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Designing An Applied Game For Your Museum - Workshop

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The slides supporting a workshop for designing an applied game for a museum.

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Designing An Applied Game For Your Museum - Workshop

  1. 1. 1 DESIGNING AN APPLIED GAME FOR YOUR MUSEUM An interactive workshop Pietro Polsinelli for MDT 2018
  2. 2. What is this? These are the slides that as a teacher I used to introduce and follow the exercises of an interactive full day workshop. All the participants had a paper copy of a booklet that you can find in PDF form here together with other material: http://bit.ly/explainingmaterial 2
  3. 3. Description How can a museum, research or any cultural centre acquire skills for working with games and persuasive projects avoiding common pitfalls? In this interactive workshop, each participant will design her own game on a theme of choice. Each participant will have an exercise booklet to be filled with the progressive definition of a game centred on the theme of choice. Many of the diverse dimensions of an applied game will be explored through a specific exercise. We will alternate introductions, doing the exercises and providing feedback. Source for more in-depth explorations after the workshop will be provided. 3
  4. 4. INTRO 4
  5. 5. Digital for museums: it can mean anything... But we have a very specific interpretation in mind. Our two applications are diverse: AUTOGRAPHY is a persuasive application - i.e. focused on influencing behaviour OPERA KIDZ is a game proper, focused in creating a learning experience. But they both rely on the same conceptual framework. 5
  6. 6. Digital for museums: it can mean anything... I have some experience in the applied games field. 6
  7. 7. A perspective on games and cultural heritage - I There are two very different ways to connect games and cultural heritage. One is where your artsy corner of the universe is reproduced and used as background of your game. The world of “Leonardo” in Assassin Creed. This is in line with the view of art-as- decoration, to which no one who has the slightest level of art expertise would subscribe - still in the game’s world it is the prevalent view. You more or less copy works and paste them into an existing mechanics. 7
  8. 8. A perspective on games and cultural heritage - II A completely different perspective is where you take the experience of art as a transformative process, and you try to relate to what the artist wanted to do in her context, and generate from that a new, highly connected transformational experience. Searching for a transformative concept: this is how we worked on both our applications. 8
  9. 9. Maximizing evocative diegetic connectivity The principle of our design is summed up by the notion of evocative diegetic connectivity, as an evolution of what presented in this publication: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3116630 9
  10. 10. GAMES: NOT TOYS, NOT GAMIFICATION, NOT CLONES 10
  11. 11. 11
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. 13 BUT: MAY DESIGN BEYOND THE LONELY SCREEN
  14. 14. LEARNING? TRUST ME! 14
  15. 15. BEYOND GDD: CHANGE 15
  16. 16. 16 Daniel Cook, game development is risky:
  17. 17. VARIETY OF LANGUAGE 17
  18. 18. BOOKLET ORDER 18
  19. 19. The order matters A narrative idea makes it impossible to define mechanics later; but mechanics do allow structuring narrative later. That is why the flow of exercises follows this order: theme / knowledge base, mechanics, story not theme / knowledge base, story, mechanics Tell that we need mechanics early. This sensitivity is what makes a good game designer. + production skill & authority. Authority must be from authorial source. Raph Koster: So that’s my rule: if I have an experience I want to get across, the first thing I ask myself is “how do I model this experience mathematically?” It ends up opening many more doors.
  20. 20. exercise Define different usage contexts, and a roadmap for inclusivity. 20 Define the audience and inclusiveness criteria for your game.
  21. 21. # 21 ITERATION #1
  22. 22. THEME 22
  23. 23. FIND A THEME 23 MECHANIC S
  24. 24. Intro Games are a media apt for dealing with any theme. The belief that games are just for entertainment, and hence need light themes is not current any more. My own work shows that games can be used for creating transformative experiences dealing with super serious themes. See https://www.open-lab.com/games/ 24
  25. 25. Example themes - About the process of preserving open air art works - About the history of the creation / creator of a certain artwork - Setting a game in the context of a special building / museum - Creating a game that supports experimenting with a complex topic in a lab - Raising social awareness about a certain theme of a temporary exhibition - Recreating the life of a certain special person, researcher - Expressing emotions and empathy through in-game storytelling of an emotional story - Creating community with networked game collaboration / competition - Create a game for promoting the museum visit to people that have not been there 25
  26. 26. exercise You may need to revise this definition in the light of the following exercise on knowledge bases. 26 Define a theme or a set of possible themes.
  27. 27. Exceptions, distinctions, learn more See http://www.gamesforchange.org/games/ for many applied game examples. 27
  28. 28. AUDIENCE 28 MECHANIC S
  29. 29. Intro Your game is meant for which audience? 29
  30. 30. example Example “The four things that people typically enjoyed personally about MUDs were: i) Achievement within the game context. ii) Exploration of the game. iii) Socialising with others. iv) Imposition upon others.” A SIMPLE TAXONOMY http://mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm 30
  31. 31. example Example http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/motivations.pdf 31
  32. 32. Intro - inclusiveness http://gameaccessibilityguidelines.com/full-list/ 32
  33. 33. KNOWLEDGE BASE AND MODELS 33
  34. 34. 34 Design a path for learning to happen MECHANIC S
  35. 35. Intro Is there a set of schemas / tables that summarizes your domain knowledge? An index? A book accessible to the general public? The deliverable requested is in the form of a spreadsheet. 35
  36. 36. example Example 36
  37. 37. example 37 Also knowledge not yet turned in quantified metrics is useful: https://kmse.open-lab.com/learn- more/
  38. 38. exercise - situations, choices and consequences - art works, mysteries and solutions - problems, recipes and mistakes / consequences - puzzles and step-by-step solutions - two or more character interactions and (social) reactions All these should somehow connect your domain and “real” life. 38 Keeping in mind your chosen domain, create a list of either:
  39. 39. 39 Minimal combinatorial space knowledge
  40. 40. Intro In order to represent your domain in the game dynamics, you need to define a set of composable atoms from the domain that can be put together in different ways. So say if you have a narrative domain, and you have two stories that your characters may experience, each independently with 3 possible outcomes, you have a space of six possible outcomes. If you have 10 independent stories with three choices, you get 3^10 possible outcomes – 59.049. But actually probably not all paths are possible. So if you have say 5 independent stories of level 1, each with 2 possible outcomes, 5 of level 2 and 5 of level 3, and stories are always 1 -> 2 -> 3, you have 5x2 = 10 possible stories at level 1, 2 and 3; so 10x10x10 possible outcomes = 1.000. But is it so? It’s likely that the possible paths are even more restrictive. I won’t delve into this any deeper (this is a topic for the Explaining With Games book), but consider this when preparing for the concept research for an applied game. So the elements are: composable atoms and possible paths. 40
  41. 41. example Example You need a choice for say every 30 seconds, episodes last 1 min and you can have at most 15 of them. Your total play through is 15 minutes - quite short. I am horribly simplifying, but it gives you an idea. 41
  42. 42. exercise 42 Exercise: a tool https://planetcalc.com/3757/
  43. 43. exercise Compute the combinatorial space of the domain defined in the previous exercise. 43 Exercise
  44. 44. CONCEPT 44
  45. 45. 45 Brainstorming #dynamic
  46. 46. Intro Card: brainstorming as designing little feasible experiments http://www.lostgarden.com/2010/08/visualizing- creative-process.html?m=1 Even games that apparently lack any narrative, can greatly benefit from a good quality coherent narrative core. And this probably holds for any project / enterprise whatsoever. Just sticking ideas one after the other gives an impression of progress but the result… 46
  47. 47. Intro - WARNING A game where you learn is not necessarily a narrative adventure game where you make choices. This actually almost never works, and can be a very expensive choice. 47
  48. 48. example Example: Football Drama Mission: The game is about epic and poetry. The game reveals that there is poetry in the contextually crazy world of football and leads through a unique learning experience about unusual perspectives on the game. Pitch: Football Drama: the only football management game where you can lose the championship and win the game. An epic, dramatic and satirical coaching story. 48
  49. 49. exercise Write the mission of the game in 280 characters. No more. 49 Mission:
  50. 50. exercise Write the pitch of the game in 280 characters. No more. 50 Pitch:
  51. 51. Example concepts 51
  52. 52. example Example concept 52
  53. 53. exercise What would a main screen of your game look like? 53 Sketch
  54. 54. A-HA MOMENT A-ha Moment #dynamic - Games are for healing Ask yourself: how does your game heal? 54
  55. 55. A-HA MOMENT A-ha Moment You are designing with a thesis in the background. More than likely in applied games. 55 From https://emshort.blog/2018/01/02/the-art-of-dramatic-writing-lajos-egri-and-games/
  56. 56. # 56 FEEDBACK #1
  57. 57. LEARNING #1 57
  58. 58. 58 PROGRESSION .
  59. 59. Intro Progression is built in the application mechanic / game loop, using an analogy represented in the graph: The graph is a classical graph on games’ flow often quoted, from Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 59
  60. 60. Solves the problem! A culture of error, the curse of knowledge: games are perfect for dealing with that! 60
  61. 61. 61 Diegetic Connectivity #learning
  62. 62. 62 . .
  63. 63. Intro: definition 63 we articulate a story-driven approach to single- player serious game design called "diegetic connectivity," where task, mechanics, and story are tightly bound through conceptual relationships and aesthetic presentation https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3116630
  64. 64. Intro Even physics can become more diegetically connected: https://twitter.com/bfod/status/947595173600645121 64
  65. 65. exercise 65 Remove any number from the game How do you express the metrics?
  66. 66. example 66 Connection between methodology and in- game mechanics Connection between period graphic language and in-game iconic language Connection between historic societal context and in game context Could you do without any number? Articulate diegetic connectivity.
  67. 67. exercise 67 Diegetic connectivity in your game List the point of diegetic connectivity of your game.
  68. 68. Exceptions, distinctions, learn more (a) Diegetic elements: “Any game element that is rooted in [is perceivably part of] the story world”. [Diegetic Connectivity 2017] (b) Skeuomorphism: “Skeuomorphism is where an object in software mimics its real world counterpart. The “trash can” is, perhaps, the most recognizable skeuomorphic object.” https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/skeuomorphism-is-dead- long-live-skeuomorphism (a) Refers to any kind of in-game representation of the topic - not necessarily involving any realistic esthetic. 68
  69. 69. 69 A problem with fun LEARNING
  70. 70. Learning games have a long tradition of not being fun at all Walking from home to the office, I meet young kids say six, eight years old, walking with their parents. But they never just walk: they notice things nobody else does, they jump, dance, explore new movements. Whatever situation they are in, kids find a way to make it fun. And they are a joy just to watch. Then I pass in front of a high school. These teenagers don't seem to have fun at all. They look at each other suspiciously. Sometimes they laugh, and suddenly look sad again. They've grown enough to have an agenda, of which they actually are quite unsure of. They are… scared. It will take some time for them to regain that pure notion of fun in some form. 70
  71. 71. 71 LEARNING Koster’s Fun IS learning
  72. 72. 72
  73. 73. A-HA MOMENT A-HA Moment: fun IS learning... First a-ha: that is the key! Second a-ha: they are learning all the wrong things! Third a-ha: fun is learning is just the beginning of a research! 73
  74. 74. Learning: Fear, Surprise, Joy 74 #learning
  75. 75. Intro The hidden theme of anxiety in learning processes. 75
  76. 76. example Intro 2 Process of going from confused to clear. 76
  77. 77. exercise “Fun is cognitive mechanical process through which we convert fear into happiness through surprise [gaining clarity]” Write up three cases where the loop applies in your game. 77
  78. 78. Exceptions, distinctions, learn more This is taken from: Precision of Emotion: A New Kind of "Fun" Approach in Educational Games https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP-LNRtwpb8 https://www.slideshare.net/SeriousGamesAssoc/erin- hoffmanjohn-effective-games-why-we-cant-have-nice- things-yet 78
  79. 79. What does a teaching game need to do? 79
  80. 80. Intro These are reasonable requirements. 80
  81. 81. Exceptions, distinctions, learn more This is inspired by: Precision of Emotion: A New Kind of "Fun" Approach in Educational Games https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP-LNRtwpb8 https://www.slideshare.net/SeriousGamesAssoc/erin- hoffmanjohn-effective-games-why-we-cant-have-nice- things-yet [TODO and: your game should… Teach Like A Champion] 81
  82. 82. A-HA MOMENT A-HA Moment: Embrace the painful part of learning your topic Painful learning could be fun AS A game challenge! 82
  83. 83. 83 Why your games does not teach?
  84. 84. exercise 84 Lack of clarity of core emotion No surprise preceding satisfaction Lack of tension Exercise: check for your game teaching quality
  85. 85. A-HA MOMENT Games are not a great media for learning 85 Micro loop with depth, feedback and a progression. "All these go through the micro loop. You need the pause, the thinking, the coming back.” Well: replay with feedback (only games!), permadeath and replayability (only games!). So for some things...
  86. 86. 86 FOCUS IN-BETWEEN SPACES
  87. 87. example Intro: there are in-between spaces in games 87
  88. 88. exercise Define which in-between spaces you need. Define the style and content of these, and how they can become opportunities for teaching / learning. 88
  89. 89. Exceptions, distinctions, learn more See https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/PietroPolsinelli/201 70126/290010/Inbetween_Spaces_And_Their_Design.php 89
  90. 90. MORE MECHANICS 90
  91. 91. example Artificial Intelligence? The term is highly ambiguous. In games it may mean: - The AI as the opponent, tuned to eventually lose. - The AI of the Non Player Characters (NPCs) http://gameinternals.com/post/20725583 30/understanding-pac-man-ghost- behavior 91
  92. 92. exercise Define which parts of your game may need an AI tool. 92 Exercise: Which AI you may need?
  93. 93. FEEL 93
  94. 94. example Intro [Show the feel game play] Vlambeer, game feel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ dEqssNZ-U 94
  95. 95. exercise Define why and when your game if plain fun to play - or even when watching someone else play. 95
  96. 96. (NO)ESTIMATING 96
  97. 97. example 97 What is your applied game budget?

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