Blindfold Racer: Controlling the car

We started the next session by figuring out how to control the car. For simplicity, we only focused on the iPad – there’s more room on the screen for things.

To turn left and right, you hold the iPad so the screen is facing your body, and you turn it like a steering wheel. To control speed, use the iPad like a gas pedal – push the top away from you to go faster, and the top towards you to go slower. Seems pretty simple.

We thought the game should give you feedback telling you about the car – when its stopped, it would say “STOPPED”; when moving forward, it would say “SLOW”, “FASTER” and “FASTEST”, and “SLOW BACKWARDS”, “FAST BACKWARDS”, and so on. Then we analyzed how long it would take to say those things, and looked at ways we could shorten it – such as saying “BACKWARDS” vs. “REVERSE” vs. “BACK”.

Using a book as the iPad, one student pretended to drive the car on a straight road, and another student pretended to be the app; and a third would draw the path on the screen. The “App” person would say how fast the car was going (BACK SLOW, FAST) and which direction (RIGHT, LEFT), and if it crashed. We determined the first road shouldn’t take more than about 15 seconds, and it should start to train the game player how the game works.

Five different students drove the pretend course, and finished in under 15 seconds, so we knew the overall concept made sense. We started developing the concept of what SLOW and FAST meant (how much faster FAST is than SLOW). To avoid confusion, we switched from 3 speeds to 2 speeds, and allowed the car to stop when the iPad was vertical.

We also decided to warn the game player if they turned too far left or right, or starting turning the iPad completely over (more than 180 degrees forward or backwards).

The students practiced turning left and right, and it seemed like our controls made sense.


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