Visual Component, Process, & Sketches

Thesis Process and Sketches

After additional research, peer feedback, and personal introspection about my career goals, the visual component of my thesis will be a digital game that demonstrates how digital board games can help new players learn a complex game faster rather than using analog methods like reading the manual or trying to play through the game alone.

This type of research is needed in the field of interactive and game design because, in recent years, table-top and collectible card-based games have been going through a renaissance and are becoming popular with a new generation of players. One of the reasons for this is because of mobile and tablet-based board game apps. Playing games on mobile and tablet devices has been second nature for many casual and serious gamers. While board games have been more and more popular, they have also become more complex, and these digital devices give new players a way to learn physical games if there are board game apps for them to use.

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 the physical game design, the focus of the thesis will be to define design standards for translating a physical board game into a digital touch-based device. One of the objectives will be to establish how designers can use interface design, gestures, and gameplay tutorials to give players an experience that would be similar to playing the physical version of the game while also teaching them how to play the game.

The objective of the visual component for this thesis will be to demonstrate how a user interface with 3D models and gesture-based interactions in digital board games can provide a single player with an experience that would be similar to playing physical multiplayer board games. Providing this kind of UI will help the new player translate their knowledge of playing the digital game into being comfortable with playing the physical version of the game.

The visual component for this thesis will be a digital board game for phones and tablets. This game will be developed in Unity 3D and playable on an iPad and an iPhone. In ITGM-705, I designed a table-top action role playing game called Dragon’s Claw. This game will be used as the basis for the visual component.

This physical 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 pinch zoom and rotate the board and use other touch-based gestures to play the game. The digital game will also simulate other players who will take turns during the game.

Current Action Plan and Process for Implementing the Prototype of the Visual Component

  • The prototype for the visual component will be developed in Unity 3D and playable through a web browser.
  • The final version of the game will also be developed in Unity and will be playable on the iPad and iPhone.
  • The board game artwork for the visual component will be taken from Dragon’s Claw game.
  • Additional artwork and assets, such as 3D character models and other game components, will be modeled using Maya or purchased and downloaded from the Unity Assets store.

Thesis Work

This section of the website is where I am documenting the work on my thesis paper and visual component.

Visual Prototype

The following is an early version of the prototype for this thesis. This prototype will be updated with more features as the thesis progresses. The current version of the protoype seeks to visualize the aesthetics of the digital board game that will be used to demonstrate the 3D environment and gesture interfaces that the thesis defines for digital board games.

The prototype is being developed in Unity 3D. The target interface for this interface is tablet devices like the iPad, however, a web compatible version will be developed for demonstration purposes.

Notes and References

About Me

My name is Mark Koberlein and I have been a professional web designer, app developer, and instructor for about 13 years. I live in a small town next to Allentown, PA with my wife 2 daughters. My wife and I are avid gamers and movie watchers. I am currently a tenure-track Instructor in the Communication Design department at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem PA, where I teach courses in general computer graphics, web design, mobile applications, interactive design, server-side programming, and animation. I started this journey as an undergrad at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. For the first 2 years, I studied Computer Science and then changed my major to Religious Studies to finish my under-grad studies with a Bachelor of Arts. After college, I decided to not pursue the reli... Read More