Project Blue Falcon: A Flux Gaming Controller Design
[01.29.13] - Dewayne Cameron, Scott Glendinnning and Steven C. Lindsey
Blue Falcon Prototype
A scale model prototype of the Blue Falcon was constructed using Styrofoam. Flux Gaming was able to use Heuristics design testing to see how the actual controller would feel in the hands of a user to help influence needed modifications and improvements. Using the known weights of different devices that the team wanted to incorporate into the design, the estimated weight of the controller was determined to be approximately 41.3 ounces. The dimensions of the controller are 13" x 7". The size/weight ratio of the controller is within acceptable performance standards for the user.
More testing for the controller needs to be conducted once a fully operational prototype has been built. These tests will help to determine the usability and compatibility across multiple platforms and genres. The following questions still need to be answered:
Does it feel good in the player's hands?
Does it follow the four principles of Gamenics to be successful?
Does it work for every game genre currently known?
These tests will help the design team to ensure that the controller meets the two elements and four principles of Gamenics by following Nielson's 10 Heuristics for the engineering of a multiplatform controller. Testing will need to be broken up into three phases:
Technology Testing Phase:
Since the Blue Falcon is incorporating a multitude of different types of technology in its design, each individual component as well as the combination of all components must be tested. This will reveal any potential hardware compatibility issues that may present themselves.
A continued Heuristics evaluation of a working prototype will help Flux Gaming fix any issues that may have been overlooked during the concept phase of the design process.
Upon completion of a working prototype, Flux Gaming will be able to begin incorporating a wide range of PC, console, hardcore and casual users to further test the Blue Falcon. These tests will provide insight as to where the Blue Falcon may fall short in its intended design. The results of the testing will compile data for Flux Gaming that can then be used to shape the Blue Falcon to meet its intended design goal: to provide an unparalleled gaming experience.
Discussion of Findings and Results
The Blue Falcon uses a combination of technology to make it desirable for casual and hardcore gamers alike. The addition of the OLED S.A.B. will allow dedicated single-platform enthusiasts to migrate to other gaming platforms; such users will experience all levels of gameplay on any platform they desire. A controller such as the Blue Falcon may help PC-specific game genres such as real-time strategy games and MMORPGs move into the console market, due to its design being so adaptable for different platforms.
Further testing on a working prototype is still needed to determine reliability, durability and hardware compatibility for its overall functionality. Tests will help to explore the design until all bugs and flaws are identified and eliminated. The need to conduct user playtests in an open forum is critical in helping to define the user attitudinal data for the use of such a controller. Further usability testing needs to be conducted within the target audience of 15-40 year-old male and female users who have Xbox 360, PlayStation, 3 and PC gaming experience. The use of aluminum for the frame and body of the Blue Falcon will maintain a great tactile feel while also producing a durable product.
As the gaming industry has evolved, there have been many innovations in the hardware used for PCs and Consoles. Input devices, however, have remained relatively unchanged throughout the years. A controller like the Blue Falcon is the next step in development of user interface devices for cross-platform gaming.
The Blue Falcon emphasizes communication, user recognition, and flexibility by combining the functionality of current controllers with the tried-and-true keyboard and mouse setup avid PC users love. The Blue Falcon is superior to current controllers on the market today because of its integrated keyboard and cross-platform compatibility. The Blue Falcon also offers extreme flexibility in button mapping for game developers and users, allowing them to dominate all aspects of gaming.
Isbister, K., & Schaffer, N. (2008). Game Usability. (p. 273). Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.