Summary of progress
This week I made a lot of progress towards my project. After acquiring the high resolution images of the card designs I was able to make much high quality looking cards.
I applied these images to the cards and then edited the background on a few cards to make the images stand out more. This can be seen primarily on the kobalt card (top row second along) where I changed the background hue and the goblin card (top row third along) where I lightened the background image.
I also created an example of a different colour variant in order to appeal to both genders as per lecturer feedback as seen by the pink ogre card (second row third along) this was done using layer masks on Adobe Photoshop using the Hue/saturation effect. I also created an ogre variant with a different background (third row first and second along) as the more colourful background image brings the ogre out more on the card the original draft of the card is next to it for comparison.
I also altered the Mimic card (top row first along) by upping the saturation and brightening the image to make it appear more visible against the background. This setting also suits the idea of a Mimic due to it imitating a treasure chest and being in a brighter cave creates that idea of a treasure trove more so than a dark cave background.
The spell cards remained the same except for the addition of the addition of the high resolution images.
I also created the creation and discussion cards. I felt these cards would work better to include a question and discussion on each card rather than create separate decks of cards for each. This cuts down on the amount of card piles in play and makes for a simpler layout for the children to minimise confusion. This also allows for players to pick and choose when they want to do a question or have a discussion. I felt the design should be similar in style to the spell cards to create uniformity. I also feel the contrast of the parchment on the space style background works very well will the contrast of dull and bright colours which make the questions stand out more. I also colour coded the question and discussion titles to make them stand out more and add more colour. This worked well due to the use of blue and purple as they are both colours present in the background and therefore stand out on the parchment without clashing with the background colour scheme.
The instruction manual was something that was originally made to explain the rules to parents, however upon feedback and personal reflection I felt a child oriented info-graphic style layout would work better. The originally instruction manual can equally be used and kept by labelled (rules for the grown ups or something similar). I took a lot of advice from my lecturer on the styling of this and took into account layout taught sessions regarding white space, placement and sizing. All of this will be looked at in depth in my evaluation which I plan to begin next week. The colour scheme is basic primarily colours to appeal to the children and uses the game’s artwork without the cards as to draw the child’s attention and give them a sense of the artwork for the game. I am very pleased with how it turned out, it was heavily inspired by an info graphic which I then adapted personally to re purpose and then altered the layout slightly to help streamline the reading of the instructions.
This week was very productive in terms of creating the final product. I also used this time to experiment with different colour pallets and designs in order to create a more feminine design for one of my cards due to peer and tutor feedback.
In terms of creating the layout I have the final product for all three spell cards. I feel these have been very effective as they use bright colours for the background but are not overly complicated. They contrast well with the bright border and the minimalist use of the parchment effect for the text makes a clear distinction. The uniformed nature of the design sets them well apart from the monster (‘encounter’) cards.
There were slight issues due to the resolution of the cards. Some of the cards while editing look less high quality than others and this is mainly due to the low resolution of the images themselves. This is due to the images being created in a less professional software due to illustrator not being able to access more professional software such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. While this has been a slight issue this is more noticeable while editing than outside of editing.
After a brief discussion with the illustrator he was able to resize the images a further 5x the size they currently are and this has increased the quality substantially. I will be reapplying the new higher resolution images during my taught sessions on Wednesday.
Choose your own adventure skeletal layout
Currently I have been experimenting with changing the colour scheme of the cards backgrounds and that of the monsters themselves. This will increase variation and also allows me to create more effeminate cards using different colours. This creates variation in the cards. As can be seen with the different variation of the Ogre card at the bottom of the above selection. I have used a pink layer mask to change the hue to of the Ogre to purple to appeal after receiving feedback that all the creatures looked masculine and could possibly not appeal to girls. This was also done in an attempt to further distinguish the monster from the background. I feel this will be furthered when I apply the higher resolution images next week.
I have further experimented with colour layout in terms of altering the background colours to make the monsters stand out more, however this will be evidenced in next week’s blog once I have more examples.
The background for all these cards have been created by using image trace on illustrator of existing images to create a stylised background to suit the cards.
Original images used for background
<Will upload when next at college>
Creation of instruction manual
For my instruction manual I have been inspired by the sectional based layout from my mood board last week. I have created the basic outline and now that I have higher resolution images can begin next week on filling in all necessary images and text. I also created a logo using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create a brand identify which I feel will appeal to the adults buying the game by showing an educational aspect.
This week I also typed up the questions I will be applying to the question cards. This layout will be created next week also.
Am I on track?
Currently according to original set deadlines I am effectively on track. For the most part the card designs are finished with only moderate alterations to be made (such as swapping in the newer high resolution images with the current). Other then this I simply need to create a simple question card layout and the instruction manual. The more stylised instruction manual is currently working as an extension as I already have a differently styled existing instruction manual. Therefore for the most part the project is effectively finished with only these slight alteration to make. The decision to not include the choose your own adventure story line has been very effective at ensuring I do not spread myself too thin. Showing a simple mind map to explain how the process would work for a pitch works in a much better way to present my idea visually and gives me plenty of time to work on creating higher quality work for the other aspects of the game itself.
At my current work rate I should finish well within the allotted schedule I have set myself leaving myself more than enough time to evaluate.
IXL Learning. (2016). Practise Year 1 maths online. [online] Available at: https://uk.ixl.com/math/year-1 [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].
IXL Learning. (2016). Practise Year 2 English online. [online] Available at: https://uk.ixl.com/ela/year-2 [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].
Lynette, R. (2010). 20 Questions to Ask Kids – Minds in Bloom. [online] Minds in Bloom. Available at: http://minds-in-bloom.com/20-question-to-ask-kids/ [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].
<Will update when back at college>
This week I received a lot of peer feedback. Firstly it was suggested to me to go for a more child friendly design for my instruction manual. This will be done in InDesign in the coming weeks. I created a moodboard (seen below) which will be used to inspire the design of my instruction manual. It was suggested to go for a more info graphic design rather than plain instructions in order to further appeal to the children.
Another piece of feedback related to the font. Some people felt that the text should be partially pixilated in order to better fit in with the design style. However upon implementing this, it looked unprofessional as it looked like the image had not been rendered correctly.
More feedback related to the colour pallet. After a long period of trial and error with multiple pallets I decided to change my design completely. I firstly edited the image to have rounded edges as originally planned. I changed the border to be block colour as after looking at my previous card mood board it appeared all card games for children used a block colour. In order to appeal to the children I picked yellow as this is used by Pokémon for their background and goes well with multiple different colours. It is also a gender neutral colour. I removed the background of parchment with a colour overlay and created a more stylised background myself which I have explained in more detail below.
Card design progress
This week I finalised the monster card design as seen below.
I originally found it very difficult to create a card design I felt was original and presented itself in a way that the intended audience would enjoy.
I decided yellow was the best colour to use for the border due to the fact it is a gender neutral and bright colour and is also used in the Pokémon card game (The Pokémon Company, 1997).
I struggled with finding a solid background colour to use for my monster cards. After discussing with my peers and trying out several cards I felt that the images didn’t suit the plain background. Using previous skills from my tutorial on illustrator I then created a background using the image below to create a more cartoon style background.
I simply did a line trace with the colour option turned on. This then created a more stylised vector image. I took this and applied it to the card and then after some feedback from the illustrator moved and resized the image to ensure the perspective of the card accurately portrayed the size of the monster. The discussion with the illustrator regarding this card be found in the illustrator discussion section.
Instruction manual for game
Mood board for inspiration for implementing more stylised design in coming weeks:
Am I on track?
Currently I am on track to finish my project within the alloted time set out in my timetable. However, due to restrictions on my illustrator I have had to change my originally ammount of evidence to provide for the final piece.
Originally I intended to create 6 monster cards, an example of the question cards, 6 spell cards an instruction manual, an example of a choose your own adventure for the game and 3 character cards. Due to my illustrator having a high work load he has not had the opportunity to create all 6 spell cards and therefore I will be creating 3 examples rather than 6. The characters were also something that he was unable to create due to time constraints however he instead created class logos which will be used instead.
To summarise I will now be presenting evidence of:
The choose your own adventure creation will be quite time consuming and therefore this is more of an extension than a priority.
Discover the forest, (n.d.). Image of a forest. [image] Available at: http://www.discovertheforest.org/images/hero/home/6.jpg [Accessed 9 Nov. 2016].
The Pokémon Company, (1997). Image of a Pokémon card. [image] Available at: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_EqYSOZLTe9s/S8D3tl28B2I/AAAAAAAAAHI/Mf-10o62wAg/s1600/90-misty’s-psyduck.jpg [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].
Feedback from survey
Using the feedback from both parents and children it has been made apparent that the most popular name for the card game is “Brain Squidge” I will therefore be using this as the name of the product moving forward.
There was a split between 3 of the 4 fonts I had picked for the title font for the cards. However Flower Kingdom received one more vote. Therefore moving forward I will be using this font for my card designs.
The major thing to come out of peer feedback was a realisation that I need to do some research and think about possible colour schemes. This is something I will now be looking into in order to make a more appealing design.
There was also some concern that children would not be able to comprehend a card game. This was mainly due to confusion as to how the game is played (and also due to misinformation as my CACHE level 2 and experience in the nursery has taught me children are fully capable of comprehending simple card games from the age of around 3 provided they have help from an adult). Due to this I will be writing up a simple instruction sheet detailing how the game is played and explaining the rules etc…
Rough draft of a card design
Below is a rough draft of a simple design for a card. It is in no way finished and more a proof of concept. This was created using InDesign due to the creation of layouts and its ability to be millimeter accurate in creating a design. However, after having used it I realised I spent most of my time actually on Photoshop using the select tool with an alpha channel to select the monster image. Therefore I feel it more prevalent to just use Photoshop entirely moving forward.
The design is basic and bare bones implementing the ideas I was given from the feedback last week from the child I interviewed regarding card designs. He preferred the design of Munchkin due to it being simple with an interesting picture. He also like the neat layout of Pokemon with the energy symbol. I have therefore gone with a similar approach with my question counter in the top right. The image itself is very low resolution. I have contacted the artist regarding this and he has agreed to resize the images accordingly. He will also be mocking concept art for designs which I can then use my skills with InDesign to implement. Once I have mocked up several basic designs I will ask some children which card layout they prefer and then use this design for the rest of the cards.
Discussion with illustrator
Full extensive timetable
While I have been working with smart objectives I felt it appropriate to create a more in depth timetable with which to organise my time effectively.
|1||September 21st – September 27th||Pre production||Target audience and demographic research and basic idea generation||Unit 10 1.1|
|2||September 28th – October 4th
|Pre production||Research material and format research||Unit 10 1.1, 1.2|
|3||October 5th – October 11th||Production||Pitch, begin work on artwork, concept art, typography research||Unit 10 1.2, 2.1, 2.2,|
|4||October 12th – October 18th||Production||More work on concert art and completion of research. Complete interview with child regarding research and show concept art.||Unit 10 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2|
|Progression week||October 19th – October 25th||Production||Begin work on design for monster cards, make concepts receive feedback. Research into colour scheme||Unit 10 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2,|
|Self-directed week||October 26th – November 1st||Production||Continue monster cards, begin work on instruction manual||Unit 10 2.1, 2.2|
|5||November 2nd – November 8th||Production||Finish instruction manual and begin writing example of chose your own adventure.||Unit 10 2.1, 2.2|
|6||November 9th – November 15th||Production||Have all artwork finalised. Have monster cards design completed. Begin work on spell cards. Continue work on adventure story.||Unit 10 2.1, 2.2,|
|7||November 16th – November 22nd||Production||Complete spell cards and begin||Unit 10 2.1, 2.2|
|8||November 23rd – November 29th||Production||Complete adventure story.||Unit 10 3.1, 3.2|
|9||November 30th – December 6th||Post production||Evaluate work completed against the target audience and reflect on learning||Unit 10 3.1, 3.2,|
|10||December 7th Deadline||Post production||Ensure all work is polished and evaluation is down in full||Unit 10 3.1, 3.2|
Created outline of SMART objectives to ensure task completed to best of ability in necessary time frame
Objective: To create a learning resource for children aged 5-11
S – Create a card based learning resource story game in which the children can interact with the story, supplying an example of 6 monster encounter cards, 6 spell/equipment cards, 1 example story sheet, example of 3 question cards, 3 blank question cards and an instruction sheet on how to create own campaign.
M – Yes, can receive feedback from children and parents
A – Yes by following time management and taking advantage of skills of illustrator and discussing with him I am able to easily work out and follow weekly tasks to ensure achieved on time.
R – Yes, will include questions to entertain children, will be marketed towards parents but use artwork and setting to encourage children to play with friends. Retains relevance by using friends and family for surveys and interviews.
T – by 10th of November have all the illustrations done using my colleague. By 1st of December have all pieces of game finalised and examples created giving time to evaluate and make any final changes in the last week.
Naming of product
The product is related to the fantasy genre and should therefore reference this. Good examples of this are the card game Munchkin. The name is simple and short and therefore easy to remember. Therefore I should find a way to reference the game to the fantasy genre but also interest parents, as it is a learning resource the name should reflect this. I will be brain storming several ideas and then doing another survey to create a measurable chart to see which name the children aged 5-11 prefer and which the parents prefer (as they will be who would be purchasing the learning resource).
I also had peers in my class brainstorm the ideas with me and took their suggestions as well.
After the lecture I had this week I have taken into account the idea of having a more artistic text for the card titles. Any descriptions would be simple plain text (sans serif style). As part of the survey I have included several fonts that I think would look good for the card designs and asked the children which ones they think look the best. The fonts are all more artistic in style and one in particular looks as if it has been painted. I feel these would resonate well with the children.
(From left to right) Monster artwork for mimic, demon eye, troll, spell artwork for fireball spell, monster artwork for slime.
Interview with a child
After explaining the premise of the game to a child of the age of 9 I asked them some questions relating to the game and whether it would be something they would be interested in.
Interview with a parent and researcher
After interviewing the child I took some time to talk to the mother who is a professional researcher. The mother gave me some very important factors to consider in terms of the game. Firstly distribution, how would his be distributed and could it be downloadable as well as a physical project? I have decided as the game is fairly simple and could be easily made available for download as a PDF that a cheaper version could be sold as a digital download where parents/teachers pay a smaller fee to access the PDF files and print for themselves. However, there would still be a physical boxed version available to purchase also. This has been something many Kickstarter (a crowd funding website) campaigns have used as perks for cheaper pledge rewards (Kickstarter, 2012)
Another aspect I was informed to take into account is what would happen if the children keep getting the questions wrong. However, this is rectified by the child then trying a different question. This led me to thinking about discussion question cards where there is no right or wrong answer, as well as adding blank cards so the parent could write their own questions that could be used for specific weeks where the child has spellings etc…
There was also the questioning of age range and questions, this was solved quickly through my explanation that the game would have various cards of different age ranges such as 5-7 8-9 and 10-11. This means you can have one question pack for a 5 year old and another for an 11 year old. Therefore all the ages in the range of 5-11 can play unhindered together. This also means older children could help younger children and encourages working together.
The variety of the cards and age ranges as well as the nature of the choose your own adventure aspect went down very well with the parent who stated “he [her son] gets bored after about 10 minutes of one set of flash cards and then I’ve got to get different ones out”. She also was very pleased with the idea of the game being different every time and the ability for there to be expansion packs with additional questions and story lines.
Transcript of interview with child – 9 year old boy
Transcript has been summerised in order to only include relevant information
<in regards to original concept art drawings by hand>
Child: Yeah I think that’s a bit scary
Me: So you think this design is something you’d prefer not to see in the game?
Child: Yeah I think it would scare younger children
Child: *points to eyeball design* That’s a good one I like that one
*Looks at concept art of other drawn goblin* This one is cool
Me: So we took this design and made this *shows design of pixel artwork
Child: That’s actually kinda cool
Me: Do you like the design?
Me: And then we’ve got the different versions of it
Child: Oh yeah you can get a helmet with it and stuff that’s good
Me: So do you like this design?
Child: Yeah it’s cool and it’s funny *short laugh*
Me: So you don’t find them too scary?
Child: No they’re not too scary except for the first picture (The original concept art of the goblin)
<Shows photoshop version>
Me:So we took the drawings and changed them on photoshop, so do you prefer this style or the pixel style?
Child: It looks quite good like that (in regards to photoshop image). I like the pixel ones because if you did it online you could have them move.
<Shows moodboard of card games from previous week>
Me: Out of these which design of cards do you like the best?
Child: Probably Pokemon because I like the picture at the top, actually like this. *points to munchkin card* I like the big picture in the middle and then the name at the top.
<Shows image of goblin in armour pixel art and mimic artwork>
Child: The goblin’s cool, the only thing I wouldn’t like about the chest is the legs are a bit scary. I like the graphics and the chest could eat your money if you get damaged and then when you beat it you can get the money back.
Me: That’s a good idea, so if you get a question wrong you lose some of your gold when you fight the chest.
<looks at eyeball artwork again>
Child: I really like the eyeball, it’s like half squid half eyeball it looks cool.
<Shows troll image>
Child: *excitedly* I like that one
Me: He is going to have clothes
Child: Like a stripy thing *motions a tunic shape with his hands*
Me: Yeah like a tunic
Child: Yeah yeah a tunic. You could have different ones with like different coloured beards and horns
Me: So with the story element, do you like the idea of being able to be a part of the story and make decisions in the story?
Child: Yeah like picking which character you get. And you could unlock other characters like have pack where you can play as the monsters.
Me: Do you like the idea of being able to pick a character at the start of the game?
Child: Yeah, so it comes up as a choice at the start.
Child: Do you get powers and stuff like that?
Me: There’s going to be spells that you can buy when you get to certain parts of the story with gold you get throughout the story.
Child: But like you can’t have more then three because then you could skip too many fights.
Me: Yeah that’s what we were thinking of going with.
<After explaining how the game is played through answering questions>
Me: So is this something you’d like playing in school?
Child: Yeah or with mum
Me: And the answering questions don’t put you off?
Child: No, that’s the point of the game to learn things isn’t it.
Me: And you like the idea that you can learn in a different way?
Child: Yeah I’d like it if we played it at school
Child: I really like the design, it’s kinda like Minecraft and it looks like video games.
Me: So it doesn’t look boring or anything?
Child: No it looks really fun to play.
Discussion of game play and art with illustrator
Kickstarter. (2012). Evil Baby Orphanage. [online] Available at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1334239018/evil-baby-orphanage-0/description [Accessed 12 Oct. 2016].
Verbal feedback based on pitch
The class were overall quite positive about my intended idea. They felt that the medium was a good an different way to introduce learning in a more fun way. However the point was raised that some children do not enjoy the idea of learning due to the negative stigma surrounding homework. In this regard I think it is important to take this forward in terms of designing the more intricate aspects of the game, it should not be too question oriented, therefore perhaps it would be a good idea to incorporate the questions in a different format. Or maybe take out the question element all together and use the encounter cards of the monsters more for illustration purposes rather than as the question cards. I will take these ideas forward when I interview a child next week while baby sitting.
Current concept art and design artwork for creature cards
Upon being given the concept art by my friend I decided to experiment with the sketches to trial a different aesthetic. I did this through using layout filters by selecting certain parts of the image and then adding a pattern layer and solid colour filter and then lowering the opulence.
I will be showing the child next week which design they prefer. If they prefer the Photoshop edited sketch then I will focus on making a more refined version.
After looking over multiple children’s books and regarding an online article (Strizver, n.d.) I have found that children’s books tend to stick to the style of Serif or Sans Serif. It appears as if older style books use the Serif style and also books that are aimed at younger end of 5-11 year-olds tend to use sans Serif. The article referenced also states that one should not use a font that is too bold or too thin, and should avoid either to the extreme. Examples of this being used professionally in children’s books are below.
Below is also an image board of card games in regards to design and typography. Card games for based on children’s shows (Pokemon and Adventure Time) both incorporate Sans serif fonts. Due to this coupled with the previous image board I will likely go with Sans Serif. I will look at various fonts and then narrow it down based on style and simplicity. Next week I will show the various fonts to the child I am interviewing and see which they prefer.
Strizver, I. (n.d.). Typography for Children – Fonts.com – Fonts.com. [online] Fonts.com. Available at: https://www.fonts.com/content/learning/fyti/situational-typography/typography-for-children [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016].