From Concept to Console: Design of Game Device
A European game developer.
The client started a game console development project and approached us to design an ergonomic and user-friendly gaming console suitable for children's and adult hands.
The designed enclosure was to be made of appropriate materials that provide aesthetic purposes, bring comfort, and ensure longevity.
The client's main request was a minimalistic and functional style: the placement of buttons should feel natural and intuitive, ensuring easy access and enjoyable gameplay.
1. Concept Development
We analysed the most common weaknesses of existing game consoles on the market, which helps to create our game console concepts. Our goal was to combine trends and avoid failures experienced by users of other similar gadgets.
Here are the issues we identified:
- arm cramping due to improper device angling,
- slipping due to improperly selected case material,
- complex shapes, which cause dirt,
- matte coating, fingerprint-resistant surface.
2. Enclosure and Mechanical Design
Step 1. Conseptual design
We began the game console design by sketching using the data collected during the research phase, considering our project specifications – the dimensions of the screen, the PCB and the battery, which shaped the dimensions of the enclosure.
Our industrial designer started working on 2D sketches in various styles.
Doodles is a preliminary sketch to "grope" ideas/concepts the client wants to see
We've done dozens of sketches of the future gaming console
After reviewing the offered doodles, the client chose several directions to keep working on. We prepared 18 sketches with various ideas for radiuses, contour shapes, button places, and then selected the leading variants.
Selected console sketches that the client has approved
Stage 2. Ergonomics
For some ideas, we made quick mock-ups in foam without plasticine to test the ergonomics of our solutions:
The best silhouettes were cut out of foam plastic and shaped with sculpting plasticine
At this stage, we selected some successful silhouettes shown in the pictures above.
The selected silhouettes were cut out of foam plastic and shaped with sculpting plasticine to test the ergonomics – to ensure that a case of this size and shape is comfortable, fits well in your hand and allows you to use the buttons actively.
Testing the enclosure to make it comfortable for children and adults
Paper stencils for making plasticine models
We sent five finished mock-ups in plasticine to the customer, so he could feel the shape and choose the most comfortable form.
The video game console design: testing the plasticine model
Comfort in the hands is ensured by the anatomical shape of the console
Step 3. Scanning the plasticine model & developing 3D model
The client chose a favourite plasticine model of the game console enclosure.
Preparing the plasticine console model for 3D scanning
We scanned it with a 3D scanner to get a 3D model that we divided into individual case parts: covers, bases, buttons, triggers. Also, we smoothed out all the imperfections of the plasticine model, while keeping the ergonomics of the selected layout.
A 3D scanned model of the game console
At this stage, the main task was to bring the model to a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing shape.