Saturday, April 28, 2012

Photos and Stories from the Project Showcase

Last Monday was the Project Showcase for my seminar at the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. It was held in Cardinal Hall at the L. A. Pittenger Student Center at Ball State University. We had three partitioned areas for the showcase. Guests arrived on the Terrace, where we had ample refreshments including cheese, crackers, crudités, meatballs, iced tea, and root beer floats. The sunlight streaming in through the windows was wonderful, although it also made the photos not come out so well.

In the next room, we had ten stations set up for people to play the beta of Museum Assistant: Design an Exhibit. Eight laptops were arranged on tables along the wall, and on either end, workstations were attached to the very large televisions on the side walls.

The plan was that this room would also hold six displays of physical artifacts that were created during the course of the semester. These artifacts include sketches, prototypes, posters, and other miscellany. However, as we set up this space, we realized that there would not be enough room for the demo stations and the displays, and so we moved them into the presentation area.

This presentation area had about 150 chairs facing a stage, and flanking the stage were two projection screens. The artifact displays ran along the sides of the two seating areas.

Stage left
Stage right
Here are close-ups of the six display boards.

Logos, hand-drawn room art, and screenshots of finished art
Room and character sketches
Concept art, screenshots, and excerpts from our design document
Mostly physical prototypes of our game, along with some storyboards.
At the top is the poster that was presented at the Computer Science Spring Banquet and the Butler University Undergraduate Research Conference. Below, concept art, storyboards, and bagged prototypes.
At the top is the poster created for the Ball State University Student Symposium. Below is the final physical prototype for Build a Museum, the primary contender to Mystery at the Museum. The latter was chosen and evolved into Museum Assistant: Design an Exhibit.

Posted along the right side of the room was a replica Scrum board along with a brief description of how it would be used. Our actual Scrum board was much larger.

I did not get any shots of the whole room, but here's one taken from the edge of the seats during set up. Immediately to my left is another projection screen.

Five of the twelve team members spoke during the presentation. We rehearsed several times at the VBC, and they rehearsed once in this space as well. I walked in during this rehearsal and caused a bit of a ruckus, partially to help them realize that distractions are unpredictable and partly just to mess with them. During the actual presentation, as soon as Josh started, every baby in the room started crying. He was well prepared!

There were about a hundred people in attendance, and the presentation was very well received. There were just a few questions at the end, and then we encouraged attendees to enjoy the food, drinks, displays, and the game.

One of the best parts of the evening was being able to meet the friends and family of my students. We have become an intimate group: spending fifteen weeks in close quarters with twelve other people inevitably results in many shared stories about family and friends. It was great to be able to shake some hands and especially to thank parents for their part in grooming this great team.

In case you missed the announcement or any of the links above, the game went live yesterday, and you can check it out at Enjoy!

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