Thursday, May 26, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Result of Usability Test

After testing the application with ten volunteers I gathered a result of 84.2 % usability. I also gathered useful feedback from the test.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Enthuasastep on Android Market

Above is a screenshot of the Enthuasastep Application online. I down loaded the application to a smart phone and began the usability test on the application.

Publishing my Android App on the Android Market

To publish my app I needed help which I got from M. Hossein Amersaki website. Below there is a youtube video that goes through the process step by step and was very helpful.

Creating Enthuasastep

I used App Inventor to create the Enthuasastep which is free to use through Google labs. To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a professional developer. This software is very easy to use and user friendly. There is a screen shot of the App Inventor with my project below. App Inventor is online. You must download a Java update to use the block editor but the process is very easy and doesnt take long.
This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app's behavior. My block editor for Enthuasastep is below. Block editor makes it very easy for someone who doesnt know anything about coding it seems like a big jigsaw.
App Inventor has an android emulator also which is updated automatically from the block editor or the App Inventor. Below is screen shots of Enthuasastep on the emulator. If you attach a smart phone you can put the app on the phone as a developer aid but once disconnected the app also disconnects.

Monday, May 9, 2011

System Usability Scale

John Brooke came out with this "quick and dirty" usability test for real life application in his work place and it has been hugely successful since. I will use the usability scale on my Enthuasastep prototype for the smart phone.

Scoring SUS

  • For odd items: subtract one from the user response.
  • For even-numbered items: subtract the user responses from 5
  • This scales all values from 0 to 4 (with four being the most positive response).
  • Add up the converted responses for each user and multiply that total by 2.5. This converts the range of possible values from 0 to 100 instead of from 0 to 40.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Frequencies of Survey with SPSS

Have you ever played a game on a social network before?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid No 32 29.4 29.4 29.4
Response 1 .9 .9 30.3
Yes 76 69.7 69.7 100.0
Total 109 100.0 100.0

Would you describe yourself as a person who either sits, reads, drives, watches television or use's a computer for much of the week with little or no vigorous physical exercise?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid No 47 43.1 43.1 43.1
Response 1 .9 .9 44.0
Yes 61 56.0 56.0 100.0
Total 109 100.0 100.0

Do you use your phone to help improve your lifestyle?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid No 52 47.7 47.7 47.7
Response 1 .9 .9 48.6
Yes 56 51.4 51.4 100.0
Total 109 100.0 100.0

Would you stop playing a social game because of having to pay money?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid No 8 7.3 7.3 7.3
Response 1 .9 .9 8.3
Yes 100 91.7 91.7 100.0
Total 109 100.0 100.0

Would you like to use your phone to be more physical active?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid No 50 45.9 45.9 45.9
Response 1 .9 .9 46.8
Yes 58 53.2 53.2 100.0
Total 109 100.0 100.0

If a online social game helped you to be physically active, would you play it?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid No 25 22.9 22.9 22.9
Response 1 .9 .9 23.9
Yes 83 76.1 76.1 100.0
Total 109 100.0 100.0

There are 2 games. The first you use money to buy virtual goods. The second you "buy"  virtual goods through your daily physical activity as the currency. Which game would you play?
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Response 1 .9 .9 .9
The first game 22 20.2 20.2 21.1
The second game 86 78.9 78.9 100.0
Total 109 100.0 100.0

Do you use a smart phone/iphone? 
Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid No 79 72.5 72.5 72.5
Response 1 .9 .9 73.4
Yes 29 26.6 26.6 100.0
Total 109 100.0 100.0

Using SPSS to Analyze Survey Data

SPSS (originally, Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) was released in its first version in 1968 after being developed by Norman H Nie and C. Hadlai Hull. It is used by market researchers, health researchers, survey companies, government, education researchers, marketing organizations and others. I will use SPSS to analyze the data I gathered with my survey to prove my concept does have a valid market place.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Holidays

Done so far.....
  • Sample Survey
  • Self-efficacy Survey on volunteers
  • Created YourCity game application
  • Tested YourCity with the volunteers
  • Generated results from volunteers step count
  • Literature review 
  • Methods & Methodology

    To do for rest of Easter.....
    • Analysis survey results
    • Start the study part of thesis
    • Get volunteers to take after self-efficacy test
    • Screenshots of all the volunteers cities
    • Design Enthuasastep
    • Implement Enthuasastep with powerpoint and pdf
    • Test enthuasastep with usability test

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Testing the self-efficacy of my volunteers

    I needed to know which type of self efficacy my volunteers had (high/low) towards physical activity. I used  Health-Specific Self-Efficacy Scales created by Ralf Schwarzer & Britta Renner to get a self-efficacy rating of my volunteers. It worked out that 4 had high self-efficacy towards physical activity and 4 had low self-efficacy towards physical activity. The questionnaire can be found at

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    YourCity Online on YOYO Games

    Added: 17 April 2011
    By: sdliverpool
    I planned on having the game using the instant play feature on the YOYO games website but it is disabled at the moment for some reason. Instead the game has to be down loaded from the site. Game maker have released a new version Game maker 8.1 two days ago that rectified this issue but I used Game Maker 8 and due to time constraints not modifying my game to Game Maker 8.1. This was an issue for administrating the game but I overcame this issue by a 5 digit code system. The volunteer tells me their step count and I give them a 5 digit code for their earned energy unit. Different codes for each day. Any member of the public or any of the volunteers can access the game online and download it to their PC. The down load is a zip file that consists of an executable of the game and the files generated for each of my volunteers.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Testing my concept

    I sent out a survey a few weeks ago to try get my target audience. I needed people that were sedentary and played social games. I got 11 suitable volunteers. I then gave 8 willing volunteers a questionnaire (Ralf Schwarzt & Britta Peaner derived the questionnaire) to find out their self-efficacy levels towards fitness. I divided the group into 2 groups a) high level of self efficacy b) low level of self efficacy. Each volunteer was given a pedometer. 
    I was provided pedometers by Breda a supervisor in CIT's GYM. She had previously used them in a pedometer challenge for the college. I text each participant for 4 nights in week 1 documenting their step count for each day. In week 2 I will request their step count and then reward the user by crediting them energy in the YourCity beta game. All participants will be given a questionnaire after the test to see their opinion on the system.

    Online Presentation

    I have booked a meeting with B.J. Fogg but for me to illustrate my project I had to place a presentation online. I did this using Prezi  which is a zooming presentation editor. I am very impressed with prezi as it gives presentations away more technologic feel about them. I will more than likely use this for my final presentation as in the middle of the presentation you can zoom out/in and pan around the presentation. My prezi can be found at

    PS. Only the concept has been filled out for Fogg. Researching, Testing etc will be filled out later on in the year.

    Creating a beta version of YourCity

    I am going to use Game maker 8 to create a prototype of YourCity. The game will have the main functionality but not with the expected graphics. Using this game I will be able to test the concept. I am using pedometers to simulate the mobile phone application. 
    GameMaker 8 : Using easy to learn drag-and-drop actions, you can create professional looking games within very little time. You can make games with backgrounds, animated graphics, music and sound effects, and even 3D games! And when you've become more experienced, there is a built-in programming language, which gives you the full flexibility of creating games with Game Maker. What is best, is the fact that Game Maker can be used free of charge.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Survey Online

    My survey is online and can be found at I have sent the survey out to all my contacts and asked them to send it out to all their contacts hopefully I will gather sufficient information to have accurate results. I will have to upgrade to a select account.
    This will cost 25euro but I will be able to analyze my results with away better features. If I had known this I would have upgraded at the start so I could have made a survey with unlimited questions. I will have 1000 response limit with a select account with the basic account I had a limit of 100 responses.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    My Sampling Survey

    I'am going to use sample surveying to prove the demand/need for my concept in the real world. I created the survey using SurveyMonkey which provides survey and questionnaire software for free you can get a gold account for extra functionality. The major fault of using the free account is that I was limited to 10 questions ad I cant access the logic functionality either but I adapted to it to suit my sampling survey. I have created 3 sections in the survey. The first section is to establish the different groups and to identify my target audience. This section will be used to see what groups selected which options farther on in the survey.

    Section 2 is to gather information on their opinions on smart phones as half the project uses smart phone as a persuasive technology. This will gather which groups have smart phones and if they use it to improve their lifestyle.

    The final section then is to get an understanding of their opinions of online social games and the last question is a scenario that my game could fit into.

    I have spent the last two days making up this survey and have got 3 people each from different age groups to get their opinions of the survey this was very useful and this is the third different survey after gathering negative/positive feedback from the testers. i will be hoping to use snowball surveying to gather the maximum amount of people to fill out the survey. I completed the survey on Friday evening but will send it out on Monday afternoon as I taught people would not be bothered filling out a survey on Friday evening a Monday would be more suited. 

    B.J. Fogg

    During my writing up the first draft of "Trying to combat sedentary lifestyle" (literature review 1) I did a lot of research on persuasive technology and Facebook. During this research I came across allot of studies done by Fogg and he is referenced numerous times in the thesis as his work is very relevant to my thesis. He works in Standford Persuasive Lab which shows all his research. The lab has documented captology (figure 1) and is in the process of creating a book based on the psychology of Facebook which is very interesting highlighting the persuasive methods that are used within in Facebook. You can find all his work at his website My literature review is based on most of Foggs research. I will try to get a interview with Fogg in the near future for my thesis showing him a presentation of my concept to get his opinion.

    My Thesis

    This week I have been putting a lot of time into my thesis. I have my first draft of my first chapter "Combating sedentary Lifestyle" (literature review) 2000 words. I also created the headings for chapter 2 "Social web" and the opening few pages. I also have completed the first draft of Methods & Methodology chapter 1000 words. The more i write up my thesis the better idea of my overall project and regret not starting to write up the thesis sooner in the semester. The writing up takes a lot more time that I first presumed it is a tedious progress and needs to be given the appropriate attention since I will more than likely not creating a product now I can give the thesis all the attention it needs.

    Options for creating the product for the thesis

    a) Use an off the shelf game 
    A game already developed on Facebook or the internet using flash. The game would be a city-building simulation game. I would have to be able to add virtual goods to the volunteers games depending on their step count. This would cost me money as I would have to pay for the virtual goods myself. To monitor the step count I would have to use an off the shelf pedometer also which I would have to manually collect the step counts each day off the volunteers. Using these pedometers validity would be comprised as the pedometer would not reliable for accurate results.
    b) Create a simple flash game
    I would follow a tutorial and create a suitable sort of flash game. It would more than likely not be a city building game as planned. I would have to be able to administrate the game also to add rewards for reaching their step count goal. I would still use an off the shelf pedometer to measure a users step count.

    c) Make concept models
    These would be prototypes with just a front end working. his would be the most successful way to portraying the concept to people. This could be done using dreamweaver for the facebook app and xcode for the phone app. I could also use Microofts powerpoint to present it.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Change of Plans

    Due to time constraints and the vast size of the project I have had to change my plans of creating a completed city-building simulation game and a phone app I'am going to create the concept and test that with volunteers. I have started creating the concept using fireworks and dreamweaver for the facebook app (image below) and I will create a phone app using xcode that will show the concept but wont be fully functional. I will be doing this so I will be able to demonstrate the concept to the volunteers for testing. The volunteers will be able to try out the models to get a feel of what I'am trying to do and gather a good understanding of the project.

    Game Builder Studio Beta Version 3.0

    Last week I received the latest version of GameBuilder Studio beta version by signing up in their website It is a very friendly and easy to use piece of software and when completed will be a must need flash game development editor. It uses all the concepts of push button saving a user all the coding and more time to the gaming. It incorporates are the essential PBE concepts levels, templates, pbe objects and when you export to Flash Builder it already generates a xml file for you, creating your game for you. By creating  the templates and levels it saves vast amounts of coding for a developer. You can assign a background and foreground images by drop and drag from the assets which can be uploaded from your documents / pictures / images. It has quick objects you can pull to the screen as below I created this tree and 2 boxes from the quick objects at the side. There is a screen shot below.

    The main developer is very cooperative and is willing to help you along the process to creating a project with his guidance if needed. Even in early beta version what I could do already would have saved me days of studying PBE but since it is only beta to make a game completely using it isn't possible yet the main reason as collision detection has not been addressed yet but from talking to Lavon it will be in future versions and has already done it just to release it. Also from talking to Lavon he revealed to me by the time the editor will be completed that you will be able to create the user interface also this will make creating a game a lot easier. All I can say as a negative towards GBS is that its not going to be completed in time to help my project which is a pity as it is the ideal software I was looking for since January. 

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Learning PushButton Engine

    I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to get my head around PushButton Engine. The engine was recommended to be through online communities and groups and seemed to be a great engine but what I found a nuisance was the lack straight forward documentation to get up and running to where I wanted to be. Most of the examples I found were through the PushButton Engine website, Google Code, Blogs, Forums. This is the process I went through to learn it hopefully it will help someone somewhere. I firstly downloaded the engine and followed the get started instructions which was very helpful and straight forward and explained how to set it up using different software. Then I began to learn the architecture of PushButton Engine. I then completed the 5 lessons on the docs section and read through the references section which goes through all the basics needed to understand the specific parts of how the engine works. The best advice I could give is to understand the XML level file or templates as it is the key of why PushButton engine has so much potential. There is also video tutorials that explain concepts involved in the engine they are in general 5 minute long and well worth watching. The best tutorials I came across were Matthew Capersons Hubfolio. They create a working example with all the concepts used appropriately. Matthew shows show templates and levels are used correctly and effectively. Another good blog I found helpful were Nate Becks a developer in the PushButton Engine team. Another developer who contributes to the open source project PushButton Engine is Lavon Woods who has created an Isometric Component for PushButton Engine and added video tutorials on the basics of PushButton Engine. To see how a project is generated in Flex or Flash or Flash Develop click here. If you explore through these you will see how they are generated and what files are put where. After 2 weeks of going through it all i figure I have a good understanding of it but if I knew where to find all the related documentation it definitely would have been a quicker process.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Game Builder Studio

    GameBuilder Studio
    During my research into PushButton Engine and learning its techniques I came across GameBuilder Studio in the showcase of things made with PushButton Engine. GameBuilder Studio applies PushButton Engine's modular approach towards flash game development it makes it easy to use the approach doing all the coding for you making it easier for you to develop your game.
    GameBuilder Studio is the first and only “End-to-End”, flash based game editor for professional developers, game studios and educational institutions. It is equipped with the necessary tools for developers to build isometric flash games similar to Farmville & Social City or 3D games and deploy them directly to iPhone, Android, and Facebook, without having to start from the ground up, increasing developer productivity, and cutting down on development time and cost. The simplicity of its user interface allows for in-experienced game developers to jump right in and start creating but provides more experienced game developers with the ability to add enhanced features as needed using the editors plugin API and sell those plugins on the open market place.

    It is only in Beta version at the moment and the developers are sending out beta versions to developers to test them and provide feedback. I inquired to the head develop Lavon Woods to see if GBS was suitable for my project and could I get a beta version.

    Hey Lavon,

    I'am a student in Ireland doing a project that will create a basic version of a
    social game such as Farmville, My Town etc I have been learning
    Push Button Engine but after coming across Game Builder Studio I think it would
    be perfect to complete the project. Would it be suitable for
    my type of project? If so could I receive a beta version of Game Builder Studio?


    His response......

    Hi Shane,

    Yes GBS would be perfect for what you are working on, unfortunatly we are currently not sending out any invites, there is currently a waiting list. When we send out another update in the coming weeks, we will be hand picking individuals that we can work closely with to test GBS. I will add you to the list. Thanks for your interest.

    Lavon Woods (Lead Architect & Founder)

    His response confirmed my first taught that GBS is perfect to create my game but I wont be able to use it as I wont get a beta version in time to use it for my project this could have saved me a lot of work and time that I could be using on some other aspect of the project

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    The UI I created in Flash Builder

    I now am confident I have a good understanding of the functionality of Flash Builder

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    A poll I sent out on Facebook

    I used an app called survey to send out a survey so i could gather appropriate volunteers to test the application later on. This is a screen shot of the survey and followed my the results screen just after sending out the survey one hour ago. The results can be exported to excel once i have generated enough.

    The Results Screen...

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Paper Prototyping

    I created this paper prototype to check the efficiency of the user interface. I got 4 people who have played social games before to play around with the UI to see if they understood it. I firstly explained the process of the game so they would have a basic understanding of how the game works. I got positive feedback regarding layout. Overall I was happy with their comments. 

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    PushButton Engine

    Nate Beck explains all there is to know about the basic concepts and ideals of PushButton in this video recorded at San Jose at the 360 Flex Conference. I would recomend watching this video to understand PushButton.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Another way of creating Isometric buildings

    I found this website that actual is there just for creating buildings in an isometric view called ISO Builder check it out :

    The art work in the Facebook app

    I'm going to create the buildings for the app with pixel art in photoshop. 
    Wikipedia: Pixel art is a form of digital art, created through the use of raster graphics software, where images are edited on the pixel level. Graphics in most old (or relatively limited) computer and video games, graphing calculator games, and many mobile phone games are mostly pixel art.

    There are plenty of tutorials on how to make basic houses that would be ideal for my project as the graphics will not have to be up to the standard of commercialization.

    How I'm Going to implement the project

    1. Pedometer App
    Software> Android SDK Manager, Eclipse Editor
    Languages> Java, FBML, FBJS
    Resources> Google Code, Github

    2. Facebook App
    Software> Adobe Master Collection (Flash Builder, Photoshop, Fireworks)
    Languages> Javascript, FBML, FBJS
    Game Engine> as3isolib
    Resources> Adobe website, Youtube, Github, gotoAndLearn(), Google Code

    My Storyboard

    Friday, February 18, 2011


    As3isolib (v1.0) is an open-source ActionScript 3.0 Isometric Library developed to assist in creating isometrically projected content (such as games and graphics) targeted for the Flash player platform. As3isolib includes utilities, primitives and views. As3isolib was developed with simplicity, speed and performance in mind so that developers can focus on actual implementations rather than having to learn a complex API. The as3isolib is loosely based on a scenegraph implementation. Since it is open source there seems to be numerous tutorials available online the best one I have come across so far is which gives you a good understanding of the basics of how the open source engine works he does this in Flash Builder which is what I will be using as after creating my story board (still to go online) I noticed there is quite a few text areas and function areas that are separate from the game.


    The FFilmation Engine is an AS3 isometric programing engine, focused mainly on game development. The aim of the project is providing a robust development platform, where game designers can work on the game’s details and forget about the render engine. It is intended to be really usable from a “real production scenario” point of view.

    From using the demo and reading blogs and posts I don't think it is suitable for my application. I'am researching other isometric engines as there are very few tutorials on OpenSpace and it is not as globally recognized as other isometric engines but they have brought a new version which I will test.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Creating The Application

    I have been searching the web for the past few weeks for tutorials, explanations even just advice on how to make a city building simulation game with no joy. With thanks to the gotoandplay website website I have come across OpenSpace a multi-player virtual worlds engine. OpenSpace is a powerful framework for the Flash platform for rapid development of isometric multiplayer virtual worlds and MMO communities. The OpenSpace engine leverages the power of ActionScript 3 and SmartFoxServer, offering an unprecedented level of features and customizations to make your virtual world look unique. OpenSpace allows the creation of advanced map architectures, including bridges and overpasses, with separate background layer for the best control over the map graphical appearance; it offers an advanced map scrolling engine which maximizes the rendering performance and allows the creation of larger maps. OpenSpace makes use of an extended breadth-first pathfinding algorithm which is able to handle tile elevation, slopes and different terrains; it gives the developer full control over the avatar creation process, disclosing countless possibilities.

    An example of a game created on OpenSpace is.......

    The Settlers – My City is Blue Bytes new addition to "The Settlers" series, now playable on Facebook. Build the most beautiful looking cities and prosperous productions. Explore the wide regions of the surrounding sectors and find new resources. Invite your friends and help each other build thriving economies. Solve quests with the help of your friends. Become the ruler of your own blossoming kingdom!

    I'am only beginning to use the software but it seems promising and should know in a day or two if it is what I need but from playing the settlers and reading about OpenSpace I'am confident I will be able to begin my first prototype on schedule.

    Target Audience

    My target audience for the application would be teenagers. I think it is important to motivate teenagers to do extra physical activities as they are the future. The graphics and game play will take the target audience into consideration when being designed.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Project Management & Tracking

    I'am using a new project management website that came to my attention through Google Chrome. It keeps track of what I'am doing and allows for adding notes and testing reviews. I'am also using it as a diary noting what I'am doing every day. The URL is......

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Applied Game Design Continued...

    Table of Contents

    Main Options
    -> Add Neighbours - 

    • Select Neighbours 
    • Invite

    -> Help 

    • Overview 
    • Feature set explained

    -> Play (Main application page)

    • Gold - Enter extra activity
    • Cash
    • Energy
    • XP & current level 
    • System toolbar 
                      - Zoom in
                      - Zoom out
                      - Full screen
                      - Sound

    • Mouse tool
                      - Move
                      - Rotate
                      - Mouse
                      - Demolition

    • Objectives / Trophies (3 Trophies to each objective)
                      - Suburbia
                      - Neighbours
                      - Decorations
                      - Energy
                      - Extra activities
                      - Downtown
                      - Silicon valley
                      - Expansion
                      - Buildings
                      - Rent
                      - Green area
                      - Water
                      - Wonders / Landmarks
                      - Entertainment   

    • Bottom toolbar
                      - Neighbours
                             ~ List of neighbours
                             ~ Visit neighbours see their XP points and level

    (All the following will have a price to construct and will show the XP points for creating such, and the time for collection)

                      - Roads
                             ~ Roads
                             ~ Paths
                             ~ Railroad
                      - Homes
                             ~ Small
                             ~ Medium
                             ~ Large
                             ~ Mansion
                             ~ Condos / Apartments

                      - Businesses
                             ~ Offices
                             ~ Stores
                             ~ Restaurants
                             ~ Entertainment
                             ~ Misc
                             ~ Skyscrapers

                      - Community / Government Buildings
                             ~ Essential
                             ~ Education
                             ~ Safety
                             ~ Entertainment
                             ~ Religious
                             ~ Landmarks

                       - Water
                             ~ Docks
                             ~ Boats
                             ~ Sports
                       - Decor
                             ~ Plants
                             ~ Trees
                             ~ Fences
                             ~ Lights
                             ~ Water
                             ~ Misc
                             ~ Flags