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Week 7 News

Weekly Newsletter for 3/2/2012

This Week from Digital Dream Lab!


We had a fantastic time working with the kids last Saturday, and getting a chance to get our work in front of the public. There were lots of smiles, lots of exploring, and a whole lot of confusion. We learned some quick lessons about the approachability (or lack thereof) of our experience, and how the children interact with the blocks. One hard lesson was the implementation of the ‘show me’ block, which was our analogy and link to the programming concept of printing something to the screen. The children were confused not only by its necessity, but also with the eye icon that we chose to represent it. Other problems surfaced in relation to the significance of the marker, and their relation to the camera. We allowed these lessons to permeate into our focus group. Here is a quick list of the good and bad, which is also summed up and supplemented with play test footage (see blog post):

  1. Children matched the blocks to the provided templates
  2. Children enjoyed seeing what they were controlling with the puzzle pieces
  3. If parents were interested, they brought (or led) their children in
  4. Play testers tried to figure out what the block meant by flipping it over
  5. Older kids figured it out and enjoyed playing as a group
  6. Children had a hard time understanding how the camera sees the blocks
  7. Children had a hard time arranging without the templates
  8. Children had trouble with the ‘show me’ block
  9. Children played with the blocks like an airplane

Focus Group Play Test

We tested with a pre-k class on Thursday this week, with some changes implemented from findings surrounding our first play test. The big change was removing the ‘show me’ block from the equation. We also made a new set of blocks that had the marker and image on the same side, which seemed to improve understanding. Some new lessons include:

  1. The current implementation can accommodate 3 children before they start fighting over blocks
  2. Kids were still leaning over the table and blocking the line of sight to the camera
  3. The connection types between blocks need to be more obvious

New Blocks

We are currently working on two new blocks for the next play test. The first is the size block, which will function in much the same way that the color block does. The object will scale as the size block is rotated in 90-degree increments. The other block is the background block, which will be a cube in execution. This will allow for six different environments to live on one block, and hopefully dispel confusion with different children using multiple background blocks.

Model a Day

The next assets that will be flowing through the pipeline are a chameleon, an elephant, and a monkey.  Along with the new assets, we have started placing harder deadlines on when assets need to be completed, so that we are not losing sleep and working on things right up to a play test.

Next Week

• Play test the newest build in the museum
• Construct new wooden block set
• Continue working towards variable concept and more complex blocks
• Halves Prep