You are Unicornelia: a rising sparkle statistician and glitter analyst, a very prestigious but very taxing job. In addition to managing your demanding work life, you must also balance your love life, social life, remember to call your mom, go to your niece's birthday party — all while maintaining your own sanity. When life starts to throw things at you from every direction, can you keep it all together?
My Role: Interaction design, fabrication and hardware, game design
Programming: Courtney Snavely
Graphics: Maddy SiriouthayFabrication & hardware: Jane Mitchell
Official website: www.unicornelia.party
Exhibitions: alt.Ctrl.GDC at the Game Developers Conference
Finalist for Best Alternative Controller Game at the Indie Games Festival
Press: CGTN: America | The Verge | The Mary Sue
Unicornelia is a game about maintaining a balance between interior “feels” and exterior responsibilities and relationships. The controller requires you to figuratively, but also literally, embody the lifestyle of Unicornelia. By stepping inside of a unicorn shaped structure, your range of motion changes to that of a unicorn. Players must use their horn to complete tasks presented to them, but not all tasks are beneficial. Choose wisely. Simultaneously, players must maintain Unicornelia’s emotions by manipulating tactile buttons hidden within the body of the controller.
Unicornelia was born from the minds of current and recently graduated students of the MFA Design + Technology program at Parsons. More specifically speaking, she was born from the minds that had been especially beat down and exhausted after a rough semester of formulating theses, putting together projects, starting a company and beginning the job search.
We wanted to channel this frustration into something productive and healthy (although we did have a few self-pity beers in the process) and create something that would spark a conversation and some self-reflection among young adults who often find themselves struggling to pull off this balancing act.
EXECUTION + TECH
Together, we re-imagined a bright orange camping tent to be the soft and round body of Unicornelia with her signature bright purple hair (tulle). I built the frame that housed the monitor and button interface, and Jane altered the tent interior and exterior. The buttons were soft-circuits comprised of conductive fabric and copper tape that completed a circuit (aka a button press) that completed the actions on screen. Inside, are Unicornelia's "feelies," which are feelings-come-to-life-as-pillows, that also house buttons that dismiss tasks on the screen. The hardware was programmed through an Arduino that communicated these button presses to Processing, which ran the game.
A child of blood, sweat, tears, and a whole lot of love, Unicornelia was altered, sewn, cut, hot-glued, velcro'd, painted, stuffed and soldered by hand.
Thank you to everyone who took a sparkly selfie as #Unicornelia at GDC!
A bigger thank you to THE SAD UNICORNS — a team that made designing a chubby unicorn even more fun that it sounds!