Challenge

How might augmented reality help us explore and test the bonds we share with others?

Solution

Brick is a 2-player AR game that enriches human relationships through challenge, collaboration, and mutual discovery.

Verizon Open Innovation brings partners, product ideas, insights, and talent to Verizon's 5G ecosystem. We are creating a game that will allow Verizon to explore the intersection of augmented reality and the intimate interpersonal.

1. Design Goals

We filtered down the expanse of the intimate interpersonal into four discrete goals.

laughter

A relaxed, light-hearted atmosphere fosters intimacy.

communication

Stronger communication leads to deeper bonds between partners.

arousal

A spike in heart rate increases the partner's perceived attractiveness.

collaboration

Collaborative tasks contribute toward building resilient relationships.

2. Our Concept

In the game, players work individually and together to complete a pattern before time runs out.

mobile AR

Brick is an augmented reality game designed for devices compatible with ARCore.

two players

The game requires two mobile phones—a host and a client.

game play

Players see a pattern with empty slots. They must complete the pattern before time runs out. The timer is shown on the top-left of the screen.

interactions

Players collect bricks and place them in the appropriate slots.

win condition

Each player is responsible for bricks of the two colors assigned to them. The color assignments are shown on the top-right of each screen.

collaboration

Some bricks, such as the one on the left, are collected individually. Others, such as the one on the right, must be collected collaboratively.

adversity

During the game, a bomb might appear in the pattern. The players must work together to defuse the bomb.

3. Refining the Microinteractions

We are currently interating on interactions for picking up and dropping off individual pieces.

pick up

Players pick up pieces by tapping them with a finger and holding the finger down.

release

Players release pieces by lifting their finger.

successful drop off

When a piece is dropped off close to an appropriate slot, it drifts into place automatically.

4. Our Process

We used the Tandem Transformational Game Design process to create Brick.

Tandem Design was developed by a group of game designers at Carnegie Mellon University. It is an iterative process that alternates between research and design throughout the development process. Here's a diagram showing the workflow:

Early on, we conducted a Round Robin brainstorm to come up with the game mechanics for Brick.

We used the ideas from our brainstorm to create a game diagram for brick.

The game diagram formed the basis upon which we developed and iterated on our idea.

Then, we began prototyping the game in low fidelity.

We developed prototypes to investigate the influence of varying colors, shapes, and both colors and shapes, on game diffculty.

We conducted multiple rounds of playtests in low fidelity.

In this playtest, sticky notes were used as bricks to complete a pattern set up on a wall.

The Art of Playtesting

Here are some good questions to ask during a playtest (adapted from Shawn Patton's work at Schell Games):

to throw

What was the most frustrating moment or interaction?

to keep

What was the most delightful moment or interaction?

to add

What was something you wanted to do but couldn't?

wish list

If you had a magic wand, what would you change about the game?

5. Current Status

Brick is currently being developed and playtested in high fidelity. Stay tuned!

As project lead, I am leading the design and development of Brick. The team also incudes K. Jadhav, Y. Jo, and R. Nath.