks that fall from the top of the building, which then could be destroyed by the player if he/she were in the possession of the “boxing gloves”.

Various scenery and types of building sounds good to GT and it would provide some good variation to the game, which could also be associated with different difficulty levels. When asked about multiplayer aspect, GT would like it to be some sort of a versus mode where the players are racing each other to collapse their buildings and to meet the princess. “A short tutorial at the start of the game would not hurt”, added GT. As his last remark, GT said that he would like to see some statistics at the end of the game (e.g., how many rocks are destroyed, how many bombs are avoided, did the player meet the princess, etc.) and that the story should be kept simple as it is a casual game after all.

Interview Findings & Design Principles

After the interviews, we monkeys are quite surprised at how important the multiplayer feature is for the potential users. Apparently they don’t want to be playing alone as the mighty Kong but rather together with other monkeys. All three interviews agreed upon the idea of immortal mighty Kong whereby the difficulty level should be increased proportionally to the time spent in the game. There is a great remark from JD about adjusting the difficulty level based on some criteria (age or body height of the users) but this remark is rather disliked by the other interviewees due to various reasons. Various scenery and building designs could be associated with different difficulty levels and it would also provide a diversity in the visual aspect of the game. Moreover, we are also amazed by how eager the interviewees are to use their whole body to enact the mighty King Kong. So, long story short, we determined three design principles that are utterly important for us:

  • Multiplayer feature is absolutely essential!
  • Kong is immortal and is only limited by time!
  • Full body movement support to guarantee absolute satisfaction of the users!

And that was the summary of what happened to the five monkeys during the last two weeks. Let us see where our journey would bring us next week!

Credits

Ugghhh, again, every single one of the five monkeys insisted on letting the public know what kind of work they put into the last two weeks so everyone else know how awesome he is, so here is the alphabetical-ordered breakdown (aside from the discussion about storyboards which all of us took part at):

♦♦ Alwin ♦♦ Managing the blog and the presentation.

♦♦ Max ♦♦ Doing the monkey interviews (JD & GT), summarizing the interviews as well as creating the empathy maps.

♦♦ Jan ♦♦ Formulating the interview questions and creating the interactive PDF-file.

♦♦ Jörg ♦♦ Doing the monkey interview (JD) as well as creating the empathy map.

♦♦ Viktor ♦♦ Creating the storyboards, doing monkey interview (JW), summarizing the interview as well as creating the empathy map.

 

That is all for these past two weeks, monkeys signing out!

Peace and bananas!

Brainstorm

Ideas

Public display

Mind Map Image

Mind Map

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with the figures above: it is a Mind Map, which is mainly used for brainstorming process. Brainstorming process is defined as “a group or individual creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its member(s)” (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainstorming). Basically, every group member sketch/write/draw any project-idea that he/she can think of on a sheet of paper.

During the process of brainstorming, we came up with at least three ideas for potential applications that we want to develop. Nevertheless, we are still unsure if the idea we came up with can really be implemented (due to programming efforts, or technological barriers). However, that matter is not a part of the brainstorming process.

The ideas we came up with involve solely games that are aimed to make the players look silly but still encourage them to play because of the fun factor. Here are some of the ideas we conjured.

1. King Kong in Town

King

It is Christmas time and instead of Santa Claus, the town is visited by a
gorilla! The gorilla is trying to have fun in the town but unfortunately,
due to his lack of experience, the gorilla doesn’t really know how to have
fun except by stamping his giant fists on to the ground and watch the town
folk yell and throw stuffs at him. Little did the gorilla know, that fruits
thrown at him can be eaten and thus increases his size (and power)!
Moreover, from time to time little gorillas may show up to have fun
together.

Aside from fruits, the town folk might also throw some items that could
affect the poor gorilla in a negative way. For instance when alcohol comes
into play, the gorilla will get dizzy, or when a 60 pound cooking pan hits
the poor gorilla, he might be knocked out for a while.

Nevertheless, the fact that players are acting like gorillas in front of a
big screen will ensure colossal laughs in the room, not only for the
players themselves but also (and perhaps, more importantly) for the
viewers. The multiplayer aspect rounds up the game to be a big hit in a
party!

2. River Swimmer

river

This is the game where trained arms are tested. The player got drifted in a
river with fierce streams. Naturally, there are obstacles implemented in
the game to make the life harder for the players, such as tree banks,
rocks, even crocodiles or a swarm of angry beavers (who are always
aggressive towards humans without any clear reason). Players have to keep
in mind at all time that there is physics involved (even in games), which
means that swimming strokes are not as effective in dangerous streams in
comparison to calm water.

Increasing difficulty results in even more fierce streams and more hungry
crocodiles as well as more angry beavers. If you are looking for a way to
kill off some time which also demands sweats, then you are standing in
front of the right display!

3. Eating Contest

eat

Now tell me who doesn’t love eating. For most of us, eating is an
entertainment, an enjoyment to refresh ourselves from the daily routines.
For others, eating is an act of art. For few of us, eating is a
competition! Well, here you get to test your skill against fast flowing
food through some sort of assembly line (yes, it is as hardcore as it
sounds). You should keep in mind though that not everything that you eat is
good for your health! Moreover, food will go stale if not eaten in proper
time manner.

With every minute goes by, the assembly line will be busier and busier.
Thus, forcing the food to flow much faster and this is where dexterity and
accuracy are demanded!

4. Bubbles

bubbles

The name “Bubbles” is the best way to sum up this game. The player has the task to pick up bubble stones from the ground and propel them towards the already-stacked-up bubble stones on the ceiling according to the bubble colours. Five or more bubble stones with the same colour will explodes, leaving some power ups from time to time.

Multiplayer is naturally a part of this game where the players will compete against each other by clearing out their own bubble stones as fast as possible while annoying their opponents by throwing bubble stones to their ceiling. Maximum fun guaranteed!

5. Penalty Soccer

penaltyImagine the Olympia Stadion in Berlin, tickets were sold out and you are the only one standing on the green. Just in front of you lies a ball, further forward stands a goal keeper and behind him, the goal. The crowd is shouting, screaming cheering for you. Your legs are itching. The only thing left for you to do now is to put the round thing in the square box.

This time the player is a soccer star aiming for the golden goal. I think enough has ben said! Just try to beat the high score by scoring as many goals as you can!

6. Balancing Board

balancingThe balancing board is a skill game in which the user controls a movable board by tilting his upper body to move the rolling ball to a certain determined hole on the board.

The stronger the body is inclined, the greater the board will be tilted which results in a greater acceleration of the rolling ball. Players should watch out for the “black holes” though because if the ball fell into one of these holes, the game would be over.
The coordination in the game is done only by the means of upper body. There are various difficulty levels to measure your skills.

Naturally, there is no age restriction on this game. So anyone is invited to take up the fight with the rolling ball!

7. Doctor Bibber

bibberA car crashes into a tree and its driver got smashed through the front window. Now he is lying on the street with very vague vital signs and you are the only one who can save his life.

In this game the player is an emergency doctor who is equipped with defibrillator, various kinds of medicine and other medicinal equipment. However the time is running out. You have to keep a cool head while acting as fast as you can. Use the equipments you have properly and efficiently. The higher the level the more critical the condition of the patient and thus the less time you have to save him. It’s a race against time!

Voting

So, afterwards, each member presents his/her ideas to the group and explaining what he/she is aiming for. Then comes the voting part, where every group member has a limited number of votes (3 votes in our case) he/she can cast on the idea that he/she prefers.

Following is the result of our voting session:Voting

Well, apparently every monkeys in our group is excited to meet a real species in our family, the legend, the undefeated (the movie is fake!), the majestic, the glorious…..

King Kong

Personas

Now that we have decided on the application, the next step for us is to define personas (i.e., the target audience, or, in our case, the target players, who are going to be using/playing our application), and so we came up with an idea of personas we are targeting: Mainly the kind of person who has self confidence and who is not afraid to act silly for the laugh of the audience, you know, the kind of guy whom everyone prefers to have in a party. Here’s a picture to sum up the persona:

Persona Funkey Monkey

Credits

One last question remaining: Which monkey was involved in what kind of monkey-business? Here’s the alphabetical-name-ordered breakdown:

Alwin: Monkey-Brainstorming, describing and explaining the ideas (“King Kong in Town“, “River Swimmer“, “Eating Contest“, “Bubbles“), populating the monkey-blog with our monkey-ideas, and managing the blog.

Jan: Monkey-mind-mapping, monkey-brainstorming.

Jörg: Monkey-mind-mapping, monkey-brainstorming, describing and explaining the idea (“Balancing Board“), populating blog with first ideas (project pictures, structure), managing blog

Max: Monkey-brainstorming, describing and explaining the ideas (“Doctor Bibber“, “Penalty Soccer“).

Viktor: Personas description and creation.

That’s it for this week. Monkeys signing out.

Peace and Bananas!