Tangible Widgets and Scrolling Cameras


NOTE: For a thorough description of the project, please watch the video above.

A study of interaction techniques with tangible widgets on touch devices for games with scrolling cameras. Tangible widgets are toys that are used as a type of controller in touch-based games for children. The idea is to introduce new and fun ways of interacting.


We started out by observing children playing Disney’s Cars 2 AppMates. In AppMates, players use a physical toy car to explore an open world and race against other cars. The purpose was to find problems with game’s interaction techniques. We found a lot of issues, but the most important was that children in the majority of the time, position the widget at the borders of the screen, although they can’t see what’s ahead of the car. This is mostly caused by players trying to follow the roads, which makes them end up in edges and corners of the screen. Furthermore, the widget works poorly at the the borders of the screen.

In order to find a solution to the problem, we built our own version of AppMates from scratch and developed a bunch of alternative interaction techniques. We tested the techniques on children and found that a technique called Road Focus was a significant improvement. This technique slowly pans the camera position and places the road more in the center of the screen, thereby keeping players from the boarders of the screen.


Context: 10th semester Media Technology (Medialogy) project
Finished: May, 2016
Time spent: 3 months, including research and report writing.
Total amount of programmers:  3
Software I used: Unity (C#)

My areas:
  • Programming:
    • Lead programmer – Managed tasks and enforced use of estimation and burndown charts (Scrum).
    • Code structure.
    • System that allowed us to easily change interaction techniques during testing.
    • Some of the interaction techniques.
  • Level design – Building all levels
  • Designing and facilitating tests.
  • Video editing.
  • Report writing.

Gustav Dahl
Mathias Klitgaard Berthelsen
Benjamin Nicholas Overgaard