Design Process Models
The ACE model, which stands for Analyze, Create, and Evaluate is a model that explains the design process (Lohr 2008). Using this process, I created the above cover for my book Game Programming and Physics.
Right from the start, I would like to say that I am not finished with this cover. There’s plenty I still need to do to it.
I was challenged to create an “integrating” graphic, one that, perhaps, provided an overview of the topic. So I thought the cover of the book would be a great place to provide such an overview. The cover is where you want a viewer to get a good idea about what the book contains. So I started with my analysis phase. I thought of my readers. My target audience is high school students in a physics class and teachers teaching these students. I always write my books with the idea that they will be useful to teachers because that is what I am. I use my books in my classes, so they must be useful to me as a teacher.
So with that analysis, I knew that I wanted a cover that explained what would be in the book. I went through many titles and settled on Game Programing and Physics because it is simple and says most of what I want so say. I need to add something about using the Unity game engine, maybe as a graphic.
I also needed a cover that looked inviting, like some of the things the students learn will be fun, interesting, and maybe relevant to their lives. I didn’t want to oversell the gaming aspect of it with a spectacular looking game, so I decided to keep it simple with a car, and some shapes that looked like Hot Wheels loops and jumps in the background.
I also want the students and teachers to see that physics is a big part of this book, so I needed a vector and an equation that looked interesting. I decided to create the vector and equation using a 3D program to integrate it into the look of the game.
To create the graphic, I used the Unity3D Standard Sample Assets, that include the car and the Hot Wheels like tracks and jumps. I arranged these assets so they would look the way I wanted, with room in front of the car to put the 3D vector and equation. I then ran the game and took many different screenshots of it in action.
I brought my favorite screenshot into Cinema 4D (a 3d animation program) and created the vector and equation with similar lighting so it looked like it was all in the same scene. I rendered this and opened iBooks Author to use the graphic as the cover.
I forgot that the iBooks Author template I have been using was a portrait only orientation. It doesn’t matter though because all iBook covers are portrait no matter what. I rendered my cover image as HD 1920×1080 just because it is what I am used to doing. So nothing fit.
I brought my image into Photoshop, created a document with the proper dimensions, and imported my image into this new one and made it fit.
I showed the cover to my wife and she said it looks great. Then she asked me what the assignment was and I realized I didn’t really create an image that really integrated or organized ideas in any way. So I decided to create some graphics that I needed to organize the book and signal to my learners that they need to change from thinking about code, to thinking about physics, and then to think about gaming.
I created these three graphics in Cinema4D and my idea was to make a wheel where the words physics, code, and game rotated into and out of view. I’m showing the graphics here in the page they belong in so you can see how they work.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.