Monday, February 7, 2011

Is that the sound of learning?

I kinda dilly-dallied with this one. I spent some time thinking about my Scratch project and came up with a few ideas one, which I plan on carrying out, would incorporate narrative elements with interactivity and player choices - more on this at a later stage. But with time not being on my side I had to simplify the design process and come up with a project that would incorporate my goals of exploring choice, learning and interactivity. So we have The Music Zen Garden.

My initial plan was to develop a musical piece that would have a looping soundtrack (created in Garage Band - since I am not a professional composer) that players could interact with by playing piano keys using their keyboard to either keep up with the beat or deter from it altogether. But when I drew out the display the interaction just wouldn't support the idea; would users need to be trained in music in order to able to play this game and if they weren't then how steep would the learning curve have to be before they could contribute to this interaction. Simplicity was the key here; the simpler the input the more users would feel inclined to contribute. So I took a step back and plugged in my iPod to listen to some tunes before starting on the project again and I imagined myself sitting near one of the graffiti pieces I photographed around B-Town (I made a hobby out of finding these tags - some of the best I've seen in the MidWest I might add). And it struck that music and mood are interlinked and as such I thought that the musical input should contribute to the mood of the non-playing character (NPC) on screen. The more you play the happier they are and the less you play the less happy their mood becomes.

I must admit that its applications in the classroom seem very limited so far since what I am trying to explore is very subjective question - what makes us happy, how do we sustain this mood and would we continue to sustain if we had a choice. There were some debugging issues in the scripting of the interaction, in particular linking the input of the keys with the change in costumes. Luckily Prof Pepler came to my rescue by suggesting the use of variables, which I had not explored at the time.

I have to say that this project aside I am really excited about Scratch and the possibilities it holds (after spending a couple of hours looking at sample projects) and I hope to create something stronger for my second foray into this programming tool.


  1. I'd love to see the project. Did you upload it to Scratch?

  2. Siya,

    Please either post the Scratch project and link to it, or embed it into your post. Let me know if you have any questions doing this! Thanks!

  3. Please reflect on the new guiding question for this week and next week’s readings: “What’s ‘new’ about new media”? Is your Scratch project an example of new media? If so, how so? If not, why not?