MAKING OF: Circolino

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Introduction Circolino is a bundle of five Serious Games and self-built input devices to play games while making a range of different physiotherapy exercises. Every time the children play Circol- ino, the system logs very important information for the therapy and then saves it in a well formatted CSV file to be used for analyzing the progress of every single patient. This Serious Game was made for the Children's Rehabilitation Center of Affoltern (Switzerland) and is adapted to children under 12 years old with motor function problems. Playing is something that the human races has al- ways done. For this reason playing games is a very important part in the life of every of us. Games are part of our culture as well, regardless of which game is being played. Sadly, not all people are able to play video games. There are people that have problems with motor functions and most of these are children. Normally, physiotherapy involves helping children achieve their gross motor functions and enabling them to develop their physical inde- pendence. The Physiotherapists assess, design and carry out stimulation exer- cises for children to improve their phys- ical skills, and to pre- vent further deformities and mini- mize the effects of disability. Helping children with physiotherapy is quite different than helping adults, from an anatomical, physiological and psy- chological point of view. To treat chil- dren effectively all these issues need to be considered. My first step to create this game was to ana- lyze, together with a Physiotherapist, the different exercises that these children executed every day. After that I collected all the important in- formation and wrote the GDD (Game De- sign Document). While writing it, I paid attention to all aspects of the game with the ‘eyes’ of these chil- dren. It wasn’t as easy as we can imagine. Most of these children have motor problems not only because the muscles are not working well, but also because the brain has some problems, too. For this reason, I wanted to create mini-games that help to train the different parts of the brain and not only the muscles: they must work together. The mini-games of Circolino train these parts of the brain that are used to memorize, to calculate, to recog- nize, to see and to hear: parietal lobe, frontal lobe, tempo- ral lobe and occipi- tal lobe. The self built input devices train the motor functions while playing these mini-games. I’ve created something that has this ‘Wii style’ thing going on and giving a whole different gaming experience than just ordinary keyboard or mouse. Most of these chil- dren can’t hold any controller in their hands, just because they have problems to move it, too. My objective was to create something to wear, not so heavy, easy to install and to use. To use these input devices we need to just plug- in the USB cable and we are ready to play: no extra drivers to install and compatible with most operating systems. Last but not least: the children love Circolino! I was very happy to use my knowledge to create a game that is focusing on a target audience that is not always considered in the game industry. To create Circolino I used Blender to create the game and the 3D assets (environment, characters and items), Python for scripting it, Gimp for the textures, Inkscape for the 2D game elements, Audacity for the Sounds and the Music, and Scribus for the documentation. Rosario Azzarello Porfolio: Video:

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