This project is carried out for Museum Catharijne Convent as my bachelor graduation project.
Museum Catharijne Convent has the mission to protect and reveal Dutch Christian heritage. For primary school children the museum offers the Feest!Weetwatjeviert exhibition. The Feest!Weetwatjeviert exhibition features several interactive installations that learns primary school children about Christian holidays and celebrations.
A new interactive installation had to be designed for this exhibition. This installation has to teach children – between the age of 8 to 12 – some things about the ten commandments that Moses received and wrote on two stone tablets. Above this installation an artwork with Moses will be placed.
Therefore an interactive game concept had to be developed that is both challenging, entertaining and educative for the children and keeps them occupied for five minutes.
The aspects of entertainment, challenge and education are enhanced by applying learn trough play – educative entertainment – theory. Tangible interaction is used to enhance the game experience. Using short iterations of rapid prototyping many game concepts are explored, proposed to the client and elaborated.
The game concept that is fully elaborated for this project in collaboration with the client, is about helping Moses to carry the heavy stone tablets up the mount Sinai and ultimately about averting evil by using the Commandments on the stone tablets. This game concept- which is now called Commandment Utopia – has been developed into a mock-up, an Wizard of Oz prototype, a functioning prototype, and a final installation design mock-up. The installation is thus not yet developed on a level that is suitable for placement in the Feest!Weetwatjeviert exhibition but the final installation design mock-up shows how the installation would look like of it is.
This graduation project has been rewarded a grade 9.
Game concept elaboration
Helping Moses to carry the heavy stone tablets at the mount Sinai is represented by sliding a ‘heavy’ screen over a slope. Sliding the screen thus requires some physical effort. The slope depicts ten panels with the Ten Commandments written on it. The slider screen reveals additional information when hovering over these commandments. This information is needed to answer ten corresponding questions. Answering questions is necessary because meanwhile earth is being attacked from ten ‘anti-commandments’ – evil in our world. An enclosure around the installation shows ten animations that depict the consequences of this evil in the world. The attack on earth is initiated from under these animations. To avert this attack and thus banish evil from earth, – creating Utopia – the Ten Commandments are used. The Ten Commandments are represented by ten discs that can be dragged to the outlines of the earth in order to prevent the attacking objects from reaching earth. In order to do this, the commandment discs must be unlocked first by answering the questions. Each question unlocks one of the commandment discs. When the world is fully surrounded by the Ten Commandment discs, evil can’t reach earth anymore and Utopia is created. The children have to do this within five minutes. This is pointed out by a countdown timer to induce excitement and challenge.
Playtest and result
The playtest with the Wizard of Oz prototype indicated that – even in a premature state – this installation complies with the aims of this project as established in the research questions and the requirements. However the test was very small and therefore somewhat inconclusive, it turned out, the children liked the game experience very much. They seemed immersed and excited. Probably enhanced by the countdown timer. Therefore can be concluded that this installation concept answers the research questions. Further elaboration into a functioning prototype and final installation design mock-ups proved to be satisfactory for the client. The extent to which the installation is capable of conveying information about the Ten Commandments could not be tested yet. The other test results along with the theory behind educative entertainment are an indication that this aim will be complied with as well. Based on the premature state of the game concept prototypes, some recommendations for future work to actually realize the installation are done. This includes a work sequence format, interface design proposals, extensive constructions drawings, a discussion of all components of the installation and a cost analysis.
I have been asked to stay involved and assist on further elaboration of the project to get it finished. I did a short lecture on this project and gamification at the 2015 Hands-on Conference of the International Association of Childrens Museums in in Amsterdam.