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Table of Contents
Game Structure (KS)................................................................
Time Element (KS)...............................................................
Conclusion and General Considerations(KS)............................
Processing and Reworking the Design Game Concept (KV)........
NFC Tags (SC).............................................................
Existing Technologies (SC)....................................................
Scenarios and Prototyping (KV)..........................................
Final Design Concept and Prototype Features (KS)........................
Future Work (KV/KS).............................................
Game Material Appendices...........................................................
Using a design game means “group members are more likely to learn games at the same
rate, without large differences in learning due to rank, authority, or background . . . this in
turn can lead to greater sharing of ideas . . .” (Muller et al. 1994). To play our game we
used 1st year participants from various course backgrounds.
The location of this design game took place in a 1st year house next door to one of the
game designers. The idea of using the participants own living room meant it was more
convenient for them and they would feel more relaxed throughout the game play. Along with
having a game designer acting as the adjudicator, there were two more game designers
present, one for observation, and the other acting as a second observer and cameraman.
The game requirements included:
● Participants: Four 1st year between 1719 years of age.
● Location: Game designers 1st year neighbour's house.
● Design Game: Game board and materials.
● Design Rules: An external observer reads out the game rules from a printed rule
● Equipment: Video camera, notepad and pens.
The selection process was based on 1st year students entering college for their first time.
Therefore candidates were narrowed down to between the ages of 17 and 19 due to their
first time experience of college. The reason behind this had to do with the observation
process. Using students from their second year upwards, students repeating 1st year and
mature students would inhibit the results being processed.
● Game Board.
● One Die.
● Playing Pieces.
● Location Cards.
● Question Cards.
● Player Cards.
Players were asked to report aloud their feelings, thoughts and ideas throughout the design
game for the observers to report on. They were encouraged to cooperate with each other
when placing the location cards on the board and prompted to discuss together their
answers for the task rounds.
To begin the design game we started off with a collaboration round. The idea behind the
collaboration round was to prompt participants to work together. This begins by two
location cards being dealt out to each of the four players, and the ninth card is given to the
judicature. Once all cards are divided amongst the players the game begins. Each player
had the opportunity to randomly position their location cards on the board, or opt to
collaborate with other players on designing their very own campus layout.
Originally this round had a time restriction of two minutes to prevent the game being
prolonged. This time restriction idea was quickly dropped when participants began
engaging with each other on where the best locations for each card were. This round was
allowed to develop for several minutes as players went through a thinkingaloud process of
where to place each location card and why, followed by where the next location should be.
When all location cards were set up the judicature positioned the final card on the board.
Once all location cards were in place, each player took turns to roll a die. The player with
the highest number got to go first, and the play commenced clockwise around the board
from there. Once it was decided who starts the game off each player then rolled the dice for
a second time. This depicted which location card each player commenced play on, leaving
each player dotted around the board. Once each player is positioned at their starting point
on the board the player with the highest roll began the first question round.
Before the question round took place each participant was given a player card with the
location names listed down the sheet and the three categories spread across the top. This
layout allowed the players to identify their current location on the player card, and record
points allocated to them under the chosen category. Using the player card, participants can
then total up their scores to work out the range of the three categories together.
In the question round each location card has three categories the players could choose
from, Academia, Health and Social. Under each category there are three question cards
available. In total the game consisted of 81 question cards, three question cards for every
category, three categories for every location, and a total of nine locations.
Once each player landed on a location (e.g The Gym) they could then choose a question
card from one of the three categories (e.g. Health). Each question card gave the players a
scenario, and offered them two choices. Once answered they recorded the score allocated
to them by the judicature. The adjudicator's role included making sure each player
understood the rules of the game, their roles in the game, and the tasks required of them.
During play the adjudicator then read aloud each question and allocated scores based on
As the game played out the adjudicator realised that the majority of players were choosing
the social category. It became obvious by listen to their discussion that the participants we
had chosen, ie aged between 17 and 19, were showing off. At that point the observers
began taking more detailed notes about the discussion from the gameplay. Once we had
analysed this data, it was obvious that the students had no idea how long they spend in
college, how many hours of college they attend a week or where they spent the majority of
their time on campus.
Game Structure (KS)
It became clear during the gameplay that players were more interested in debating and
discussing their choices in a given situation as opposed to the actual gameplay involved. It
was also apparent to all that most players were choosing the “social” option ahead of all
others in an attempt to be ‘cool’ or impress others. This frame of mind strongly impacted
our gameplay and as such we had to adjust the structure of the game to accommodate it.
We decided that by focusing on what the players said during gameplay as opposed to the
options they choose and taking notes, we could use the data gathered to greater
understand why they made these choices and how we could help them to better understand
how these decisions could impact their lifestyle in the real world.
Game Materials (KS)
We tried a number of different layout designs for the game board, all designed roughly with
pen and paper in order to develop quick prototypes. In the end we settled on a fairly blank
board as we wished to allow the players to create the ‘campus’ as they saw fit, we felt this
would give a small bit of input into how the students would lay out the campus if given the
The blank squares on the board need to be filled with Location Cards in order to start the
game, we decided to have the same amount of blank areas as location cards so that all
locations must be placed on the board however their locations are variable.
The nine location cards are as follows;
5. Lecture Hall
8. Students Union
Each location on the board contains three kinds of task/question cards related to health,
academia and social. These cards are ‘threesided’, as such the front of the card displays
the cards field (social, health, academia) the back contains a task or question and a small
flap at the base of the back of the card shows the scores awarded depending on which
task or question has been answered.
Each participant in the game is given a card and a pen in order to keep track of their
score. The card contains a blank space for the players name and player piece colour, a
blank space for their starting location (in order to know when they have completed the
board) and a table containing the three headings, social, health and academic along the
top and the nine locations along the left side. Players can then write their scores into these
locations on completion of a question or task, totaling their final score at the bottom of the
card. We also decided to include a small area for notes in case players feel the need to
add up subsections during the game or need to make small reminders for later in the
game with relation to score.
Each player will be given a little plastic player piece to keep track of their movements on
the board. These pieces will each have a separate color in order to avoid any confusion.
The players colour will also be added to their scorecard.
A regular sixsided die is needed at the start of the game in order to decide where each
player will begin the game. Each player rolls the die and then moves that many spaces
from the ‘start’ square prior to the task/question cards being introduced. This allows for a
wider spread over the board at the beginning of the game and helps people to think
differently to each other as they are not all arriving in the same location at the same time.
Time Element (KS)
One aspect which arose during the creation of this game was a time element. We had
originally discussed placing a time limit on the first part of the game where players set up
the campus by placing location cards on the board. We felt that this would created
momentum at the start of the game which could then be carried throughout the gameplay.
However, after having conducted our first attempt at gameplay using participants we found
that the players were very happy to discuss where and why they wanted to place certain
location cards on certain areas of the map. This was not data we had originally anticipated
so we decided to eliminate the time aspect and allow the players to freely discuss the
choices they were making straight from the start of the game in order to gather as much
data as possible.
The game provided us with a much needed insight into why young students make the
choices they make while at University. We were able to take notes during gameplay as a
lot of discussion ensued amongst the players. The information we gathered has shown that
in this gameplay situation most of our players chose the social option. At first we saw this
as an issue as we felt it was upsetting our results but whilst listening to the players
discussing their choices we found that if we could show the players where their time is
being spent then they may be more inclined to make the changes required in their life in
order to balance all the aspects.
The gameplay itself appeared to work quite well apart from the players continuously
choosing the social option. All players worked their way around the board answering our
questions and giving us important data through their discussions. When the game ended
we were able to add up the scores and a winner was declared. However, the final range
was no where near what we had originally anticipated it to be due to the players choosing
the same option repeatedly. The information we gathered during gameplay proved better
than we had thought as players really dove deep into discussing why they made their
Conclusion and General Considerations (KS)
While evaluating our gameplay the most obvious observations had to be that the players kept
choosing the social option. We attempted to counteract this during gameplay but we did not want
to directly stop the players from openly making their choices. As a result of this our data was
unbalanced. We decided to develop a solution to the data we were left with. We decided that if
the students/players were more aware of their time management whilst on campus then maybe
they could become more productive in their day to day activities.
The players gave a lot of feedback during gameplay which we knew would be necessary. Our
adjudicator took notes on what was talked about as this data would prove invaluable towards our
final design concept.
The players gave mostly positive feedback during gameplay and all seemed to enjoy taking part.
One aspect of the game where players gave negative feedback was the fact that we had not
incorporated a timer into the game, therefore when players began discussing why they made
their particular choice, a lot of time could be lost, this was only little annoying for some players
and overall the gameplay was a success.
Processing and Reworking the Design Game Concept (KV)
By forming a brainstorming session, it was obvious that the 1st year students were more
interested in the social aspects of a college lifestyle. They were also unsure of how many
hours a day they spend in college, or where they spend the majority of their time on
campus. Using this information we came up with the scenario of a student being able to
keep track of their time in college, and how long they spend in different locations throughout
The scenario we came up with shows how a student could use their student ID card as a
method of ‘clocking in’ and ‘clocking out’ of an on campus building, like staff clocking in
and out for their shift in a workplace. Students could swipe their student ID cards across
access scanners located at the entrance of each building. Their time management will then
be represented on graphs and charts through a device. To expand this idea further, we will
implement the idea of the college itself being able to access these records. This will assist
Leaving Certificate students in not only choosing a course to study, but which college to
attend based on the balance of student lifestyles.
After having settled on our scenario and the direction we would be taking, we decided to
research further into the areas we would be incorporating. We investigated a variety of
cardscanning methods, ones that could incorporate various amounts and types of data,
how they functioned and how easy or difficult they might be to implement. We also
experimented with another type of technology known as ‘NFC’,and whether we could
achieve what we wanted by possibly replacing cards with smartphones. Our goal was to
have the easiest and most hasslefree method of ‘clocking’ in and out of buildings, which
would encourage students to use our system without even thinking about it. We would
eventually aim for it to be ubiquitous.
NFC Tags (SC)
NFC, which stands for ‘Near Field Communications’, is a “shortrange, lowpower
communications protocol between two devices” , a popular technology which can allow
data exchange between a powered device and a nonpowered device. Similar to another
system called RFID, or radiofrequency identification, NFC is efficient in that it allows
quick transfer of data simply by holding the main device within 10 cm of the other device.
This short distance often means it is easier to just tap the devices together for a moment.
The advantage NFC has over RFID however is that it allows twoway transfers of
information, where as RFID can only send data to a receiver. RFID is used in a lot of
contactless payment systems. 
Because NFC is a twoway system, it naturally lends itself to being more useful to embed in
a device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Many developers such as Samsung and
software providers such as Google incorporate this feature.  This allows people to
casually interact with various other objects in everyday life that have also implemented
NFC. Advertising is one area that has embraced this technology.
Various bus shelters across the U.K have slowly began to include NFC tags alongside
posters. These tags encourage people to turn on the NFC function on their particular
device, and tap it off a tag such as the one shown. In turn the phone then receives a
message to perform a certain action, such as download a voucher, image, video, or some
other action. This technology is very similar to the way QR codes work, but is simply faster.
However the tags do also include QR codes for people whose devices are not equipped
with an NFC function.
Existing Technologies (SC)
While NFC tags did initially seem like an interesting idea, we decided against it for a
number of reasons. Implementing the tags, as well as setting up NFC scanners would have
been very timeconsuming, fitting them on to every building on the campus would ultimately
have been more work than it was worth. Instead we decided to use the already existing
technologies of RFID tags and cards, combined with an app on smartphones.This allows
us to use technologies that are already fitted to all entrances and exits on buildings in the
Scenarios and Prototyping (KV)
● University of Limerick campus
● Student heads to Csis
● Clocks in using the buildings access scanner
● Time lapsed clock
● Student clocks out using the same access scanner
● Checks his college performance with the app
● Verbally discussed scenario with a video prototype
John has just started his first year in college. He registers his newly obtained student ID
card with a downloadable application on his phone during orientation day (or at any other
time). He is informed there is an access scanner located at the entrance of every building
on campus (the library, gym, Stables).
Once John arrives on campus he can record the arrival time on his app. Everytime he
swipes his student ID card across the access scanner he ‘clocks in’ to the recognised
building on his app. When he leaves the building he swipes his card across the scanners
and ‘clocks out’ again. Each building is listed under three categories, Academia, Health,
Social. using his application he can now view his time management using visual graphs
and charts. These graphs and charts display his range between the three categories
allowing him to keep a balance of his college lifestyle. John can now keep this information
for himself, or agree to allow his college use this information as anonymous records.
Final Design Concept and Prototype Features (KS)
The final design concept revolves around the idea of a ‘balanced university lifestyle’.
Students everywhere seem unaware of how strongly the choices they make when skipping
a lecture or class can affect their overall time management during the week. We have
decided to implement a system which takes advantage of two preexisting technologies,
the student card and the building access scanners. The final design prototype consists of
using a student card to ‘clockin’ and ‘clockout’ of buildings on campus. This will allow
students to keep a record of their time management whilst on campus by creating graphs
and charts within a mobile app. The data can also be sent anonymously to the University
itself and used to create statistics for individual Universities with regards to their students
lifestyles on campus.
The app prototype itself can be viewed or downloaded at:
In summary our final prototype includes the following features:
● Use of student number to register with app.
● The ability to clock in and out of buildings on campus using a Student Card.
● An app which displays the data gathered in graphs, tables or bar charts.
● Tips to help students spread their time more efficiently.
● Data will be sent anonymously to the University to be used in demographics.
Our reasoning for including the above features is that by using two preexisting
technologies, the student card and the building access scanners, half the implementation
work is already complete. We also included an app which tracks progress and time
management with the idea being that by allowing students to keep a record of their
progress it encourages them to make changes wherever applicable to them. By
anonymously sending data to the University we hope to allow the University to produce
statistics on the worklife balance of the students attending these establishments which
could in turn be used to encourage more students to apply.
Future Work (KV/KS)
The majority of this project already includes a variety of preexisting technologies. These
include access scanners readily installed at the entrance of every UL building and a student
card which that activates the scanners. In our researching stages we tested a UL student
card against these scanners. When a student card is held against these scanners an audio
signal is played and the light above the scanner flashes. This shows that the student cards
already have a magnetic field recognised by the scanners.
The next step of this project would involve programming the access scanners to register an
individual student's card. A student can then synchronise their card through the application
on their phone. Initially our main concern was being able to reprogram each scanner as
these were UL property. But due to the nature of the student cards alerting the scanners
this will only require the app to clock in and out when the student card is swiped upon
entrance and exit of the building. This implementation would be cost efficient as most
technologies are already in existence and only minor changes are necessary for full app
Game Material Appendices
Location: Question/task: Score= A/H/S
Library You have an exam tomorrow but its your friends birthday tonight, do you;
a) study in the library and miss the party 3/1/0
b) go to the party and hope the exam goes okay 0/0/3
Pub Your down to your last euro but the night is still young, do you;
a) borrow money from a friend and stay out 0/0/3
b) head home and call it a night 1/2/0
Gym Gym membership costs the same as a bike, do you;
a) buy a bike and cycle to keep fit 0/3/0
b) walk everywhere and join the gym 0/3/1
Shop You have very little money left to buy food but you are heading out tonight
a) Buy a healthy meal and skip the night out 1/3/0
b) split your money between food and alcohol 0/1/2
Lecture Hall You missed a lecture due to illness, do you;
a) ask a friend for their notes 2/0/1
b) explain you absence to the lecturer and ask for notes 3/0/0
Tutorial/Lab You missed an important lab due to a hangover, do you;
a) Contact the lecturer and explain yourself 3/0/0
b) Ignore the problem and try to catch up next week 1/0/0
Restaurant Dining with friends, do you;
a) Split a pizza and a pitcher of beer 0/0/3
b) choose the healthy option but pay more 0/2/1
Students Union your students union is looking for candidates for the upcoming student
election, do you;
a) elect yourself or a friend to run 3/0/2
b) show up to vote for the most popular choice 0/1/1
Park your friends are playing sport in the park while you have a class, do you;
a) Skip the class and join your friends 0/2/2
b) miss the game and go to class 3/0/0
Location: Question/task: score= A/H/S
● You’re sick, and the doctor has put you on antibiotics. You head to the pub with your
friends. Do you:
○ Drink a few pints, sure what harm? A/H/S: 0/0/2
○ Stay off the drink for the night, play it safe? A/H/S: 1/3/1
● You’re out for the night with friends, you’re a good few pints in, starting to feel it. Do you:
○ Keep on going, keep up with the rest of them? A/H/S: 0/0/2
○ Slow your pace, get a bite to eat first? A/H/S: 0/2/0
● The pub is holding event nights every night one week, ending at 3am every night, and you
have four 9am starts. Do you:
○ Head out every night, sure everyone else is? A/H/S: 0/0/3
○ Head out one or two nights, get a few nights sleep too? A/H/S: 2/3/0
● The restaurant has offers each day of the week for cheap food, however it mainly
consists of chips, pizza etc. Do you:
○ Eat there every day, saving money? A/H/S: 0/0/1
○ Eat there a few days, and buy healthier but more expensive food? A/H/S: 0/2/1
● Your friends plan to meet at the restaurant for a few days for some group studying &
meals, but the food is a tad expensive. Do you:
○ Join them, spending a lot of money on food? A/H/S: 2/3/3
○ Stay at home to save money, but join them online? A/H/S: 2/1/2
● The restaurant is offering a deal on pints with meals one evening only, but you’ve an
assignment due the next morning. Do you:
○ Go with the offer, one pint can’t hurt? A/H/S: 0/1/3
○ Decline the offer, you need to study? A/H/S: 3/3/0
● There’s a trampoline in the student union courtyard for Charity Week. Your friends are
enjoying it, but you’ve a sprained wrist. Do you:
○ Have a go, sure you’ll only be using your feet? A/H/S: 1/0/3
○ Sit it out, go to the library until they’re finished? A/H/S: 1/1/0
● The shop is offering a great deal on chicken rolls, but they aren’t allowed in the computer
labs, and you’ve heard rumours of salmonella?
○ Have one sure, you’ll only miss an hour of study? A/H/S: 1/0/1
○ Leave it, wait for dinner at home? A/H/S: 2/1/0
● You’ve just started on a new training program to keep fit, but your friends have been going
for weeks and are encouraging you to keep up with them. Do you:
○ Push yourself, you’re fitter than they are anyway? A/H/S: 0/1/2
○ Stay at the pace you were given? A/H/S: 0/3/2
● The restaurant is offering a deal on pints with meals one evening only, but you’ve an
assignment due the next morning. Do you:
○ Go with the offer, one pint can’t hurt? A/H/S: 0/1/3
○ Decline the offer, you need to study? A/H/S: 3/3/0
● A group exercise requires you to traverse across the campus to map out certain
buildings. Do you:
○ Go along with the group, it’s a simple enough task? A/H/S: 2/2/2
○ Head to the pool room, it’s not worth any marks anyway? A/H/S: 0/1/3
● You can’t seem to stay awake during lectures, do you:
○ Resort to bring an energy drink with your each time? A/H/S:
○ Try get more sleep, cut out a night or two drinking?? A/H/S:
● The library has a rule against water bottles, however you’re dehydrated. Do you:
○ Sneak a bottle of water in, you need to liquids? A/H/S: 2/3/1
○ Obey the rules, suffer with a dry mouth? A/H/S: 1/0/1
Location: Question/task: score= A/H/S
Library You’re trying to finish an assignment due in a few hours but you’re friends
want to go for lunch, do you?
a) Skip lunch and finish the assignment in time? A/H/S: 3/0/0
b) Go for lunch and rush the rest of it when you get back? A/H/S: 1/2/2
Pub You have a lecture you should go to, but you’re friends want to go for one ;
drink, do you?
a) Go to the lecture and skip the pub, it’s never just one A/H/S: 3/2/0
b) It’s only a lecture, a pint sounds better A/H/S: 0/0/3
Gym You have training tonight, but have to meet your group for a project.
a) I’ll just tell them something came up, can’t miss the gym A/H/S: 3/0/2
b) I’ll skip tonight and meet get working on this project A/H/S: 0/3/1
Shop You’re working from home and want a sugar rush, do you?
a) Stay and have some coffee and a light meal. A/H/S: 3/2/0
b) It’s only short short walk and the sugar rush will be good. A/H/S: 1/1/1
Lecture Hall You have a two hour lecture with a ten minute break in between, do you?;
a) Stay, it’s only another fifty minutes more. A/H/S: 3/0/0
b) Leave with your friends, nothing will happen in it. A/H/S: 1/0/3
Tutorial/Lab You’re at home sick, but have an important class on, do you?;
a) Brave it out and struggle to class? A/H/S: 2/0/1
b) It’s only one class, I’ll stay home. A/H/S: 0/3/0
Restaurant You need a book for one of your lectures, but are also going to a dinner
with friends for a birthday. Do you;
a) I get paid next week, I’ll wait till then. A/H/S: 0/2/3
b) Explain you need this book and don’t have money. A/H/S: 2/1/0
Students Union The SU need writers for their regular students paper, do you?;
a) I’m busy enough with college as it is, maybe later. A/H/S: 2/1/1
b) This will look great on my CV, sure! A/H/S: 3/0/2
Park It’s the nicest day of the year and everyone is skipping class to go to the
a) I’ll go to the class, the weather might hold up. A/H/S: 3/0/0
b) It’s a crime not to be out in this weather. A/H/S: 0/2/3