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Speculative Game Design

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Speculative Game Design Manifesto presented at Computer Arts Society 11th March 2015

Published in: Design
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Speculative Game Design

  1. 1. Speculative Game Design A manifesto for allowing players to rehearse alternative presents and plausible futures Paul Coulton @mysticmobile
  2. 2. A Manifesto R r Research into Design Research through Design Research for Design Process Artifact New Knowledge
  3. 3. GAMES ARE ART … get over it
  4. 4. Art Games art games is an insufficient term to consider many games, and it is currently “a stand-in for a yet unnamed set of movements or styles, akin to realism of futurism Ian Bogost
  5. 5. Speculative Design use fiction no commercial constraints prototype driven irreverant Auger Coulton
  6. 6. Future Present Future Time Probable Plausible Possible Josepth Voros
  7. 7. Possible Present Future Time Probable - likely to happen Plausible - could happen Possible - might happen Future
  8. 8. Critical Design Present Future Time Probable Plausible Possible Preferable
  9. 9. Design Fiction “deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change... It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and try to get people to concentrate on those – rather than entire worlds or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories” Bruce Sterling
  10. 10. Design Fiction “deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change... It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and try to get people to concentrate on those – rather than entire worlds or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories” Bruce Sterling With roots in ancient philosophy ‘diegetic’ can be a rather troublesome word for those outside media theory. Thankfully design fiction’s purposes diegesis simply to refer to the world of the story (and therefore anything that exists in that world, is diegetic). Thus it follows that a diegetic prototype is a prototype that exists within a story world
  11. 11. Design Fiction
  12. 12. Design Fiction “deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change... It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and try to get people to concentrate on those – rather than entire worlds or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories” Bruce Sterling Engendering ‘disbelief about change’ is commensurate with speculative design’s, upon which design fiction draws, focus on generating understanding and insights as opposed to finished products, i.e. its role is: “not to show how things will be but to open up a space for discussion”
  13. 13. Design Fiction “So a design fiction is (1) something that creates a story world, (2) has something being prototyped within that story world, (3) does so in order to create a discursive space.” “Although this definition appears straightforward, complexity arrives when we consider what something may be” Lindley and Coulton
  14. 14. are games diegetic? mimesis and diegesis describe ways of presenting a story. In mimesis, the story is acted out. In diegesis, the story is narrated. Mimesis is show. Diegesis is tell. games can be both diegetic and mimetic
  15. 15. Present Present Future Domestication Technology Emergence Alternate Presents or Lost Futures Speculative Futures Past adapted from James Auger
  16. 16. The What If?
  17. 17. Past “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future” Marshall Mcluhan
  18. 18. Speculative Game Design Present Future Time Plausible Possible Past Plausible Possible
  19. 19. Critical Games thus far the focus of the critical games created has primarily been either: critiques of current events or practices; or critiques of games themselves
  20. 20. Critical Games Phone Story - Mollie Industria giant joystick - Mary Flanagan
  21. 21. Persuading through Games Persuasive Technology Procedural Rhetoric(Gamification) VS Persuasive Games liminal liminoid
  22. 22. Persuasive Technology B.J Fogg Captology - reduce a problem so that it can be addressed through the promotion of minor behavioural change for easily understood and uncontroversial goals.
  23. 23. Persuasive Technology High Ability Low Ability High Motivation Low Motivation Target Behaviour D esired Trajectory ofU sers FACILITATOR SPARK SIGNAL SIGNAL The Facilitator is a trigger that also makes the desired behaviour easier to perform. The Signal is a trigger that identifies an appropriate time to perform a particular behaviour for those already motivated to perform that behaviour. The Spark is a trigger that provides the initial inspiration to change behaviour. B.J Fogg
  24. 24. Rhetoric Pathos (empathy) Ethos (credibility) Logos (logic) CONTEXT Aristottle Logos - would utilise facts, statistics, analogies, and logical reasoning. Ethos - would draw upon credibility, reliability, trustworthiness and fairness. Pathos - would appeal to our emotions and draw upon feelings of fairness, love, pity, or even greed, lust, or revenge.
  25. 25. Rhetoric of Design Rhetor Audience Speech Intent Expectations Rhetoric
  26. 26. Graphic Designer Audience Image Intent Expectations Visual Rhetoric Rhetoric of Design
  27. 27. Designer Users Product Intent Expectations Design as Rhetoric Rhetoric of Design Richard Buchanan
  28. 28. Game Game Designer Player Rules Interaction Game Design as Rhetoric Rhetoric of Design the basic representational mode of videogames is “procedurality”, enacted through rule- based representations and interactions and, when used to reveal processes or concepts of another system, present the player with a procedural rhetoric Ian Bogost
  29. 29. Interactive System Interaction Designer User System Logic Interaction Interactive Systems as Rhetoric Rhetoric of Design Coulton
  30. 30. Developing In-Game Rhetoric Mudlark
  31. 31. Climate Change
  32. 32. Weather
  33. 33. Flow
  34. 34. Storage
  35. 35. Scale Charles and Ray Eames Powers of 10
  36. 36. COLD SUN
  37. 37. Framing Speculative Game Design Present Future Time Plausible Possible Speculative Game Design should be plausible Pathos (empathy) Ethos (credibility) Logos (logic)
  38. 38. Framing Speculative Game Design Present Future Time Plausible Possible Past Plausible Possible Speculative Game Design should embrace the plurality of realities of both designers and players.
  39. 39. Framing Speculative Game Design Speculative Game Design can encompass both mimesis and diegesis. Diegesis + Mimesis
  40. 40. Framing Speculative Game Design Speculative Game Design should be iterative.
  41. 41. Framing Speculative Game Design including the rhetoric
  42. 42. Framing Speculative Game Design Speculative Game Design should be participatory.
  43. 43. Framing Speculative Game Design Speculative Game Design should utilise rhetoric rather than captology.
  44. 44. Reflection These strategies are not intended to be used to rank games in relation to some perceived quality about what may or may not make a ‘good’ speculative game design, but are to help designers reflect on the appropriate uses of rhetoric and their responsibilities when designing such games.
  45. 45. Questions Banksy @mysticmobile

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