Assignment #2 - Part A : Addictive Game and Project Idea Mash Up


Individual assignment


You are to complete this assignment without discussing it with any other students in the class or any prior students in the class.


Part 1 (one page):

Select one of the addictive games from this list of addictive games that you find personally addictive: Cut the Rope, Farmville, Tetris, Boggle, Words with Friends, Orbital, Bejeweled, Touch Physics, Anodia, Peggle, Little Wings, Flight Control, Sodoku, Where's the Pixel, Dots, Drop7, Subway Surfers, Clash of Clans, Real Racing 3, Clash Royale, Hill Climb Racing, Pokemon Go, There is No Game, or Infinity Loop.

In the spirit of the class reading on Angry Birds (by Mauro) and the other readings from Class 4, and the class discussion on DragonBox, perform a "cognitive teardown" of the game you selected. Make a half-page bullet list concisely indicating what makes the game addictive. For each point you make, you must reference one of the topics labeled in the papers (see red markings such as C1, C2, T1, M1, etc. that are noted in the PDFs of the articles that are linked from the syllabus). In short, you are justifying the points you make with the articles.


Primarily focus on interaction. Do not simply say the game has "nice graphics" or "engaging music" or is "easy to use."Rather, think harder about what aspects make you think those things that are different from other programs as the readings do, and identify which concepts in the readings apply. Being specific about what aspects of the interaction design makes it great is important, and using the articles will help you to do that. Think as deeply as you can about the game and topics such as how it balances challenge and reward at different levels (often simultaneously), learnability, user mental models of the game world, clever aspects of scoring that enhance motivation, use of speed and pacing, importance of storyline (or not), implementation of positive reinforcement, etc.


Now watch Luis von Ahn's Google talk on Human Computation ( You will learn about games with a purpose. Look at the list of project category options for the final class projects (in the slides from class 1 or 2). Consider the unique capabilities of mobile devices that we have talked about in class and how mobile phones are typically used. Watch or read the supplemental materal Prof. Intille will provide on accelerometer data.


Using the game you analyzed as a starting point, propose a design for a new addictive game with a purpose that would accomplish one of the project category goals. In other words, 'mash up' the popular addictive game you selected (and the specifics about what makes it addictive) with the project goals, to come up with a new (and hopefully addictive) idea for an app with a purpose that could potentially become a class project. Your final idea doesn't need to be a game, but what you are trying to do here is think about the properties that make the game great/addictive, and then see if you can get similar properties into your app that solves a real and important problem. Trying to do this should help you think of creative solutions.


As it is used, this new app must address one of the project topics. The proposed app must also take advantage of a unique capability of the phone to enhance the app's use. Features you can consider using are the way that people interact with their phones in short bursts, or how the phone can use knowledge of location (and whatever additional information you might gather from the Internet based on that), or how the phone can get info from other sensors: accelerometer, light sensor, compass, camera, or microphone. Your proposed app may need to use the phone's data network connection to connect different users or acquire important data.

On the second half of the page, describe your app concept as best as you can given the space limitation. In particular, describe why you think this new app will be at least as (and hopefully more) addictive and fun than the game you based it on. You might want to reference the ideas listed in the papers again (e.g., C1, T1, M1, M2, etc.) It should be obvious how your idea satisfies the project topic category. You can include hand-drawn sketches of mock screens if that helps you to explain the idea. Do not draw any ideas on a computer. Do not go over 1 page.


(TIP: If you are having trouble with this exercise, you might get ideas flowing by taking two of the addictive games and forcing yourself to think of how you could combine them, without losing too much simplicity. A good example of this is the game Dropwords on the Android Play Store. If you can do that, now do the same thing again, but instead mash up the game with some of the phone's advanced functionality. What can you do that is new and different that might make the game more fun? Can you manipulate the information used in the game for an educational/health purpose tied into one of the project categories?)


Part 2:


Once you have completed part 1, your creative energy should be flowing. As mentioned in class, the best way to generate a good idea (for your project's killer app) is to generate many ideas. So get going.


Pick 3 different project categories from the project category options list. For each category, generate 3 great ideas. You have up to 1/3 of a page to describe each idea however you like ... with text, sketches, etc. Make sure you indicate the project category at the top of each page and put the projects ideas in the same category on the same page. You can do a mashup with an existing killer app (as in Part 1) if that helps you, or use any other methods to come up with great ideas. You should also use the key ideas labeled in the papers to get you thinking about how to solve the projec category challenge in a new way. Your goal is to be creative and generate NEW ideas, not to propose ideas already on the app store, or trival changes to such ideas.


You should NOT discuss your ideas with others in the course or students who have taken the course before, because your goal is to come up with unique, exciting, creative ideas for apps to solve the designated problems that others haven't thought of. You probably do want to discuss your ideas with other friends, family members, work colleagues, or whoever else will listen and honestly tell you if the idea sounds promising or not.


Hand in:

You will have 4 pages. 1 page with Part 1, and 3 pages with Part 2 (3 ideas per page). Combine these into one PDF file and email your assignment with subject line "Assignment2: [YourFirstName] [YourLastName]" (e.g., "Assignment2: John Doe") with an attached PDF named [YourFirstName][YourLastName].assignment2.pdf to both the TAs and by the assignment deadline.




Beware! Doing this assignment well requires that you start early and give yourself time to come with ideas, bounce them off others, and think hard about their pros and cons. You will be graded based on how well your assignment clearly and succinctly describes your ideas and reflects that you thought deeply about the readings and applied those ideas to generating more creative ideas. It is most important that we can understand the ideas based on your descriptions and what makes them compelling, novel solutions.

In Part B of this assignment, you will do a 1-minute presentation of a revision of your best idea.


Although it is subject to tweaking, this table will give you a sense of how you will be assigned points and the feedback you will receive on your ideas.