I've begun building my final prototype! Unfortunately the wheels haven't made it on yet and I've only made half of the track, but I think I'm... on the right track (ba-dum tsh). I had some 4am freak outs about how my board wasn't working or making sound but somehow it all worked when I soldered a surface-mounted piece to another after being at my wits' end.
The track is pretty much finished. I might have to change the puzzle ends because they don't want to snap together since the tolerances are too low. I also added a slate color to the track to tie the car and the track together - the wheels on the car will have a bit of slate on them as well. I had some comments during crit that the track is visually complicated, so I intend on making the raised section slate colored as well to blend the lines and dots together.
I settled on these three colors because I felt that they were bright, fun, and gender neutral. I also coordinated the different colors with different instrument sounds (blue: bells, pink : xylophone, yellow: guitar). They latch on with magnets so it's a nice satisfying snap. I also put a compartment in the pink roof to hold all the pegs, one, because it was the easiest to make into a box, and two, because the xylophone noise is what I would call the "main" instrument.
I had comments on figuring out how to package this - both from an interaction and visual standpoint. I really like the idea of having building blocks in a sort of satchel, so I played with the idea of a printed sack to hold all of the tops. I've already sent for the fabric to be made, so there's no turning back! Here are some of my explorations:
I used the shapes from my car tops as geometric elements - to indicate the contents of the bag, and to create a brand language around the interchangeability.
This is the pattern I settled on. It was difficult to create a pattern but without it being too constrained. Luckily Montana spray paints publishes the color codes for all their paints so these are accurate swatches to the actual objects. The shapes themselves will be about 60% to scale of the actual tops, and the drawstring will be dark blue paracord like the track.
That's what I've done so far, it's just all in the final push!