Project 3: park AR
Navigate & inform... again?
Project 3 is a follow-up assignment of project 2 in which I focus on the theme of navigating & informing, only this time outside the academy. The assignment is to initiate my own project in which I search for more depth within the subject 'navigating & informing'. For this I choose to investigate my own neighbourhood/area.
How does the process go?
I thought it would be interesting to choose Breda because I haven't studied here for very long and that's why I would like to explore the area. So I started researching the neighbourhood where I live. The part of Breda I researched is the district Zandberg. The district Zandberg has many villas and expensive houses. There are also many different schools around the area. Primary schools, secondary schools and even high schools. There is also a park in the area called Wilhelminapark.
The first assignment was to take 5 x 5 pictures of the area and give each 5 a category name. I myself chose 4 categories with the names: Architecture, Nature, Objects & Typography.
The following assignmentIt was to come up with three different scenarios in the area you could investigate. For this purpose I chose three subjects in my area: Park, Children & Schools and Safety.
- - The Wilhelminapark in Breda is located just outside the centre of Breda. It is a fairly large park with several war monuments throughout the park. What exactly is the purpose of these monuments and why are they here? What target groups will be there? Will there be events or special events held in the park?
Children & Schools
- - There are many schools around and in the area of Zandberg. What target groups could I possibly appeal to? Children, teenagers or parents. There are even crèches around the area. Children between 0 - 17 years old is a fairly large and diverse target group.
- - In the street where I live, the General Maczecstraat, it is always super busy because of the amount of cars. The street is actually too small for the amount of cars there are.
Reducing my area
During the project I could not choose which area I wanted to use for my project. I was hesitating between the Wilhelminapark or the General Maczekstraat where I live. But after some discussions with the teacher and conversations with fellow students, I myself came to the conclusion that I wanted to do something with the park. There are more possibilities to hold events or place something in the park.
After I decided to choose the park I did more research on the park. First I searched online if I could find something about the Wilhelminapark. The park was designed in 1892 by garden architect L.A. Springer. The park was designed as a Parisian boulevard. I also found the management plan for the park online. The document stated that the park used to be 1 part and was not split in 2nd. It also says that the park is more a park for people and social contact than for nature.
The Wilhelminapark in Breda is a fairly large park. There are several Polish monuments that go over the second world war. There are quite a lot of people who visit the park. Different ages, from playing children with parents, teenagers who take a break in the park to hanging youngsters who smoke a joint on the benches. The problem is that there is little or almost nothing to do in the park. A lot of people let their dogs out in the park so there is a lot of dog shit in the grass. People often sit on their phones in the park, even the children.
In conclusion, there is not much to do in the park. I thought it would be interesting to place something in the park that people can keep busy with in the park.
It's halfway through the project and I don't have a good idea yet what I want to do for the project. Together with discussing the ideas, I came up with four concepts that I might be able to implement.
- 1. Redesigning the park
2. Organising a large event (kind of Burning Man Festival)
3. Creating a kind of playground and placing it in the park (where children can play with)
4. Let the local residents do something themselves in the park (Geo-cacheing)
I thought it would be interesting to somehow combine all these choices.
Initial ideas for the concept
While brainstorming and sketching I got the idea that there shouldn't even be something new or grand. It might also be digital on the phone or laptop. Then I thought that Augmented Reality is also a technique that I could apply. This seemed like a very interesting thing to do because I've never done it before. After following a tutorial on YouTube I managed to make a tree in AR (Augmented Reality).
I started working in the program Unity. Unity is a game engine where people can build video games. For me this program is completely new. There was a small learning curve but after a whole day of working on it, I succeeded.
Fixing the concept
After discussions with the teacher and fellow students the question came to me what I actually show with Augmented Reality. I came up with different ideas for this. Idea one is to make a kind of digital petting zoo. A digital zoo in the park. These could be realistic or fantasy animals, I don't know yet. The second idea is to show the history in AR. Because there is a history to the park and not enough has been explained yet what it stands for. The third idea was to use memes. To be able to view in AR memes.
The conclusion was to continue with the digital zoo idea. This idea was the most suitable because I thought it was a very nice idea to develop it further. This idea is also the most suitable because most target groups like it. Children, teenagers and even hanging youngsters may like it.
Prototyping > Testing > Prototyping > Testing
After the meeting, I continued to make several prototypes. First I had to have a better shape for the place where the Augmented Reality will be placed. I decided to take a cube shape because it has three planes on which you can scan something and the shape of the cube contrasts with the organic shapes of the park itself.
With this idea there must also be a smartphone app to use it. With the app you could scan the cubes and see the creatures on your phone. My idea was also that people could make their own animals and add them to the cubes. This way people can see their own animals and those of others. The app could also have a folder function to see where all the cubes are in the park.
Park ar (park Augmented Reality)
The name for the app and the project is park ar. Ar stands for Augmented Reality. In terms of color choice I wanted to choose a color that could be recognized from far away from the park. Because the park itself is already 90% green a red or blue color was a good choice. In the end I chose a blue color because blue is softer for the eyes. On the cube I did a scan icon at the top so people can see that you can look with your phone on it. The sides are QR codes so they look different from each other. In total there will be nine cubes scattered over the park where people can go.
Also with the help of a fellow student I was able to build a large prototype of my cube. The cube is 80 x 80 cm and made out of wood. I also made this cube for the first time in the wood workshop. The app I made is built in Marvel. This is an online program where you can prototype apps and websites.
Make a 3d model... not easy!
The idea is that people can make their own 3d animal and place it in the cube but I found it difficult to make a 3d model because I don't have any experience with it myself. So I've been looking online for the fastest and easiest way to build a 3d model and that was with the app: 3DC.IO This is an app (and website) where you can easily build a 3d model. The only thing I ran into was that if I put the 3d model in Unity it wouldn't have any color. This makes the model just a texture. Because of this I only had to give my 3d model 1 color in the end.
Evaluation / Reflection
The feedback was positive. The concept is funny and what makes it fun is the interactivity. The possibility to add your own animals. Questions also came up such as: can you give the animals an insulting name? & can you also make the animals in the shape of a penis? I hadn't really made that yet. To solve this problem, a fellow student gave the feedforward to give some basic parts so they can build the animals themselves instead of making something from scratch. That way there will be no offending animals. Also the feedback was that I can't really test it in the park and that's right. I didn't have enough time to test it so it remains fictitious.
In my opinion the project went well. At the beginning I had overestimated my area a little too much so I lost a lot of time during the project. The research also went well. I researched the park well and I didn't encounter many setbacks. It is a pity that I had too little time to really test it in the park. This is a pity and I want to work on it. What I did notice is that getting out of my comfort zone is actually very challenging, in a good way. It makes me more curious about other possibilities I didn't see before. I actually liked working in Unity a lot. I've only taken the first steps but I definitely want to work with Unity again in the future.