Review of material and ideas

Much of the teaching on this module has now been delivered and I’m able to start bringing together ideas and thinking to produce a shortlist of potential products.

I’m particularly focused in a number of areas both for this module and for the wider course. One of my key learning objectives throughout this course is to push my bounds from a technical perspective. I’m keen to use new technologies to provide innovative solutions and this is one domain in which I hope to tread new ground. I’m also quite keen on the notion that experimental games can sometimes exist wholly or partially within the serious games field and also that they can service a well-being need and I’d like to experiment in these three areas. I’m also interested in the concept of utilizing games for self-development and one personal flaw which I’m keen to work on is a tendency to procrastinate.

With the above factors in mind, I’ve conceived two potential projects to work on:

  1. A game loop centered around procrastination. The game itself would mechanically revolve around leaving a steady stream of tasks until the last minute. A good example of task management in a game might be in the Overcooked series of games.
  2. A game based around using emergent technology to facilitate the traditional game, hide and seek.

On reflection, of these two games, I believe that the second game has the most potential. It’s an idea I’ve toyed around with for a while and I feel it meets a few key suitability criteria for fields of experimentation. I’ll return to the problem of procrastination in a later project.

First of all, I’d like to create the game for mobile. Many mobile games tend to be static (i.e. you can play them anywhere, but you stay in one place). There are a few noteworthy games produced by Niantec (Ingress, 2012 and Pokemon Go, 2016) which require the players to move around to find in game items using GPS placement, but these tend to be the exception to the rule. I also like that there are clear well-being applications to getting people to play games which require real world movement. This is especially pertinent in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that many people have spent months indoors doing very little exercise. Another well being factor to this experimentation is that many people, particularly those who don’t live in large households haven’t had the opportunity to socialize during multiple lock-downs. I’d therefore like to prototype a game which meets the following success criteria:

  1. It is played outdoors
  2. It is a multi-player game and requires some social contact/connection
  3. It has measurable health benefits
  4. It utilizes technology to facilitate and enhance the game (particularly with regards to forcing and end-game state and to track and offer breadcrumbs to players)
  5. It utilizes at least one application of augmented reality to provide information/feedback to the player
  6. It will utilize GPS tracking to facilitate the game state and catch up mechanics
  7. I’d like to try and implement social media sharing on platforms such as Instagram or TikTok within the game, to bring enhanced relevance of the product to young people

The overall benefit of such a game might be that its effectiveness in bringing people together socially and for exercise and may make the traditional folk game popular among young people again.

I’ll begin work on producing a Game Design Document, which outlines the key features.

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