GAME DESIGN · EXPERIENCE DESIGN

Treasure Box is an adventure game for new students to explore the campus and make new friends through play. Players in this game will practice communicating with strangers and know their schoolmates’ cultural backgrounds.

THE GOAL

Create a real-world adventure game for 2 or more people at CCA that generates meaningful social interactions and integrates into their daily routine.

TEAM

ZHU Huizhong (Research, Ideation, Design, Guide)
Shuo Sun (Research, Ideation, Sketching, Installation)

INSTRUCTOR

Catherine Herdlick

TIME

Mar 2019

DURATION

3 weeks

1.

CONCEPT

TARGET PLAYER GROUP

We wanted to design an adventure game for new international students at CCA.

INITIAL IDEA

Two groups compete for a treasure box. Through looking for the box, players will practice the necessary skills for their following study and life at CCA.

MAGIC CIRCLE

The passerby has opportunities to get involved in the game. They may be invited to interact with the players.

CORE LOOP

Get a clue and find the next clue, or take the adventure and get the next clue. 

MEANINGFUL CHOICES

Players choose different options to enter different difficulty levels or spent different time periods. The choices are irreversible.

THE WIN OR END STATE

The group that the one open the treasure box belongs to is the winner. Because there may be undercover teammates, they will reveal their real identities after getting the treasure box.

2.

RESEARCH

SECONDARY RESEARCH

We spent some time watching Korean and Chinese reality shows which contains various kinds of adventure games like Running Man and Go Fighting!. Through watching, we focused on the levels setting, the players’ behaviors and their reactions. 

INTERVIEW

My Responsibility: Interviewing
Teammate's Responsibility: Note Taking

GOAL

Define “meaningful social interaction” based on the interviews.

WHO

3 new graduate students
2 freshmen
1 transferred student

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  • Can you describe a typical school day as detailed as possible?
  • What challenges did you have in the first few weeks?
  • How did you adapt to the new environment?
  • Can you give any examples of social interactions in your daily life?

"I like the teamwork in the beginning. Because it’s a fast way to make new friends. Also, I can learn about team members’ backgrounds through teamwork."

INSIGHTS

My Responsibility: Summarizing

GREETINGS

  • With friends
  • With cashiers
  • With Uber/Lyft drivers

CHATTING

  • Get information
  • Give information
  • Exchange information

TEAMWORK

  • A fast way to make new friends
  • Learn about team members’ backgrounds

LISTEN TO COMPLAINTS

Need more positive energy rather than negative energy

SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTIONS

  • Collect “like”
  • Reply text messages when the topics are boring

DEFINITION

meaningful social interaction

The social interactions that benefit students’ social connections and helps them adapt to the new environment.

3.

DESIGN

TARGET PLAYER GROUP

New International Students at CCA

Explore the Campus

Make New Friends

Practice Communicating with Strangers

THE FLOW

My Responsibility: Drawing the Flow

THE WIN STATE

The group that the one opens the treasure box belongs to is the winner.

STORYBOARDS

My Responsibility: Drafting
Teammate's Responsibility: Sketching

SESSION 1. FIND THE TREASURE BOX

SESSION 2. FIND THE PASSCODE

EXPERIENCE MAP

My Responsibilities: Analyzing the Experience and Drawing the Map

(click the picture to zoom in)

4.

PRODUCTION

MODIFICATION

We had several discussions and made some changes to the game before the production. We hope it would be more welcoming for new students, so we lowered the difficulty level of the second session. To be specific, players will make new friends by asking strangers to draw the map of their home country instead of asking for their name and email address. Also, they are encouraged to take selfies with strangers instead of hugging them. The modification will create more meaningful interactions and bring memorable experiences to the players.

MESSAGE SCRIPS

My Responsibility: Copy Writing

We used a message system to send group messages to the players and respond to particular classes of messages. Therefore, we could pay more attention to observing the players and assist them in the playtest.

MATERIAL PREPARATION

My Responsibility: CoDesign the Puzzle Cards
Teammate's Responsibilities: CoDesign the Puzzle Cards

Finally comes to the production stage. There are no material needs for Session 1: Find the Treasure Box and Session 2: Dare or Not to install. So, we skip to the Session 2: Puzzle Pieces. Here are the questions that need to be considered.

  • What numbers make up the passcode?
  • What’s the sorting of the numbers?
  • How to arrange them on the puzzle?

To answer these questions, we found that the third question has the highest priority. So, we were supposed to figure out what the puzzle looks like first.

How to arrange the numbers on the puzzle?

There are four pieces in total.
The passcode is consist of three numbers.

So, each piece is supposed to have parts of two numbers.

We encourage the players to explore more sites on campus.
So, players are supposed to get more pieces.
The players could only find one piece at a time.

So, the numbers on a piece are supposed to be hard to recognize.

Based on these considerations, here comes a new question:

What numbers look similar if some parts are covered?

After a short discussion, we listed these numbers that the shapes are not that unique: 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9.

Then we collected 3, 4, 9 to be the numbers of the passcode. There were also alternatives like 4, 7, 8 and 7, 8, 9. Since we have decided the three numbers, we started to draft the arrangement.

INSTALLATION

My Responsibility: Decide the Sites
Teammate's Responsibilities: Decide the Sites and Install the Puzzles

The purpose of this session is to encourage students to explore the campus. So, we chose the sites that they would frequently go in the future; Simpson Library where students read books and study, A2 Cafe where students usually have lunch, Campus Center where students heat food and meet new friends, and Timken Hall where hold new student orientation.

5.

PLAYTEST

TEST GOALS

  • Did players feel confused or feel hard to understand during playing?
  • Did players complete the tasks for them?
  • Did players make new friends through the game?
  • Did players learn more about the campus?
  • Did they collaborate well in a team?

OBSERVATIONS

My Responsibility: Test Guiding, Photo Taking
Teammate's Responsibility: Test Assisting, Deinstallation

Six players attend the playtest. So, each group has three. Players went Session 1 smoothly. In Session 2, players were confused sometimes. Besides, during the whole game, players seldom communicate with their teammates.

SESSION 1. FIND THE TREASURE BOX

SESSION 2. FIND THE PASSCODE

(pictures by me)

Session 2: Dare or Not. The player is drinking a cup of vinegar.

Session 2: Dare or Not. The player is taking selfies with the staff and a customer at A2. 

POST-EXPERIENCE INTERVIEW

My Responsibility: Interviewing
Teammate's Responsibility: Interviewing

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  • How did you feel when you play the game?
  • What’s your most impressive part?
  • What’s your favorite part and why?
  • Which part do you like the least and why?
  • Were there any aspects that confuse you?
  • Do you want to play the game again?
  • Do you have suggestions for us?

INTERVIEWEES

Yan

Dare or Not

“Forcing myself to talk with strangers made me excited.”

May

Dare or Not

“I was a bit lost as I was not totally clear about the rules and what should I do with my team.”

Jillian

Puzzle Pieces

“The game strengthened my impression of the school.”

Linya

Puzzle Pieces

“I felt a sense of achievement when I found  a piece of the puzzle.”

INTERVIEW INSIGHTS

SATISFIED

  • Communicating with strangers is challenging but fun.
  • Players feel surprised when putting the puzzles together.
  • Players who chose the Puzzle Pieces have a sense of fulfillment.

UNSATISFIED

  • Players didn’t know how to collaborate with teammates when they were apart.
  • The text instructions confused some players.
  • Players didn’t have a sense of competing.
  • The weird juice task seems meaningless.

6.

REFLECTION

SUCCESS

THE TASKS ARE EASY TO BE UNDERSTOOD AND CARRIED OUT

EXPECTATION
We hope the players know how to complete the tasks as soon as they see the descriptions.

PLAYTEST
Players completed the tasks well.

 

FAILURES

THE GOALS WERE NOT CLEAR TO THE PLAYERS

EXPECTATION
The players enjoy making new friends and exploring the campus by challenging the risks and collaborating with teammates.

PLAYTEST
Making new friends: Players took the risks to interact with strangers. But they didn’t make friends with them.
Collaboration: Although some players collaborated with teammates and practiced communication with strangers, most players didn’t know how and why they had to collaborate.

THE INSTRUCTIONS MADE PLAYERS FEEL LOST

EXPECTATION
The players find the treasure box and find the passcode together. Finally, they open the treasure box and win the game.

PLAYTEST
Although the players understood the tasks and completed them perfectly, they didn’t know where they were during the game. They were not familiar with the whole story.

7.

ITERATION

MAKE THE GOALS CLEAR

(pictures by me)

Rationale: The players didn’t think the tasks are meaningful when they were playing.

Iteration: We reduced the goals to two; make new friends and explore the campus. Because practicing communication skills and the first goal are somewhat overlapped, it’s a means to the goal. Besides, the players will be asked to choose their preferred goal before the second session. Their decision will lead them to the corresponding game options.

STRENGTHEN THE CONNECTIONS

Rationale: Some players didn't think the communications were all meaningful. So, the players are supposed to keep in touch with the ones who help them complete the tasks.

Iteration: The players are encouraged to ask for the email addresses of their potential new friends for further connections.

SIMPLIFY THE INSTRUCTIONS

Rationale: The text introduction is too long to read. Some players couldn’t remember the whole story.

Iteration: We tried to visualize the instructions to give them an overall view of the game.

(picture by my teammate)

WARM-UP

Rationale: Considering the players are new students, they don’t know each other at all. So, they need time to get familiar with each other in a team.

Iteration: We decided to give the players 5 minutes to warm up before Session 1. Therefore, they will have time to break the ice and introduce themselves to their teammates.

Thank You for Your Time 🙂