Ziff is a space explorer, that travels to faraway planets to save her lost friends. Game and toy for children aged 5 to 8, Ziff is an exploration on tangible interfaces for children. It’s a physical toy that you can build and play with on screen. Ziff’s abilities are defined through different tangible configurations which appear virtually. The toy also acts as a controller throughout the game.

Trying to get off the screen mindset, Ziff uses an evocative interface, and lets children experiment with building their own toy and character.

With artwork by Line Birgitte Borgensen.

The Process

During this eight-week project, Alejandra set out to achieve one goal, to include the tactile experience and some of the freedom of physical play into digital gaming. Although there are many ways in which this can be done, she chose to use the character as the connecting point, because, in digital games, characters are a reflection of the player, representative and very important throughout the game.

The design went through many iterations. At some point the toy itself would have a motor and move. Later on, it would have many accessories. Eventually, Ziff became very simple, she would have limbs that, placed on different locations, could do different things: walk, fly and swim.

Once the interaction was decided, Alejandra worked in collaboration with Line Birgitte to design the game. Line made the artwork while Alejandra built the toy and electronics and programmed the game in Unity. Still, with many rounds of testing, the gameplay kept changing and evolving throughout the process.

What’s Next

Ziff was selected to be showcased at GDC 2016 (Game Developers Conference in San Francisco), at the alt.ctrl.GDC exhibit.
To read more about the project, visit ziff.alemolina.me