Now this guy can draw. His sense of humor isn’t half bad either. Make sure you check out his “200 Bad Comics”.
The WarioWare Touched! team generated around 300 game ideas, each of which was described on one Post-It note… “The way the games were created was that each person had to come up with their own games. So what we did was we wrote down the game ideas we had on Post-It Notes — you know, those notes with the sticky adhesive on the back of them — and we attached them to the director’s table. Then we went through all of them to decide which games were good and which ones weren’t.”
This had me laughing out loud. Somehow the YouTube compression adds to the impact. Via Tom.
PICNIC is starting to look more and more appealing with things like this service design lab by 31Volts et al.
“Approach this by starting underneath the surface.” I love how Mike compares all the little bits and pieces on early Star Wars SFX with texture — evidence of activity — in social software. Both are required for credibility.
“So, where *did* the wireframe go? I think the role of the architecture diagram, user flow, and wireframe belongs very much after the fact, after we’ve sketched and prototyped an experience. Those are tools to document what has been agreed through sketching and prototyping. They are not the best means for solving challenging design problems.”
AP should have done the whole Aurora concept video like this: Sketches on a whiteboard. Would have left much more up to the imagination.
Graduation project of a graphic design student wherein Processing is used to map the negative effects of drug use in an Amsterdam neighborhood. Some good-looking and interesting visuals here. (In Dutch.)
Mr. Saffer’s new venture, apparently. Heard this through the grapevine.
Alexander upstages me by visualizing a multi-touch interaction using a cool motion graphic in stead of those boring sketches I do. Some interesting considerations here as well. Now to figure out my next move…
“a web service that allows you to share snippets of information from the minutiae of daily life in the form of simple statistical graphs” Hmmm…
The upcoming This happened in LDN looks great. There’s a guy who built a real-life UFO for crying out loud! I will be there. What about you?
I had the pleasure of attending Tom’s talk at NLGD. Now his slides and extensive notes are online. Required reading for any game designer trying to make sense of the social web.
It’s been a while since I finished reading Steven Berlin Johnson’s Emergence. I picked up the book because ever since I started thinking about what IxDs can learn from game design, the concept of emergence kept popping up.
Johnson’s book is a pleasant read, an easy-going introduction to the subject. I started and finished it over the course of a weekend. There were a few passages I marked as I went a long, and I’d like to quote them here and comment on them. In order, they are about:
- Principles that are required for emergence to happen
- How learning can be unconscious
- Unique skills of game players
- Gardening as a metaphor for using (and making) emergent systems
A cheat sheet
Let’s start with the principles.1
“If you’re building a system designed to learn from the ground level, a system where macrointelligence and adaptability derive from local knowledge, there are five fundamental principles you need to follow.”
These principles together form a useful crib sheet for designers working on social software, MMOGs, etc. I’ll summarise each of Johnson’s principles here.
“More is different.”
You need to have a sizeable amount of low-level elements interacting to get patterns emerging. Also, there is a difference between the behaviour you will observe on the microlevel, and on the macrolevel. You need to be aware of both.
“Ignorance is useful.”
The simple elements don’t have to be aware of the higher-level order. In fact, it’s best if they aren’t. Otherwise nasty feedback-loops might come into being.
“Encourage random encounters.”
You need chance happenings for the system to be able to learn and adapt.2
“Look for patterns in the signs.”
Simply put, the basic elements can have a simple vocabulary, but should be able to recognise patterns. So although you might be working with only one signal, things such as frequency and intensity should be used to make a range of meanings.
“Pay attention to your neighbours.”
There must be as much interaction between the components as possible. They should be made constantly aware of each other.
Now with these principles in mind look at systems that successfully leverage collective intelligence. Look at Flickr for instance. They are all present.
I liked the following passage because it seems to offer a nice metaphor for what I think is the unique kind of learning that happens while playing. In a way, games and toys are like chicken pox.3
“[…] learning is not always contingent on consciousness. […] Most of us have developed immunity to the varicella-zoster virus—also known as chicken pox—based on our exposure to it early in childhood. The immunity is a learning process: the antibodies of our immune system learn to neutralize the antigens of the virus, and they remember those neutralization strategies for the rest of our lives. […] Those antibodies function as a “recognition system,” in Gerald Edelman’s phrase, successfully attacking the virus and storing the information about it, then recalling that information the next time the virus comes across the radar. […] the recognition unfolds purely on a cellular level: we are not aware of the varicella-zoster virus in any sense of the word, […] The body learns without consciousness, and so do cities, because learning is not just about being aware of information; it’s also about storing information and knowing where to find it. […] It’s about altering a system’s behaviour in response to those patterns in ways that make the system more successful at whatever goal it’s pursuing. The system need not be conscious to be capable of that kind of learning.”
Emphasis on the last sentence mine, by the way.
Johnson writes about his impression of children playing video games:4
“[…] they are more tolerant of being out of control, more tolerant of that exploratory phase where the rules don’t all make sense, and where few goals have been clearly defined.”
This attitude is very valuable in today’s increasingly complex world. It should be fostered and leveraged in areas besides gaming too, IMHO. This point was at the core of my Playing With Complexity talk.
“Interacting with emergent software is already more like growing a garden than driving a car or reading a book.”5
Yet, we still tend to approach the design of systems like this from a tradition of making tools (cars) or media (books). I not only believe that the use of systems like this is like gardening, but also their creation. Perhaps they lie in each other’s extension, are part of one never-ending cycle? In any case, when designing complex systems, you need to work with it “live”. Plant some seeds, observe, prune, weed, plant some more, etc.
I am going to keep a garden (on my balcony). I’m pretty sure that will teach me more about interaction design than building cars or writing books.
Installation that simulates a drop falling in water. Looks beautiful, curious to know how interactive it is. Via Chris.
Founds this hidden in a cryptic blog post by Matt Webb. Interesting view on how design has changed over the course of human history and what design ‘today’ (written 2005) is or should be like: “Designing is in itself the creation of abstract machines, which draw complex diagrams, that cut across heterogeneous segments. […] The design product is often not embedded in a single physical object. But rather is an interconnection between many objects and people and their environment.”
This has been making the rounds lately. A Japanese designer has mocked up a context-aware device from the near future. I like the suggestive quality of these images. He succeeds in communicating a complicated concept in a very concise way. Many different kinds of applications not explicitly mentioned can be effortlessly imagined based on this.
“Everyone seems to be an experience manager these days, but we should be proud of what we do. If you’re a UI designer, say you’re a UI designer. Or an interaction designer…” Heathcote rants about the misuse of the term UX. Couldn’t agree more.
“…a tiny camera gathers light and shape data, before sending it to a computer that processes it and uses hundreds of tiny electric motors to shift the wood blocks into the image in front of the device…” Seen this a few times, now finally bookmarking it.
Wordle.net is put to some unlikely use — here the occurrence of words on both Obama and McCain’s blog is visualized. “Obama” is the most-used word on McCain’s blog, a surprising find for me. Next, I’d like to see these two clouds compared.