Friday, March 29, 2019

Day 29: Adding Digital to an Analog Game with Scratch and Micro-controllers





Today we will continue with our series of posts on Creating and Making with an Earth Day Theme.


In our last game we designed a MAZE type  game in Scratch and then built a physical game controller using conductive materials, craft materials and a micro-controller board such as Makey Makey or FunKey.

Today's game will model creating an analog board type game and using Scratch and a micro-controller to add interesting elements to the  board game.

We'll also review how we used Design Thinking to guide the process.




The Earth Day Theme 2019 - Protect our Species allowed us to develop empathy for the needs of specific endangered species. The Earth Day sites provided lots of great information for the EMPATHY stage of design thinking.

Using the assumption that games can help motivate us, we can Define the game design problem using HOW might We language often found in the
DEFINE stage of design Thinking.


During the IDEATE Stage of design thinking we start brainstorm LOTS of possible ideas for a game that will meet our need to entertain in a way that will inform and persuade. Some ideas might include:
  • Maze Challenge
  • Board Game
  • Quiz Type Game
  • Physical Movement  Challenge

Finally its time to PROTOTYPE one of our ideas
Here are some things we considered during our prototype We picked a board game as our game type. The settings was in the ocean and the game pieces were sea turtles.

    We decided to use a color die to move our game piece through the game board. As the game piece landed on a color, new facts were revealed about our endangered species. After landing on a colored square, and listening to the fun facts, the player picks a challenge card what either adds or subtracts health points. The player tally's the health points when they reach the end of the path on the board. If they have positive health points they have escaped from Extinction. If they have negative health points they are on route to extinction. We decided to add fun sounds in Scratch to make the game fun and to add the ideas of multiple values for the health points to add an element of suspense and luck to the game.
    Here are some pictures of the prototype in progress.

    Creating a colored dice to move the game piece along.

    Playing with conductive elements that could trigger fun facts and fun sounds.

    We used Scratch to record and select sounds and informative audio to add to the game.


    After several iterations, we decided to use a brass brad and paperclip to create and open circuits, that would become a closed circuit when the game piece landed on each square.


    The paper clips were connected to copper tape which was in turn connected to the GROUND on the circuit board. Each brad was connected to a think strand of network wire, which was then connected to an alligator clip which was connected to the UP, DOWN, LEFT, and RIGHT pins on the circuit board.




    After lots of trial and error and changes to our plans, we were ready for the last stage - TEST and REVISE!
    We can't wait to try the game out with others and get ideas on how to revise and improve the game. The questions we have will be
    1) How did we inform you?
    2) What did we persuade you to do or stop doing?
    3) Was it fun?
    4) How might we improve our game?











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