Week #4: Translating Affordance

Part 1: Ideation

This is an interesting assignment, because I typically feel like the opposite is done, where prototyping is done with physical designs and then translated to digital. I know for this assignment, I wanted to remake a video game/mobile app, and I decided to translate Flow Free, which is a free mobile app game. This game despite being simple, managed to waste hours of my time during high school.  It is a simple puzzle game where you connect colors without the lines overlapping. 

Main Affordances:

For Line Puzzle I focused on the main gameplay, and how the user plays the game. The main goal of the game is to create lines from one point to the other point matching the colors and not having lines crossover. The player can drag from a color and create a line through the grid based board. The player can also undo lines drawn, by dragging the end point back. The way I thought of that could accurately recreate this playstyle was to create a wooden grid board and use yarn to "draw" the lines from one point to another. On each "tile" there would be a wooden stick in the center. This would allow for the "line" to turn while still going through the tile.  Each color would be represented by yarn of its corresponding color. The starting point of the color will have the yarn wheel, and the end point will have a clamp with the same color. 

This game despite being simple, managed to waste hours of my time during high school. 

Next Steps:

Part 2: Prototyping

To recreate the Line Puzzle mobile app, I thought of creating a board with a 6x6 grid. I considered different materials for the board, but ultimately decided one a wooden board because of its durability and longevity. These were the materials I used (mostly bought from Michael's)

I bought a 12 x 12 (wasn't exactly 12 x 12 by the way) wooden board at the MakerSpace. Because the board was not exactly 12 x 12, it made measuring out the grids into even measurements a little more difficult. But after doing some math, I measured the grids out with pencil. After I was satisfied with the spacing and size, I traced over the grid lines in sharpie.

For the "color lines" I decided to use yarn and a yarn wheel. I bought a pack of yarn that contained multiple colors, and 2 packs of yarn wheels (each containing 4 wheels).  I roughly measured how much yarn was needed for the worse pathing possible, which would be to go through every grid on the board. After the length was measured, I hot glued the yarn onto the wheel, and then started to roll it up. Then I made a small loop (a little over one cm in diameter) at the end of the yarn and crazy glue-d the knot just to make sure the know would not come undone. This also ended up having an additional benefit in that the loop became a bit more rigid, making it easier to wrap the peg with. 

The thin round wooden stick was about 3ft in length and about 1cm in diameter. (I had to break it into three so that it could fit in my bookbag). I marked this into 36 one inch sections and cut and sanded the ends. These would become the pegs that would be glued onto the board on each grid. 

I tried using a saw and a knife to cut the wooden stick, but it was slow and wasn't a clean cut. My dad gave this cutter and I'm not sure what it's called but it made the entire cutting process a breeze. 

The next step was to create the "end points" for each color. For these I wanted to use thin wooden circles. I did find some at Michaels, but they were too thin and would've snapped in have had I tried to drill a small hole in the center. So I just used rigid paper and colored it. I didn't glue these onto the board, that way it would allow the board to be changed every time and offer a new "level".

From here the translation was pretty complete already. I assembled the board with the pieces and tried a level. It was fully playable and changeable, and 'm happy with the final product.