Keeping Up with the Colors
Demonstration of a single player first round. The player repeats the visual pattern while ignoring the audio pattern. When the player repeats the pattern correctly, a light on the side of the Game Master will illuminate.
First Prototype and Testing
We worked as a team to create two initial prototypes for our toy: a "works like" model and a "looks like" model. We then brought both models to test with kids and parents at Boston Children's Museum. Creating and testing both types of models allowed us to get guest feedback for both the game design and the aesthetic of the toy.
Some of our main points of focus and questions for this testing included:
Testing the speed of the colors. How fast should the colors appear? We want the game to be challenging but not frustrating. Should there be a time limit for entering your answer?
Testing the number of colors in a row that people can remember
Shape and size of controllers
Overall appeal and comments for game
We had a few major take-aways from this testing. We learned that this toy was definitely better suited for a slightly older kid. It was too confusing for younger kids who were better suited for more of a simple color identification and matching game. With this prototype, we learned that a different controller design may look more aesthetically interesting and may also be more comfortable for guests. Overall, guests enjoyed the game and found it interesting and challenging. We were on the right track!
The Game Master of our "works like" prototype. It included an Arduino and breadboard circuit which would flash different colors in random order
The controller of our "works like" prototype. It was blue foam with different colored "buttons" on top. Each button was attached to a small spring so there would be a small feedback interaction when guests were testing.
Our "works like" prototype
Our "looks like prototype"
Testing at Boston Children's Museum! Some of the testers were younger and out of the age demographic that we were discovering was the best fit for our toy. For these younger testers, we played a simple color matching game which still was able to teach us that matching colors and pressing buttons on a controller is fun!
Second Prototype and Testing
Using what we learned from our first prototypes and testing sessions, we created a second set of prototypes to continue to test our electronic and aesthetic designs. For our "works like" prototype, we created circuits with working buttons for the controllers. For our "looks like" prototype, I thermoformed our Game Master and player controllers and installed LED strips inside of frosted clear plastic to diffuse the light.
With this second prototype, we continued exploring a different controller shape.
Designing the electronics of our player's controller
I worked on the electronic design and soldering for inside of the player's controller. These electronics helped us to test a more angled/curved controller design
Playtesting with our instructor
Me thermoforming our "looks like" prototype. I thermoformed pieces for both the Game Master and the controller
After cutting off the hooks, I used clear half-ornaments as the "buttons" for our "looks like" prototype. Here I am measuring out the locations for each button on our model
I spray painted the thermoformed controller and frosted the inside of the "buttons" for light diffusion. Here I am hot gluing the the "buttons" to the controller.
Me testing the lights with our "looks like" prototype controller
I spray painted the thermoformed Game Master and frosted the inside of the clear dome for light diffusion
I cut a hole in the thermoformed Game Master and installed an electronic score counter
Our "looks like" prototype in progress
Using everything that we had learned throughout the process, we did our final push of product development and presented our toy!
Planning out our final design
We chose to 3D print our final toy for a clean aesthetic and durability. Testing button installation into the 3D printed controller. I also lasercut a clear acrylic bottom piece which held all of the electronics inside but also allowed us to see inside to notice any problems and could easily be attached and detached in case of issues.
I spray painted our final toy
Electronics inside of toy
Here I am testing different methods of light diffusion for our Game Master, including both frosted clear plastic and cloth
Comparison between our final controller and our first "looks like" prototype
My team and I just before final presentations
Team photoshoot with our final toy!
This was our final creative presentation! Our presentation took the form of a sketch which we performed in front of a live audience of 400 and more livestream viewers. In our sketch presentation, an evil wizard stole all of the colors from the world and the players had to battle him with our game to restore color!
I loved my toy product design work so much that I also returned as a volunteer mentor for the class in 2021. I worked with an instructor to run weekly lab sessions for a team of six first-year students. I served as a technical advisor for the project, answering the team's questions and assisting in their development process. I also offered my own advice from my experiences taking the class myself.