Under the theme of "Enhance Mundane Space", our team has focused on the housework. Housework is a tedious job, but every family needs to complete it. So, why not make it enjoyable and let people willing to finish their chores.
As a result, to give people more motivation and improve the experience, we have developed this concept. I have a specific focus on teenagers' motivation between 14-18 years old, who should begin to take dome responsibility of the family.
Hi, I’m Zhuoran Li. I have been studying both computer science and interaction design for reaching my ambition, which is becoming a game designer. I’m a student of Interaction Design at the University of Queensland. And this is the third semester of me. Specially made for DECO7385, this website would present my project “House Pong Game” from several different perspectives.more information about me
Housework is a daily task that should be attended by all family members. However, the fact is that cleaning can be annoying, and only a few people would enjoy it. From the research we have conducted,through 18 participants, only one person thought housework is enjoyable . And 2/3 teenagers would not actively join in housework. Thus, under the main theme "Enhance Mundane Space," our team has targeted the chores, which is tedious but requires daily effort.
amoung 18 participants, only one person enjoy doing housework
two-thirds of teenagers would not actively join the housework
Me and Yifan Wu has been worked together on motivation problems. While he researches more about continuous motivation, I have focused on the teenagers' motivation to join in the housework. To address this problem, I would grab the word "competitive." This typical feature has been shown through almost all my user research. What's more, when playing games, many of the teenagers are eager to show off their collections. Thus, I would take these two elements into the concept.
House pong game is an AR game that provides a simple ball game when users are doing housework. The playing includes two modes, player vs. player and player vs. environment. PVP mode allows users to pass the ball between each other and use some items to change the ball's speed. PVE mode requirescooperation to beat a monster by bouncing balls to it. Ranking and collection have also been used.
This 4 minutes video would explain the intended experience and interaction of the concept.
The concept has been divided into three parts, ranking, playing, and collection. The ranking system allows users to check everyone’s score face-to-face. And the collection system is where the users can check the appearance and sound they have collected. The collections can be obtained by:
An achievement like having played for 30hours, having bounced for 100 times.
Scan a ball, and the appearance of the ball would add to the collection.
The game gives gifts at the end of each playing.
The playing system has been divided into PVE and PVP mode. PVP provide a more competitive experience while PVE requires a better cooperation.
Three parts of the game
Flow of the ranking system
The gifts get from the monster of PVE and rank of PVP can be added to the collection.
Flow of the PVE
Flow of the PVP
In the collection system, the last ball/pattern that the user touched would display when they play the game next time. The last sound effect that played would also show.
Flow of the collection system
When enter the game, the users can see a welcome interface. Here, the users can choose to see the rank, to start the game or check the collections.
When enter the rank, users can see an outline. And if they look at their family members and put their family members inside the outline. They can see the rank and score of them.
The prototype now only provides the PVE mode. Thus, users would directly enter the PVE mode. A monster would show in their sight and after the countdown, the ball would be served. Users need to bounce the ball to the monster and when the monster become clean. The next monster would come in. If users keep the housework tools stay steady, an interface to ask whether to end the game would pop up after 30 seconds.
When enter the collection, users can see all the ball appearance that they have collected.
We designed the game to be played by using the AR glasses. However, we could not transform the live game view into an AR form. Since audience cannot experience the prototype, we think even though we have the AR view, it would not work well in the demonstration. On the contrary, showing the view on the computer screen allows audience check what is going on in the game.
Virtual buttons of Vuforia is depended on the target images. Thus, we need a target image to show and interact the buttons.
We did not figure out how to combine the ball game with the AR camera. As the view has been simulated on the computer screen, we left the initial camera in this scene.
In the collection, the design is let the game identify the wall and floor and put balls on the floor and patterns on the wall. Here, we use an image on the floor as the target image. The ball would shows around it.
Target image on the floor
In the design, we want the rank system identify family members’ faces and give the rank. We use target images to simulate this process. Three images are created to represents three members in the family. Thus, it is actually identifying the images.
Images of the family members
To build this prototype, I have used Vuforia, Unity, Unity remote, iVCam, and the mop.
How the data in the physical world be recorded:
Two phones are fixed on the mop. One of the phones is using the Unity Remote, and one of the phones is using iVCam.Unity Remote would allow Unity to use the hardware of the phone. Thus, when the accelerometer of the phone records the movement of the phone, the data can be transferred to Unity.
iVCam allows users to use the mobile phone as a webcam. In the Unity, video resource of the Vuforia can be changed to this application. And then, I can use it to recognize the target images. However, one thing that should be paid attention to is that Vuforia does not support using a webcam to identify the ground plane.
To record the data of the physical world
With all the data, the game is shown on the computer screen. In the initial design, we want the users to wear google glass and see what’s going on in the game. However, due to the limitation of the devices and the fact that we cannot transform the live video into AR video, we have to use the computer screen to show all the things.
I have been working with Yifan to build the game scene in Unity. In this section, I would explain the code of the PVE in detail. I would also tell the collection and ranking system, but some features are left to be seen in Yifan’s portfolio.As it is not possible to explain all the code in the portfolio, I would pick up some essential functions and pieces of code I have used.
This is the most crucial function to make the prototype. The data of the accelerometer in the mobile phone is read by a function “Input.acceleration.x”. I use three float number to record the input and calculate the change within per Update. If the mobile phone moves quickly, the change would increase. And when the change is larger than 0.5, a force to left would add to the racket.
Three float number to record the change
When move quickly, add a force to the racket
I have put four scenes in this game. In the first scene, users can choose which one to go next. This mainly requires a function “SceneManager.LoadScene(“sceneName”)”. To use this function, I also need to reference Unity.Engine.SceneManagement and add the scene to “Scenes in Build” in the “Building Setting”
Key function to change a scene
Add scene to "Scenes in Building"
When first enter the play scene and when lose a shot, there would be a countdown to give user some time to prepare. These numbers are showed as the material of the plane. By voiding some function to change the plane, and the “Invoke” function to delay the changing, I can have the animation of countdown. A bool “isTriggered” is used to make sure the countdown at the beginning would only show once.
Count down when first enter the Playing
What's more, the countdown would also show when lose a shot, this is depend on the if sentence. When the ball is lower than the racket and the end Interface does not show, then the Countdown would display again.
Countdown when lose a shot
“OnCollisionEnter” is a key function used to detect whether the ball has been bounced by the racket or the monster. As it is hard to delete all the friction of the ball, I gave the ball a force each time it bounces with the racket.
Add a force to the ball when bounce the racket
The physical material is the foundation to make the ball bounced between the racket and the monster. Considering that the racket would also bounced with the board, I created three kinds of physical material to provide different bounciness.
The physical material of max bounciness
To end this game, I used a number to count how long the racket has been stayed in the original place. This means the users have not touched the chores tools for a long time. Then, two buttons would show and ask the users if they want to end the game or continue. If the users quickly move the mop, the game will continue and if they slowly move the mop, the game will end.
When the ball bounces the monster or the racket, there would be a sound effect. When the user misses a shot, there would also be a sound effect. This is depended on the function “audio.play()”. To get more information please check Yifan’s work here.
Target images have been widely used in the prototype. Ranking, collection and first scene are all depended on the target image. This does not require much code. But the images need to be uploaded to the Vuforia’s database. To get more information please check Yifan’s work here.
Virtual buttons are part of the Vuforia’s component. To use this button, a script with “onButtonPressed” and “onButtonReleased” is needed. To get more information please check Yifan’s work here.
When bouncing the monster, it would become cleaner. This process depends on a series of images that made by Yifan. And the key method to change them is To get more information please check Yifan’s work here.
The initial concept of this project is using a projector to show the game scene. We have tried to build a homemade projector by using cardboard and mobile phone. However, we found that it only works in a dark environment, which would not be a good condition for doing housework. Thus, we turned to the AR, which also does not require too much operation by fingers and allows the users to move around.
The homemade projector
Only work in dark environment
We used the AR for the physical interaction in the first user test. By sticking an image on the mop, we let the camera identify the image and generate a racket on the mop. The racket can bounce the ball, and users can move the mop as the racket. However, during the test, it is quite easy to lose the target image and users need to spend some time to get their rackets back. What’s more, when the ball collapse with the racket, Vuforia requires some time to calculate the physical movement. As a result, when the ball is fast enough, it would go through the boarder and never come back.
Thus, we decided to reconsider the interaction in the game and brought in the accelerometer. Our idea of moving the mop quickly to trigger the racket is inspired by a video from the probe. In this video, the participant recorded his roommate action when doing housework. We found that the action of rubbing the floor hard happened quite often as his roommate want to get rid of some dirty spot on the floor. Thus, we decided to bring in this interaction.
After doing the user research, we decided to add a collection system into the game. At first, it is a hidden system that encourages users to explore the interactive objects. However, during the test, the users complained that this is too difficult to remember. And it sometimes shows up when the users do not want it.
Thus, we redesigned the collection system. We deleted the store, achievement, and check-in. By moving it out of the playing, users now would not lose a shot because of the pop-up interfaces.
The check-in interface
The store interface
The achievement interface
The old rank interface
At first, this game only has a PVP mode interaction. Users are allowed to bounce the ball to each other. However, during the research, we realized that although the competitive game can give people, especially teenagers, more motivation, this is not enough for a family game. A study shows that the more children care about family members, the more active they will be in housework. Thus, the crucial thing should be to enhance the relationship between family members. As a result, we add the PVE mode, which requires the cooperation of the family.
One interesting about the prototype is that all sound effects are our own recorded vocals. This is inspired by a game named “Hidden Folks.” Not like the standard sound effect, this kind of sound can be generated by everyone. We want the users can add their sound to the game too.
To explore the sound effect in the game, please check Yifan’s work here.
I have done third round of the user research. The first round is done with Yifan, we tried to explore people’s attitude towards housework and what’s their motivation. We have done a questionnaire, two probes and two interviews for the first round. The second round is to test our first prototype which only includes AR. This is also done with Yifan. The third round I have done is to explore the teenager’s motivation. For this round, I mostly depended on the research, an interview with an 18 years old boy and an interview with a 15 years old girl.
The result of the first round interview
The result of Questionnaire
The result of Questionnaire
In week 10, I got some feedback through the appraisal in the course.
My audiences have raised the question about the concept. The original aim is to help the housework, but we might put too much effort into the game itself rather than thinking of whether it is helpful. With two modes and a collection system, I think the game might be too complicated and could influence the housework itself. As the main aim is to improve the experience of doing housework, it might be better to focus on the housework again. I decided to go deeper with the PVP and PVE mode. As said by another team, finding out what the teenagers really like would be helpful.
Moreover, the mis-scan during the housework has been pointed out. It’s true that this would influence the game experience. The problem occurred when doing the user test and after that, we decided to separate the playing and collection.
Our classmate has pointed out the limitation of the Vuforia. And from the experience and tutorial on the website so far, it is really hard to use Vuforia to make a dynamic game. The collapse of the AR objects is hard to simulate by using image target and when using the plane ground, it would require a long time to react on the screen. What’s more, the ball always goes through the racket because the computer needs some time to calculate. Thus, I have to control the speed of the ball to make sure there is enough time for calculating. And as the speed of the ball would not be too quick, the possibility of damaging would also be decreased.
As the main domain is designing for playful and open-ended interactions in everyday life: human values in physical computing, I have focus on the word "playful," "open-ended," ， and "everyday life." To make the concept playful, I have added both a cooperative and competitive experience. We cannot predict what would happen during the game. Users might focus on the playing, might willing to communicate about the experience and feeling. Thus, the game experience is unsure, and enough space has been left for users to explore. Moreover, we think that housework is an "everyday" work that all the families need to do.
What's more, the team's project's target audience is families which no one wants to do housework. As most of the family would have two or more kids, it is essential to join in the family activity. My target audiences are teenagers between 14 to 20 years who are expected to be responsible for some family issues.
The final outcome only shows part of the whole concept. In order to explore the most suitable way to build this physical ball game, we have spent a long period to explore Vuforia, Arduino, Projector, and Accelerometer. Therefore, to save the time, we only built the PVE mode. And because of the limitation of the devices (we only have two mobile phones), only one player is allowed to use the prototype. And this is most thing that I want to improve.
Moreover, because of the restriction, we also change some of the components. Considering the online form, we cannot show what is going on inside the glasses. Thus, we use the computer screen to show the live video. The good point is that it saves a lot of the devices. However, as it is not the same as the concept, we are still concerned about whether the audience can understand the interaction.
To assess the project. Standards including game performance are set.
This is the basic standard as all the intend interaction and experience would rely on the implementation.
If the teenage users would talk more about the collections in the game, then I would say that this game has been an attractive one. Thus, users, would want to play more of the game and gather the collections. As a result, they would contribute more on the housework.
The game has been designed to be competitive to attract the teenagers. Hence, if they have checked the rank or the achievement frequently, it means they are highly concerned about their performance in the game and eager to get better score. In other words, the game has successfully gave them the motivation to participate in this activity.
The beginning of the game requires some complex steps which need some time to complete. Therefore, if users would play it more than two time, it means they would to spend some time to start the game as it is attractive enough and do help enhance the housework experience.
"The War Of Theirs" is a team work website. I'm the programmer and responsible for the code of the entire website. I also participated in some design of the web.
The design of the website is from my personal website which make in 2019. It's original.
Game "Hidden Folks":
Adriaan de Jongh. (2017, January 24). Hidden Folks - Official Trailer. Youtube. Retrieved June 8, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYw_tw__7ow
MyClipArtStore.com. (n.d.). Fluffy Monsters. Shutterstock. Retrieved May 24, 2020, from https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/fluffy-monsters-170353292
Ben Davis. (n.d.). Leisure - Baseball. Shutterstock. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/leisure-baseball-789837583
Target image on the floor:
Root: A Game of Woodland Might and Right. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2020, from: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2074786394/root-a-game-of-woodland-might-and-right
Icons - lightning:
FARBAI. (n.d.). Lightning bolt vector. Shutterstock. Retrieved May 2, 2020, from https://www.shutterstock.com/zh/image-vector/lightning-bolt-vector-523598263
Icons - clock
Kapreski. (n.d.). Clock icons. Shutterstock. Retrieved May 2, 2020, from https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/clock-icons-106558628
Icons - American football:
Mr. Claret Red. (n.d.). American Soccer Ball Vector. Shutterstock. Retrieved May 2, 2020, from https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/american-soccer-ball-vector-1264243213
3D model - balls:
YounGen Tech. (n.d.). Ball Pack. Assetstore.unity.com. Retrieved May 24, 2020, from https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/props/ball-pack-446#description)Last%C2%A0Accessed%C2%A09/6/2020
J. Gershuny and O. Sullivan, "Household structure and housework: assessing the contributions of all household members, with a focus on children and youths," Review of Economics of the Household, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 7-27, 2014, doi: 10.1007/s11150-013-9234-5.
M. Leonard, "Helping with Housework: Exploring Teenagers' Perceptions of Family Obligations: Should I help or not? Children's Attitudes to Housework," Irish Journal of Sociology, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 1-18, 2009, doi: 10.7227/IJS.17.1.2.