Snapshot launches. I love the way thumbnails motion blur when dragging the slider in the bottom and stuff on the map live updates. It’s just *fun* to play with.
“The PCG Wiki is a central knowledge-base for everything related to the Procedural Content Generation, as well as a detailed directory of games using Procedural Content Generation.”
“Spore has created an unexpected set of design problems: the reverse of virtually any other game. There is literally too much content for any gamer to experience; and the tools to manage and select […] from this content don’t yet appear to be in place.”
The conference From Business to Buttons 2008 aimed to bring together the worlds of business and interaction design. I was there to share my thoughts on the applicability of game design concepts to interaction design. You’ll find my slides and a summary of my argument below.
I really enjoyed attending this conference. I met a bunch of new and interesting people and got to hang out with some ‘old’ friends. Many thanks to InUse for inviting me.
The topic is pretty broad so I decided to narrow things down to a class of product that is other-than-everyday — meaning both wide and deep in scope. Using Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things as a starting point, I wanted to show that these products require a high level of explorability that is remarkably similar to play. After briefly examining the phenomenon of play itself I moved on to show applications of this understanding to two types of product: customizable & personalizable ones, and adaptive ones.
For the former, I discussed how game design frameworks such as MDA can help with sculpting the parameter space, using ‘experience’ as the starting point. I also looked at how games support players in sharing stories and speculated about ways this can be translated to both digital and physical products.
For the latter — adaptive products — I focussed on the ways in which they induce flow and how they can recommend stuff to people. With adaptation, designers need to formulate rules. This can be done using techniques from game design, such as Daniel Cook’s skill chains. Successful rules-based design can only happen in an iterative environment using lots of sketching.
The presentation was framed by a slightly philosophical look at how certain games subliminally activate cognitive processes and could thus be used to allow for new insights. I used Breakout and Portal as examples of this. I am convinced there is an emerging field of playful products that interaction designers should get involved with.
Sources referenced in this presentation:1
- Pilgrim in the Microworld (PDF) by David Sudnow
- The Core of Fun by Raph Koster
- The Art of Interactive Design by Chris Crawford
- The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
- Designing for Interaction by Dan Saffer
- Homo Ludens by Johan Huizinga
- Man, Play and Games by Roger Caillois
- A Theory of Play and Fantasy by Gregory Bateson
- The Ambiguity of Play by Brian Sutton-Smith
- Rules of Play by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman
- Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
- The Life of Products by Schulze & Webb
- MDA (PDF) by Robin Hunicke and Robert Zubek
- The Conversation Gets Interesting by Stephen P. Anderson
- The Chemistry of Game Design by Daniel Cook
- Waterfall Bad, Washing Machine Good by Leisa Reichelt
- Sketching User Experiences by Bill Buxton
- How Can A Game Be Subversive? by Borut Pfeifer
As usual, many thanks to all the Flickr photographers who’ve shared their images under a CC license. I’ve linked to the originals from the slides. Any image not linked to is probably mine.
- Most of these are offline books or papers, those that aren’t have been hyperlinked to their source. [↩]
“Chocolate Castle is a tricky sliding block puzzle game. The object of each puzzle is to arrange blocks of chocolate into large connected regions so that they can then be consumed by a team of hungry animals.”
Sent to me by Alexander: A very low key parkour video which makes it all the more powerful. No music, and including mistakes.
Powazek’s new project with HP sounds great. Now to figure out what to publish…
A collection of work by MA RCA Design Interactions students on the future of money. Some nice bits here (and well presented).
A FabLab opening in Utrecht… Will have to check it out once I get back. Have a few ideas for toys I’d like to see fabbed.
A write-up of a Will Wright talk that is quite different from what he has been speaking about in the past.
James links to an almost animal-like BMW prototype car that has a flexible, adaptive skin. The wink at the end is downright creepy.
“Using a billion points of GPS and WiFi positioning data from the last few years – plus real-time feeds – Citysense sees S.F. from above and puts the top live hotspots in your hand.”
Played with this at FBTB and really liked it—four speakers with telephone receivers attached for “subtle interference etudes, to collaborative chanting and big, bad rhythm orgies”.
A new IxD course in NYC. Seems to be focussed on screen based interactions.
Interview with the author of a new book on Steve Jobs. Some more evidence in support of Bill Buxton’s claim that Apple is one of the few companies where *real* design is happening: a huge amount of elaboration and exploration up front.
Anonymous reviews of and salary reports on companies. Interesting concept (and content).
Huzzah! Interaction 09 has been announced and looks to be bigger and better. Had to miss the 1st edition, will make sure I won’t have to this time.
A look at implementations of social interaction patterns in ARGs. “in ARGs where patterns such as ‘individual rewards’ and ‘social statuses’ have been invoked by developers, there has been player-created events that thwart, ignore or reverse them”
I quite enjoyed this video of Joshua Klein explaining how he ‘hacks’ crows.
This pamphlet by Adam Greenfield and Mark Shepard provides a good overview of urban computing and asks some much needed questions about where things are headed and how that may be influenced.
“Within about 10 clicks, the system makes a guess at the user’s cognitive style and morphs to fit. “If we determine that you like lots of graphs, you’re going to start seeing lots of graphs,”
I like this short but sweet talk by Johnson about the fight against cholera in Victorian London.