On April 17, 2020, Rob Yeo put a challenge up on Twitter.

This is my entry.

Cursed Pumpkin drawing
Cursed Pumpkin drawing

Please excuse the crude drawing. I’m a drawing n00b! I usually demonstrate my designs with inspiration photos.

The Cursed Pumpkin

The Cursed Pumpkin is run by a ghost girl, Amelia. She was lost in the woods when she fell off the family cart while trying to pass through the Gloom Wood. She was such a picky eater that she starved to death.

My original Blue Sky for my attraction revealed two possible attractions, which is about right for a land. But, I also started to see navigation as a means of both storytelling and attraction.

The first attraction I semi-fleshed out was a water flume ride that became a physical and virtual boat ride. Can’t picture that? My vision was a ride that started out as a ride that combines elements of Splash Mountain, the Calico River Rapids ride of Knott’s Berry Farm, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Enclosed Ferry 1

Mood boards are the game design documents of physical design. It’s not that that game development doesn’t use mood boards. It’s just that, like a game design document (GDD), it’s fluid and subject to change. Also like a GDD, it’s used to convey the direction of the project to the multidisciplinary team.

In reality, if I were making one, I’d make it physically. For me, this would consist simply of a piece of rigid insulation board covered with black felt. You can poke into it and things can be easily changed. …

The importance of sound design wasn’t new to me when I started this class. I had studied sound design as part of game development and had attended a sound panel at an IGDA meeting (International Game Developers Association).

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Silent Hill 2 Nature Trail

I think the first time I really noticed how important sound design was to immersive design was on the nature trail at the beginning of Silent Hill 2. Everything is foggy and gray and you’re walking down a gravel trail, but it sounds like someone is following you. When you stop, it stops. The sound was very important in Silent Hill 2 because the entire game was shrouded in dense fog. But, highlighting that was the realization of how much detail went into that sound design — that gravel sounds like gravel and blacktop sounds like a hard cement surface. …

This lesson has been unexpectedly challenging for me but, like sound, I believe it’s one of those next-level things that should be added to your designs even if it’s just a tradeshow booth or installation.

I recall vividly staying in an apartment in Fort Meyers, Florida in which they pumped out a strong, but wonderful peach scent around the office and pool area. I’ve always wanted to replicate that, but it also made that apartment complex completely memorable.

It seems that Marriot hotels even have their own scent diffused throughout and you can, too.

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That’s the point of using scent in design — scents trigger memories. For that reason, you can now get Disney-related scents at home. It seems like the most popular scents are the ones related to the water on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and the one that smells like the lobby at the Polynesian Resort. At least, those are the ones I see referenced the most. …

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In this segment, we learned about choosing color scripts for our land and about graphic signage. We’re now tasked with coming up with an example of graphic signage and with color scripts.

To do the scripts, I chose several of my photos for the three areas and used Canva to create the color swatches.

Present Day:

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I have a confession to make. When I saw the assignment for lesson 3, I thought things were moving way too fast. All I knew about my land at that point was what IP I was sort of basing it on and what my theme was going to be (the root of my story). I had no idea what was going to be in my land yet, so how could I create a map??

With lessons 4 and 5, I experienced a lesson I already knew. I’ve done experiential design before and I knew from past projects that once you pick your aesthetic and theme other decisions are easier to make. …

I hate to admit it, but this lesson was a huge obstacle for me and it might be for others. It comes really early in both the class and the design process but I’d imagine that we’re going to build on it. The homework is to design your land and create a fairly detailed map of it.

This is not supposed to be a napkin drawing! But, we haven’t yet decided on what is going to be in the land, what attractions we’re going to have or anything so this really stumped me. …

OK, it’s time to talk about theme and this class really fascinated me. We’ve all done this. In fact, I came across an example just today.

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What I’m referring to is the use of “theme” as a way of referencing something. When I took the class, I referenced pirates as in a pirate-themed party. But, the class references theme as the underlying message or interior meaning of the story.

Imagineering in a Box on Khan Academy — Creating Worlds Lesson 2: Theme

I really like what Joe Rohde says at 4:49 about how choosing your theme helps to make all of your decision-making easier because I say this all the time about experiential design. It doesn’t matter what you’re designing, be it an interior design of a house or an experiential marketing campaign. Once you know the story and aesthetic that you’re trying to convey, the decisions are a lot easier to make. …

What if I told you that “pirates” is not a theme? Nor is Marvel, Iron Man, Moana, or dinosaurs. Jurassic Park is not a theme.

If you’re planning to do a bedroom design or a kid’s birthday party, you’re looking at me like I’m nuts right about now. Isn’t every birthday party themed in this way?

Starbucks seems to think so.

Disneyland releases exclusive Fantasyland-themed Starbucks drinks

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I’ve always thought of it that way. If you had talked to me just a month ago, I would tell you that I’m planning a True-themed birthday party for my three year old’s fourth birthday. …


Shelly Warmuth

Like the way I think? Connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shellywarmuth

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