Monday, January 20, 2014

User Study

Now it is time to test our software prototype with real users (that didn't know or saw the game before) to see how they react when playing it and to get some ideas for final improvements.

1. User description

First User

  • Age: 26
  • Gender: M
  • Job: Student
  • Experience with natural user interfaces: only a little

Second User

  • Age: 23
  • Gender: F
  • Job: Student
  • No experience with motion controls or gesture controlled applications

2. Setup

  • small room
  • laptop screen with sensor on top on a table
  • user stands approx. 2 m before the screen
  • calibration session before beginning the test
  • Laptop displays game prototype
  • user has enough space to move around

3. Task

The user plays the game prototype of “ClimbOrDie”. The user moves in front of the game while the Kinect monitors her/his movement. The movements then translated into instructions for the player character. The character is hanging on a wall and tries to reach the top. The player moves like he is climbing and the character moves slowly towards the top.

"Climb the wall like you would naturally do it on a climbing wall"

User should verbalize thought processes and actions:

  • What do they (the users) think is happening? (state)
  • What do they try to achieve? (goals)
  • Why are they doing something specific? (actions)

Users thoughts

First User

  • The (characters) arms are following mine (state)
  • Ok, I want to grab the handle above (goal)
  • (makes a grab gesture) (action)
  • Grabbing the handles sometimes does not work reliable(state)
  • Why doesn't the characters torso follow mine? (left/right movement) (state)
  • Now I want to pull myself up to reach the next handle (goal)
  • (lowers the grabing hand to pull) (action)

Second User

  • Okay, the character is following my movements.
  • Why does he move so strange? (bug, the character moved out of sync)
  • Huh, what do I have to do?
  • Oh, I can grab!
  • I should reach the flag.
  • I fall when I release the hands.
  • I can climb.
  • Why didn’t this grab work?
  • I won.

Results / discovered issues

The user recognized very fast what she/he has to achieve. The flag on the top was clearly the goal of the game. Also, the user recognized the movement control with grabbing and climbing.

The problems are the bugs in the current state. There are some bugs with wrong movements of the character and also with the grab gesture, which does not work all the time. The solution for these problems is simply fixing them.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

First Software Prototype

It was really a lot of work for all of us. First of all it was a real hassle to get SimpleOpenNI (the lib for Motion Tracking) working, not to mention creating the project infrastructure from scratch, integrating the images and so on. It is far from perfect but... see yourself!

We really would have liked to present a screencast proofing that it's moving, but I guess we will keep that for the next post!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Initial User Tests

After all that handicraft work we were very curious about how THE USER might react to our prototype, so we did some initial user tests where we invited three members of our target group to interact with it - and with one of us behind it, acting as the painfully slow computer. ;-)

You can find our results here.

To our own surprise we can keep it short: The interaction between the users and the paper prototype worked (apart from its necessary slowness) very well. They liked it! The only thing users noted was that it would be great to see the rock face scrolling down and water rising. We decided that this would require to actually create a brand new prototype and - as we already received the demanded feedback - to skip this and to go on.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Paper Prototype

To play with and test our layout and to get some additional ideas of how the game might look like at the end, we did some paper prototyping - shoe box style. ;-)

The crocodile and the climber are both connected to the back by magnets. So we can test quite all of our differen user tasks, e. g.:
  • user just going by
  • user starting a game
  • user wins or looses the game
To keep it short: We already found something to work on. First of all, the prototype cannot be driven very fast. Secondly, it will be challenging to implement the pull up move in an intuitive way.

Monday, November 25, 2013


In order to obtain some feedback on our ideas of the game "Climb or Die" we did some interviews with people that are within our target user group - so potential players. We prepared a general catalogue of possible questions. The first part asks some general information about the attendee and his attitudes towards video games. In the second part we show and explain our hand drawn storyboards and ask specific questions about it. We performed the interviews and tried to gather some positive input to our project.

The Questions

First part

  • What is your name?
  • What is your age?
  • What is your profession?
  • What is your oppinion on video games?
  • How many hours a week do you spend gaming on average?
  • On what platforms do you play these games?
  • Have you ever played interactive games with movement controllers?
  • Where would you play such games (location/setting)?
  • Would you be willing to play such a game in public?
  • Do you see any reasons that stand against public game play?
  • You may have already seen lots of public displays. Would you like more of them to be interactive?
  • What can such a display do to grab your attention?

Second part (after showing and explaining the storyboards)

  • Would you like to play the game you've just seen?
  • How much time would you spend playing this game in a public place?
  • Would you like to select your difficulty level in advance?
  • Would you like to have a (public viewable) high score - possibly with a small picture of you/your face?
  • Do you have any additional ideas about the game? What feature do you thing would be great to have?

The Users

  1. Ralf is 31 and works as a carer for the elderly. He spends around 10 hours a week playing video games, mainly on his PC but also on mobile devices. He never played using a movement controller before but would like to try - even in public (in waiting areas, trains, stations and even at traffic lights) - but only occasionally and if it's not awkward.
  2. Kerstin is 25 and currently is a student. She likes video games for helping against boredom, but besides that she won't miss something if she doesn't play them. So she only spends 15 minutes a week on playing video games on laptop and smartphone. She played games using movement controllers before but she would play such games in public only if no embarassing movements are required.
  3. Angelika is 23 and works as a motion artist in a small company in Berlin. She is no hardcore gamer but has played several games before. Also, she has experience with some motion controlled games on Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii. She would not play in a public place because of the embarassement and competitive pressure.
  4. Julia is 22 and currently is a medical trainee. She played video games on Playstation when she was younger but nowadays she has no time for that. She thinks that games have a too large impact on the social life of people. If at all, she plays games on her smartphone. She has played games with Eye Toy. In general, she would only play motion games on parties or private events with friends because of embarassement.
  5. Burak is 27 and recently graduated with a computer science degree. He plays around 30 min every day on his PC or on consoles with his friends. He had tried motion controllers on Playstation, Xbox, and Wii. He doesn't want to invest any time into public displays, finds it distractive and prefers a private setting.

The Empathy Map

To organize and thus better understand the results of the interviews we created an Empathy Map.

Quotes and Defining Words
"I would play such games when I'm drunk."
"Would be nice while standing at the traffic lights."
"No silly level selection!" (2 x)
"Keep it simple."
"How should this work e.g. with 100 people standing at a station around me?"
"Give me some goodies and I'll play it longer"

Thoughts and Beliefs
The only use of video games is killing boredom.
(5 x) Privacy is important (no highscore picture!)
Games like these should be nice and colourful, but keep it short.
 (3 x) No longer than a minute or two.
Public displays are rarely used.
Actions and Behaviors
Obvious clues of the interactivity of public displays (i.e. blinking text message, animations in sync with walking pace) will get my attention.
Would be funny if the game reacts and talks to me while going by.
Feelings and Emotions
(4 x) I don't want to make embarrassing moves in public.
No fidget and no awkward movements!
I am afraid of failing at the game in public.

The Findings and Design Principles

Based on the answers and suggestions of our interviews we found that public displays are not popular with our interviewees. If the game bears a high risk of failing, people are afraid to make a fool of themselves. In addition, we found that few people do have experience with motion controls. When they have, it is only with friends for example at a party. 

As for the design principles, we found that the game should be simple, fun and colorful. It is of great importance to limit embarassing moves and round length to a minimum. The idea of a highscore picture system is not popular because of privacy concerns.


This storyboard shows how the display gets attention from a passerby:

This second storyboard shows some gameplay scenes.

Monday, November 11, 2013


We had a nice little group meeting to put ideas together in a mind map:

Then, after some discussion with everybody involved, we achieved the following results:

Please say hello to
climb or die

Clarence Climber loves danger and so do you. Help Clarence to escape inevitable death!

"climp or die" is a single player Kinect experience in which the player must climb a wall on the screen. He must use his hands to grab the next handle within reach and avoid the dangeros creatures from the ground. Time is running out while the creatures come closer and closer. The player can only rest when he reaches the winner flag on the top. The game is designed for a big display public setting like a bus stop or a shopping mall. Because of that players can join and leave at any time.

And who's gonna play this?
The Persona

Chris Curious

modern technology
to be the winner
intuitive interfaces

long waiting times

crocodiles ;)

tries new things

Skill level
for all ages
ability to move arms and hands freely