Friday, April 29, 2005

Post Mortem

Looking back at the final project I can say that our group did a good job on it. I think our group did a good job of presenting our product too. The only way we could have improved would have been to do maybe a power point presentation on it. Overall I had a lot of fun working on the final project. The product we came up with was the IKB(Infopedia Knowledge Base). The IKB is a mobile wireless device that reads icons on buildings indoor and outdoor and then displays information about that building. While we were working on the final project we kept coming up with more ideas to improve the IKB such as internet and keyboard add-ons. The internet add-on allows you to browse the web as well as getting further information about a building that may not be in the database. In the end what we came up with was an idea for a great mobile device with many features. I think if we had more time to work on it we might have been able to come up with a functional demo of the product in flash or director also. I really enjoyed the rest of the class as well, especially coming up with ideas for the creative concepts. It was also a lot of fun to see what other students came up with for their creative concepts.

Friday, April 08, 2005

blog #10 - Creative Concept Elaboration

In class on Monday I talked about a creative concept idea for an oven that had a wireless internet connection. I was thinking that this idea could be further improved by adding a self cleaner to the oven. Also the oven could have a sliding tray so it would be easier to get things out of it. As far as making the oven more interactive and location aware it could have seasonal recipes on it and there could be a cooking network that could be accessed by the oven. That way you could watch someone cook what you want to cook while the oven provides you with the directions on how to cook it along the way. These shows could we saved for future use on to flash media or on to the internal storage of the oven for future viewing. As far as seasonal recipes there could be recipes for pumpkin pie in the fall, hard boiled eggs for Easter, and things like gingerbread and fruitcakes for the winter season. I think these improvements would make the oven a more interactive and appealing product.

Friday, April 01, 2005

blog #9 - Sony and online movie distribution

I just read an interesting article at arstechnica,( about how Sony plans to make a store similar iTunes except instead of distributing music they will be making their movies available for download. They also plan to distribute the movies on flash mediums so it can they can be played on PDAs, cell phones and their recently released PSP. I think this is a very interesting idea. The success of Apple's iTunes has already showed that there is a large interest in the distribution of paid media on the internet. With Sony's marketing skills and their large movie base I would say they have a good chance for success. Also as it is pointed out in the article and from my experience with Sony's previous endeavor's in portable players, DRM might be a problem. Sony really likes to use DRM media, such as the mini disc, memory stick and the UMD disc for the PSP. As long as Sony doesn't tie down the media too much I don't users will have a problem with it. The article does point out at that Sony does want to make the content own able by the user rather then just renting the movies. I think this is a great move on Sony's part and look forward to seeing how it pans out for them.

Friday, March 25, 2005

blog #8 - Importance of understanding your target audience

In class on Monday we talked about understanding your audience when creating an interactive product. I think that when an interactive product for example a web page is being designed that the target audience should be greatly considered. In addition people who are not considered the primary audience should be taken into account as well. There are a couple of ways to figure out your target audience for a product. One of the ways to figure out your audience is by conducting a survey. Surveys work well because they allow you to see what a large audience thinks about your product. Some things that should be considered when determining your target audience are their level of education, what language they speak, and their knowledge of similar or related products. These things are important to ask because they help you better define your audience. By finding their level of education you can better decide what level of language to use when approaching your audience in the future. Finding what language they speak would be very important if you were designing something that relied a lot on displaying information, for example you could build in support for additional languages into your product. Finding their knowledge of similar or related products helps you because you can get a better grasp of what things your audience may be looking for in your product. You could also ask questions about what they think of those other products. By finding your potential audience you can get a better feel for what people will think of your product. You can also get an idea if the audience is the right audience you were aiming for.

Friday, March 18, 2005

blog # 7 - Increasing development cost causing trouble for game studios

Recently some video game studios have closed their doors, namely Acclaim, Ion Storm's Austin Studio and just recently Blue 52 and some other small British developers. Blue 52 had to close up because they were unable to afford the costs for new technology and development team costs. Ion Storm and Acclaim were both pretty large and they also were also unable to stay afloat. Ion Storms reason for closing can also be attributed to their loss of a lot of their head staff to other studios, including Warren Spector. Deus Ex 2 also did not sell as well as planned for them. The risks involved in developing new games is huge. There is an especially large risk if the game is a new franchise. An effect of this is that if a game isn't up to par in sales then it can spell doom for that game company. This increase in game development cost is about to rise again with the introduction of the next generation of game consoles from Sony,Microsoft and Nintendo. Can the small video game development studio still stay afloat in these changing times?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Blog # 6 - The Importance of good interface design

Interface design is very important to interactivity. It is the layer that is directly between the user and the product. How well an interface is designed can make or break a product. If you’ve ever used a program with a poorly designed interface you’ll know exactly what I mean. This could be anything from a website to a computer game. For example take the difference in interface design between Blender, an open source 3d modeling program and say 3d studio max. Blender is a fine program but its interface is kind of clunky. 3d studio max on the other hand has a much easier to navigate interface. When a user is using a program they can be very finicky and will in a lot of cases pick a program that has a better interface over one that has a worse interface but has more features. What good is it to offer more features for a product if the user can’t find them easily?
Some good interface design principles are taking full advantage of the screen space a program has while not over burdening the user. Also the use of white space accordingly, such as the division between topics in a webpage or for example the separation of tool bars in a program. Another good design principle is to design the layout along a grid, this approach works particularly well for website design.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Blog #5 - Elaboration on Creative Idea

In class on Monday we got into groups and came up with a creative idea for a mobile game. My group came up with a scavenger hunt type game that uses GPS. You would install the game on a PDA or cell phone and connect to a server. Once connected you would be able to find other people to play with and you organize a group to go on a scavenger hunt or play a game of hide and seek. We were thinking there could be timed games and perhaps competitions set up around the game for prizes and money. And the best local groups could compete in nationwide quest. The only problem that we seemed to have was that one might have to find someone from a different state to play. I think this problem could be fixed by having local games as well as nationwide and maybe even global games for the so inclined. I think if the game were implemented right that it could become quite popular. I think the main appeal of the game is finding adventure and new friends.