An Augmented Reality Design Process

a talk by Rebecca Heavner and Bryan Leister

Going behind-the-scenes of a project can be a fun place to be. This talk focuses on the process of a game app designed for Flex-It! The idea was to design an app to get people move around in the landscape through augmented reality and way-finding sculptures. Showing models and paper prototypes, designer Rebecca Heavner outlines how she and artist Bryan Leister conceived this project. Beneath the iterations and mechanics of conceptual development, paper prototyping, and game play considerations are poetic questions for designers and artists. How can augmented reality games have a residual effect on experience in landscape? How might this experience become part of the place? Ultimately, in what ways can augmented reality become marked in the body and in the landscape over time?

Augmented Reality Workshop

A 2-Day Workshop for a general tech or game audience covering augmented reality processes and implementation

Watkins College of Art and Design, Room #403

Attendees will learn the process of making interactive applications and games. This workshop will focus on Augmented Reality applications using a web camera and deployment to a mobile device. During the workshop, attendees will learn how augmented reality works, including the creation of marker images and importing artwork into a game engine. Attendees will learn simple interaction design concepts, planning behavior with paper prototypes and implementing them through scripting.

Day One

We will talk about and explore potential use cases for using augmented reality, looking at examples and thinking about what potential exists in an augmented world. We will see how it works, it’s limitations and then begin designing an application that could use augmented reality. Through ideation, paper prototyping, testing, wireframes and discussion we will refine our idea into a workable concept.

Day Two

We will download our project code from GitHub, and proceed to import art assets into the game for mobile testing. Through discussion and more testing, we will identify next steps to complete the project or refine our visual assets.

AR Workshop Take Away

You will use a typical User Experience design process to ideate, test and iterate on a design project, learning how apps move from concept to reality. By learning quick prototype methods, you can quickly discard ideas and focus on what works. This allows programming to proceed based on a sound project idea, to maximize resources for any interactive project. You will also understand how augmented reality works, and it’s limitations.

Creating 2D and 3D content for video games

A 2-Day workshop for artists and designers

Watkins College of Art and Design, Room #403

Attendees will learn how art assets are generated for both 2D and 3D video games. The focus for this workshop will be on creating and using game assets – image sprites, existing 3D models and how to prepare 3D models for use in game engines. Artists of all skill levels are encouraged to attend, artwork can be scanned in or created digitally. Attendees will see how game engines blend motion capture clips to create character animations.

Day One

Introduction the game environment, what it looks like and how it works. Using a stub game project (to be available on we will look at how 2D images are used and draw out plans for using your own imagery. We will place your sketches into the game, test out game play and plan for final images and sprite animation.

Day Two

Continuing with your project, you will place your finished 2D sprites and your animated sprites to create a first level in your game. We will add some simple details using 3D renderings to see how you can add depth to a 2D game using 3D models.

2D Workshop Take Away
You will leave the workshop with a playable 2D platform style game, using your own art assets. You will also have learned how 2D assets can be used to provide animation, and to simulate depth.

Workshop Game Project

Demo Player

Useful Resources

An Introduction to Sprites
Unity 2D Tutorial

FLEX IT! My Body My Temple


Pygmalion’s Challenge Installation

Installation pictures of a new augmented reality game and interactive sculpture on the grounds of the Parthenon Museum in Nashville Tennessee for FLEX IT! My Body My Temple developed in collaboration with Landscape Sculptor/Designer Becky Heavner.

Our installation for the Parthenon is a mobile augmented reality game called Pygmalion’s Challenge. In June, we had the help of nine volunteers who installed the markers for our game. If you walk around the grounds, you will see the markers. They are aluminum square pieces with animal-shapes cut from each center. They are angled and set in the earth with plants growing in and around them.

Check back in mid-August on the Pygmalion’s Challenge game page for links to download the game designed for iOS and Android.

Juror for Indiecade Games Festival

I was asked to be a juror for Indiecade, a festival that supports independent game development.

Quoting from their website:

“IndieCade supports independent game development and organizes a series of international events showcasing the future of independent games. It encourages, publicizes, and cultivates innovation and artistry in interactive media, helping to create a public perception of games as rich, diverse, artistic, and culturally significant. IndieCade’s events and related production and publication programs are designed to bring visibility to and facilitate the production of new works within the emerging independent game movement.

Like the independent videogame developer community itself, IndieCade’s focus is global and includes producers in Asia, Latin America, Europe, Australia, and anywhere else independent games are made and played. IndieCade was formed by Creative Media Collaborative, an alliance of industry producers and leaders founded in 2005.”

Influence Fields


Influence Fields was commissioned for Redline Denver’s Epic Gala fundraising event. Attendees could move the 3D printed organisms on the table, creating waves of influence on the particle stream that is projected onto the table. The orbs represented and created force fields, that attracted or repulsed the millions of particles projected.



Traversal is a collaborative work that explores the digital and physical space. Bryan Leister has written code in response to the sculptural forms created by Becky Heavner. The projection interacts with the form, avoiding it or moving onto it through the programmed behavior of agents in the projected image. Each dot represents an individual agent, that can think about where they want to go and react to changes in it’s individual situation. The lines are a palimpsest of these emergent decisions and collectively represent the movement of an entire colony of agents. Visitors can disrupt the entities by gesturing with the lights, creating new behaviors and resulting in new patterns of behavior.