Toy Design Project

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Focus group no2

I have not blogged much of my work lately. This is partly because I have been working on the different concepts and I don't want to reveal too much of those, and partly because I have not been doing much theory work recently.

For copyright issues I do not want to reveal too much of how the individual concepts are. I might get lucky and think of something clever, you never know. ;) But I can reveal that I have come up with about 10 concepts (I know it should have been more), some promising ones and some pretty bad ones. And I have decided to combine two of the most promising ones into one concept.

This concept I have chosen is a game played with different pieces (not cards) and requires no additional equipment apart from the pieces. The game is set in an underwater world with fish and other water creatures.

I had the project's second focus group this week, and it went very well I think. It was the same three boys as before and one additional boy, all the ages of 8 and 9. I showed them the drawings for each concept and they gave me their opinions. I got the impression they wanted to please me and give answers they thought I wanted to hear, so I had to limit the information I gave them about the concepts to an absolute minimum and let them talk and make up things themselves. This way it was more likely they gave their real opinions and not just told me what I wanted to hear.

They gave me quite a bit of help with my chosen concept. When I gave them some prototype pieces to look at they immediately started sorting them in groups according to type and power. They begged me to give them some of the pieces for keeps, and I gave in and said they could have 2 each but not more. This resulted in some major decision making on their part when they had to choose which to keep and which to discard. And as I thought the more powerful pieces were more popular.

Even though I did not reveal the prototype rules to the game, they still got the basics of it and even came up with some interesting twists. They had to test out the game of course, but before they could play they insisted on writing their own names on the back of the pieces so as not to mix them. This is a problem I had already foreseen and thought of a solution to, but not implemented in the prototypes yet. Apart from that they played the game completely different from what I had anticipated, and this gave me some new ideas to the rule system.

It is now less than a month left of the project, and I will start making the real pieces, forming the rules and finishing up the report. I looks like I might make it yet...


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