Experience Design : Steampunk Kisok: Blobagotchi



Development Duration : 1 week


Platform : Steampunk themed Kiosk with phidget based switches, touchscreen and display screen




Software Used : Adobe Animate, Unity


The Project : Blobagotchi is a location-based experience on a steampunk themed kiosk. Blobby is a virtual alien pet that lives inside the touch screen and it is the guests’ job to take care of it and keep it alive by providing food, play and sleep. The level of these three requirements are displayed on the screen above and should dictate the guests’ actions.




Experience Goals :

• Compel guest to feel compassion for “Blobby”

• Help guest learn how to care for Blobby

• Enable guest to explore how the space works and what is in the space


EXPERIENCE DESIGN :


Blobagotchi is the kind of experience that is on display at a museum and runs for an indefinite amount of time. Guests would be able to participate and leave at any point to keep Blobby alive.

Being a small team of 3, we shared a lot of the responsibilities, including the design. The first thing that needed to be determined while designing the experience is, what kind of interactions would the guests like to have with Blobby. Through our playtests we found that the touching mechanism is the most intuitive, therefore we added a petting function which makes Blobby laugh. It was one the most enjoyed moments from the experience along with Blobby dancing. all the other interactions as well are simple and intuitive.




Since there is no predetermined flow for the experience it was important to keep the permutations to a minimum in order to keep track of all possible scenarios. Playtesting was a big part of this process.


PROGRAMMING :


The biggest challenge while programming Blobby was anticipating and accounting for all the use cases. Different playtesters showed different intuitions and patterns while interacting with the Kiosk switches and I had to make sure there is no loophole that makes the world malfunction. For eg: At first Blobby could not perform an activity while another activity switch was turned on. This proved problematic with playtesters as they didn’t want to make the effort of turning of a switch before turning on another. For this I had to make sure that one activity could override another.

The pacing of Blobby’s vital needs was also essential. It took a lot of trial, error and testing to adjust it to the right amount.

Through these challenges and many more, I learnt a lot about programming for an experience that gives a lot of freedom to the guest and how to account for all possible scenarios.


ANIMATION :


For a come and go experience like Blobagotchi, it was important that Blobby appeals to the guests’ emotions in order to keep them engaged. His look, movements and animation needed to make the guest care for him, like a child. Due to the simplistic nature of the environment and Blobby’ design, I kept the animations simple as well. Given the time constraint, the animations couldn’t be complex but had to be effective enough.

The best part: It was a lot of fun trying to make him move like a Blob, and I got quite attached to him by the end.



Blobagotchi was quite a challenging project, given the time constraint, but it was very enjoyable too. It is non-traditional, has very few rules and just one goal. It got a lot of good feedback from our Open house Festival and people of all ages enjoyed taking care of Blobby. I am quite proud of this project, because I contributed to almost all aspects of Blobby’s journey and we achieved all of our experience goals.