Susan Shi Capstone Midterm Progress Report

Sketching and Brainstorming

I started with a general idea of the book and was thinking about the logic flow of the stories before knowing the exact content of the story. I decided how the audience are going to experience the stories first.

Prototyping and Testing

Then I tried to fit the general way of experiencing the story onto physical objects and tried to figure out how to make that kind of experience possible.

Prototype 1

This is my first prototype and I was trying to fit all the key points in my first sketch onto each part of this piece of paper, and tried to see in what order these parts can be opened by the audience.

Prototype 2

After having a sense of the opening manner of the book, I started to match each part with the storylines and roughly built 4 lines in total.

Prototype 3

I put this idea into practice and built my 3rd prototype which is a small thumbnail book that contains all elements in the second prototype. Here is a demo showing how this book can be opened.

Prototype 4

Before building the “prototype” prototype, I made a moodboard to guide my design of the whole book. The moodboard was divided into 4 sections, each represented one branch of the storylines.

Then I started to flesh out the story of the book. At first I just jot down ideas that I wanted to show in my book and started to connect those dots. I wrote 2 sets of stories, one was based on “real” human beings and the other was a fantastic fairytale. I finally decided to use the human story.

Then I started to study about the accurate measurements of each page and digitized the layout of that book. This step is also a preparation for future laser cutting.

 

Then I put more content into the digital layout and printed it out in order to make a base of the fourth prototype.

I invited people from different cultural backgrounds to test this prototype out and I kept refining the prototype according to their feedbacks. I also took note while observing them in order to add new features into future prototypes.

 

Here is a demo of the fourth prototype.

Dummies

After being quite sure about the prototype, I started building “dummies” with card paper in separated spreads. I decided which mechanism to be included in which spread of the book first and them made “dummies” of each spread in order to test the mechanisms out. Here are a couple of examples for the “dummies” I made.

Some of the simple movable parts are shown in the videos below.

Following Steps

My next step would be designing the character and preparing other visual assets. Then I will be adding visual assets to the mechanisms and trace out the mechanisms that fit the visual assets for laser cutting. Then I should print and cut those parts out and assemble the pop-up book. More testing would be essential before the project being considered to be complete.

Susan Shi Capstone User Testing 1

The main objective of this testing is to get feedback on the storylines, also to see whether the audience  would flip through the page as I wanted them to. In addition I was trying to see whether the audience can follow my storylines.

I tested my prototype pop-up book with students from different cultural backgrounds. Before the testing, I told them the final project would be a pop-up book but for the prototype I only have texts that describe the story. Then I asked the users to freely explore the book while I was observing them and taking notes. After they finished reading the book, I would ask them about some general feedback and also some specific questions regarding to their behavior while reading the book. I also had my own questions for the users on problems I was concerned with before the testing and asked for their thoughts. The users I tested with are not exactly my target audience, but the one user who is the closest to my target audience reacted in the way closest to my expectation which can be a good sign.

I tested the rough prototype with the first user and then refined the prototype for other users. The best result from this reader is that the only ending she hated was the ending that I wanted my audience to hate. Based on her reaction and feedback, I refined my prototype by adding visual guidance like numbers and arrows, especially in different colors. Then I tested the refined prototype with other users to see their reaction.

When my users are testing the prototype, I found a couple of problems in common. Sometimes it can be hard for the users to keep track with the storylines. Thus, a progress bar can be added to each spread. One of my users recommended me to provide a “key” at the beginning to “unlock” one storyline, then at the end of that storyline, the user can get a piece of puzzle and another “key” to unlock another storyline. In this way, I might be able to guarantee that the audience can read every possibility till the end instead of starting other possibilities before finishing one.

The other problem I figured is that the positioning of the plot and the “choices” is very important. In order to avoid my audience’s confusion of whether the text is the option or the plot, I decided to write the “options” vertically in different colors so they won’t interfere with audience’s reading the plot. I can also put the “options” on a “clip” that holds the spread. Then users can open that “clip” to choose which path to follow. Before this observation, I was using “corner clips” to hold the spread and the options are largely restricted to the position of those clips.

Through observation, I noticed that the language ability largely impacted whether the reader can follow the storylines or not. Thus, now I am more certain that my book is going to be bilingual, in both English and Chinese, so it will be easier for Chinese audience to read.

There is still a problem that I don’t know how to solve, is that the audience may natural read from the top of the page when I want them to read the middle first. I tried to bold the font and change the color, but these did not work for my later users. Now I am thinking about how to “hide” things that I don’t want my users to read first, then encourage them to explore those “hidden” content.

A problem I noticed but did not bother the users was that the “puzzle” cannot easily lay flat on the table, which made it kind of hard to see the whole picture. I am thinking about adding “paper buttons” that can link 2 pieces of puzzle so they can join and the whole map can lay flat.

“Creating Immersive World Final Group Project: Escape the School” by Mercy Angela K Nantongo, Kalkidan Fekadu Eteffa, Katherine Thoma-Hilliard and Zhuoling Shi

Here is our final design document:

https://docs.google.com/a/nyu.edu/document/d/1bClSctLqMEVU5oqHCX1uYg1dN0IJR7MptdcsPuHk1XY/edit?usp=sharing

I was the game designer of the group project, which means I’m in charge of designing set ups and rules. I composed design documents, designed the set up of the building, took plenty of skybox pictures, searched for all kinds of assets in asset store or online, and creating original textures and materials which I did not do in my individual project. I also made some 3D models to serve as assets in the game view. I liked the job of designing the roles because I have the passion of making fun or funny games and I would think what I would like to have in a certain game. Making the arrangement of rooms and combining multiple rooms with multiple functions in one areas is what I am good at. I guess because of my imagination, I can put things together in a creative way. These creative arrangements could also make people feel real instead of non-realistic. I think this is very important for creating immersive experience that the design should not be predictable, but it has to be realistic.

I did not really do a good job on making 3D models. Though I enjoy the process of making them and I love spending time to make the objects look more real. However, I was not a person who is good at using softwares. After I made those models, they could not be imported into unity. I tried to use blender to change the format, but I really had no idea on how to use blender. Which was really frustrating. Searching for assets and beautifying materials was pretty fun and I loved spending time on making my own materials.

“Final Individual Project: Zombie Game” by Zhuoling Shi (Susan)

My unity refused to build either .exe file or .app file, so I cannot upload the game here.

When making this game, I really enjoyed the process of beautifying the environment. In order to make an immersive experience, much effort should be put into the artistic part. I created some texture and also selected the best assets that I want in the asset store. I wanted to have the geography more natural, but I am not satisfied with my result. I should have used photoshop to edit more and make the scene look better. I loved the sun in my previous project, but I somehow missed it by accident and I could not make a same one anymore.

The most challenging part was to code with C# language. This is a language that I have never encountered before. Since I did not know the basic knowledge of it, what I have done is to modify other codes for my own usage. Besides, there are many problems that are not obvious enough to be noticed easily, I made a lot of spelling errors and higher/lowercase errors. When these kinds of things happen, It is really hard to get anything to work. When the scripts have any error, the whole program will not run and I could not test anything in my game until I found the bug.

For the last part of the game, it was funny. The bus fall from above the player and sometimes may fall onto the playing. Because I did not make the settings properly, the bus may sometimes turnover after hitting the player. When the player is running, he can even push the bus along with him, which is ridiculous.

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Another problems was than when I adjust the font size of “You Win”, it would just disappear. Only font size of 14 could work in that.

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“Creating Immersive Worlds HW4: Playtesting” by Zhuoling Shi (Susan)

Here are the results of THE CREATIVE EXPERIENCE QUESTIONNAIRE:

PLAYTESTER # _____1____
# QUESTION YES NO
1 As a child, I thought that the dolls, teddy bears and stuffed animals that I played with were living creatures. 1
2 As a child, I strongly believed in the existence of dwarfs, elves, and other fairy tale figures. 1
3 As a child, I had my own make believe friend or animal. 1
4 As a child, I could very easily identify with the main character of a story and/or movie. 1
5 As a child, I sometimes had the feeling that I was someone else (e.g.,a princess, an orphan, etc.). 1
6 As a child, I was encouraged by adults (parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters) to fully indulge myself in my fantasies and daydreams. 1
7 As a child, I devoted my time to playing a musical instrument, dancing, acting, and/or drawing. 1
8 I spend more than half the day (daytime) fantasizing or daydreaming. 1
9 Many of my friends and/or relatives do not know that I have such detailed fantasies. 1
10 Many of my fantasies are often just as lively as a good movie. 1
11 I am never bored because I start fantasizing when things get boring. 1
12 Sometimes I act as if I am somebody else and I completely identify myself with that role. 1
13 When I recall my childhood, I have very vivid and lively memories. 1
14 I can recall many occurrences before the age of three. 1
15 When I perceive violence on television, I get so into it that I get really upset. 1
16 When I think of something cold, I actually get cold. 1

 

PLAYTESTER # _____2____
# QUESTION YES NO
1 As a child, I thought that the dolls, teddy bears and stuffed animals that I played with were living creatures. 1
2 As a child, I strongly believed in the existence of dwarfs, elves, and other fairy tale figures. 1
3 As a child, I had my own make believe friend or animal. 1
4 As a child, I could very easily identify with the main character of a story and/or movie. 1
5 As a child, I sometimes had the feeling that I was someone else (e.g.,a princess, an orphan, etc.). 1
6 As a child, I was encouraged by adults (parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters) to fully indulge myself in my fantasies and daydreams. 1
7 As a child, I devoted my time to playing a musical instrument, dancing, acting, and/or drawing. 1
8 I spend more than half the day (daytime) fantasizing or daydreaming. 1
9 Many of my friends and/or relatives do not know that I have such detailed fantasies. 1
10 Many of my fantasies are often just as lively as a good movie. 1
11 I am never bored because I start fantasizing when things get boring. 1
12 Sometimes I act as if I am somebody else and I completely identify myself with that role. 1
13 When I recall my childhood, I have very vivid and lively memories. 1
14 I can recall many occurrences before the age of three. 1
15 When I perceive violence on television, I get so into it that I get really upset. 1
16 When I think of something cold, I actually get cold. 1

 

PLAYTESTER # ____3_____
# QUESTION YES NO
1 As a child, I thought that the dolls, teddy bears and stuffed animals that I played with were living creatures. 1
2 As a child, I strongly believed in the existence of dwarfs, elves, and other fairy tale figures. 1
3 As a child, I had my own make believe friend or animal. 1
4 As a child, I could very easily identify with the main character of a story and/or movie. 1
5 As a child, I sometimes had the feeling that I was someone else (e.g.,a princess, an orphan, etc.). 1
6 As a child, I was encouraged by adults (parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters) to fully indulge myself in my fantasies and daydreams. 1
7 As a child, I devoted my time to playing a musical instrument, dancing, acting, and/or drawing. 1
8 I spend more than half the day (daytime) fantasizing or daydreaming. 1
9 Many of my friends and/or relatives do not know that I have such detailed fantasies. 1
10 Many of my fantasies are often just as lively as a good movie. 1
11 I am never bored because I start fantasizing when things get boring. 1
12 Sometimes I act as if I am somebody else and I completely identify myself with that role. 1
13 When I recall my childhood, I have very vivid and lively memories. 1
14 I can recall many occurrences before the age of three. 1
15 When I perceive violence on television, I get so into it that I get really upset. 1
16 When I think of something cold, I actually get cold. 1

 

By letting people take this test, I found the people have higher score tends to have more immersive experience. I had pretty high score myself in this test. Which means I should not trust myself in the play testing experience because I can get more immersed than others.

“(Final Backyard Project) Apollo: Environmental Music Generator, by Kadallah Burrowes and Zhuoling Shi (Susan), Instructor Daniel Mikesell

For this project, our concept was to create an environmental music generator which can read value from sensors and generate music according to the sensors.

There are 2 parts of this project: music programming and hardware processing. Kadallah was in charge of music programming and I was in charge of raspberry pi.

The equipments I used were raspberry pi 3, Grove pi+, grove air quality sensor, grove uv sensor, grove light sensor, grove temp & humi sensor, grove sound sensor and a grove LED.

I installed noobs on Raspberry pi.

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Then installed the Grovepi folder on the desktop.

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There were many other packages to be download in order to run raspberry pi with grove pi successfully.

After that I plugged in the grove and then the sensors.

I wrote some programs to read values from the sensors. The codes were modified from either wikipedia of those sensors or other tutorials.

Extra packages were needed to run the python code.

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In all the process above, the most common problem was that certain packages are needed to run certain functions, but I did not know what packages are needed. I spent 2 week on setting all these up.

After I got the sensors to work, I dowloaded the pikeyboard library in other to simulate keyboard in the program.

I set a range and if the value from a particular sensor changes out of the range, it will send out a key function.

The key function can change the content in sonic pi and change the music.

The problem that I encountered here was the music could only come out through HDMI from the monitor but could not be switched to headphone jack. I have been working for a week and tried all kinds of documentations but none of them worked. I asked Aven for help and he could not figure it out either. Days after, my boyfriend Jack B. Du came back from New York and helped me with this. He accidentally made the sound coming out of the headphone jack and default to be from headphone jack but the volume could not be changed by raspberry pi. We could not switch to HDMI in this case, either.

Another problem is that we wanted the program to run once it boots, however I only got it to run in the background and could not affect other programs. The way to fix it is to work in the command line instead of GUI. In this pi, there was no option to switch to GUI. I worked with my boyfriend and searched for plenty of tutorials and finally got the command lines.

The most serious problem in this project which caused it unable to work is that sonic pi does not have a command line interface, which means we have to use a monitor and a mouse to click on the sonic pi tab every time when it boots.

“(Final Project) Pop-Up Book: A Journey in Shanghai” by Zhuoling Shi (Susan)

Final effect:

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This is a pop-up book that I made to represent the city of Shanghai. When you open it up, all the buildings pop up. When you press the button, the lights go up. When you open up the black flip, you can see a bunch of flowers and a thank you message. When you spin the handle, my name will appear.

It cost me 2 weeks to make the project from prototyping to finishing the whole project. When I was working on this project, I have encountered so many problems.

I spent a whole week on making the oriental pearl tower. At first, I got a template of a pop-up sphere online. 3D Snow Ball Template

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I was pretty satisfied with the shape, but I then found that because of its radial shape, I could not make it to support another same one above it.

Then I wanted to make a hollow sphere with interlocked pieces. Therefore I used 123D Make to generate a template.

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However, after it is cut out by a laser cutter, I found it totally impossible to lock the pieces together.

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So I checked the instruction in 123D make and it did not make any sense.

I tried to fix it on myself through Adobe Illustrator and made a file like this.

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But it turns out that due to the thickness of the paper, the shape is impossible to be formed in this way. If the size of the rings were larger, they will be assembled more easily.

Finally, I gave up the idea of making a hollow sphere and designed a solid interlocked sphere.

屏幕快照 2016-05-17 上午1.53.45

But the offset was set too large and the paper could not be tightly locked together, so I had to change the numbers and make another one.

I made 2 identical spheres with flat-formed LEDs sticked to it and made the circuit with conductive tape. The ends of the tape went through the paper and goes to the back of the base. To pull up the spheres, I used threads.

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The oriental towers was not standing exactly on the fold, I made some “box supports” that can stand as boxes when the book is opened into 90 degree. But I fully opened the book, in this way, I created 2 more folds off from the central fold.

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I did not discard the first kind of sphere, I made 2 smaller ones and created Shanghai Exhibition Center. I added a pop-up cylinder around each sphere.

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I designed all the buildings with Adobe Illustrator and sticked flat LEDs and conductive tape inside them. I also made the circuits into patterns so that they can be projected when the LEDs are lit up.

When making the Illustrator design file, I created dash lines to make it easier to fold the card. However, when the dashed lines are made in Illustrator, the laser cutter would not cut anything out. Marcela helped me edited the file in rhino and got it to work.

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When making the Jinmao Tower, the thing that I worried about most was the stair-shape of the top of the building. I combined rectangles and isosceles trapezoids, put them in sequence and fold them with mountain fold by valley fold by mountain fold… It can be folded but cannot be pulled up when the book is opened. So I added a stick that can pull back the top when the book is folded and push up the top when the book is opened.

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These 2 buildings were standing in the same way as the previous 2.

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When making the Shanghai Tower, I found it impossible to form that twisted shape. So I sticked 2 pieces with 2 different angles to make it look like twisted.

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I had a large battery box to power the LEDs, I put it at the back and I had to stick some foam to the bottom to make sure the identical thickness. I sticked black paper stripes to hide the foam.

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For the switch of the circuit, I once wanted to use nocturnal circuit to light up the LEDs when it is dark. But the transistor of the circuit could only control a circuit with 1.5 voltage, and it could not work with my circuit that needs a much higher voltage. Then I wanted to make a slider as if the city lights up with a persons control of time span, but the conductive tape could not touch each other tightly and therefore would not be conductive even if you slide the witch to where it should be able to close the circuit. I really had no other ways and I just made a paper “button”.

I got the mechanism of the iris online and made this to hide may signature and add more interaction.

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“Paper Piano Circuit” by Zhuoling Shi (Susan)

I wanted to make a paper piano combining paper circuit and makey makey with sound planet. I attached conductive tape on the back of the keys and on the base paper. The conductive tape on the back of the keys all go to ground while the tape on the base paper are connected to the according pins on makey makey. When the key is pressed, the circuit is closed and the sound planet can play the sound of that certain key. I measure very precisely that the keys would not interlock with each other and the keys would not touch conductive tapes of other keys on the base paper. I used 5 hours to make the keys and the circuit.

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However, when I was testing the circuit, it seems always to be a short circuit. Every time the ground is connected, all keys were playing. I checked all the details and asked Marianne for help but we could not find the problem. Accidentally, I put 2 alligator clips onto the paper simultaneously and the keys were playing! I decided the black paper was conductive. So I got another piece of black paper and tested it. It was conductive! Then I realized, probably the black color was made by some conductive materials which caused the paper to be conductive.

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I realized that I should have tested it when I made the first key, instead of finished the whole thing and find out it could not work.

“Automaton” by Zhuoling Shi (Susan)

The idea of my automaton was to build a dancer that can turn while jumping.

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It needs a vertical motion with a circular motion working simultaneously. So I decided to make a pair of bevel gears, one in charge of spinning, one in charge of driving the dancer up and down with a lever. So I searched for templates of bevel gears and only got this low-quality incomplete one.

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I tested it with several models and materials, I also changed the way of gluing parts together.

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I finally found out my own way of making strong paper bevel gears with good material.

Then I realized that I could not make a rod to hold the vertical gear because the lever has to move across, which made it hard to hold the wait and the correct angle. To make the gears stay at correct positions, I applied thick tape on both sides to make sure the rods would not slide. I made a tab to go through thin slots on a cylinder to make it spin while being able to go up and down. I made another piece to push the cylinder up. The cylinder can fall down on it own. But because of the tape, the piece can get stuck and won’t fall down. The box was not a box with all 6 sides, so it can shift very easily. I attached 4 stripes to hold the shape.

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The whole thing cannot work very well because of the mechanism was not precise enough and the weight balance was not good.