Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Affordance Testing in San Francisco

Based on our excerpt from "The Future of Context Aware Gaming" report, we've agreed on five criteria for all of our own ubiquitous game designs. They are:

1) The game is "free and global" - it is designed to engage as wide a player base as possible, in terms of age, gender, technology skills (or lack thereof) and location. It has the potenital to create a community.
2) Game spaces and objects are "ordinary" - it involves everyday objects or spaces, using them in new ways.
3) The experience is "hybrid" - it connects the gameplay with the local environment, rather than separating the two.
4) The game is "networked" - part of the game lives in the data sphere. It has a least one digital affordance.
5) The design is "hacked, improvised" - we use existing apps and co-opt existing networks for play.

This week, you're working in small design teams to create and implement a mini-game somewhere in San Francisco. For your design, you should be able to talk about each of these five criteria. So please, in the comments, fill us in on the details of the latest design your team has worked out. As an experiment, see if you can explain how your design addresses each criterion. Is there one that you're missing or weaker on? Explain, and see if you can improve the design.

As a reminder, your mini-game should consist of the following:
-one embedded clue,
-a digital affordance (see our affordance worksheet for a range of potential affordances), and
-a payoff for successful activation of the affordance

These should be quick, small, very self-contained, and be fully executed in the next 10 days. This is a mini-trial; think small and successful!


lisatized said...

Jennifer and Justin to the white courtesy phone.
I'm not sure if you got my email and need some information before I can proceed with our game flyer.
Email me!

lisatized said...

Rock Paper Scissors While You Wait

Jennifer, Justin, and I came up with a simple game to encourage communication and icebreaking where we wait; elevators, on line, crosswalks, bus stops, etc. The game is absolutely free and it is so ordinary that most people know it already, but haven't necessarily used it as an ice breaking tool while standing around and waiting for something. A URL for the flyer is included on the flyer so that it can be spread throughout the network and we will be using flickr to share images of the game and brief descriptions of how the experience went.

We don't really have an embedded clue. It is pretty straightforward. My idea is to make a game simple enough for people who are too lazy to play games. So, just laying it out there and asking people to play something they might already know in a different space with new people might actually happen. We have the digital affordance covered and the payoff is having fun in an unexpected place and hopefully making a brief connection with someone new.

Here is a copy of the flyer:
RPS While You Wait

patricknm said...

Grey and I have been working like crazy just to pull off the Freak Andie game, but I thought I would take a look at the 5 principles for ubiquitous gaming to see what applied to our game.

1) "Free and global"
Well I don't think the game itself is global, but it didn't end up on BoingBoing.net so it could be argued that makes it global. The game is however, free.

The game does take place in a very common public location.

3) "Hybrid"
Our game tries to redefine how you interact with that space, but partially depends on the location itself.

Freak Andie is very dependent on people viewing the Flickr site but there are links placed on some other higher traffic sites.

Hmm.. I suppose we sorta hijacked the flickr site for our own purposes, but I think this is the area we are lacking in the most...

We have alot more ideas abut how this game could develop given more time. I would also like to modify the game so that other people can play it in other locations on there own accord.

Jake Rose said...

The "bored on bus" crew and i have finalized a sticker design and are in process of printing them. Paul has set up a site and blog link for people who find the stickers to log their experiences. During distribution we plan on taking photos as players playing the game. We'll post the pics with comments of where we "found" the stickers. Hopefully this will give the participants more incentive to actually write something and sign their email. This should begin to establish an infrastructure for future players of a bigger game. Thats about all for now. We'll update after the stickers are out there.

lisatized said...

I have been having a heck of a time coming up with a different set of hand throws for a Rock, Paper, Scissors reDo. They just did such a good job with the first one and I am probably over thinking it. When Jane offered the feed back on the original flyer posted above, I was resistant at first because I felt like RPS is so well known that we would have more success in actually getting people to play the game with strangers in places that they wait fairly easily. The idea of having unique hand motions grew on me quickly though when I thought about how those gestures could be seen from by other passers by and would create a new, sort of secret language. So that leaves me were I have been pondering for weeks... what is a good, modern interpretation of the cycle of 3 and what would the hand shapes (static) look like for each.

Here are the 2 that have risen to the top for me, but still have issues:
-> Human kills mouse, mouse controls computer, computer sucks humans time. (but I don't know what the computer would look like)
-> The pen is mightier than the sword, the sword kills humans, human controls pen.


grey said...

Putting together the FreakAndie game certainly was a great learning experience. One of the key things I learned is the benefit of a game WITHOUT a puppetmaster. While I enjoyed developing and staging a particular scenario, and being able to watch it unfold, it also took alot of effort. It seems like a good idea to set things up and then let the players do some of the work, (like the ministry of reshelving) And by removing the time and space limitations it makes the game more available to a larger group of people, which I think should be one of our goals for our final game.

On another note: apparently nine inch nails has a strange game (is it a game?) related to their upcoming album launch. The site is: www.anotherversionofthetruth.com and was discovered by some fans who noticed highlighted numbers in the the background of a nin tour t-shirt that turned out to be an IP address. The site has a hidden layer with links to a faux forum with cryptic / distorted messages and strange .mp3 files.

grey said...

lizatized... I like the Pen is Mightier idea alot, its an age-old saying that most people would know, and the battle mechanic seems solid, but I wonder how you would distinguish the hand motions? I still think some sort of Chicken Fight is the way to go! It works on the same RPS principles, but involves acting like a chicken (which is usually fun) and has simple to learn but crazy-looking hand motions. Heres a rough idea:

People would have to use both hands, start with their hands behind their back, and then count down (with clucking sounds?) and attack at the same time. When they attacked, they'd choose from:

Chicken Claw (scizzor)- both hands come forward and, fingers out, hands make claw-like shape while arms cycle at enemy.

Head-but (rock) - both hands come up over head and make a "finger mohawk" as head bends down and you lean toward enemy.

Wings of Fury (paper) - both fists go in armpits with elbows out, arms make flapping motion.

The battle mechanic idea is you can grab your opponent chicken with your Claws if they try and fly away on Wings of Fury, but if you're trying to claw them you'll be defenseless if they Head-But you. Wings of Fury let you fly up and over an attempted Head-But and land your attack.

Anyway, just and idea, but feel free to use any of it in your RPS re-design. Good luck!

Doc said...

Grey really hit the nail on the head when he said it’s a wiser idea to let the players do some of the work. I was extremely sick that week and found the amount of work put into Freak Andy to be exhausting. However, it was fun and kind of fascinating once people began playing it. With a game that’s less centralized, I imagine it being far less rewarding. Observing the players in action gives a nice sense of satisfaction.

This project definitely sparked my interest in creating a ubiquitous game that requires less setup. I had fun being part of the team putting it on (despite being sick anyway), and I look forward to the next game.

Although I’m sure I wasn’t as stealthy as I wanted to be, I managed to snap a few pictures of people playing the game.

Check it out.