Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Take away exam semester 2

Are companies loosing their consumer focus?

 ‘Some of the world's smartest technology companies may be a little bit too smart for their own good. Fuelled by corporate leaders with big egos and a desire to develop and control new markets, companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are increasingly treating their operations like a game of chess.’

Patricio Robles Econsultancy Blog

Is it inevitable that companies lose their consumer focus as they get larger?

In my opinion, companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are very profit focused, they are only concentrating on making money, instead of taking in consideration their consumer’s needs and wishes.

For example, Bobby Kotick chief executive officer of Activision (which are currently the biggest and first 3rd party developer and publisher of the games industry) has confessed that he has no love for the industry. Instead of making games he is more interested in making money.
"We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."- declared once the chief executive officer.

Everyone can see that the company is interested in long-term focus and commitment to providing superior returns to their shareholders. If they could, they would raise the prices even further.

            Some franchises don’t tend to be exploited every year across every platform, but Activision’s objectives are earning $100 million plus franchises. This money focused strategy seems to work very well for them, claims Bobby Kotick.

This behaviour revolts even other people working in the game industry. A respected video game designer, Tim Shafer said Kotick makes a big deal about not liking games, and he thinks this attitude is no good for games in general. He doesn’t consider them an industry of widgets and he fancies the CEO isn’t suitable for the industry.
“You can't just latch onto something when it's popular and then squeeze
the life out of it and then move on to the next one. You have to at some point create something, build something.”- claims the popular game designer.

            It very much seems so that Activision are the worst developer and publisher to work under. They have run talented studios and popular games into the ground. For example Bizarre Creations who created the very successful Project Gotham
When the studio was bought by Activision they decided to hand them games that they had no experience creating.  Activision decided to hand them a game, very different to what their speciality is. This resulted in the bad welcome of the game by gamers and critics. After this Activision decided to close down the studio with everyone
who works there made redundant.
“Bizarre is a very talented team of developers, however, because of the broader economic factors impacting the market, we are exploring our options regarding the future of the studio, including a potential sale of the business.”- parried the company.

Guitar Hero is also an Activision franchise which was first released in 2005. Since then, because of the company’s strategy there have been over 17 sequels. After saturating the market with their own titles, sales have dried up. Activision have then decided to cancel all titles in the series and make no more until further notice.

They claimed they can’t make these games profitably, based on current economics and demand. Instead, they want to focus their time and energies on marketing and supporting their strong catalogue of titles and downloadable content, especially to new consumers.

            At the moment Activision is suing Jason West and Vince Zampella, who were two of the most important people at Infinity Ward which is also an Activision franchise. The reason for this is that it seems that the two were having meetings with other companies in the game industry (Electronic Arts) while being employed at Activision. It is likely that West and Zampella have shared documents, code and resources belonging to Infinity Ward with Electronic Arts.

            Taking in consideration the above information, you can draw the interference that big companies are not consumer focused any more, they would do anything to make more profit, release as much sequels as possible, steal information or buy off other companies to annex them.

This rivalry can be seen everywhere amongst big companies. For example Apple and Samsung are also competing with each other.

Apple (which is mostly known for its Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, iPhone and iPad) since 2010 is one of the largest companies in the world. Samsung Group (which is a multinational, multi-industry company) includes many diverse businesses that today extend from advance technology, semiconductors, skyscraper and plant construction, petrochemicals, fashion, medicine, finance, hotels and more.

 Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest electronics company with a 2009 revenue of $117.4, the company even took the position of the world’s biggest IT maker by surpassing the former leader Hewlett-Packard.

Samsung Electronics leading mobile phone line is the Galaxy S, an Android smartphone, top competitor to Apple’s iPhone. Apple sued Samsung because of committing patent and trademark infringement with its Galaxy line of mobile products.
"We felt the mobile communications business of Samsung had crossed the line, and after trying for some time to work through the issue we decided we needed to rely on the courts.”- claims the company.

            Samsung Electronics decided to fight back and in response they accused Apple of infringing on patents covering the underlying technology of cellular telephony.

It is strange to see that despite their different strengths and scope, they formed an odd relationship based on both rivalry and collaboration. Both companies need the
other while competing for the same customers.

This constitutes of the fact that Samsung provides Apple with components to used them in iPhones and iPads.  Apple is Samsung’s single largest customer.

There was a rumour that Apple wanted to team up with a company in order to make the A5 chip for the iPad, the chairman of that company claimed that for every iPhone sold by Apple Inc. it brings his company millions of revenues.
To be more popular, Apple even tried to get at Google’s Android operating system.

            In my opinion, in business life the main principle for companies is that they use every source and tools they can in order to process, expand and gain profit. While Apple could afford it, it used Samsung as supplier, but when Samsung exploited it, they opted to associate with another company. The goal wasn’t to produce as best iPads as possible, the prestige was more important. They didn’t like the fact that Samsung tried to imitate their product, so they decided to take revenge. The consumers fell out of the focus.

Another greedy member of the digital media industry is Sony. After the release of their Play Station 3, a 21 year old man hacked it. Sony, as a result sued him because they believe that he put PS3 at risk and his hacking allows people to develop custom software and pirated games.
claims that the jailbreak violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud Abuse Act. The court filing says that George Francis Hotz, alias Geohot  allegedly trafficked in circumvention technology, products, services, methods, codes, software tools, and devices. The company is especially concerned that the jailbreak will enable use or playing of illegal copies of PlayStation 3 video games on the PS3 system.

While most companies would work on fixing the exploit to their system, Sony is just furious hat their supposed unhackable PS3 has been hacked and its flaws released to the world. Hotz says that they just want to send a message to other hackers by suing him.
“Even worse, you sued the guy who actually can write that patch, that’ll sure teach him. If you haven’t realized yet, the PS3 security isn’t irreparably broken at all. But your reputation just might be.”

It seems Sony doesn’t care that what Hotz did was legal, they don’t really care about piracy, they care about control. Other companies in Sony’s place would rather employ the one who hacked their product, so then they can repair that gap, but they instead try to seek revenge.

It’s hard to tell what are the motives of both side. It can be a commercial strategy as well. It is possible that Hotz wants to become famous in order to get a good job at a bigger company. After the suit will be shot down, maybe someone will hire him.
The other possibility is that Sony is getting weak comparing to other rivals, so they want to be in the spot light, because that could increase sales. Many speculations come up, it’s hard to tell what the truth is, and the outcome of the whole business could be that after the trial Hotz might even join Sony.

After reviewing the digital media industry and its participants, I come up with the surprising (and at the same time sad) fact that the world’s smartest and talented companies, led by greedy CEO’s with big egos are led by the desire to control and gain, instead of the will to give something new, exciting and fun to the consumers. 

Take away exam semester 1

The development of digital media and its effects on the people working in the digital media industry

The constant developments and innovations in technology are changing the ways in which we play, learn, work and live. These changes have increased our abilities to participate in the development, consumption and distribution of media and culture.
The result of all this is that we are forced to rethink our thinking about how we approach the media, the materials and people as well.

As a future digital media designer, I believe the contemporary digital media revolution will always affect my career.
Due to the continual updates of the software’s (which are sometimes just expansions, but sometimes are big changes), the designers and developers have to be well- prepared, which means they have to train themselves in order to be competitive.

As a result, those who decide to become designers or developers have to be “jack of all trades” and to be competent with many skills.

 It is not enough if a designer is talented, has good ideas, without technical knowledge they are unable to visualise their concepts in front of others. They have to understand how different softwares work in order to judge if their ideas can be implemented.
A designer has to apprehend the synthesis of a software and the logic of it.
For example if they want to create a logo for a company they have to decide which software is more suitable for it, Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

This stands for the developers as well, because without some fantasy they will not understand what their college designer wants to say. The process of creating something demands a high level of co-operation between a designer and a developer, because it is very difficult to attain the ideas in practice.

Looking through our history, we can find many people who were “jack of all trades” and ahead of their time.
The best example is Leonardo da Vinci, who was not only an artist (painter, sculptor, architect, musician, writer) but also a scientist, inventor, mathematician, engineer, anatomist, geologist, botanist and cartographer.
He was not only a polymath, he also helped the future generation with his good detailed descriptions ( concerning medicine, architecture and aviation) to develop science as we know it today. He conceptualised a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, the double hull and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics.  As a scientist, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics.

Another example for “jack of all trades” is William Blake who had a huge impact on the development of printing. He was the first to combine text with images, with this he laid the concepts of the contemporary digital media.

Nowadays there are not only texts and images, but also videos and music within one composition. This not only stands for computers and laptops, but also for mobiles and smart phones.

The next stage of this evolution will be the three dimensional visualisation of films, web sites and all contents of the media. At the moment nor the equipments, nor the web sites are prepared for this, however the development software of the new 3D design is ready to use.

At the moment many new digital media art types appear, which raise new possibilities for the present digital media students. After graduating from the university, there will be many opportunities for them to prove their skills. They can become anything they want, not just web site, leaflet and image creators, but they can also become artists as well.
David Hockney, who is a contemporary artist, managed to combine modern with old art. He had the idea that his works should be displayed on I Phones in the galleries. This exciting idea created a new type of art.

Talent doesn’t depend on age, everyone is capable of learning new concepts and techniques. In case of appearance of a new software, a new tool is being given to the designers. These tools represent the unused areas which need to be discovered and exploited. It is imaginable that our children will be working in the digital media industry in fields that are yet unknown.

Computer games are slowly reaching the point where you don’t need accessories (for example: Wii Fit). In the future there will be devices which create 3D images like in the sci-fi films (for example: Star Wars).

This idea could be used in the way we live too. Computers could be our companion in the form of a virtual robot. The look of these would be the designer’s job to create.

In a few years time 3D will be a common way of conveying ideas and thoughts. By then we should be ready to take it all in.
This is our future and if we are well prepared we can achieve outstanding outcomes.

Consequently, the evolution never stops, as a result the digital media designers as well as the digital media developers have to learn all these now softwares and technologies (3D drawing in the air, using the so called “bird”), so they can create wonderful new things for the world.

Research Report - Leonar3Do




A new 3D Virtual Reality Kit

“Obsession with all things 3D is hitting another level, with artists now given the option to sculpt three-dimensional objects. And we thought you could already do that in the real world. But if the virtual is what you prefer, Leonar3Do, a rather awkward name for a 3D art kit, lets you take control of space itself. Though for mastery of the third dimension, you'll have to don special goggles and wield the strangely named "bird," an odd-shaped air-suspended mouse needed to draw objects out of your PC screen.” - we could read it on the internet.

On the 21st September in 2010 a press release was published in Hungary, stating that a new Virtual reality Kit will be available in stores.

            Daniel Ratai’s invention, Leonar3Do won six first prizes in 2005 at the Intel – ISEF (Intel International Science and Engineering Fair) competition, although then it was just a test version. 1444 candidate from fifty countries participated on this fair, but the 20 year old Daniel was one of the seeded winners.

          A desk, a laptop with wires sticking out of it, spectacles with one red lens and the other blue (the spectacles wired as well), webcams, a pen and led were the components of the test version. This initial idea was written in Delphi, the hardware and the software were Daniel’s intellectual product.

The 20 year old was working on this innovation for one and a half year, because he wanted to draw beautiful cars in space. He found it ridiculous that first you have to draw what you want on a piece of paper, then you have to scan it and carry out other sessions in order to create a 3D model. When he found out that there is no device which could simplify this process, he created his own conception.

            After he won the prizes, many investors contacted Daniel to help him to create a marketable product out of Leonar3Do.

            In the past years the appliance went through a lot of development, so they couldn’t keep its price as cheap as they planed, but it gives more freedom to users.

Outcome of research

1.      About Leonar3Do

            Traditionally the most important and common tools for drawing are two-dimensional: paper and pencil. The same might be said of the computer monitor and mouse for the 20th century. The endeavour to make virtual reality available for everyday use as a new, interactive potential for creativity for the largest possible group of users, has been pursued by world-leading development companies and computer research institutes for decades, but the real break-through was still missing.
In order to make virtual reality available for everyday use as a new, interactive potential for creativity, 3D for All Ltd. wanted to provide a tool that meets the highest professional demands, but is still suitable for anyone without any specific skills or background.
Leonar3Do package includes the LeoWorld program which supports standard three-dimensional file formats (.obj, .stl, .3ds) so it is compatible with any 3D design software. LeoWorld is the program used to build our personal virtual world (managing 3D virtual objects, free form modelling, animation; drawing in 3D, sketching; creating 3D presentations; designing games, real time physics, etc.) The company provides an SDK (Software Development Kit) as well. Therefore any software developer can create, or connect any software to Leonar3Do.
The great value of this device is that it can expand ordinary personal computers into a total 3D work environment while fulfilling the seven classic market demands of mass use:
affordability for wide ranges of users
easy installation
simple, intuitive controllability
practical applicability
user-friendly ergonomics
a compact size suitable for comfortable storage even in small homes
easy switch between 3D and 2D modes


Up to the present, if people wanted to obtain a worth-while VR (Virtual Reality) equipment, they would expect to pay between 20,000-40,000 Euros. During the development phase, 3D for All Ltd. did not consider any technology solution that would result in a price higher than the targeted neat end user price. For implementation, the principals of VR configuration must have been placed on a completely new basis.
For a price that does not exceed the expenses of an average design software, the user gets a complex VR hardware novelty, which contains sensors, 3D glasses, an input device with six degrees of freedom, a central unit, and additional accessories – and also the required software, including freehand formatting, which covers a huge area of application on a market-making level. Additionally, users can also download free of charge the SDK (Software Development Kit) from the company’s website, which lets develop applications for Leonar3Do for virtually any purpose using only a few function calls. What’s simply ingenious about this technology is that it’s available now. Right now. People can order it for $1000 USD (700 EUR + VAT).

Easy installation

The actual use of a VR device starts with its installation. With Leonar3Do, this can be done by anyone by performing 5 main steps:
installing the DVD
fixing the sensors on the top of the monitor
connecting the cables
running the Leonar3Do system software
calibrating the sensors
Leonar3Do runs on Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems, with Linux and Mac OS X apps expected later.

Simple, intuitive use

The main components of the Leonar3Do interactive desktop VR hardware are:
the spatial input device (the 'bird') with six degrees of freedom
3D glasses and monitor-mounted sensors
The bird operates in six degrees of freedom, which means that you can not only move the individual objects or the whole space, but also rotate them.
The 3D glasses allow users to perceive a stereoscopic image displayed before the monitor area as three-dimensional object. The sensors continuously track the position of both the bird and the glasses. The applications generate, manage and display full virtual reality. The users can create their own virtual world in the space in front of the monitor: they can draw in space, create models and patterns, invent toys, make and play games, build structures out of predefined shapes, and much more.

Real interactive work environment

In order to create a real connection with the virtual world, the virtual objects displayed must behave as real objects. This means that irrespective of the head movements, virtual objects must remain 'fixed' in a position until the user manipulates them. This means it is not simply enough to display objects in space but also have a tool, a spatial input device, to work with the objects. This device, however, is different from the traditional two dimensional mouse, since users have to handle virtual objects in virtual space. Once this is accomplished users can interact with the virtual space created, they can create drafts, experiment with forms and ideas. Through Leonar3Do people can gain an incredible and important advantage they have never dreamed of.
Sculptors, animators, interior decorators, and dress-designers as well as everyday users simply purchase Leonar3Do, install it, and can start working with LeoWorld software. The device also comes with a DVD that shows a step-by-step video on how to start using it.
Other groups of professional users (e.g. the health industry, structural engineers, and the education professions) may require special applications to apply virtual reality to their field. The platform of Leonar3Do and the Software Development Kit (SDK) make it possible for everyone to alter the applications and tailor them to special needs, or even build new applications.
“We think, that Leonar3Do can help the designers make, in a much more simple way, mechanical 3D product designs faster. We think that we have developed an instrument for their hand which will open a new gateway for their creativity, and help establish a new kind of 3D design methodology.” – said Daniel.

User – friendly ergonomics

After doing a research on the internet for "virtual reality", I only found VR equipment suitable for special areas of use.
 VR equipment designed for general purpose, however, must meet additional ergonomic requirements. Leonar3Do was designed to be easy to handle and work for all people of all ages. Anyone can put on the glasses, hold the bird, and start working with images and objects in real time in the virtual space.

Compact size

To enjoy the benefits of virtual reality with Leonar3Do, users only need desktop space for the palm-sized control box, a few cables and connectors. Beyond that they need some extra space for the glasses and the bird to put them down when they are out of use.

Easy switch between 3D and 2D modes

This appliance works with ordinary PC configuration and does not alter it. Whatever the user is doing in space, with just one click he/ she can return to their notes, script or manuscript on the computer and go back to using the mouse. Leonar3Do offers the advantages of virtual reality alongside the 2D world as a complement to it, and not as a replacement.

2.      The story of 3D for All Ltd.

In May 2005, in Phoenix, Arizona at Intel ISEF, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, Leonar3Do and Daniel Ratai were awarded six first prizes. Among them you find the Best of Category in Computer Sciences presented by Intel and the Best of The Best Award, plus the Seaborg SIYSS Award that entitled Daniel to give a lecture in Stockholm at a seminar organized by SIYSS and to attend the Nobel Prize Ceremonies of 2005.

One American member of the jury said:
 "Several world leading companies and research institutes spend billions of dollars on solving a problem, when a 19-year old teenager comes by and puts the system together using straws, Christmas lights, and fence wires."

After Daniel came home from America people from all over the country, of all ages and backgrounds hoped and expected that Leonar3Do would become a worldwide hit. His success story was common talk in the media, Parliament, and in everyday life. The company was founded shortly after the Phoenix success as a family business. His father is the communication manager and his brother is his manager. They are leading the company and are responsible for the young developer/ inventor. Daniel also has a partner, Zoltan Karpati.

      Development at 3D for All Ltd. was initially financed from governmental sources (Irinyi and Jedlik Ányos program). After building up the necessary infrastructure and the main group of developers, real development work started in May 2006.

 The objective for the first phase was to create a preliminary model properly demonstrating the capabilities of Leonar3Do.
In the second phase, the group created Leonar3Do applications satisfying special needs. With these applications one can perform experiments on molecular protein docking in pharmaceutical research and can model these in education. The R&D cycle took a turn when the company submitted a project plan together with the Institute of Experimental Medicine of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Femtonics Ltd. 3D for All Ltd. as head of the consortium won 75% of its cost of operation for 28 months of financial support.

The third phase started on 1st October 2007 and ended on 31st January 2010.

3.      The name

Leonar3Do as a name was originally conceived for a form design. The very first intention was to replace the centuries old 2D world of the paper and pencil with a 3D creation and communication. This new opportunity can be exploited in many different fields and could catalyze explosion-like development.
The hope was to emphasize the product with the name itself by joining 3D for All together with the name of the world’s greatest inventor Leonardo. The idea behind this name was confirmed worldwide by social needs long before entering the market.
The device itself is the first complex, interactive, desktop VR equipment and designed to be used by everyone. It is also small enough for a desktop, and affordable.
“Our company name which developed Leonar3Do is: 3D for All. We chose this name because we believe that we have created a desktop VR kit which serves benefits all industries and all ages. Of course, it is impossible for a development company which launches its first product on the market to serve every possible software applications; but the open platform of Leonar3Do and the SDK makes it possible for anyone to create or connect any kind of software application. Now, this is true for CAD applications too. We are clearly preparing for a break-through in this area. Therefore one of our aims was to create a product which is easy and intuitive to use – enough that even 8-10 year old children can install and handle it.” – declared the young inventor.

4.      Educational usage

Wherever this device is presented, the reaction is very impressive. Schools see Leonar3Do as a tool facilitating the shift towards experience-based education.
The development phase of Leonar3Do was still ongoing when the international jury called upon the Tech Museum of Innovation of California and awarded Leonar3Do the 2008 Tech Award, thus ranking it among the five most significant education innovations in the world. This was a clear signal: members of education are open and willing to integrate VR culture if it shows promise, use and applicability.
It is proven that learning through experience is 200 times more efficient than by reading books. Because this device is the cheapest comparing to other 3D VR kits, it is conceivable that in a few years time children will be learning in schools with the help of Leonar3Do.
Besides the educational side of the device, it also has a skill generative part.
Leonar3Do can be used to create any kind of forms, figures, or spaces. Simple animations can also be produced. Even young children can express their feelings and thoughts as artists. With the help of the physical engine and some artifice, even toys can be created on this 21st century platform. Thinking, navigating, and expressing ourselves in 3D is an inborn quality. Over the centuries, this quality becomes forgotten as we grow up and is replaced by our current culture which tends to confine us to two dimensions. However today's generations are brought up in a totally different world, they have to answer brand new requirements. 3D for All Ltd. Wants to help them by providing an environment for easy development where children can develop their own creative skills.

5.      Main Exhibitions, Demonstrations, Conferences

  • Didacta2007, Cologne
  • SIGGRAPH 2008, USA, Los Angeles
  • Tech Awards 2008 Gala, USA, San Jose
  • CeBIT 2009, Germany, Hannover
  • Pannon Role Model 2009 Award Gala, Budapest, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Meeting Innovation 2.0, Innovationsforum 2009, Germany, Berlin
  • Night of Sciences 2009, Germany, Berlin
  • SIGGRAPH 2009, USA, New Orleans
  • Trend Conference 2.0 — 3D, the Visual Culture of the Future, 2nd December 2009, Budapest
  • Plenary session of the Conference of Hungarian Rectors, 15th December 2009, Szolnok University College
  • Health Industry as an Economic Take-Off Point — Conference, 4th March 2010, Budapest, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Global Researches for Sustainable Development and Quality of Life — Prince Charles' meeting with internationally acknowledged young scientists at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 18th March 2010
  • Kairos Summit, New York, Stock Exchange, 16-17th April 2010
  • Churchill Club panel on Young Entrepreneurs, USA, Palo Alto, 24th May 2010

6.      Prizes

  • IEEE Computer Society, First Award
  • Patent and Trademark Office Society, First Award;
  • Intel Foundation Achievement Award
  • Computer Science - Presented by Intel Foundation, Best of Category
  • Computer Science - Presented by Intel Foundation, First Award
  • Seaborg SIYSS Award
  • 2005 - MIT Lincoln Laboratory named a planetoid after Daniel
  • In 2005 he was the first to be awarded the prestigious Gyorgy Olah Young Scientist Award by a Nobelist scientist
  • Spring 2008, the Prime Minister awarded Daniel Ratai's innovative achievements with the Youth of March state award
  • September 2008, San Jose, Tech Museum of Innovation: Tech Awards. The jury selected the Leonar3Do project of 3D for All Ltd. to be among the five most significant innovations of the world in the category of education, out of 329 candidates form 58 countries.
  • March 2009: Pannon Role Model Award
  • December 2009, the Conference of Hungarian Rectors took patronage over the education project of Leonar3Do.
  • April 2010, New York Stock Exchange, Kairos Summit: Intelius International Entrepreneurship Award. Out of the ten countries represented at the 2010 Summit of Churchill Club Panel on Young Entrepreneurs. The team developing Leonar3Do into a product was the only international prize-winner out of ten countries that gained qualification for the exhibition of Churchill Club Panel on Young Entrepreneurs in Palo Alto, 24th May 2010. Churchill Club is considered to be the number one business and technology forum of Silicon Valley.


            “The mission of our company is expressed by the name 3D for All. We aim at making virtual reality accessible for the widest audience possible, while exploiting the diverse capabilities of our invention to the greatest extent.” – declared the guys.

            An interesting aspect  is the company who developed the software and hardware and brought it to market. It wasn’t one of the big-name CAD, software or hardware companies. It stands to reason that someone like Logitech, Dassault, Google or Microsoft could acquire them, but it also shows how a few people can impact the idea of how we create models in 3D.

Process Report - 3 projects

Table of contents

1.      Introduction                                                                                               3
2.      Project objectives                                                                                     3
3.      Your tasks & milestones                                                                           6
4.      Achievements & Challenges                                                                    8
5.      Your role as a team member                                                                    10
6.      References                                                                                               11
7.      Appendices                                                                                               12                   


n    Background for your work in this semester:

In the second semester of our first year we were given a series of projects. This semester was more busy than the previous one due to the fact that we had three projects to complete under a short period of time. For each task we were submitted four weeks to come up with interesting ideas, designs and the implementation of them.

Project objectives

n      The clear objectives set for the different projects and your understanding of them

Game Project

Our first assignment was the Game Project, when we were working in teams to create a game design concept for an instructional computer game aimed at 11-15 year old school children. We had to create a short plot on which our game design was based. We also had to develop our game concept from this plot and deliver a pitch promoting the game design. Our task was to come up with a game story, characters, levels, game-play, a detailed example of a single level for your game, layout of our specific level, a walkthrough as a storyboard (detailing key events and showing how our level would play).

In order to better understand this project we had to investigate the current sophistication of gaming systems. We also had to understand the differences in
developing for the different gaming platforms.

My team has chosen to do a science game named “Space Expeditions” which is based on exploring and teaching children about the solar system. The members were Alex Talmage (design and technical research) and Lisa Cripps (design and team leader).

Mobile Project

The mobile media project aimed to provide us with an introduction to the world of mobile technology, discuss its role in relation to the modern information society, make us comfortable with developing concepts of mobile devices and applications. We were introduced to the particular constraints and possibilities of mobile technology with a focus on physical qualities, the mobile experience and portable interfaces.

The teams had to create a visual prototype of a mobile, portable or integrated device and an interface design of an application running on it.

Each team had to demonstrate the prototype, show its features and use in their presentation.

We had the choice to do the visual prototype in a 3D render, an illustration, a drawing or photograph of a physical model. The prototype had to demonstrate the device’s physical size, show how a user interacts with the device and display inputs, outputs, buttons or controls. Also we were asked to build the interface in Flash.

The concept idea of the project was to find a need or a problem that can be met or solved with mobile technology.

The contexts to choose from were:
1. Travelling on public transport.
2. Going to an entertainment event.
3. Buying furniture.
4. Ordering food.
5. Watching a sports event.
6. Presenting to people.

After a series of discussions, my team decided to choose travelling on public transport as the target area. The next step was to think about what the device and the application required to achieve our idea would look like. The brief stated that it could be a mobile device like a mobile phone or a media player, or an integrated device that is part of something else like a heads-up display in a car.

We opted to create an app for smart phones, called “Touch Travel”. The members were Joshua Harrington-Lunt (developer and team leader) and Daniel Hoff (interface design and research).

The brief stated that at the final presentation we had to pitch the concept to an audience of potential investors that knows about mobile technology but are no experts. In order to help them understand our product we had to explain the concept in an effective and compelling way, demonstrating any features and unique selling points.

Interactive Project

In our third project we were given the opportunity to explore interactive systems which are being used for displaying information and ideas to an audience.

We were divided in teams to design and develop a scheme that will offer visitors of Winchester Cathedral an exciting experience. The purpose of this interactive exhibit was to really add to the people’s understanding.

The requirement of this project was to push the boundaries of the way in which the content is delivered, technically and physically. We had to come up with a software and a hardware which is not commonly used for exhibits, especially not in historical or religious buildings.

            For each team was given a target audience which are the following:
  1. Young People
  2. School Parties
  3. Foreign Tourists
  4. People with Disabilities

The brief highlighted that it is important that these target audiences should be able to interact with the exhibits. Accordingly, we had to make our exhibit appealing and interesting to them. Also, the brief stated that the way how the information is delivered is as significant as the information itself and the way in which people engage with it at their own speed and in their own sequence.

This project demanded from us to research the target audience, their specific needs and interests in relation to the Cathedral, also the technology platform that we selected.

            The experience of the Cathedral had to meet a lot of demands:
  • it had to be informative
  • it had to highlight important aspects of the building’s history and architecture relevant to different locations throughout the Cathedral
  • had to allow the audience to interrogate aspects of the Cathedral history, architecture and function using an accessible system
  • employ a technology system that is easy, safe and interesting to use, but also which is easy to maintain and is secure
  • the system has to be easy to update and alter and inexpensive to maintain.

We had the chance to choose ourselves the platform in which the information is stored and delivered. We had to consider a wide range of options in order to suit the needs of our application.

Finally we decided to choose AR (Augmented Reality) for recreating the Old Minster Anglo-Saxon Cathedral that was demolished in 1093.

The system which we named Augminster bring users experience to life, instead of hearing stories about the building from the tour guides, people can

rotate, tilt and view Old Minster Cathedral any way they want to, simply by rotating the AR tag.

My team members were Joshua Harrington-Lunt (developer and team leader) and Rika Iijima (researcher, 3D modelling).

Your tasks and milestones

n      Your ability and understanding of time and resource management

At each project the first step was to distribute the team roles then we split up the work. Throughout the whole process we tried to be equal, share the work and divide it evenly.  Each of us did his/her individual research and then shared it with the rest of the group.

Game Project

As stated above my team members in this project were Lisa and Alex. Due to the fact that Lisa is a very organised person, who likes finishing work on time and not doing it at last minute, we had no problems regarding time management. Everything went fine and according to schedule.

      At our first meeting the first milestone was decided what kind of game to create. We considered many options. Lisa wanted to do a game which teaches children about healthy eating and Alex wanted to do a sports one. After a short brainstorming we opted for something easy, a science game involving the solar system.

The next step was to come up with a story for the game, which is the following:

“The story takes place in the distant future, the year is 2211. In the past two hundred years the world has developed immensely, technology has already exceeded the limits of imagination.
Whilst people were watching fascinated as Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon on the 20th of July in 1969, now it is possible to do so for everyone.
In 2211 it is a common event to make trips wherever you want, you can have a nice picnic on Jupiter if you like.
Children in order to learn about the different planets in the solar system, go on field trips in space to explore it.

The game has 9 Levels (which are the planets of the solar system): the first one is Mercury, the second Venus, the third Earth, fourth Mars, fifth Jupiter, sixth Saturn, seventh Uranus, eight Neptune and the final one is Pluto.

Each level has obstacles and aliens which the player then would have to jump over or across, whilst collecting points. We named these points ‘Stars’.
The player would have to complete 3 mini games which would teach them different facts about the planet they are on. These are illustrated as 3 chests which would open up revealing one of the mini games. ”

Next we divided the work, Alex did the home screen and the first mini game, Lisa the background and levels and he second mini game, and me the characters and the third mini game. This was followed by individual work, everyone was busy doing his/ her share and then we sent it to each other to gain feedback. The first home screen was too realistic, so we had to make changes to it.
At the first presentation we were provided with useful pieces of advice. Some found the characters too childish, but a research which was carried out by me proved that children do like them as the way they are.

For the written proposal we had to do a walkthrough of a level, so this was the next important milestone in our project. We had to create one of the levels, the bad guy and the side view of one of the characters. Also, we had to piece together the game rules.

After we pinpointed these, we could get down on working on them.

Mobile Project

Dan, Josh and me in our first discussion debated about which area to choose. We went through a few ideas, then ended up with public transport. We decided to do a travel app for smart phones which also helps users to track the bus/ train, buy tickets and pay for them.

The second step was to research whether there is a similar app or not. The outcome of this research was that although there are a few bus and train apps, none of them enables you to buy the ticket.

After a discussion with Debs Wilson, it turned out that our idea doesn’t fit the brief, because it is just an app, but not a new device and at the moment iPhones can’t do NFC (Near Field Technology).

This led us to further brainstorming, which resulted in the idea of an attachment. Users would have to attach the dongle called “Touch Travel” to their iPhones which would help enable NFC.

Our next step was to split up the work, so Josh did the prototype, Dan the interface and me the icon and the research for the project.

At a next meeting we discussed how we got along, and afterwards made the needed changes. The final milestone was to do the demonstration in Flash which was carried out by Josh.

Interactive Project

Since me and Josh were in one team at the previous project, we got to know each other and how the other works.

We followed the same strategy, so first we got together to discuss what to do and then we consulted via email.

Our initial idea was to do a dictionary involving the cathedral’s map, but then we decided to do augmented reality with AR tags.

The next step was to divide the work, Rika did the 3D model, Josh the implementation of it and me the cathedral’s design, research, the logo, the poster and another poster with information.

Achievements and challenges

n      Your ability to devise appropriate solutions that meet the design and technical requirements within the parameters of the brief
n      Your ability to understand and develop a collaborative and adaptable approach to your design practice
n      Your ability to adapt your knowledge to changing circumstances
n      That you have developed a broad understanding of the technical processes that can be used to realize a design

This semester meant a bit of a challenge to all of us, especially the last project because these were very rapid ones comparing to the cohort website project.

We had a few weeks to come up with the ideas, design, and at the last project the implementation as well.

Game Project

At this project my work was to create a male and a female character for the game and to design the third mini game. After surfing on the internet I found a few astronauts boy and girl illustrations which inspired me. There were especially two,

which I found very good, but with the help of Photoshop I added a bit more to it. The result was Rick and Eva, the protagonists of “Space Expeditions”.

            For information about Mars, I checked a few websites and then composed a quiz.

All this didn’t require too much Photoshop knowledge, but I enjoyed doing it and along the way I discovered a few tricks. There was a signature on Rick’s and Eva’s astronaut costumes, so I had to make them disappear by using the Ctr + Ins and Shift +  Ins.

Through the researches we did I got to know a lot of interesting things about games. For example now I know that there is a software called Unity which is like Dreamweaver and which helps so to develop games which are compatible with most things. Also, I got an insight about game developing in general, how to create a storyboard, what kind of games there are and what kind of platforms for them.

Mobile Project

At this task my work was to design and create the logo for the app and to do research about other travel apps and about NFC.

My first step was to draw a sketch about how I imagine the logo, then I surfed the internet for illustrations and other app icon. I downloaded a few of them to help me in the illustration process. Then I opened up Adobe Illustrator and created a bus, a stopwatch, a pin and a ticket. Then I merged these, which resulted in the Touch travel logo. I had no problem doing these, the downloaded images were great help.

            The research about NFC helped me to understand how this technology would work and how iPhones are working at the moment. I’m not really interested in smart phones or apps, but this project was a great opportunity to gain some minimum knowledge about these.

Interactive Project

Because this assignment required more technical knowledge than designing, my part was mainly researching the Cathedral’s history, designing how the Old Minster might have looked like, designing a logo and poster for the exhibition.
Also, it turned out that it is impossible to accomplish to show the 3D model and the text simultaneously, so then this was my task as well, to compose a leaflet or poster.

After doing some research, I found an image of a page from an old bible, which inspired me. I decided to use it as a background image for the poster.

The next step was to do the logo. I tried out many font faces in Illustrator and I found one which looks like an old gothic hand writing. The curve of the “A” in Augmister caught my imagination, I decided to manipulate it and draw an eye. After this I inserted it in the background but found that the writing on the images makes it difficult to read the logo. I had to erase that, which I did with copying a part of the image and covering the writing with it.

The poster with the facts about Old Minster is similar, I just added the image of the build to it.

Your role as a team member

n      The contribution offered to the team by your individual research
n      Your development and implementation of facilitation strategies needed to sustain team work
n      The ability to work autonomously with the group environment

As I mentioned it before the distribution of the team roles was following:

Game Project:

Alex Talmage – Design and technical research
Lisa Cripps – Design and team leader
Orsi Hegedus – Design and market research

Mobile Project

Joshua Harrington-Lunt - Developer and team leader
Daniel Hoff - Interface design and research
Orsi Hegedus – Logo design and research

Interactive Project

Joshua Harrington-Lunt - Developer and team leader
Rika Iijima - 3D modelling and research
Orsi Hegedus – Design and research
After defining the roles we started our own individual research and every week we let the others know what we done so far. We discussed the problems, assigned everyone’s task and started working on our own at home. When we finished these, we emailed it to the others or shown them.
We had no problems in decision making, we could easily get through our ideas with good points.