April 24, 2006

Game Symposium

The Game Symposium at UMD was a great way for people who are interested in all forms of games to come together and chare that common interest and ideas about games. The was a nice mixture of games that included board games and interactive video games. For the Game Symposium, I submitted an assignment I created for my Interactive Design 1 course with Mariana Waisman. The assignment was to create an interactive experience that was based off of a story. I choose to do “Jumanji�, by Chris Van Allsburg. My goal was to turn the experience of reading the book into a game itself. I did this by breaking the story into phases that you would encounter as you play the game, and read along with the book. Here is my design brief that I submitted with the assignment:

The story of “Jumanji� was originally written as children’s story, which contains black and white illustrations that were well sketched. I wanted to take the original story and update it by creating interesting visuals that kept with the black and white theme, but represented a newer generation of art and design. The message of the story originally is for the entertainment of mainly children. The story I created follows the original, and the message is the same, for pure entertainment. However, I tried to break away from the target audience of children, and focus on older teenagers and adults who have probably already read the story. I chose to do this because I could leave certain sections out of my site, and the target audience would still understand what was going on because they have already read the story. Plus, it would hopefully give them a brand new experience and another way to enjoy the story all over again. So again the message I am trying to portray for the audience is that of entertainment. I feel I accomplished this message by implementing a few key objectives. First of all, I wanted to create all new and interesting visuals that were much different than the original book. My Visuals were still black and white like the original, but I tried to give them a harder edge, by making the visuals very contrasted and give them sharp lines, unlike the original which has some very soft pencil that’s almost dreamlike. Also with the visuals, I created more intense situations that what are represented in the book. I wanted to create these intense, almost scary scenes, because I felt that they would appeal better to the older audience that I am aiming for. Another aspect I used was sound. I feel that the sound I used in the site just added to the overall feel and in a way brings the game and the jungle to the computer. As well as keeping the site moving along at a good pace so the viewer does not get bored with the site. Another aspect is thought was a good addition, was that of the navigation and structure of the site. I wanted to create a very original navigation system, where in the viewer would feel as though they are actually playing the game, and that each time the “rolled� the dice, a random page would appear. I felt this idea added to the message by creating a site where in the viewer actually gets to play along with the story. I feel that I created a solid design that would entertain many people, which was my ultimate goal with this project.
This project for the most part turned out just how I envisioned it would be, except for minor changes due to time constraints and my knowledge of flash. I have learned many things through doing this assignment. I feel the main thing I learned with this assignment, which applies to all my design work, is choosing what is important for me to include to get my message across clearly to the viewer, within a reasonable amount of time. Essentially, this idea applies to time management and the ability to create your message without going overboard. On top of that, I have very much increased my knowledge of flash by just doing a piece on this large of a scale, which included a lot of trial and error for what works and what doesn’t in the software. There is really only one major thing I think I would change and that would be to include more dialogue and plot from the original story. I feel by doing that would increase my viewers, because more people that have not read the original could enjoy my site without missing anything from that original plot. Other than including more plot and dialogue, I don’t think I would anything differently if I were to recreate this site. I feel that I accomplished my message, and created and a good site structure with interesting visuals and original navigation. Also, I feel that I kept my ideas in check, and did not go to overboard with what I could accomplish with my skills and the timeline I was working with. All in all, I am very pleased with the site that I created and I feel that it represents the original story and what I have learned in this class, which the viewers will appreciate.

Check out the actual game I created online!!!

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