1960’s Britian

So I thought I hadn’t really posted any information about my research into the 1960’s on a broader scale, as I had only posted what was related to Hull but I feel it is important to understand the 60’s on a boarder level so that we can apply some of this knowledge if possible and I hope that it can help someone else who may be researching into the 1960’s. To sum it up, the British population was at about 53 million at the time.

This decade was known as the swinging sixties and was seen as the decade that birthed British pop music and fashion. One example was The Beatles who had been influenced by American pop bands like Holly and the Crickets alongside other British groups like The Shadows. This decade also saw Psychedelic music which was influenced by drug culture at the time, some examples of this were The Move and Pink Floyd.

Fashion also had its place in the 1960’s Britain with many woman sporting diverse fashion trends which showed how society was changing. Some examples of these were Culottes, PVC Clothing and Go-Go Boots. It was also the decade of the invention of the famous mini skirt which is still in fashion today. In regards to colours and patterns, the 1960’s saw people wearing very colourful and bold shades, some even wearing psychedelic attire. In regards to males, The Beatles had a strong influence on youth fashion and many young men visually reflected their idols.

The cost of house hold items, well, was very different to what we have today. The price of a loaf of bread was the equivalent of 5p and a pack of 20 cigarettes would have cost you about 25p in today’s money. Britain itself wasn’t in any kind of recession but the economy was just about to enter a period of decline. The weekly wage was about £32 which if we compare today roughly minimum wage is about £450. A trip to the cinema for two would have only cost you about 90p but in today’s society you’d be lucky to get a trip to cinema for 2 for less than £10. The best thing about this decade must have been the creation of supermarkets in which people could purchase everything in a single shop rather than 3-4.

For the first time it would seem most households had electricity leading to lots of convince items for the home such as refrigerators and cookers. Some other examples of items found within the home were black and white televisions, rotary telephones and record player stereos. In 1962 we saw the creation of the audio cassette by Philips then later on in 1965 Sony marketed the very first home video tape recorder called CV-2000. The television was a very important part of the 1960’s as this item allowed many family’s come together to watch Coronation Street, Dr Who and BBC 2.

Client Project: Sweet stall

I was tasked to design a sweet stall to go within our client project for whitefriargate, I thought this would be interesting because in my first year I was tasked to design a sweet vendor yet struggled at creating very much in 3dsmax so I was limited to using sketchup to showing my vendor design. I first decided to take a look at some vintage sweet stalls that can be propped up and put anywhere within whitefriargate, something very portable and classic.  I took to Google to find some imagery to help me when designing my stall within 3dsmax, here are some examples of how I would like my vendor to look;

Sweet vendor 1 Sweet vendor 2 sweet vendor 3 sweet vendor 4

Looking at these I wanted my stall to have a wheel, wanted the stall to be thick but not too chunky and also to have several variations of jars. I also decided that for this I wanted to do something a bit more high poly then my other projects to have some variation and to add a bit more quality to my asset.  The first thing I did was start from a box and carefully swift loop around the object to work out where I was going to extrude and drag in order to create the ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ of my sweet vendor.

Vendor1

After this, I created a seperate box and managed to alter the verts to create stands for what the roof of my stall would stand up on. Then I created the wheel of my sweet stall by creating a cylinder with cap segments within it, I then deleted some polys to create gaps within the wheel and bridged up the edges so that these were capped.

Vendor3

When it came to most the jars, I literally started from a cylinder and created cap segments again in which all I simply did is extrude sections of the model to create jars and lids. One of the jars varies this as I also used the inset tool to add some extra polys so I could extrude the object slightly inwards and once I tweaked the vertices a little I was able to create an open jar that the player would simply put their hand in and grab some of the candy.

Vendor4

The next thing I decided to do was to create some candy canes so for this I created a large cylinder and created several height segments within it, I then stretched this out so It was rather long and added a bend modifier to create a candy cane shape, I made sure too add more height segments so the bend was smoother than my previous attempts at making candy canes in my first year.

Vendor5

Finally, for the roof of my vendor I created a box and deleted all the polys under the box as these were not needed. I then used swift loop to create multiple sections within the box and then selected every other vert around the edge of the object, I then moved these slightly up the z axis to create my roof of the vendor.  When I thought all my modelling was finished I decided to ask someone within my group if any alterations could be made to better the vendor, they said it needed to be stretched out a bit more so the vendor was wider, I did this simply by using the scale tool. The only thing left to do on my vendor is to texture it properly and to make sure that the scale is realistic within engine, I will post an update on how this turns out and the finished result.

Vendor6

 

Game idea development – Diagnosis: Part 2

This is a follow up blog post of my previous post ‘Game idea development – Diagnosis’ and consists of further research into a section of my target market. I noticed in my previous post I didn’t really research into signs of autism, obviously this is important as without understanding a portion of my market properly how do I hope to create something to benefit the individual without fully understanding them and their needs?

Here are some signs that a child may have autism include difficulty in the following;

  • Communicating verbally and non-verbally
  • Relating to other individuals
  • Interacting to others
  • Ignoring name being called
  • Preferring to have a particular routine
  • Avoiding using spoken language
  • Not understanding social gestures such as waving or handshakes
  • Avoiding eye contact

I was thinking, by adding game mechanics which could trigger a childs response, would this be an effective and ethical method of bringing to light potential learning difficulty? Thinking of a range of game mechanics I could use, the most effective ones I could think of where the following;

  • Behavioral Momentum – This would keep the player repeating the same objectives or task, the reason I thought this could be used effectively as children with autism prefer routine so to see how a child responds during a routine and after when something changes will help us evaluate the child.
  • Appointments – This would link in with Loss aversion, but to make the player have to be at a particular place within the game during a particular time will alter an individuals behavior and flag up any major changes.
  • Countdown
  • Levels
  • Loss aversion

On a side note, during my research I stumbled across two interesting videos. The first video is titled Autism: Sensory overload simulation and is about an individuals trip to wal-mart so that someone with a normal development can experience what it like to suffer from autism. I was shocked by the video as I was unaware how extreme it can be for some individuals plus I was unsure if autism could effect an individuals vision to that extent so I decided to research into it and discovered ‘

‘Visual problems are very common in individuals with autism. Visual symptoms of autism can include lack of eye contact, staring at spinning objects or light, fleeting peripheral glances, side viewing, and difficulty attending visually.

Autistic people often use visual information inefficiently. They have problems coordinating their central and peripheral vision. For example, when asked to follow an object with their eyes, they usually do not look directly at the object. Instead, they will scan or look off to the side of the object. Autistic individuals might also have difficulty maintaining visual attention. Eye movement disorders and crossed eyes are common in the autistic spectrum.’

this made me wonder, should I try to put something within my game to make the individual have to focus on an object as then the educator would be able to notice the way the individual handles this visual stimuli and in turns would only help with showing symptoms so that the child could be properly treated if needs be. After this, I dug a little deeper and discovered that an individual has been working on a demo for a game called Auti-sim which was influenced by the first video so that people can experience aspects of life through the eyes of someone who has autism. I found this incredibly interesting and useful especially when it came to understanding my market more.

Also while I was browsing the internet I stumbled across an article which appeared in the daily mail about an app being created which can detect signs of autism better than some of the individuals within the medical field. The app breaks down into three tests; the first tracks how long it takes for a child to follow the movement of the changing stimulus. The second test passes a toy around a childs FoV (Field of vision) and looks out for any delay. The third would be the individual giving the test would roll a ball and look for any eye contact with the child. Feel free to check out this article, it really is an interesting read and I intend to apply some of the things I have discovered within my research to aid with the development of my game idea.

Gamification

Gamification is simply applying game mechanics to something which is not usually considered a game. The reason why this is important as it allows the task to become engaging and ‘fun’ rather than boring and difficult. Gamification can be used to help people cope with difficult parts of their lives such as coping with depression or quitting smoking, to other things such as making the wait to cross a busy street less boring or finish reading a book which is hard to enjoy. Websites tend to use aspects of gamification to promote the websites usage and loyalty to that site.

One example of how gamification can work effectively within a website is how it worked for KIDS WB. They wanted to engage a new generation of children interested in the Scooby Doo show in order to give life to a really old cartoon. To do this they set up a way for the child to collect points in order to purchase digital rewards. The children would collect the points by purchasing some kind of merchandise which related to Scooby Doo such as a DVD or a plush and then use the points to purchase digital rewards such as interactive storybooks and other additional games. The reason why this was so effective is that they were able to bring Scooby Doo to a generation which tended to use the internet and other interactive devices and because of this managed to increase sales and market the show to a new audience.

scoobyyy dooooooo

Another website which uses gamification within its business model is the well-known website Facebook, so yes; the website is indeed a game. For example, a user can collect likes which in turn acts as a ‘reward’ despite not actually getting a reward as such you are appreciated and recognized for something you have said. You are able to play games on Facebook in which you can share your achievements within this game on your wall. The amount of friends you have on Facebook to some show your players ‘status’, the more friends you have, the more interesting and ‘famous’ you are seen. You have real-time feedback through seeing what you have been doing on Facebook that day by viewing your activity log and also anything that your friends have posted on your wall. The reason why this is effective is that as Pavlov noted, we are wired to respond to being rewarded so applying gamification within a business model could only be effective.

In order to apply gamification we need to understand the breakdown of gamification, these are;

  • Real-time feedback – Allowing the user to see their progress
  • Transparency – Being able to see a visual comparison between themselves and others
  • Goal setting – allows drive towards particular tasks in which the user is rewarded
  • Competition – creates competition between players giving motivation for improvement
  • Badges – To show other players how well you have done something
  • Levelling up – Shows progression and gives access to additional rewards
  • Teams – Allows the player to team up with another to double up their effort
  • On boarding and mastery – Allows the player to learn as they are using something rather than having to read up before ‘Playing’

A final example of gamification which I have personally experienced is with the retailer GAME. The first thing I saw when observing the website is right at the top of the screen you are able to ‘earn reward points today’. This is adding a reward mechanic as the ‘Player’ would purchase a game and in return for doing this they would collect points which they can accumulate and spend later on.

GAME Banner

Another aspect of gamification seen within this retailer is you are able to collect points and rewards by trading in a game within 14 days of having it, or purchasing a game which is preowned. The reason why the retailer chooses to do this is to again promote loyalty to that retailer. There are other aspects too such as during the Christmas period there is an advent calendar in which you have a chance to purchase a game on offer as long as it’s within the 24 hour time period, if this is missed then another offer will appear for the next day and you will lose your chance at purchasing the game cheaper and gaining those points.

Deal ended

GAME even have an app in which the ‘Player’ is able to see how many points they have gained and the cash value of those points which only entices the player to continue earning and spending money with that particular retailer to have those points. The app even allows the player to see if they have earned any accolades with them.
GAME achievements

Game idea development – Diagnosis

An element within my game was to use the game to help with the diagnosis of autism within children. The first thing that I felt to research was what actually is autism? why is it an issue? and how do we find out if ourselves or an individual could have it?

Autism.org.uk defines autism as;

‘Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.’

So basically people with autism see the world through a different lens and act accordingly to their own world. For example they may have a unique way of communicating or they may respond very differently to a situation then what an individual who didn’t have autism would.

Autism can be a struggle for both the individual who has it but also the people around the individual. People with autism find it difficult to imitate hence why development can be slow in these particular individuals so because of this they may not connect with other children. An example of this in the real world could be a child feeling secluded because they can not partake in an activity that other children of that age may be finding easy and enjoyable. This could advance further as the child sometimes may act out due to not being able to fully understand the situation and could respond in a negative way which could involve anything from physical or verbal abuse to other individuals to being distant or depressed. which would cause concern.

I was researching into how children are diagnosed professionally and I discovered that they can take a test known as CHAT when they are at 18 months to help the parents to see if their child does indeed have autism. CHAT stands for ‘the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers’ and the test itself is designed to help identify which children are at risk of social-communication disorders. The test itself consists of two sections;

It consists of two sections: the first nine items are questions asked to the parents, and the last five items are observations made by the primary health care worker. The key items look at behaviours which, if absent at 18 months, put a child at risk for a social-communication disorder. These behaviours are (a) joint attention, including pointing to show and gaze-monitoring (eg looking to where a parent is pointing), and (b) pretend play (eg pretending to pour tea from a toy teapot).

Depending on how the child scores on the test will vary if the child is at high or low risk developing a disorder such as autism.

Also, there are little tests online that an individual can take to give a individual an idea to if they should get tested properly for autism. This particular test (here) I was looking into was created by a psychologist and his colleagues at the Cambridge’s autism research centre. The average score of was 16.4 and those who had autism scored around 32 or higher. I was interested in the test so I decided to take this test myself and here are my results;

‘Agree: 2,5,12,13,22,39,42,43,45,46: 1 point
Disagree: 1,10,24,32: 1 point
Score: 14’

Once I have looked into the finer details of how a child is diagnosed and how these are put into testing conditions I will try to implement features of this within my game so that anything that could trigger a response to show if a child has autism then my game will help that individual to becoming properly diagnosed. I am unsure to how far I will be able to push this but if I can even implement small bits then it will be worth it as it would not only make my final product a game, but it will make it a tool to help educators and parents become aware that their child may be living with an undiagnosed condition.