Make Your Solution: Developing Ideas

Now that we have defined our problem and written our design brief, it is time to start coming up with some ideas!

Design Specifications

First, we need to develop the design specifications for your product. This process will be a little different from what we have done in the past because our end result will be something that we can physically hold in our hands, as opposed to something that just lives in the digital realm.

You may want to divide your design specs into different categories, such as Form, Function and Aesthetics. You may also want to further divide your specs into Required: Must Have and Desirable: It Would Be Nice If.

Possible Ideas

A concept sketch of a cherry pitting maching

Once you have your specs, it is time to start sketching some design ideas. On sheets of A4, sketch your possible concepts for your product. Try to show your concept in action or in situ so that others can get an idea of what you are trying to accomplish. These sketches do not need to include dimensions or other details like that, but you should include some notes or annotations to help explain what you are thinking. Each sketch and annotation should take up at least half of an A4 sheet of paper.

Choosing the Best Idea

Now that you have a range of ideas to choose from, which one do you choose? How do you determine which one is best? Feedback from others is a good idea, as is referring back to your design specifications. It’s also important to think about what is actually feasible for your to model in TinkerCad and whether or not it will print successfully. (Remember all those articles about failed prints and what we can learn from them?) Your task in this section is to explain how you decided on your final choice.

Detailed Planning Sketch

Once you have chosen your final design choice, it is time to create a detailed planning sketch. This will be different from your initial concept sketch because it will use a specific style of drawing (three-view drawing) and must be drawn to scale. It must also include the actual dimensions of your design.

Before you begin, we can use these samples to see the relationship between the 3D drawing and the three-view drawing of different objects.

Preparing to Succeed

Be sure to refer to the TSC as you go. The current deadline for this is the week of April 21st. That gives you 4 weeks to work on this in class (~200 minutes) plus homework time (~60 – 80 minutes). You will submit this to TurnItIn in hard copy at the end of class on the deadline day. In the meantime, your work should be in your shared Google Drive folder.

Generating and Selecting Ideas for our Games

Now that we have completed the initial inquiry and analysis for our educational game design, it’s time to turn our attention to developing ideas.

[What’s that you say? Initial inquiry and analysis? Yes. Initial. Remember, as you go through this process, you will undoubtedly need to do more research to help with your creation. This should be documented in your process journal and used in the appropriate sections of your work!]

To help with this development of ideas, let’s break it down into four stages:

Stage 1 – Design Specifications

Design specs, according to the MYP, are “a set of considerations, constraints and requirements for a solution: what the solution must or must not have to be successful. A specification is not a description of the outcome.” It is important that the specs are written well as they will be used throughout the rest of the project. Good design specs are specific, measurable, realistic and testable. Some (but maybe not all!) factors to consider when writing your design specs for this project are:

Aesthetics – Consider appearance, style, colour, shape/form, texture, pattern, finish, layout.

Customer – Who it is for? What is the target user’s age, gender, socio-economic background?

Function – What it must do? What is its purpose? Where will the product be stored? How easily can it be used/maintained?

Creation – What resources are available for you to use? Are there limitations as to how this can be created? How much time is needed to create the design?

Remember: specific, measurable, realistic and testable.

Stage 2 – Developing a Range of Ideas

To help us create a range of ideas, you need to write elevator pitches for each of your possible design ideas. This “pitch paragraph” tells the story of your game in a brief manner. Some questions that might help you to write this are:

  • What is the setting?
  • How is it played?
  • What is the objective of the game?
  • What will the user do?
  • What will the user learn?

Ideally, each of your pitches will create different scenarios rather than just change some minor details. These pitches should be able to give others a reasonable vision of what your game might be like. A good pitch will also include another paragraph that gives more details and/or explains why you are including different aspects in your pitch. This second paragraph should not be part of the explanation of the game but rather an explanation of your thinking.

Stage 3 – Making Your Choice

Since you have more than one possible design, how will you choose which one to create? If you immediately started thinking “design specification!”, you’re right! For this part of the process, you should justify your choice of final design by comparing your designs against the design specs you wrote earlier. To be done thoroughly, each design should be compared against all the specs to help you make your choice. This should also include some feedback from others about your designs. Ideally this would be part of your target audience but could also be from classmates, family members, etc.

Stage 4 – Detailed Planning

Now that you have chosen your final design, you need to add details to your elevator pitch idea. This is going to be done in the form of storyboards. You should have at least three different storyboard panels for this game:

  • the Start screen
  • at least one panel of game play
  • the Game Over screen

A thorough example of these storyboards will include not only the picture, but a narrative description of what is happening, annotations of the sample screen to provide more explanation, and a list of the requirements (sprites, backgrounds, music, sound effects, etc.) that are envisioned for that stage of play.

All of this will be submitted in a single document but you may wish to do some of the work in your process journal and then transfer it over to your final copy. You can use these TSCs to help guide your work.

The Design Brief, Design Specs and Product Test

We’ve explored using Scratch as well as some existing educational games on Scratch.

We’ve had a chance to interview the kindergarten students to get an idea of what they are like and what they are learning.

These are both important stages of our research. Now it is time to write up the Design Brief, the Design Specs and the Product Test. All combined, these things will make up your Investigation and will be assessed on Criterion A.

The Design Problem and Design Brief

Here is an excellent resource that describes the purpose of the design problem and the design brief. After reading through the resource, write down what you feel the design problem and design brief are for this unit. Be sure to include appropriate information from our research (Scratch tutorials, discussions on game design, interviews with kindy students) in your work.

Design Specifications

The design specifications are a list of requirements that your design ideas should fulfill as well as a list of constraints that you need to be mindful of. Your design specifications should not limit your ability to design or create your final product. They should help you identify things such as your intended audience, the objective of your solution (what will it accomplish?), details about the finished product, and the intended usage of your final product. Your design specs should be divided into three categories: Required (“My design must…”), Desirable (“It would be nice if…”), and Constraints (“My design cannot…”).

Product Test

How will you test your final product against your design specifications? How will you test how effective your final product is at solving the design problem you identified? You need to think about these measures of success now so that you can objectively evaluate your product at the end of this project.

These three things make up the Investigation stage of your project. This needs to be written up and submitted to Veracross. It will then be assessed and you will have the opportunity to resubmit it if you like.

MYP Design and Technology
Discovery College MYP Technology