DreamOn is a choose-your-own-adventure storybook which intents to address the sleeping problem for people who have difficulties sleep in the unfamiliar space.
10 - 20 min
Jeffrey Chou, Ameeshi Goel, Molly Vierhile, Mira Zeitlin
Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care in Pittsburgh
*This transformational game project gets the following sponsorship from Philips and will continue to develop in Spring 2018
The prompt we got from our client Philips is about designing for people who have troubles sleeping away from home. We have conducted an online survey and user interviews to identify the pain points from the target group.
Brainstorming game ideas is a little different from traditional ways of ideation because you will need to consider not only how the game help you address the problem but also how could the game fun and engaging. A playful experience is what we need in the first place. By following simple guidelines below could make the ideation process easier.
Use physical object to generate ideas.
Use the game verb list to generate ideas.
Use random worlds in dictionary to generate ideas
Generate one idea based on your personal experience
Mad Libs with relaxing stories and essential oil.
We have conducted three rounds of playtesting with different variations including rule modification, the content of the stories and number of players. Here are the feedbacks:
Playing Mad libs is not sleep-inducing: Playtesters enjoyed like the cozy story, but (inevitably) ended up giggling at certain points. They remarked that while the story was well-crafted, adding unrelated words made it funny rather than relaxing.
Using essential oil is a risky decision: Individual preferences come into play and might affect the engagement. If players smell something they do not enjoy, it is not sleep-inducing.
Engaging is highly related to game setup: Game setup had a significant positive effect on players. They are forced to lean toward the oils on the table to smell them. They become focused on the activity.
Make players forget they are away from home (by “transporting them” to another place or lessening their anxiety by sensory means)
Make the game more open-ended, perhaps by letting players pick a smell and describe a story by themselves.
Consider inconveniences related to traveling. Carrying the essential oils, transporting the game on planes, etc.
THEORIES AND FRAMEWORK
Choose-you-own-adventure storybook with scented candles. Besides the full-sized relaxing images, our team carefully craft the storylines to match below criteria.
Relaxation: To help the player feel ready to sleep and to take them to a calm place
Happiness: To bring a feeling of contentedness and ease anxiety
Adventure: Immersion in a different scenario; adopt views consistent with that setting
“Fantasy of safety, abundance and softness.”
Players enjoyed the coziness of the story.
Large, sweeping visuals induced relaxation
The scented candle is a suitable replacement for essential oils for traveling purpose. However, the choices of the scents might require more considerations.
REFLECTION AND NEXT STEPS
In this project, our team successfully translated the needs of our user group into the desired player experience: increasing comfort and reducing anxiety. Using the scents to make decisions within the book meant that players play as a submission ‐ not trying to consciously control the outcome, but simply appreciating and experiencing the outcome that emerged from the interaction with the game materials.
With limited time on this project, our team is only allowed to come out with the physical game rather than a digital one. While this project gets further sponsorship by Philips, I will keep working on this project in Spring 2019. Future exploration might include:
Replacing scented candle to scratch and sniff stickers.
Building digital app to consider music integration, more options and longer stories, cozy animation and last but not least, the portability.
If you want to learn more details about this game, please check here.