Making things

Since the previous post I have taken some time travelling through the rest of Morocco, and doing a bit of tourist ventures. From riding camels in the Sahara dunes, to driving through acres of Palm tree valleys in the Atlas Mountains. It was a whirlwind trip, a bit touristy, but amazing nonetheless. Taking a break from the design work was a good move, no massive epiphanies, but a fresh start last week proved somewhat fruitful.

I’ve managed to go through a pretty extensive development phase for each of the designs, and they are all finally one happy family. I have shifted a couple of the modules to fit together more in the whole design, rather than being elements on their own. Now, the entire play space, consists of modules that can be manipulated and added together, much like giant Lego pieces, to create a play space.

I’ve spent the last week building scale models to investigate all the designs spatially, and how they fit together as a family. As far as the design goes, I’m really happy and excited to get building the full scale prototypes, however as I’ve been collecting materials to build these full scale versions, I’ve come across some very interesting obstacles. What I have in my mind, and the reality of what is available are two different things. But alas, that’s what this project is all about. Being able to create the design, from locally accessible materials. So for that part, there is success, albeit it being difficult. The only stumble block at this point is including the digital/electronic component in the ways I had imagined. These would most likely need to be reconsidered once the full scale versions are built. The interaction remains the same, it’s really the output of this interaction, that would be the last component.

So, right now, the play space is designed, and can be built through these various modules. As in the images above, the entire space is starting to fit together really well in the modular way I intended. I’ll give a quick rundown of each, and show some examples of how I have toyed with the idea of how they might fit together. The entire layout is based on a hexagonal grid, where all the pieces can fit together on this grid.

Module 1 – Route
This module is the basis of the play space.  Keeping in mind that the whole idea for the play space is to create pattern based manipulated pathways, this piece becomes the foundation piece. By arranging and connecting them kids can create routes and mazes. All the other pieces/modules become an extension from this piece.

This module is designed to fold in half, so that combined with other similar ones, they create various routes. The can fold forwards and backwards, connecting, closing and redirecting the pathways, as in the main layout image a bit earlier.

Module 2 – Entrapment
A maze needs a trap, and this module serves that purpose. The ends reach the same distance as the points on the first module, and then based on the hexagonal grid, they can block or narrow the the maze routes, and create new games and avenues.

The module can rotate with ease, to change the way that it is aligned to the rest of the pathway, again, as per layout diagram above. I will show more detailed versions of what I imagine this could be in a special next post.

Module 3 – Racing
As much as this module is called racing, it’s just where it originated. Right now, this I would consider more of an obstacle course/building block. This piece again extends the same distance as the other pieces on the hexagonal grid, but can change its shape. The middle section can roll back and forth and be placed on its side, and multiple version can be stacked together. Very much, a flexible building block.

The vertical tyres have an axel through the middle, and can roll/slide along the strop back and forth. This allows the pieces to be adjusted in shape, to be added and moved around it’s counter parts

Module 4 – Hunting
I laugh now at the names I gave these modules… As much as it helped at the beginning it seems very unnecessary now. I think I’ll just go with a numbering system from here on. This Module “4” takes on a bit more of a destination in the bigger scope of the play space.

It can be climbed through, used as a “cage” or connected at the top with similar modules and become something completely different – perhaps – even a castle… Ha!

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Module 5 – Alignment
So for this module, things are slightly different. It is more of an intimate game in itself, rather than an overall piece. A sort of centerpiece if you will. I am still in the process of deciding whether this is the right option to take, or whether it should be more of a Lego piece like the rest of the play space. Decisions decisions, the bain of my existence.

This will be a central game, where the purpose is to rearrange the wheels to complete a pattern. the initial starting point will determine the pattern to be created. in the middle will be a light of sorts, once you connect your pattern, you connect a circuit (if it’s correct) and the light turns on. First one to complete the pattern, wins. Currently I’m just deciding whether to stick with the game format, or move it more to a larger physical interaction. I do however enjoy the fact that in the larger play space, there is a smaller more intimate play mechanism.


As I launch into a very strange building process, I’ll keep adding posts about the progress. Let’s see where it ends up!

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