Piper's Marble: A game for old users based on Leap Motion

What was delivered?


We designed and implemented two mini-game for the old. It was built in Unity 3D, with hand gesture control by Leap Motion. I was responsible for user research, game design, game implementation and user testing.


How was it achieved?

Phase 1: Background and game design
Literature review | Game mechanism | Leap Motion

Before getting this topic neither of our team members have any idea about the severity of the aging situation. However, after a few clicks online we found that surprisingly, we have come to a time of aging.


Leap Motion has its own advantage as it is more intuitive to control the computer as it uses gesture control. Seeking for some games that were common in real world, we came up with the idea of a Marble game, which is quite common here in China before. Another game, which is a popular game type on PC and iPad, is called the Piper’s game. This game is a kind of 3D jigsaw  that players should turn the pipes and connect them together to let the “water”run through it.

The designs of two games have good entry points and benefits can be shown in the figure.

Phase 2: User study
Interviews | Mini usability testing

By narrowing down our user scope, our team determined that we will not stick to any user that has totally none computer experience.
Our investigation was user interview, which can be classified into four categories of questions and on average it lasted for 15-20 minutes each.

  • Basic information of the interviewee
  • Computer usage condition (how often, what to do, etc.)
  • Introduce basic info of our game and ask their experience in marbles
  • Make some tests of 3D perception then an 2D pipe game

After the investigation, we got a rough user profile and found that most of the participants could handle this game to help them kill time and relax. Just as what we expected, this game will also make the old more familiar with the computers while decrease their pain from using the mouse for a long time. However, some problems also revealed during the interview which gave us some suggestion to modify our design and to make it easier for old users to play with.

Phase 3: Use Modeling
Personas | Scenarios

From the user investigation we have got some basic information about the users and built two personas, primary and secondary. Scenarios were also designed but will not be shown here.


                                                         Primary Persona: Jianping Li

                                                   Secondary Persona: Yufen Guo

Phase 4: Task Analysis - cooperation relationship
Task analysis | Interaction pattern

Among all the approaches for task analysis, we choose cooperation relationship firstly, which will demonstrate the interactive relationships between users and systems. Especially, we have two parts of hardware: Leap Motion device and the screen of display.


Phase 5: Prototype & implementation - we built it!
Prototyping | Coding in Unity 3D

We choose Unity3D as our main platform with scripts of C# and JavaScript to support Leap Motion SDK. The prototype we developed consist of the basic elements and interactive properties, which has achieved the following basic features:

  • Plane ground and four walls around it
  • One control-marble and several target-marbles
  • Flip the control-marble to hit target-marbles
  • All the balls are set to rigid body, with bouncy property
  • You win when all the target-marbles are outside the yellow circle (current number is displayed on the top left) 

By referring to several games on both Leap Motion and Unity 3D, we learnt a lot about how to design a better experience. 

We especially paid much attention to the trail and error part, to make it work more smoothly and intuitively. We made adjustments on the speed of the marble, scale and angle of views, and the position, height and scale of hand controller for Leap Motion, which improved our game step by step.

Phase 6: User testing - Do you like it?
User testing

After building up the game that is able to run, we set up to conduct some user tests for the game. 5 participants took part in the test process with each of them about 10-15 minutes, according to their degree of familiarity of the computer. The test was conducted indoor, and the facilitator of the test will take notes while watching the testing process, and after-test feedback is also conducted right after the test.

On the right is the participant profile recap.