I wrote my bachelor’s thesis in Interaction design working alongside the Just Dance Now team at Massive Entertainment in the spring of 2013. The game allows players without consoles to play Just Dance by using their smartphones as motion controllers, allowing an unlimited number of simultaneous players. My partner and I were asked to investigate two things “How can we make connecting to the game room easier?” and “How will the players choose songs?”. While these seem like simple things to do for a few people in a living room, it becomes seemingly impossible for a packed stadium or concert hall.
The biggest obstacle was working around the non-disclosure agreement we had with Massive. The game had not been announced at the time so we worked with the idea of an online jukebox as a parallel to the game. The users would have to somehow connect to the jukebox and choose songs much like they would in the game.
One of our interesting findings was that we could improve player behavior by rewarding players that make popular choices. In this case we succeeded in making people choose the songs they thought others would like over songs only they like.
The thesis is titled “Using smartphones and shared displays to connect and coordinate people in playful contexts” and has the following abstract:
This paper explores the social aspects of a new kind of mobile games where players interact with each other in a shared physical space as well as in-game. As technology spreads throughout layers of culture and everyday life, and gaming becomes increasingly widespread, we see a future in social digital games through the use of smartphones, because of their prevalence and their technical versatility. This poses new challenges for designers. By using the context of music selection in semi-public to public situations and with the help of prototypes, we explore the problems of making selections and connections in large groups as well as delivering feedback. As a result of this project we arrive at elements such as participation, competition, scalability and the importance of social interactions between participants which can be used when designing systems in similar contexts.
Available for reading here.