My Echo Lake Scrapbook
How it evolved, once Mackerel was involved
For Greg Long, inventor of the Life Log/Echo Lake idea, there was no question he wanted Mackerel to design it, but the software publisher, Delrina, needed convincing. First we had to produce a simple demo -- over the weekend -- to establish the basic concept of the product design: the room, the desk, the book[s] with 3D rendered graphics. Then we needed to flesh out a bunch of the ideas and show another more extensive demo.
Next we were able to finalize and document the design plans, and we rebuilt everything again from scratch. It took us right until the end of the timeline to settle on the log cabin, while we finalized every other piece of art. It was really quite comical, although Jeramy eventually stopped laughing after creating countless renderings with endless new texture maps. As he put the finishing touches on the final library artwork we wondered why it took us so long to arrive at the log cabin setting.
Evolution of the library (file system) view [ROLLOVER]
1. Original weekend demo 2. Second demo 3. We finally nail down the basic design 4. but we are still stuck inside the house 5. Yellow wood panel, one of many variations. We redecorated the library weekly. 6. Rough log cabin, extra moody 7. Near Final
the second demo an extensive prototype sketch
We had to dummy up just about every idea in this extensive "demo" which was pretty close to a prototype... Here you can see the safe behind the picture (implemented in final version) and a book moved from bookshelf to to desktop.
These are actual pictures of Greg Long in the sample document:
Here is how we described a number of the desktop features:
Evolution of the desktop workspace (file system) view [ROLLOVER]
1. Final tree rings 2. Original weekend demo 3.Second demo 4.Design spec 5. First roughs of final desktop model 6. Close to final but still may hours to go 7.Final
In this view you would add stories and media files to your Echo Lake books, as well as fill out lists that would help you organize your memories.
Desktop feature: the snow globe
No one knew what the snow globe was in most of our earlier versions (left)... one tester called it a "plate of peas." We struggled with the artwork for some time before we finally gave up on realism and turned the snowglobe on a funny angle. No one ever commented.
Evolution of the tree rings [ROLLOVER]
It took a while to get the right feel for the tree rings. As the user added stories to their Echo Lake book, they would assign them a date and a category. The stories would then appear as red dots on the tree rings. With enough stories, it could be an interesting picture of your life.
We wasted a lot of time wondering if the coders could generate tree rings dynamically and still make them look good. It was a moot point. It was not in the timeline or budget.
In the final splash screen below you can see the coffee table in the foreground is actually a slice of this tree.
Some of this is © 2001 Kevin Steele.
I'm not even sure who controls Echo lake / Family Album Creator now...
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