Archive for Michelle Field

Bibliography – Web Resources

I used the following websites to aid me with my project’s creation:

gotoAndPlay () [Available at: http://www.gotoandplay.it/] [Viewed on: 10/01/08]

Kirupa [Avialable at: http://www.kirupa.com/] [Viewed on: 10/01/08]

Web Thang [Available at: http://www.webthang.co.uk/tuts/tuts_fmx/scott4/scott4b.asp] [Viewed on: 10/01/08] 

Further Project Development

Now that my litter game is complete I can reflect on what I think would improve my project further.  

As mentioned in a previous blog I think my game would benefit from having more levels or extended levels. This would probably be more entertaining and challenging for students and would encourage them to play the game more than once to see how far they can get and to beat their previous score.

Although I added a countdown feature to my game I noticed that the seconds count down very quickly. I would have liked to have figured out how to slow this counter down so that the time is more realistic.

I could have also included more interactive features to engage users further such as an ‘enter your name’ option before the game starts. If I had had more time I would have also liked to have included the score board which I set out to do in my proposal. This would have also contributed to the overall game’s interactivity. It would also be beneficial for me to further my skills by learning a program such as PHP as this would also be appealing to future potential employers.

Overall I was pleased with the design of my game. I aimed for it to be more professional looking than my last project. I think I achieved this, however the overall appearance and style is very simple. This is because I drew everything myself in Flash. Perhaps if I had used copyright free images or photographs from else where the overall finish would have been better.  To make my game even more user friendly and accessible I could have used sound for when each button is clicked on.

How The Project Demonstrates Experiences And Skills That Make Me Employable

Overall the project has helped me to develop my technical skills in Flash. I initially aimed to incorporate:

  • Random movement
  • Jumping movement
  • A scoring system
  • Hit testing
  • Volume control
  • Lives

I have successfully achieved all of the above. Furthermore, I have added a timer, even though I intended not to I believe this makes the game more challenging. I also had to learn additional action script including how to make the main character play an attack sequence every time space is pressed. I then had to combine this with a hit test and a variable that deducts a bit of strength away from the baddie each time it is attacked. This was accomplished through my own Flash knowledge and research skills. I think this game will provide potential employers with evidence of my advanced Flash skills as well as my capability to learn quickly and independently.  

In all, I approached my work in an organised manner, for example I have used layers and labeled them accordingly, I have saved my work regularly and I have ensured that I have a working product by week 13.   

Time efficiency was also a key aspect of the production process.  I tried to stick to my original time plan (http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc17/michelle_field/ganttchartcopy.jpg).However, I did encounter some technical difficulties along the way. And therefore had to decipher which were the most important features to include in my project and focus on getting them finished first. Therefore, decision making was essential. I decided not to include the score board as this would have required learning PHP which would have been impossible to do within the time limit. From this experience I have learnt the importance of planning and I believe in the future I will be able to decipher what is achievable within the given time period. 

Overall I have learnt the importance of research, planning, time and organisation. I have also advanced my Flash skills which will be appealing to future employers. In addition, I have recognise how it is important to set yourself aims throughout the entire process. It is also vital to acknowledge who your target audience is and consider their wants and needs throughout as at the end of the day in a professional environment it is the users that will determine a product’s success. For example my creative design and layout was done with my target audience in mind.

Accessibility

When creating my game I have considered accessibility issues throughout. For example I have: 

  • Used keyboard control alternatives (e.g. Play = “P”, Next = “N”).
  • Considered the colour blind. This was achieved using etre’s Colour Blindness Simulator (found at:  http://www.etre.com/tools/colourblindsimulator/). I took a screen shot of each of my Flash pages and saved them as JPEGS. I then used the simulator to test how these images appear to users with a variety of colour blindness conditions (protanopia, dueteranopia and tritanopia).
  • Used clear large text (Pump Demi Bold LET and Ariel Black).
  • Used the Flash accessibility feature on all movie clips, buttons etc.

Usability Testing

I have now reached the final stages of the production process. After the projects completion I tested my product on the target audience, which is students, this could refer to a number of ages, however I have decided to focus on teenagers. I selected 5 members of this user category and asked them to perform the following tasks: 

1)     Locate the litter fact’s page.

2)     Locate the game’s instructions page.

3)     Play the game.

4)     Find out how well you did in terms of your overall score.

5)     After playing the game return to the main menu. 

In addition to the above tasks they were also asked to comment on their experience in terms of how easy it was to locate things and navigate through the product as well as their thoughts about the overall design and layout. It was also important for me to recognise if the participants came across any mistakes in terms of the way in which the product has been technically constructed. In addition I wanted to know whether my product was suitable for their age range, if they enjoyed the experience, if it would make them think about littering issues and whether they would recommend a friend to use my product.  

Usability testing is beneficial as it allows me to make any final improvements. The following are some of the alterations I made as a result of my testing: 

  • I originally only had a ‘next’ button on the litter facts section meaning that users had to go to the last page of this section to go back to the main menu. This seemed to have a negative impact on navigation. Therefore I have now added a ‘back’ button on each page as well as a ‘main menu’ button at the end (http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc17/michelle_field/litter%20game/litterfactscopy.jpg).
  • Some of the buttons contained a different colour text to others which seemed to confuse people with what was buttons and what was not. I have now made all the buttons the same colour and style and altered the rollover effect to make it even clearer for users.
  • It also seemed that there was not enough time (count down) for participants to finish the game. The time has now been extended.

 Overall people thought the colour scheme and design worked well and was suitable for their age group. But after a couple of goes they believe they would get bored. As I will later discuss, if I had more time I would have added more levels, which would have become harder as you progress through them. 

I have now reached week 9 of the production process. This week I aim to:  

  • Complete the main character’s movement (e.g. attacking action when Enter is pressed, keypress movement etc)
  • Complete baddie movement (random movement).
  • Perform simple collision detection between the baddie and the main character which should result in life deduction.
  • Perform collision detection between the baddie and a piece of rubbish which will result in an increase in the score variable.

 By week 10 I aim to: 

  • Began to insert the litter facts into the game.
  • Have completed level one on a basic level and commenced level two.
  • This includes drawing the background and inserting platforms in which the character can jump onto to. (this will also involve collision detecting).
  • Collision detecting for the game barriers, so the characters cannot walk through walls.

 By week 11 I aim to: 

  • Complete level 2 on a basic level and commence level 3.
  • This will involve making the game harder by increasing baddie speeds.

 By week 12 I aim to: 

  • Have completed all 3 levels.
  • Begin to tidy the levels up and see if there is room for improvement.
  • Finish off introduction, instructions page etc
  • Think about incorporating sound.

  By week 13: 

  • The game should function properly.
  • Test the game.
  • Final alterations.

Commencing my Product

To aid me with my project management I have carried out a number of exercises including a SWOT and PEST analysis and I have constructed a Gantt chart to aid me with my time management. which can be found at: http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc17/michelle_field/ganttchartcopy.jpg

Below I have carried out a SMART analysis:

1.      Specific – Objectives

·        I want to create a game in Flash that is suitable for the target audience (youngsters).

·        I want it to be entertaining as well as educational.

·        It should positively contribute to the Cheltenham community by encouraging littering prevention.

·        It should demonstrate any new Flash skills that I have acquired and reflect my overall ability.

·        The game should technically function correctly.

·        The overall design should look professional and should be of a high standard.

·        Meet the deadline.

2.      Measurable – Measure whether you are meeting the objectives or not.

·        I will create a time table to ensure that I meet specific targets.

·        Usability testing will reflect whether it suits the target audience and if it works correctly.

3.      Attainable – Are the objectives achievable?

I believe my objectives are achievable as I already know the basics of Flash and I should be able to learn the rest via books and tutorials.

4. Realistic – Can you realistically achieve the objectives with the resources you have?

I have the correct software including Flash MX and Photoshop which will aid me in the products creation. I will be able to research facts and figures on the Internet.

5. Time

The product deadline is 18th January; therefore I will construct a time table to ensure that I meet specific targets by certain dates.  

        

Michelle Field – Developed Proposal

Please note that the appendices are only visable in my printed version. 

Introduction 

I have thought about my final project in greater detail and I have finalised my ideas. I will create a game aimed at teenagers informing them of the growing concerns of littering. It seems youths are the problem age range according to ENCAMS who run the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. My product aims to encourage users to think about the way in which they contribute to littering and hopefully they will respond by preventing future littering amongst themselves and their peers. 


Project Focus 

I have decided to focus on the area of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. My reason for this is because they have already raised the concern for substantial amounts of rubbish in this area. Furthermore, The Don’t Rubbish campaign has been established by the Tidy Cheltenham Group (http://www.tidycheltenham.co.uk/). The site as it stands is very factual with elements such as recent news taking place. However, the site lacks interactivity. In addition, they state that their main concern is with school kids and students however there seems to be no elements to entice this age category to the site. Therefore my game will address this. I could also consider entering their competition where you can submit material that you think would aid their campaign and target youths. 


The Game

The game’s levels will be constructed around a number of locations in which are typical for littering such as a street, a park and a lake (appendix 1). The game will be called Litter Man. The objective will be to travel around the game area collecting items of rubbish. Different types of litter will give you a different amount of points. For example, crisp packets will be one, cans two and bottles three points. The main player will be able to move horizontally as well as have the ability to jump onto roofs and other objects. This will be controlled by the arrows on the keyboard. I have decided that I probably will not include a time limit; instead there will be a specific location that the main player will have to reach in order to complete a level. However, there will be baddies (litter droppers) that will try to intercept you therefore you will have to hit them with your litter picker. This will be achieved by using the enter button on the keyboard. If you get intercepted by a baddie a life will be deducted from your original three lives. After each level has been completed a litter fact will appear, this will remind users of the game’s purpose as well as educate them. As you progress through each level it will become harder (e.g. more baddies), in order to make it more challenging. I will also include a score board where components will be able to enter their name and see where their score lies in relation to others. In all, I wish for the game to provide an interactive experience for players.   

Design
 

The game itself will be played from a side view. The design will take on a cartoon approach and colour will be used throughout in order to appeal to the target audience. I will draw the game’s two-dimensional setting in Flash (appendix 2). However, the introduction page will have a photograph of a bin surrounded by litter for its background. This will be faded slightly so that the text is clear and easy to read. Other litter related photos will be used in the litter facts pages between each level. The score, lives and volume control will be positioned at the bottom of the game area which is stereotypical of many games and therefore will create familiarity for users.


Technical & Professional Objectives
 

To achieve my technical objectives such as to challenge myself by using more advanced elements of Flash I will be incorporating features such as: random movement, jumping movement, a complex scoring system, hit testing as well as other aspects of actionscirpt that I may find useful. The whole experience will be a learning process. The random movement will be within a set area for each baddie and I may also apply collision detection as I do not want them going through objects, such as houses. I also hope to experiment more with sound, for example by incorporating a volume control, which will advance my skills from my previous project where I had a mute button. This will be used for the background music. In addition, I want the overall style and design of the game to appear professional, as I feel this is an area I need to improve in. Researching the essential technical skills that I need is vital. I will be using sites that contain tutorials some in which I have mentioned in previous blogs. Time efficiency and planning will also be an essential professional skill. In order to achieve these things I will be required to careful set myself deadlines.


Similar Games
 

  • Recycle Rangers: this game is aimed at children, however it is very basic for example there is only one type of rubbish to collect. Furthermore it only contains one level. The overall experience does not seem very interactive or fun.
  • Litter Hunt: Again this only has one level. It is very simple and you get bored quickly. It is probably aimed at younger children.
  • Tidy man: A more complex game which sets you an objective for the amount of litter you must collect. There are also lives and more than one level. However, you have to use the mouse to move, which is slightly irritating and less accessible. The overall function of the game differs from my intentions. Furthermore, my game also aims to educate with factual information.


Accessibility
 

Accessibility will be considered throughout the product’s creation. I will be using keyboard controls, sound will be able to be altered and I will also ensure I do not use colours such as red and green together. Text will be in a large, clear, bold style for visibility reasons. Furthermore, I will use the accessibility option in Flash to help distinguish graphics, movies and other elements such as buttons on the stage area. 


Usability
 

When I have completed my game I will test the product on at least 5 members of the target audience. This will make me aware of any technical problems as well as any suggestions for improvement in both the design and the actual playing of the game.


Conclusion
 

Overall I think that if my targets are met I will end up with a game that will successfully aid Cheltenham’s litter campaign and the most problematic age group. I hope to create a product that challenges me both technically and professionally. The final product should be able to clearly demonstrate my progress and I should therefore be able to show it to future employers or even clients.


Bibliography
 

ENCAMS (2004) [Online] Youth Litter 2004 [Available at:  http://www.encams.org/campaigns/main.asp?pageid=36&sub=30 ] [Viewed on: 01/11/07]

 Litter Hunt [Online] [Available at: http://www.epa.state.il.us/kids/fun-stuff/litter-hunt/] [Viewed on: 01/11/07] 

Recycle Rangers [Online] [Available at: http://www.recyclingrangers.co.uk/littergame.htm] [Viewed on 01.11.07]


Tidy Cheltenham Group [Online] Don’t Rubbish Cheltenham [Available at: http://www.tidycheltenham.co.uk/] [Viewed on: 01/11/07]


Tidy Man [Online] [Available at:
http://www.encams.org/funzone/tidyman_preload.html] [Viewed on: 01/11/07]

   

Michelle Field – Proposal Draft

The following points set out my initial idea for my final Flash project:  

  • I will create a game which will be: aimed at teenagers, informative about littering concerns, persuasive and help prevent future littering.

  • Could be made for the Cheltenham area, who has already established a campaign which can be found at http://www.tidycheltenham.co.uk/. My game will aid there objectives in helping to keep the area tidy and will attract further use of the site by providing an interactive feature.

  • The Game: As the main player it will be your objective to collect as much rubbish as possible by moving horizontally and vertically (by jumping) across the game area, which will be a street. Different rubbish types will score you different amounts of points. You will also have a time limit in which to complete each level. Baddies (litter droppers) will try to intercept you, in which you must escape them by hitting them with your litter picker. In between each level will be a fact on littering. I may also include a score board feature and consider any additional interactive elements.

  • My technical objectives will be met as I will be incorporating new aspects of Flash into my work such as: random movement, time limits, a complex scoring system, jumping movement and other aspects of actionscirpt, in which I have not done before. I also hope to experiment more with sound for example by incorporating a volume control which will advance my skills from my previous project. In addition, I want the overall style and design of the game to appear professional in terms of its visual appearance, as I feel this is an area I need to improve in. Time efficiency and planning will also be essential. In order to achieve these things I will be required to carry out research and shall need to find out how to technically create certain aspects. This can be done on a number of Flash aid sites that I have mentioned in my previous blogs.
     

  • The overall design will be based on a cartoon approach to appeal to the target audience. Therefore colour will be used throughout. I will use keyboard controls as this best accounts for accessibility.
     

  • Similar products that already exist: 1) http://www.recyclingrangers.co.uk/littergame.htm the game is aimed at children, however it is very simple and only contains one level and there is only one type of rubbish to collect. The overall experience is not very interactive or fun. 2) A different kind of game can be found at: http://www.epa.state.il.us/kids/fun-stuff/litter-hunt/ which again only has one level and is very simple probably aimed at younger children. 3) A more complex game can be found at: http://www.encams.org/funzone/tidyman_preload.html .This has a set amount of litter you must collect as well as a number of lives and more than one level. With this game you have to use the mouse to move around which slightly irritating and less accessible. The overall game movement and layout is different to my aims. Furthermore my game aims to educate with factual information incorporated into the game. However these products may provide me with inspiration for my own work.

  • When completed I will test the product on the potential target audience.  

Michelle Field – Random Movement

In the development of my Flash knowledge I have decided to research how to do random movement using action script. I have previously made a game where the enemies move along a set path, therefore this time I wish to advance my skills and make the game more challenging to players using unpredictable movement.The following takes you through the process for random movement in Flash MX:

1) Open a new Flash document.

2) Set the stage area to 300 x 200 pixels. At this point you may also wish to draw in the stage boundaries, for example by using the rectangle tool.

3) Set the frame rate to 25 secs.

4) Draw a circle (the object in which you wish to move) using the tool box.

5) Select the circle and convert it into a movie clip by right clicking on it and selecting convert to symbol, then select movie clip.

6) Select the movie clip and add the following code into the actions box (where // is present this is additional information about each section):

onClipEvent (load) {

//data you may want to change depending on stage size
width = 300;
height = 200;
//You can increase the speed by increasing the numbers and vice versa 
speed = Math.round(Math.random()*2)+1;
//initial positions and new ending positions
x = this._x=Math.random()*width;
y = this._y=Math.random()*height;
x_new = Math.random()*width;
y_new = Math.random()*height;
}
onClipEvent (enterFrame) {

//x horizontal movement 1 being right and -1 being left
if (x_new>this._x) {

sign_x = 1;
} else {
sign_x = 1;
}
dx = Math.abs(x_newthis._x);
if ((dx>speed) || (dx<-speed)) {

this._x += sign_x*speed;
} else {
x_new = Math.random()*width;
}
//y vertical movement
if (y_new>this._y) {

sign_y = 1;
} else {
sign_y = 1;
}
//handles the speed throughout 
dy = Math.abs(y_newthis._y);
if ((dy>speed) || (dy<-speed)) {

this._y += sign_y*speed;
} else {
y_new = Math.random()*height;
}
}

7) Now you can view it by pressing Ctrl and Enter.

This information was gained from:
http://www.kirupa.com/developer/actionscript/random_motion.htm 
which will also be useful for a more detailed version of the above.

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