During the summer of 2017, we helped develop a toy prototype called the Connect-A-Sketch, which combines the iconic Etch-A-Sketch with a mobile app. Specifically, we developed the app portion of the prototype, the main game mode of which allows players to navigate in-app mazes that result in drawings on the toy.
Connect-A-Sketch is the brainchild of ZEROBRANCH. The company approached us in 2017 to design the app portion of a conceptual Etch-A-Sketch idea.
The game’s main mode is called Etch-A-Mazing and is based on navigating mazes. We created two conceptual mazes in a game we envision having 24 total, divided into worlds by theme. This was a proof-of-concept to show that we could create mazes that would be fun and engaging, easily maneuverable through the Etch-A-Sketch controls and would result in a drawing on the player’s Etch-A-Sketch. We created one maze set in a castle that resulted in a castle drawing and one based on a farm that resulted in a drawing of a dog.
The second mode we developed is called CopyCat, which serves as more of a “free play” mode. In this mode, players use the Etch-A-Sketch to create drawings that they can then manipulate on the mobile device in ways such as:
- Changing the color of the line drawing
- Adding stickers earned by playing Etch-A-Mazing
- Changing the drawing’s background with patterns earned by playing Etch-A-Mazing
- Sharing the artwork on social media
We completed most of the work for this project in the summer of 2017.
Most of the team collaborated virtually, as we are spread throughout Ohio. On several occasions, we held in-person “game jam” sessions in Columbus, Ohio.
The main purpose is to pitch the idea to companies that may be interested in an interactive drawing game. While we based the project specifically on an Etch-A-Sketch controller, we have a concept for an alternate controller design and can alter other aspects of the game depending on the interested brand, product or company. The core concepts of drawing and navigating mazes through a toy-like peripheral is versatile and can be applied to various art and toy companies like Crayola or Fisher Price.
The player places his or her mobile device on a modified Etch-A-Sketch that serves as both a controller and docking station. The player controls the game with the two standard knobs on the front of the device as well as with two additional buttons, one on each side.
For the purpose of prototyping, we based our themes on available asset packs and made complimentary models to expand what we wanted to do with the mazes. Both mazes include traps and obstacles that our artists created by editing models from the asset packs into assets that could be animated as well as creating some of their own. In the end, completing both mazes results in a 1:1 picture on the player’s Etch-A-Sketch.
We also developed the game’s main hub to look like a child’s room. From here, the player can choose which thematic world and maze he or she would like to visit. Each branch from the hub features an icon to guide the player.
In the end, this was the most unique and difficult project any individual on our team had worked on in the past, as it put us up against challenges we couldn’t simply find answers for online. The unique input method created some hiccups along the way, as is to be expected in development. But we were able to solve the issues, and the end result is a fully-playable, fun prototype we are proud to present after a summer of hard work.
For a media kit including photos, images, gifs and videos of the Connect-A-Sketch project, click this link to our Dropbox.