SIM1 - Interactive Media 1
BSBINN502A.1 - Build and Sustain and Innovative Work Environment (part 1)
CUFDIG506A.1 - Design Interaction (part 1)

ADVANCED DIPLOMA of SCREEN AND MEDIA (CUF60107)

Teacher Name - lisa.cianci@vu.edu.au
Class Website - http://lisacianci.vucreativeindustries.com/2011/SIM1

Assessment Task - Brief 2 - Children's Interactive Story (group project)

Deadline: Week 16 - June 20, 2011

  • Concept for children's story (to be approved before continuing with the project): Week 9
  • Design specification document (concept, storyboards, flowchart): Week 11
  • Project progress review: Weeks 12 & 14
  • Completed project due : Week 16


40% of total mark for the subject.

Assessment Grades

HD: High Distinction 80-100, D: Distinction 70-79,  C: Credit 60-69, P: Pass 50-59, NC: Not Yet Competent

In order to achieve a HD for this brief you need to:

  • Meet all the requirements of the brief
  • Creatively explore ideas and outcomes
  • Have solid justification and reference for design choices
  • No typos or grammatical errors and consistent formatting in any written material
  • Show comprehensive documentation of planning and production
  • Demonstrate good time management skills

 

1. Project Description

Flash is a great tool for design, animation and interactive media development. As an application, it has lots of qualities that lend themselves to creating fun and engaging content for younger users - and it is being used extensively in the children's entertainment market.

There are quite a lot of digital products around for young children currently that call themselves "Interactive" or "Interactive Stories". Some use Flash and some don't. Some of this content is very good, and some of it is really poor in design, story and interactivity. A lot of interactives for young children that are freely available online are really just product promotion to get kids (parents) to buy DVDs, games, toys and other merchandise.

The best interactive stories tend to work because they have engaging characters, great graphics and illustrations, and have simple but really good storylines.

Think back to your favourite hard-copy books when you were around 4 years old. What did you love about them? The characters? The graphics? Were they funny or gross or really cute? Did they go on adventures? Did they have popups, lift-flaps, sliders? Think about what makes a story interesting and fun for children. What makes them want to go back to those stories over and over again?

Digital stories have the advantage of being able to use tools like Flash to create animated and very interactive experiences that don't have to look and work like traditional books at all, but can share many of the qualities that make a good story such as narrative flow, characters, cool illustrations and graphics.

For this assessment task, you will be required to work in groups to develop an engaging and exciting prototype for an interactive children's story. You will be creating the story, characters and other content with a focus on designing the interaction for this prototype. How will the user navigate through the story? what will happen on each screen? what elements can the user rollover, click, etc? what kinds of audio (music and sound effects) might enhance the interactive experience for the user?

You will be shown examples of children's stories, both digital and analogue to help you develop a concept and story.
Keep it SIMPLE! you only have 6 weeks for this project, so you don't want to be creating complex animations that would take weeks for a professional animator to complete.

Target Audience for your interactive story: Pre-School (3-4 yrs)

Scope of the project:

You must include:

  • 1 title screen
  • 5-10 interactive screens (pages) for the story(the number of screens will depend on your story)
  • a credits screen listing your team of designers/developers and their roles.
  • a screen for any references you might need to add like credits for music or audio content
  • if you want to include a help or information page, you can (not essential)

Note: your interactive must contain text, graphics and audio elements that are free from copyright restrictions - this means that ideally you will develop all this content yourself based upon research that you conduct using a variety of resources. You must not plagiarise texts, or characters, or just use pictures taken straight from the internet or books.

 

 

2. Requirements

Your group will need to produce the following outcomes for this project:

  1. Design specification document containing your concept (1-2 paragraphs), storyboards for each screen, and a flowchart which outlines the navigation between screens. Submit as a PDF or Word document.

  2. A Flash interactive prototype of your children's story with functional navigation and interactivity - Submit as SWF file published (and centred) in an HTML page

Working in a group:

You will need to decide as a group what tasks are required for the project, and then allocate tasks to group members so that the workload is equally divided. You should definitely play to the strengths of each group member - artistic and design skills, coding skills, writing skills, audio production skills, research skills, management skills etc. You may want to create individual roles for your team members, or you may decide to share roles between members, that's fine as long as everyone is participating equally!

The teacher will act as external Executive Producer for all projects - which means making sure you get the work done, and providing support where required.

Group projects require commitment from ALL team members to be successful. Make sure you keep in touch with your team members outside of class time. You may want to set up a blog or some other means of communication as class time will be limited. If you have problems with attendance or project work, please talk to your team and Executive Producer as early as possible so you don't leave your team in the lurch!!!

 

Design stage

Once you have had your concept approved by the teacher, you need to consider your story - who are the characters (if any) and what happens? The storyboards will allow you to break up the narrative into screens, showing what text, image, animation and interactivity will exist on each screen. You may consider linear or non-linear narratives - investigate & research what kinds of narratives you could use in a flash interactive.

Develop a flowchart to demonstrate how the screens will work together in your interactive - how the user can navigate the story. You should always be able to move backwards, forwards and return to the main interface in your interactive, and the flowchart should demonstrate this.

 

Development stage

Using Flash AS3, and all of the skills you have developed in this subject, create your interactive incorporating whatever text, graphics and audio you require to make your story engaging, exciting and fun for your target audience.

 

 

3. Specifications

Flash file specifications

  1. Size: 1024 x 768 pixels.
  2. ActionScript: must be using an AS3 flash file.
  3. Must be using a document class for the majority of the AS3 coding.
  4. Must include some audio elements with interaction
  5. Bug Free: a working finished swf must be submitted
  6. All areas should be accessible from the main interface, and users should always be able to access or go back to the main interface in 1 click.

4. References:

See the kids online resources page for examples of online content for children that may help you with this assessment task.

5. Assessment Rubric

Task Advanced Competent Not Yet Competent Elements
design specification document - concept, storyboards & flowchart Design documents are clear and concise and give an excellent idea of what the project will entail and exactly what is going to be produced. Design documents are adequately constructed and somewhat describe what the project will entail and what is going to be produced. Design documents are not clear in describing the project, or are not complete. Design documents are poorly constructed or generally inadequate and present an unclear or misleading idea of what is going to be produced.

BSBINN502A.1 Build and Sustain an Innovative Work Environment

1. lead innovation by example
2. establish work practices that support innovation
3. promote innovation
4. create a physical environment which supports innovation
5. provide learning opportunities

CUFDIG506A.1 Design Interaction

1. identify project requirements
2. generate ideas for interaction
3. draft interaction design specifications
4. finalise interaction designs

Incorporation of feedback into designs, layout and interaction for the project. Feedback from a teacher or classmate is incorporated into the final project. Planning documents are clear enough but feedback has not been taken on board. Feedback that would have brought an otherwise unsatisfactory piece of work up to standard has been ignored.
Knowledge of media copyright issues Evidence fully demonstrating that all content used in the project has been created by the student, or has the appropriate copyright clearance documentation if produced by a third party. Evidence adequately demonstrating that all content used in the project has been created by the student, or has the appropriate copyright clearance documentation if produced by a third party. No evidence that the student has produced all the content or that copyright clearance has been obtained for third party content.
Creative use of media elements and scripting to design the interaction. Media elements and scripting are used creatively and skillfully. The content and interactions not only work flawlessly but also serve to help support the idea being communicated in a creative or unexpected way. Media elements and interactions are constructed to a solid and competent level. Media elements and interactions in the piece are not working properly or are not up to standard.
Technical construction Work is skillfully completed according to best practice in multimedia design and production. Work contains at a minimum, all the required elements and functions without error. Any successful developments additional to what has been shown in class will receive extra marks Work is completed with all required elements and is functionally satisfactory but is not best practice with regard to design, file construction & interactions Work is not well constructed, is poorly designed or developed and is unusable as a result.
Bug Free Work thoroughly tested and completely bug free. Satisfactory testing and minor bugs detected are corrected. Little or no testing performed. Fatal bugs discovered and not corrected.
5. Production deadlines
It is important that you bring all materials and development work with you to all classes.
Deadlines:
  • Concept for children's story (to be approved before continuing with the project): Week 9
  • Design specification document (concept, storyboards, flowchart): Week 11
  • Project progress review: Weeks 12 & 14
  • Completed project due : Week 16

Progressive Assessment

This project is assessed on an ongoing basis. The development of effective design, navigation and interaction is an essential part of this project and it is necessary to achieve a competent grade for the design spec before proceeding to the development phase of the project. If you do not submit adequate work by the due date you will not be able to continue with the brief.

For the policy which you will be assessed with please refer to the Assessment Policy section of your Creative Industries student handbook or the online copy of the Assessment Policy:
http://multimedia.tafe.vu.edu.au/student//Assessment.cfm