A cooperative racing game with custom-made buttons

Co-Opterpillar Overview: 

  • A cooperative racing game with custom-made foot controllers built using cardboard, foil, and 2 Makey-Makey button kits. 

  • 5-person development team (2 programmers, 2 artists, 1 sound designer)

  • I personally focused on controller design, controller installation, and project production/management


Creative Goal: 

  • Capture the fun of collective chaos and teamwork through vigorous physical exertion. Success would be if we could make people laugh as much as they do in a 3-legged race. 


Process over 5 weeks: 

  • Week 1: Early research and development of 2 separate ideas 

  • Week 2: Focus on cooperative movement with physical buttons 

  • Week 3: Improving physical buttons and on-screen feedback

  • Week 4: Improving physical buttons and wires. Deploying theming (i.e. hats, antennae, ponchos)

  • Week 5: Installing buttons and wires. Theming room.

    • Discovering that the buttons work through static electricity 


Design Tools used

  • Frequent playtesting and iteration of controller design, tutorials, map layout, menus, and theming 

    • Incorporating and designing around physical comfort (both by making the controllers easier to use and by making the map shorter)​

  • Early research into alternative design paths 

  • Moving from working prototype to working prototype, pivoting as necessary (agile) 

  • Chasing the fun had by the team and by players 

Production Tools used

  • Agile-based feature lists that are agreed upon by the team for the next build version

  • Collective brainstorming to find an idea everyone could be excited by

  • Letting teammates agree on deadlines and the order they want to perform tasks

  • Consulting experts for help with buttons 

    • resident electrical engineer David Purta ​

  • Facilitating communication between teammates of different disciplines, languages, and cultures

  • Prioritizing key features and functionality over others

    • (e.g. leg animations and UI are more important than waterfall effects) 

Future Features

  • Improve hardware (buttons, wires, etc)

    • or use pre-made buttons​

  • Incorporate rubbing shoes on carpet (to make shoes impact static electric field of buttons easier) into the theme of the game 

  • Design a better tutorial/on-boarding speech about how to turn each player's individual body part

  • Enforce healthier work hours 


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©2019 by Derek Chan