Connections [iPad]
-- A game that helps teenagers who lost loved ones


Designer, Environment Artist



Highmark Caring Place



Expressive  Journaling App



iOS (iPad)



Age 10-18



4 months, 2014 Fall


Team Size







This is a semester long project with a team of 5. We were working with Highmark’s Caring Place and the Allegheny Health Network. Our goal was to create a virtual world that helps children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. We were trying to create a safe space through which they can explore and express themselves.






  • Created and maintained documentation including game flow document, playtest survey, and graphic mock-up.

  • Helped artists to figure out art style and animations according to the design needs.

  • Responsible for playtesting and playtest analysis.

  • Consulted the client, therapists and communicated with the team and faculty on design issues.

  • Used game design principles to overcome the technical challenges


  • Modeled in-game environment and props, and unwrapped the UVs.



Design Documents



Team & Project Site:






Haley (Haiyin) Yang: Designer, Environment Artist

Roma Dave: Artist

Rachina Ahuja: Artist

Gabriel Burgess: Programmer, Producer

Yiting Zhi: Programmer

We created an iPad app concept for an immersive world with different expressive activities and shared content.


Three Elements:

Letting Go, Tribute, Catharsis


Different Activities:

The Lantern Field was the first activity. It hits the "Letting Go" element. The player can create lantern cover art by capturing colors from the objects in the environment and drawing on the lantern. We are trying to create a special moment when the fireflies in the environment fly into the lantern and light it up. After lighting, the player can release the lantern in the world and it joins lanterns created by other grieving children. The lantern will drift away eventually.


To implement text and photo input, I also designed another activity that the player can store a message or a photo in a treasure box, bury it, and create a marker for it.