Make A Scape

Think Up


Interface design

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Make A Scape is an apocalyptic educational engineering app, designed for school children and undergraduates. Thomas.Matthews worked collaboratively with Gennaro Senatore, Charlie Banthorpe and sister company Think Up, to develop the thinking behind the user journey, the visual direction and look and feel of the app interface.

The game helps users develop a tacit understanding of structural behaviour through an imaginative interface, and future world concept. It encourages users to build efficiently; in real-time and test their structures under live loading through an enjoyable and imaginative interface. “The Sketch People have wasted their resources and destroyed their environment. Use structural engineering principles to help them rebuild their world…”

Make A Scape aims is to inspire wide range of young people to develop an interest in Engineering. For school children the message is that engineering is a career that helps you shape the world. For undergraduates, it is a platform that can be used to teach engineering principles. It is optimised for iPad, and feedback reveals it’s engaging, fun and educational.

The design process started with research into the use of games in education, which informed the learning outcomes required for Make A Scape. This enabled Think Up to create a truly engaging app rather than a game that simply demonstrates technical possibilities. The team wanted the intuition of play to be a key aspect of the user journey: the ‘Proving Ground’ section of the game was developed to allow users to experiment and invent along side the sequential level structure.

The look and feel was influenced by ‘physical play’ with the aim of bringing a tactile quality to the digital experience. Designer Jack Bardwell describes how this proved rather tricky when actually developing the app: “It was a challenge to bring analogue textures into the game engine: Unity – the artwork needed to be crafted in such a way that the landscape appeared seamless and looked ‘hand-made’ and the app was light and responded in real-time. This required a complicated system of image tiling – but we’re very happy with the results ”

Make A Scape builds on Think Up’s work in creating real-time structural simulators. Previous apps have all been successfully used for both Key Stage 5 and undergraduate teaching curriculum. Think Up has been working with universities across the country to develop guidance notes on how the app can feature in teaching scenarios.

Make A Scape has be made possible from support by IStructE, the Ove Arup Foundation, and the Useful Simple Trust

Lead design and software development: Gennaro Senatore
UI design and software development: Charlie Banthorpe
Educational design: Think Up
Sounds and music: Max Perryment
Make A Scape on iTunes store: here