PROCESS

Having developed two prototypes over the course of the semester, we had the opportunity to finetune our process.


Process:
Moving into the PTC

Before beginning work on our prototypes, we spent a few days moving into our new space at the Pittsburgh Technology Center.

Leaping into the semester, we had the opportunity to transform a huge, raw room in the PTC into a functional and pleasant workspace. Working with the Jam-O-Drum group, who share our space, we cleaned, painted, and decorated our room, adding desks, futons, and a healthy dose of icicle lights.


Process:
The Making of Retro Robot

Defining Our Direction and Choosing an Activity to Develop
We started the semester with the ideas we had brought to our pitch. However, we had a lot of focusing to do. Frequent brainstorming sessions and frenzied concept development led, eventually, to our first prototype concept, Retro Robot. Our faculty advisor, Bean, provided guidance through this process, and ETC Professors Jesse Schell and Brenda Harger proved to be great resources.

Lessons Learned
-Get help from other people sooner
-Don't get too focused on one aspect of the concept
-Separate technology from experience by focusing on the activity

Evaluating Technology
Evaluating various technologies is an important and ongoing part of our group's purpose. We looked at several technologies, some of which we are currently using, and some of which we will be using in the future. Specifically, we chose the Ekahau Positioning Engine to use with Retro Robot, while setting ARToolKit aside for another time.

Lessons Learned
-Even cool tech has to fit into the experience

Prototyping an Experience
We completed the proof-of-concept for our first augmented game, Retro Robot. After choosing an activity, we began developing the technological framework and experience design in parallel. As soon as there was a working prototype, we froze the technology and playtested. The next phase will be iterating on the prototype to improve both the technology of the experience and the gameplay.

Lessons Learned
-Clarity of purpose is important
-Division of labor is important to rapid development
-Tap available resources, such as faculty and peers, for advice and help with development.
-Keep the scope reasonable.
-Playtesting is incredibly helpful.
-Use available or cheap resources to build a proof-of-concept.


Process:
The Making of the AR Gaming Table

After we finished Retro Robot, we made the decision to shelve it and build a new prototype using the ARToolKit technology. This time we were much more rigorous in our scheduling and were able to successfully implement multiple prototypes.

We spent the first two weeks brainstorming and developing concepts as we settled on how exactly we wanted to use the technology. The following two weeks were spent in development, getting the tech to work and prototyping the initial game, the Augmented Wizard Duel.

We had a week scheduled for playtesting and iteration that we used to improve our prototype prior to Soft Opening. After Soft Opening, we had two weeks to react to faculty feedback, implementing a few new games on top of the Gaming Table framework and documenting our work.

ARPE is a project group at the Carnegie Mellon
University Entertainment Technology Center.