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Project Date: August 2017 – Present
Language: Unity C#
Idea Summary: Data Driven Games for Cats
For a few months while at Lumosity, I was simultaneously taking the first steps towards designing my own company, Mew and Me, before going full time in August of 2018. Basically, I design games for your cat to play while you are away from home. These games track what your cat is doing, and teach you about them later. We are also partnered with the VCA to use this data to study and learn about cats worldwide, and hopefully improve the animals’ lives.
Much like designing games for kids, designing games for cats is particularly challenging. It required me to focus on Empathic Design, a design framework where you place yourself in your users’ shoes. Because a cat cannot tell me what it likes or doesn’t like, I had to spend a lot of time researching. For instance, cats use the same parts of their brains while playing as while hunting. So our prey all has AI designed to make them a little more lifelike.
I also found out cats are partially colorblind, and are far sited. And see at freaking 60 FPS. So our games use a very narrow color palette, and have noticeable outlines. They also run at the higher frame rate, and basically are just super adorable. I’ll actually be talking about this whole design challenge at GDC in 2019.
The next challenge is to design for their owners. We are seeing decent engagement with the animals, but now we have to create something that the people find engaging too. This will ensure that we always have people playing along with their cats!