Playtest Day is coming up this Saturday, so our main focus this week was on developing a few prototyping ideas we have. We weren’t aware of whether or not any playtesters would be wheelchair users on Playtest Day, so we planned to ask a few participants from ChairJam to separately playtest with us soon. That way, we can get feedback from both Able-bodied users and some co-design assistance from wheelchair-using players. Our three prototypes for Playtest Day are the DJ experience, Moving Art, and a Pose Matching game.
DJ (Working Title)
This experience was primarily developed before ChairJam as a preliminary exploration of wheelchair-play design. We did a bit of sprucing up this week, but for the most part it remains the same. It would be nice to get more eyes on it and some more feedback for future prototyping.
The primary conceit of the experience is that the wheelchair’s wheels act as a DJ’s turntable. The right wheel controls the speed of the song being played while the left wheel controls the pitch. While playing, the DJ is able to see a visual representation of the music so that they have both audio and video feedback of their impact on the music.
Moving Art (Working Title)
This experience was carried forward directly from ChairJam. It seeks to explore the creation of art related to various mobilities. We are doing this by using a Vive and trackers. Trackers are attached to players of all mobilities which convert their movement data into engaging visual art. This is done by tracing their movement in a line and running that line through shaders to produce an attractive result. The visuals are then displayed on a monitor nearby so that players can appreciate their work as they play.
A key point of this game is that it is a mixed-ability experience, meaning it can be played together or separately regardless of anyone’s specific mobility. This is one avenue we want to explore in the hopes that allowing all people to create or play together will lower walls that currently exist socially or mentally.
Pose Match (Working Title)
This experience was ideated after ChairJam. As opposed to Moving Art, this was an experience in which we wanted to explore wheelchair-only play. As we see it now, mixed-ability experiences allow for everyone to play together and break down barriers by attempting to diminish boundaries. However, that doesn’t necessarily highlight the pleasure inherent to wheelchairs. With wheelchair-only experiences, we hope to make the chair core to the experience and show people that they are fun devices on their own.
That all being said, the Pose Matching game is a simple experience all about movement in the chair. The player is in VR and see suggested ‘poses’ or orientations of the chair approaching them. They have to match the position and orientation of each pose as it passes them. It demands that the player move around a lot and reorient themselves constantly. Optionally, we will have wheelies featured in the desired poses as well, for added fun and challenge.
This is a first pass, but we are considering later developing an experience more purely about wheelchair skills. That is, designing an experience just to encourage people to sit in a chair and learn what they are capable of. We hope that by doing this they will begin to see the fun inherent to the device, more so than any game we design around them.