After three attempts at trying to finish this unit, I’m very happy to be writing the reflective report. Woo hoo! Over the semester my project has slowly evolved into something a little different to what I initially proposed, but I am happy with the result anyway. Time constraints were the main issue that caused me to have to change the way I was working and production of my final outcome.
2013 Season Review
Roller Derby is a full contact sport mainly played by women on old school quad skates. The game or ’bout’ is divided into two 30 minute periods and consists of 2 minute plays called ‘jams’. Each jam, two teams field up to four blockers and one jammer, numbers may decrease if penalties are being served. The “jammer” is the points scorer for her team and the four blockers for each team make up the “pack”. The blockers aim is to stop the opposition jammer from scoring while helping their jammer to score points.
How to use
Hover over and click on the game you wish to view in more detail. This will bring up a histogram which depicts the game split into jams. As you hover over each jam, a corresponding box will be highlighted that represents the makeup of each team’s pack, which jammer is lead, as well as other interesting game stats. Also if a Jammer happens to go to the bin for that jam, commonly termed a “power” jam, the blockers colour will change to white and the jammer squares will disappear. Darker jammer squares = not lead, lighter = lead.
I am hoping to figure out how to embed my Processing sketch into my blog but for now I just have a few screen shots.
As you might be able to tell, this outcome is a bit different to what I had proposed. Initially I was going to combine a 2D data visualisation with a 3D interactive component, but due to time limitations I had to cut my losses and focus on one area so that by the end of the semester I would have a completed project.
In my proposal I wanted to address three concepts – interaction, light and creating a physical representation of the data. In review, I was only able to really implement one of these themes, interaction, but I believe that I was successful in doing so. However, the test will be whether other users who don’t know anything about roller derby can easily understand the information and interact with my project.
The existing digital works I researched when coming up designing my project were
- Season in Review, Teehan + Lax Labs
- Form Follows Data, Iohanna Nicenboim
- Keyboard Frequency Sculpture, Mike Knuepfel
- Future Times – 2007, Christopher O’Leary and Casey Alt
- Centograph, Tinker.it!
(Note: see previous blog post here for detailed description of works)
When comparing these works to the final outcome of my project, the only project that seems to have a similar theme running through it is Teehan + Lax Labs’ Season in Review. This was the main work I had based my idea off so no surprise that my project still reflects it in some way. I guess both projects use sport statistics so when trying to understand and display the data there are going to be similarities. In addition, the interaction part of Season in Review and my project are also similar in the way that you are able to interact and view the data in detail. Where Teehan + Lax Labs have added a sculpture component, I have just left the visuals in 2D on screen. I would have liked to be able to add a 3D element to my project as I think it would have brought another level of understanding in the form of use height.
Once I had decided to scrap the 3D element of my project, things started to move forward. Not having to continually check whether the Processing sketch ran on my iPad saved a lot of time and allowed me to work faster when coding as I didn’t have to worry about formatting. Also, the iPad screen and touch sensor wasn’t quite user friendly as I would have liked. Due to the information I was trying to show the interaction didn’t quite hit the mark.
I found the whole process in Processing successful as I was able to do exactly what I set out to achieve. Although I know I probably went about it in the most roundabout way and over coded it, but in the end it still worked. However, for some reason it takes a while to load at the beginning. I’m not sure if that is because it needs to draw a lot of shapes during set up before it draws or if it’s something else. I have no clue. I guess the unsuccessful part of my project, was trying to incorporate a 3D element into final outcome. This didn’t happen as I ran out of time, and I was really looking forward to creating this part.
In terms of ethical approach to digital design this project hasn’t really implemented any as it didn’t achieved what I wanted to do during the semester. I was hoping to document my work through this blog and upload my sketches to Open Processing so that others could use or suggest improvements. In the end the I had to overlook that areas as time became a limited resource and it always takes me ages to write anything. I did however reference all resources and ideas not my own and removed all data that identifies individuals and mainly focused on teams.
I think the main thing I learnt during this project was how to visually display data in a way I could easily read and understand while improving my technical coding skills. I found presenting roller derby data in this way I was able to see patterns and interesting details I might not have seen if viewing in the basic spreadsheet. I will continue to work on this sketch so that I will be able to easily plug in any game data and view a comparison. I am a roller derby nerd so something like this could help be break down a game and come up with ways to improve team and game strategy and training.
Implications for practice
This project probably won’t shape or inform my future practice in digital design but I think it will help me become a better coach of roller derby by being able to understand the flow of the game by seeing pack numbers, lead jammer status, points and time all at once. So I guess it will help me in the future just not in the way I thought.