A Case Study in making the Right Movies: 3D Modelling to Industrial Design
“I WANTED TO CREATE A BOARD THAT WOULD NOT ONLY TEACH THE RULES OF THE GAME BUT ALSO ALLOW USERS TO CREATE THEIR OWN”
When I was tasked with creating a chessboard based on a theme, like many of the other projects I have worked on, I sought to give myself a personal challenge. This time, I challenged myself to not only create a unique board, but also one that would work as a real product to sell.
"Ground Control to Major Pawn"
“I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED HOW BRIGHT AND INSPIRING THE OUTLOOK OF THE FUTURE WAS FOR THE PAST”
I went with a sci-fi theme for this board, particularly “Retro-Future” designs. I looked towards examples from the past, from retro sci-fi film posters to cartoons like The Jetsons. I also took inspiration from current designs found in the various video games, like Portal or Bioshock. I looked towards these to create designs that not only had interesting designs but also had reasons behind them.
“BEFORE I DESIGNED ANYTHING, I NEEDED TO MAKE SURE I HAD PLANNED OUT EACH PIECE’S FUNCTION AND HOW THE USER WOULD INTERACT WITH IT”
One of the bigger aspects of my creative process for this project was visualizing each piece’s move set and abilities. By mapping out each of the functions of what every piece could do, gave me a clear list of functions I would need to design for. By going this route I was able to figure out new features for the product that wouldn’t have been created otherwise, such as the turn clock/touch menu, team/movement indicators, and game status.
"Dreams can move in all directions"
“COULD I CREATE A CHESS BOARD THAT A CHILD WOULD WANT TO PLAY WITH OVER AN IPAD OR VIDEO GAME?”
Once I knew what each piece needed for their functions, the next step was designing the board and visual aspects. I used a combination of MODO modelling software and Adobe Photoshop for various graphics. While modelling, I took note of real production processes and made sure to create shapes and pieces that could be created or 3D printed in real life.
"Ground Control to Major Pawn"
“MY OBJECTIVE WAS TO CREATE PIECES THAT NOT ONLY WOULD BE FUN TO PLAY WITH BUT OFFER MORE THAN THE STANDARD COUNTERPART”
One of the benefits that I came across with this project, was that my design process actually eliminated some of the work and time I needed to spend. By imagining that these pieces would have interactivity from LEDs, digital screens, and more, I designed a board with only two different piece types. Included in this chess board would be 8 Pawns and 8 Major Pieces for each player. Each pawn would have the ability to light up when still in play and be able to indicate the side it belongs to. The major pieces, on the other hand, would have a few extra features. Not only would they be able to tell you which side they belong to, they would also indicate which piece they represent (King, Queen, Rook, Knight, Bishop), the moves they can make, and the current status of the game at hand. Also imagined and designed was a small touchscreen for players that would act as both a turn clock and a menu for various options. The idea being that while players can play and interact with the board in many ways (accessible and expandable), ultimately they would be able to create new games by learning the basics of game design and programming.
“HOW I PACKAGE THE FINAL DESIGN IS HOW I CAN FRAME THE STORY”
After completing the 3D models, they were then painted and placed for their final images. Using Photoshop I created various icons and labels for the different pieces and the board itself. I created the chessboard using a radar as inspiration, and the various menu screens to give the player the feeling of commanding ships. For the pieces themselves, I decided on going with a planet theme. This not only allowed for assigning each planet to a piece (King = Jupiter, Queen = Saturn, etc.) but also to give the idea of player customization.
"Things should not only look good but function just as well."
“EVERY PART OF THIS PROJECT, FROM THE START, WAS DESIGNED AS A REAL PRODUCT”
One of my goals/challenges for this project was to both design a chess board that was new and exciting but also one that would work as a real product that people would enjoy. If I was to make that happen, the next steps I would take would be working with a game programmer and product designer. Building a prototype could also be done using 3D printing or created in a digital environment.