A3: Spur

The concept behind Spur is something I have been tossing around since taking ETEC 565D this summer. It occurred to me that most videogame design or “learn to code” tools were stand alone programs without a true ecosystem to help them thrive. Through this, I came up with the idea of applying aspects of Sony and Nintendo’s hardware business and smartphone style app ecosystem to the educational videogame market.

This project gave me an opportunity to really explore my design skills and develop a venture pitch I’m proud to share with you. Everything you see was drawn from scratch in illustrator and the elevator pitch was the first time I have played with recording or editing video. I really enjoyed my time working on this project and I look forward to receiving your feedback. Now that the project is complete I am excited to explore your creations and experience first hand the creativity of your A3s.

( Average Rating: 4 )

12 responses to “A3: Spur”

  1. Neal Donegani

    Not too sure what to say but, “wow!” To start, I really liked your elevator pitch: clear, to the point and professionally polished. Simple, clean logo; however, would like to know its inspiration, and the reason behind the name, Spur. Your venture pitch is such a visually pleasing site to navigate through, which is also beautifully laid out with the graphics you created. Perhaps one suggestion I would have with your website itself is that as the user is brought to each of your sub-pages, when they want to return to the main page it brings the user to the top of the main page. Nothing major, but perhaps a little annoying to try and find where I left off, because, trust me your site makes the user want to keep on exploring. Could you use an identifier of sorts to get the user back to where they branched off on their venture through Spur’s scenic route?
    As for the product itself, when can I get one!?! Although I’m sure it would be expensive to get a class set of these. Unfortunately, you did not provide its price point when it first hits the market (at lease I did not find one). I would get one for my household though; I have three boys that would love this, and not to mention myself. The “Gameboy” look would sell me on nostalgia alone; but what my boys could learn from a system like this is invaluable. I use Scratch and Code.org’s Blockly to teach my middle school CS classes about programming. Although they offer so much in the way of programming, I am also frustrated with trying to sell it to students especially because the languages are so stand alone as simply programming languages within their own environment. However, Scratch has improved immensely with the addition of extensions such as micro:bits, Makey Makey, and Lego Mindstorm EV3 and WeDo 2.0. I feel like Spur is a nice step into the realm of what Steam (Valve) does, but for schools and students.
    As for your hardware accessories, I find that you have a great idea with what you’ll roll out to start. The items are simple, yet almost necessary. The wireless controller is well designed in that it looks like the console’s controller.
    Adrian, this is such a well thought out venture, and I don’t have much criticism about the product itself, so the following are simple website grammatical suggestions that I wanted to point out because I want Spur to happen:
    On your Spur Console sub page, and the Storage pop up it reads “Each console will come with 128GB of build in solid state storage.” Not too sure if you mean to say “…built in solid state… This could be an industry way of saying it, which I didn’t know about; if this is the case, please ignore, but please let me know that it’s tech lingo.
    Also, on Spur Studio you write, “Programming languages are complex and intuitive making it a hard sell for many learners.” Not sure if you meant intuitive or not intuitive. The latter makes more sense in the sentence along with complex.
    That’s it, really. Again, well done! I’m very impressed, Adrian. Best of luck, and I’ll keep my ear to the ground for the sound of the Spur hitting the market.

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    1. adrian wheeler

      Hi Neal,

      Thank you for your excellent feedback! I hadn’t thought of including the console’s pricepoint, but in retrospect you are entirely correct that it should have been included. Furthermore, your suggestion for the return links to take the user back to their position on the main page is a great one! I’ll look into adding page anchors to the buttons’ logic.

      As for the logo and name, Spur was inspired by its secondary definition of “a goad to action : stimulus” – Merriam-Webster. I alluded to this in the first heading “Spur them on” but I can certainly see the value in creating a corporate identity page in a future website. As for the logo, it is suppose to be evocative of traces on a circuit board with the whitespace in the center forming an S for Spur.

      Thanks again for your excellent feedback, and I have fixed the embarrassing typos.


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      1. Neal Donegani

        Thank you for clarifying your branding. I did see the the circuit board, and after I posted the comment realized that it formed an “S”. I do appreciate the thought into the name, as you are “goading” users to take action and come up with their own creation. Like I said, the nostalgic look sells it to me.

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  2. sundeep lail

    Hi Adrian.
    Your website looks amazing. Very professional. I like that you have screen capture shots and its as though the product is ready to go.
    A couple of things that jumped out at me. As someone who knows nothing about gaming, it would be nice if you could expand on the problem. I know you said that “there aren’t any truly integrated ecosystems that offer consumers a unified experience of software, hardware and service like we see in the traditional videogame space” and SPUR will fill that gap, but why do we need that gap filled. It just goes a little deeper for those who don’t know about gaming.
    For your elevator pitch, it would be nice to have you look directly at the camera, I think it might make it more powerful that way. But not sure if that is an option at this point.
    I agree with Adrian, having a link to go back to the sub pages, otherwise I have to keep scrolling back.
    Great job overall.

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    1. adrian wheeler

      Hi Sundeep,

      Thanks for your feedback! In the future I will endeavor to expand more on the gap I’m looking to fill and perhaps include more discussion around the educational games market.

      As for the format of the elevator pitch I chose the interview style perspective for a couple reasons. First, it’s quickly become a popular choice for professional pitch and advertisement video as it gives a sense of importance to the speaker. You can see examples of this in UBC’s own productions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAQpGH4RuO4. Second, I prefer the more dynamic composition as I find a head-on perspective a little flat and lacking in visual depth (though I admit, this is just a preference on my part).

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  3. Grant MacLeod

    Hey Adrian,

    You put together a great professional venture pitch. To start, I was impressed with the idea and the design of the website including the great graphics. Your elevator pitch was simple yet to the point really highlighting the fit in the market for your product. I am not very familiar with the programing/coding teaching market but it seems like your venture has found a gap that needs to be filled. I really like your idea of using blocks to teach programing especially for kids because learning programming languages is often unintuitive making it difficult to hook users into the idea of learning it. I also like how you went into details on the specs of your console because it shows that you know what you are building. Specs ae important! Handheld devices seem to be maintaining their popularity and I like how your product can utilize a docking station to display on a larger screen (similar to the Switch). Not sure if you mentioned it but will your Spur Studio allow for users to work together/collaborate to build games? This would be a great feature. Would there be a chat or messaging feature?

    Overall, I was very impressed with your venture pitch and I think Spur has really good potential. Other than a few minor issues that the other comments mentioned I think your website looks great. As an EVA I would invest. Thanks for sharing Adrian!


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    1. adrian wheeler

      Hi Grant,

      Thank you for your feedback. If I’m being honest I hadn’t considered a collaborative feature but I wish I had! I will certainly look into adding that for a future revision.

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  4. Rachel

    Hi Adrian,
    What a great idea and for someone who doesn’t play games, this project was so interesting that I made sure I checked every section of your venture pitch. I liked the interview style you chose for your elevator pitch. It gives the vibe (not sure whether it was intentional or not but it works with) that you’ve already had great success in your previous projects and you’re actually invited to talk about your next venture project.
    Not really anything I could think of to make Spur better and it looks like something I would expect to see on the market anytime soon!

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    1. adrian wheeler

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your feedback! I’m really glad the elevator pitch gave that impression, that’s exactly what i was hoping for, but being my first time recording or editing video it’s nice knowing I was able to pull it off!

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  5. johannes dirk wielenga

    Hey Adrian,
    Great job on Spur; your A3 is obviously well thought in the sense that you offer up quite a complete product and vison.

    Elevator pitch: 1st off, you actually limited your video to under 1 minute which is not something most of us did, so kudos on that! As well, I find the “interview” format effective, as this is more akin to how your pitch would be if you were in a, well, an elevator. I would almost say that the couple of images that display your hardware and software actually take away from the effectiveness of your pitch, as it really shouldn’t rely on graphics… and that’s just it, your pitch doesn’t (which is why the few images you did include seem to distract me). Great job!

    Venture Pitch: I really like the images you created, it goes a long way to help me, the investor, to understand your vision. I especially appreciated the thorough breakdown of the internal components of your hardware. That said, I do wonder about the GPU. I assume that it’s built into your processor? I also like the idea of accessories, asset packs and licensed music, though I am left wondering about how you plan to market these things. If accessories and add-ons is a main income driver, then as an investor I would like to know how you plan to encourage districts/schools/teachers into spending the extra money. Also, I don’t see mention of your competitors. I do really like the mobile aspect of Spur, but I wonder how different of a learning experience it would be compared to others. What is the #1 thing that Spur can do that Scratch cannot (aside from the fact that your product comes preinstalled on a dedicated piece of hardware?). One last thing I wonder about is whether you have thought about changing the hardware to essentially be a cloud based streaming device so that instead of making the user replace their hardware when it becomes old, Spur can just upgrade their servers instead? Kind of like Google Stadia? This might help schools justify the cost (although, that said, schools usually have to replace mobile tech every few years anyway due to wear and tear).

    Overall, great job with the visuals and the overall vision. You have offered up quite an intriguing and complete A3, and I thank you for letting us explore it!

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    1. adrian wheeler

      Hi Johannes,

      Thanks for your feedback! I really appreciate your in depth analysis and hopefully I can answer a few of your questions:

      GPU: The Broadcom BCM2753 is an SoC or system on a chip that incorporates the CPU and GPU, its actually an upgraded version of the SoC you will find in the raspberry pi 4 that supports a higher clock speed and more memory.

      Add-on packs: As per the sustainable revenue section the add on packs would be in-app purchases (or “DLC” in the videogame industry) and purchasable from within Spur Studio. The idea is users come to want these additions naturally as they use the software. Its a similar model found in many smartphone apps (the freemium model) but softened somewhat so it doesn’t handicap users, it simply adds more aesthetic value to their productions.

      Competitors: I opted not to delve too far into the specific competitors mainly for brevity sake, and instead simply focused on the differentiating factors (the ecosystem approach). Scratch, blocky and codejig are all block-based programming application, and there are many gaming handheld devices that can load external software, but none of these have an integrated ecosystem like Apple, Android, Nintendo or Sony. The ability to create your game in spur studio and instantly publish it (for free) on a connected app library or p lay it on your spur device is something none of the competition offers and is a models thats been extremely successful in the traditional gaming and smartphone space.

      Streaming approach: The streaming approach is an interesting one, however it has a few huge downsides. First and foremost is latency. I know Google claims “negative latency” but that’s… literally impossible and having tried Google Stadia…. the latency is pretty bad, especially without a solid network connection. The second issue is network access itself. While its not hard to find good network access in Vancouver, that’s not nearly as easy in rural places (and quite frankly, even UBC’s wifi sucks..) Lastly is infrastructure. Cloud computing requires… cloud computers. That’s no problem for Google, Amazon or Microsoft who have massive compute power, but for a startup, the sheer cost of setting that up and managing it to ensure 100% uptime while delivering smooth gameplay to all users is extremely daunting.

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  6. Erica Hargreave

    Hi Adrian,

    As someone who is regularly chatting with my nephew about designing games and helping him to experiment on different game building platforms, I definitely see the potential here. I’d just personally recommend a different name as a spur is the opposite to many of the words in your description. Spurs are used to get a horse to do what you want it to do through pain, rather than rewarding. You talk about a holistic ecosystem, yet spurs bring up negative, violent, and unpleasant connotations. I know this is not your intention, which is why I point it out, in case this is an idea that you plan to build.

    I love all the graphic you created and the details you put into the console and studio. Those are things that the consumer in me would be drawn to. The investor in me though wants to learn more about the current market landscape with this. Who is the target audience for this? Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do you plan to market this to gain enough end users to make this sustainable?

    With some fine tuning, this idea might do quite well on a crowdfunding platform with your lovely illustrations. If you do do that though, I’d reshoot your elevator pitch, so that you are looking into the camera as oppose to off to the side, as speaking to the side creates a disconnect with the audience.

    A great beginning here.

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