Thesis Blog

Choosing My Thesis Topic

After additional research, peer feedback, and personal introspection about my career goals, I have selected my second thesis topic idea which will be to create a user experience framework for translating physical board games to touch based interfaces. I believe this thesis topic is the best one for me to pursue for my MFA because it aligns with my personal, academic, and professional interests. I believe that I have the ability to research this topic and the technical skills necessary to complete the visual for this topic.

In addition to my personal enjoyment of board games and video games, this thesis aligns with my academic and professional interests. Academically, I teach interactive design classes that introduce students to designing simple physical board games and implementing digital versions of their game ideas using Unity 3D. Professionally, I plan to independently develop mobile and tablet based games. I could also foresee this as a topic for a talk at a conference like GDC.



This type of research is needed in the field of interactive and game design because in recent years, table-top and collectable card based games have been going through a renaissance and are becoming popular with a new generation of players. One of the reason for this is because of mobile and tablet based board game apps.

The result of this thesis will be a user experience framework for traditional table-top game designers to use when they want to translate their physical board games to touch based interfaces.  The focus of the thesis will be on examining the design of the physical board games in regards to aesthetics, usability, and accessibility.  The thesis will also examine issues related to affordances when it comes to physical board games.

After a thorough examination of physical game design, the focus of the thesis will be to define design standards for translating a physical board game to a digital touch based device.  One of the objectives will be to define how designers can use interface design and gestures to give players an experience that would be similar to playing the physical version of the game.

The visual component for this thesis will be a game that will be developed in Unity 3D and playable on an iPad.  In ITGM-705, I designed a table top game called Dragon’s Claw. Overall, the project was successful and I will use this game as an example for the framework that will be developed.

This game will be converted to a digital app and will be fully playable for one player.  The game will use a 3D view of the board and game component pieces.  The player will be able to pitch zoom and rotate the board, and use other touch based gestures to play the game.