Aotea Project of Things – Week 8

[In Progress]


Aotea Project of Things – Week 5

[In Progress]


This week we discussed and evolved our ideas for the pathways and centerpiece further. We have begun leaning away from the focus on the Taniwha, as it could and has been a sensitive and controversial topic (for example).


  • Start should have signage/explanation
  • Paths based on Hauora/wellbeing pillars – Physical, Mental/Emotional, Social, Spiritual
  • Example ideas for the paths:
    • Physical – block puzzle
    • Mental – memory/feeling totem
    • Social – something to do with Tech Deck toys? (related to skaters and Mountain Fountain)
    • Spiritual – hidden pictures
  • Each pathway would have three or four activities, and would lead towards the center and the taniwha seesaw
  • Pathways
  • Seesaw prototype progress
  • Some discussion about safety
  • Swappable art, other images
  • Thematic shift from taniwha to past-vs-present – controversy?

Design Goals

  1. Appreciate the ‘spirit’ of Aotea Square
  2. History/education
  3. Aesthetically pleasing – tourists


Aotea Project of Things – Week 4

Aotea-Taniwha See-Saw

Our current front-runner idea is a physical installation in the middle of Aotea square. Resembling a see saw with large aquarium tanks balanced on either side, it would hold water that would obscure the contents of the tanks, and would be able to flow between the tanks via a pipe along the see saw. One side would have a model or image of Aotea Square, while the other would have a model of a taniwha – representing the Waihorotiu taniwha whose stream was buried under Queen Street. The two sides would be slightly unbalanced, so that when left alone the taniwha side would sink lower and fill with water, becoming hidden. People would be able to move the see saw by pushing or pulling on either side, hiding the Square and revealing the taniwha.

Some potential problems and possible actions or solutions I have identified with this idea are:

  • Weight/Size of tanks
    • If the tanks are too large, heavy or full of water, it would make it difficult to move the mechanism.
      • Depending on if we want smaller children handling it – see safety – we would have to test the size/fullness/weight ratio to make sure the intended users are capable of moving it.
  • Safety of public
    • If the see saw moves too fast – either through a person’s interaction or the resetting motion – it would be dangerous to people moving around it, especially small children.
      • We could put a fence around the installation – close enough that people would be able to interact with it, but wide enough that they would not be able to walk under it.
      • The mechanism itself could have some sort of brake or retarder to prevent it from moving quickly enough to cause damage.
  • Damage to installation
    • There is always a chance of people intentionally or unintentionally damaging a public installation that they are allowed to touch or interact with.
      • Our group has considered having guards, possibly who double as attendants or facilitators?
    • With the motion of the see saw and water, it is possible that the mechanism, the tanks or the models could be damaged, particularly if the motion is unhindered (fast).
      • Similar to above, slowing the movement of the mechanism would help prevent damage.
  • Lack of interaction
    • People may not want to touch the installation or not know how it works – in particular if it is hard or heavy to move it may discourage people.
      • Adding handles may be a way to indicate to people that it is not just a strange piece of art – the installation can and should be moved.


We decided to make a simple prototype of the see saw with the connected tanks of water out of materials we had access to during class.

The prototype mainly gave us a better idea of what we were trying to visualize, while also allowing us to see some of the design concerns that we may have to consider while continuing our project, such as the shape and relative size of the components, the need for air holes to release pressure and the positioning of the parts relative to each other for optimal function.

The rest of the Square

We also discussed some ideas for the rest of the square. We have decided to add interactive elements to the main pathways leading towards the main part of the square – the concrete part where we will have the main installation – that will act as guides and draw people towards the center. These will also have information regarding the history of the area, and give context to the centerpiece. I have begun researching possible puzzles and riddles that we could have in this area. We have considered making the puzzles fit a theme, such as ‘water’. Some of our brainstorms so far include:

  • The traditional water jug puzzle
  • A puzzle where multiple people have to cover holes in a pipe that is being filled with water, so that a desired item (e.g. a key) will float to the top as it fills (the holes will allow the water to leak otherwise)
  • Something like this puzzle
  • Some sort of bridge building puzzle


Aotea Project of Things – Week 3

First Presentation

Our first presentation went fairly well, from my perspective. Our timing was a bit off, forcing most of us to have to go overtime and rush, but other than that it ran fairly smoothly. I think that the research – mainly done by Katriel – gave us a good amount of depth, despite the fact that we had not yet decided on a project at that point.

I chose to take the slide about lighting and temporary fixtures, mostly for the latter point. While my team had written most of the script beforehand, I felt it was missing a few things, such as mentioning the annual events that occur in the square – the original script mentioned the ice skating rink, but not that it returns yearly, and included none of the other events like Summer in the Square.

Having learned about the supposed failure of the Game of Thrones #bringdowntheking campaign, I decided to try and research it, but I found nothing to support the claims that it failed – actually, there are news reports and videos of the statue falling, showing that the event was successful. I am now wondering if the ‘failure’ that was mentioned was a temporary setback?


After the presentations, we discussed several ideas for what we could work on. My personal favourite is the AR mystery game, which was brought up again and seems quite popular. I think it could be very interesting to combine it with the history of the area and specifically the Waihorotiu stream and taniwha. I think I would like to learn more about augmented reality, and explore its potential as a medium for play.

Aotea Project of Things – Weeks 1 & 2

Week One – Speed dating and Personality Post-its

In the speed-dating idea pitches, I quickly found an idea I liked, and stuck with it for the majority of the exercise. The post-its I had were “spontaneous art” and “pushing buttons”, which I combined into the idea of an interactive screen, where you could press buttons (placed around the screen) to add cubes or splashes of colour to it.

A quick sketch I did to illustrate my idea. On the right hand side is a modification to the idea – using mounted paintball guns pointed at a canvas (with some wiggle room to aim), for a messier result.

The post-it notes were as follows:

  • Purple – our preferred game aesthetic – Fantasy, with Narrative as a close second and Discovery as my third
  • Blue – our position on the Bartle player type chart – Explorer, although I am also somewhat an Achiever
  • Orange – Starter or Finisher, Creator or Connector – Starter and Creator
  • Pink – our character alignment – True Neutral, although I play a Chaotic Neutral half-Elf Bard
  • Green – our Meyers-Briggs personality type – INFP according to, which surprised me as I first thought I’d be a Thinker not a Feeler.


Week 2 – Group Assemble! and Aotea Analysis

Our group has six members (including myself), and we have begun discussion about our project. Of the suggested ‘extras’ for the project, the only one that seems to have caught much attention is the idea of using augmented reality – the collaboration with One Fat Sheep and/or Plattar. One idea that was thrown around that caught my attention was a AR murder mystery, where players would walk around Aotea Square to find clues. So far, all of the apps and games that I have seen using AR have used it to put something into a real-life setting, and have had a minimal amount of focus on narrative (my main experience with AR has been Pokemon Go). I think it would be very cool to tie a narratively-focused story to a real-life place like Aotea Square, in a way that doesn’t just put the game into the space, but makes that space a part of the game – using markers that exist only in the Square (probably in the form of stickers placed around the area) could be a way to tie it to that space. I plan to do more research on this topic.

I took lots of photos of the Square, although at the time it was rather empty, something that surprised me as it was around lunch time (midday), so I would have expected more people to be at least walking through. (It may be that more people have later lunches, around 12:30 or 1 o’clock)

Many of my observations were ones echoed by my group members. I made a table that shows these under three headings:

  • Place – which part of the Square it relates to
  • Actions – what the people are doing, how they are acting
  • Reasons – the theories we had for why people acted how they did, where they did

Analysis Table.PNG

I decided to look at the area through these five lenses:

  • Where the people mostly walk through
  • Where they mostly crowd
  • Where the food areas are
  • Where seating areas are
  • Places of interest – for example, theatres, the library.
POI bw
Places of interest – top left: Aotea Centre, including the ASB Theatre and Herald Theatre; top middle: Sky World Entertainment Centre, includes Event Cinemas, food court and more; top right: Auckland Library; bottom: Town Hall including Town Hall Concert Chamber, Q Theatre and The Basement.



Filter game

This was my original game idea. After playing around with it, I found that it was beyond my skill level in terms of coding, and also lacked appeal – I struggled to find a pleasing visual aesthetic, or a way to make it more fun without adding to the complexity and making it even harder for me to code. With this in mind, I decided to change my game to the Water Fighter game.

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