Breugel Game

client

Openluchtmuseum Bokrijk

role

Product Design, Art Direction, Prototyping

year

2019

Challenge

Create a game-route (Breugel game) throughout the museum park to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The game had to be especially accessible for families (age 5+), and integrate seamlessly and reinforce an accompanying exhibition within the overarching ‘World of Bruegel’ project. 

Problem Definition

Our collective design process was informed by an art historian, an expert in Breugel, who provided the creative team with multiple layers of interpretation and framing of Breugel’s oeuvre within its historical context. Nevertheless, it was challenging to define an overall project narrative that both displayed the contemporary relevance of Breugel’s work and its significance within the historical site. From an UX perspective, the game had to supply enough triggers for engagement, stay within reach of the understanding of the general public and ideally create visibility on online platforms. From a technical and organisational perspective, the game had to be stable and deployable for a minimum of five years of continuous use in the outdoor park. 

Ideation & Validation

We chose to engage interaction-, game- and product-design students of LUCA School of Arts in the challenge. In an iterative cycle, spanning over two educational modules, the students and I developed twenty conceptual and semi-functional prototypes. These not only supplied us with a rich variety of UX concepts but also gave us insights into how young people interpret Breugel’s work and the extent of their knowledge about the old master. Based on these insights and concepts, the feedback the client and the rest of the creative team, I developed a 2 km long game route with ten stops. These included AR games based on Breugel’s ludic take on head coverings, a 3D ‘hat designer’ application, a treasure hunt for interactive objects activated by an RFID bracelet, video installations and architectural interventions – projects for which I lead a divers team of creatives and contractors. Throughout the development process, we regularly validated key UX design elements by conducting user tests with the target audience, leading to onboarding and UI improvements.

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Conclusion

After five years, the game route is still active in the museum park today, and has accumulated over 200k active players spanning from children to elderly. The project shows the power of gaming and gamification in conveying a message to a wide audience. Notably, the AR games which were primarily designed for individual players became shared group experiences, similar to how Breugel’s paintings were meant to provide topics of collective discussions for their owners. Based on user feedback, the UX of the installation on-site can be considered a huge success.

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