Deconstructing Design: Game On

Deconstructing Design: Game On

Challenge Tradition

Faculty Jim Kinney leads us through the steps of building an augmented reality exhibit as a class project.

The world around us is rapidly changing; yet, the way we learn in an educational setting hasn’t changed since the turn of the century. In response to this, the School of Design has taken an approach that expands beyond the traditional competencies of graphic design and communications to a more relevant multidisciplinary designer.

In January 2013, my students and I set out to explore the use of Augmented Reality in education. We set out to produce a physical installation on the History of Game Design, which was eventually exhibited in George Brown College’s newly opened building to house the game design program.

The Design Process-Step by Step

01 Research and Analysis

The students began by mapping ideas connected with the notion of games and gaming to develop a conceptual framework and branding for the exhibit. The result was the brand name Game[er] put forward by Evan Gerber. Evan’s concept focused on the connection between the person or “gamer” and the electronic and entertainment revolution that the genre spawned.

02 Design Development

Next, the students had to develop, capture, edit, brand and format video and audio content that would then “bind” and “overlay” to a “trigger” image they created. AR specific workflow maps were also generated to aid in the production process and to provide infographics for content consumers.

“The experience has encouraged me to reconsider the locus of learning as well as our conventional notions of time, place, scheduling and delivery with respect to teaching and learning.”

-Jim Kinney | Faculty

03 Concept Development

To help generate the extensive timeline detailing the history and evolution of game design, the students reached out to staff at the SOD, Trent Scherer, Academic Operations Manager, Priscilla Lee, Lab Coordinator, Soo Jung Park, illustration and Sisley Leung, illustration. The result was a timeline organized into hemispheres of business, culture, iconic games and technology.
From here, the students chose a game from the timeline and were encouraged to contact the designer(s) of the game and ask them questions that would be the basis of the AR content:
Why did you build the game that you created? If you could go back in a time machine,what would you have changed about your game? What game do you wish you designed? What game are you currently playing? Where do you see the future of video games?
The members of the AR exhibit design team were introduced by providing a peek into their own personal gaming universe. Each participant was asked to respond to the following prompts:

What was your first video game?
What are you currently playing?

The answers to those questions would be presented in an AR format (video) for exhibit goers.

“Collaborative learning with other programs and industries is what the new School of Design is moving towards and where the future is headed.”

Jim Kinney | Faculty

04 Avatars and Auras

The participants then generated avatars of themselves that matched their clothing and their opening poses to the video. The avatar would trigger an overlay video that matched the live action once the AR was activated. These avatar images were printed and laminated onto foam core and installed throughout the exhibit area.

Once the assets (audio, video, trigger images) were created, they were loaded and organized in the AR environment using Aurasma (a leading augmented reality platform). By using the latest digital tools available, the students were able to gain competencies in what the leaders in the industry are using today to change the way we interact with the world. In a matter of seconds, the students were able to test, adjust and develop new opportunities for engagement through augmented reality.

05 Conclusion

It was amazing to see throngs of people actively engaging in learning that had exploded beyond the traditional confines of the classroom. This experiment allowed us to pave the way for new models for creating and sharing knowledge. By literally embedding learning in the architecture of the space, this information is accessible to anyone with a smart device.
The invaluable student contributions also point to the importance of the student voice in learning—their direct participation in the construction of meaning and content in the learning environment provided a more authentic and engaging experience for the participant.
The School of Design, believes that this type of collaborative learning with other programs and industries is where the future is headed. By forming these new relationships, students and professionals can learn from each other and develop new possibilities and creative solutions.   

To see it in action, drop by the 5th floor of the School of Design at 341 King Street East, 5th floor and discover educational learning that silently and invisibly clings to our walls!

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