The Autodesk IDEA Studio is a residency program for designers, engineers, artists, and scholars who use design software in imaginative ways to solve real world problems. Visit www.autodesk.com/ideastudio to learn more.
Marco Morales is a Senior at Olin College of Engineering and member of the Olin-Autodesk SCOPE Team. Originally a Mechanical Engineer, Marco found himself doing just as much user experience and interaction design on software projects and startups. As someone who will graduate with a degree in "Engineering with a concentration in Product Design and Development" this May, Marco applied and was granted residency in the IDEA Studio. His visual design skills were a perfect match for this project at IDEA Studio.
Last Friday I attended a presentation where Marco Morales shared his research regarding how game mechanics can enhance the software learning experience. Marco defined game mechanics as what game developers think of to make users play a game as an immersive experience for hours. Think about it: games have to get this just right. If a game is too easy, one would say "Why bother?" If a game is too hard, one would say "I can't do it."
Marco's presentation highlighted some interesting facts.
- There is a wide range of design application users from novice to expert. It is a challenge to make one help system that accommodates them all.
- Facilitating the learning experience is key as engineers can easily lose time looking for training resources.
- No one learns just for the sake of learning. Instead, they learn just what they need to learn. Hence, a help system should provide users with just enough information so they can get their tasks done.
- With items like high scores or decorated avatars, computer games provide users with a constant sense of achievement or advancement.
- Being able to get help at the conceptual and action levels are key to improving a users' ability to effectively use a design application's vast array of commands.
Imagine if information was presented so you could immerse yourself (as in Assassin's Creed):
and easily see what you have mastered (as in Starcraft II):
and have that reflected in your status (as in Plants versus Zombies):
The Project Krypton Technology Preview, available on Autodesk Labs now, provides early stage design advice to plastic part designers and is integrated into the Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Inventor LT, SolidWorks, and Pro/ENGINEER. The add-on provides real-time feedback on a plastic part's manufacturability, cost efficiency, and the environmental impact of the selected material.
In the same vein as a computer game:
Project Krypton feedback indicators validate that your design is on track for ease of manufacturing, lowest cost, and minimal impact on the environment. A completed design with no problem indicators is a crowning achievement.
Please give Project Krypton a try and let us know what you think at [email protected]. In keeping with the game theme, consider the offer to try Project Krypton as my version of yelling "Marco!" Now it's your turn to reply with "Polo!"
Showing design feedback isn't all fun and games is alive in the lab.