Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lecture 9: 06May2010 The Mind and the Body

Hi all,
Thanks again for coming out tonight.
Today you learned about what we know about the body (or how little about it), and how our interactions with computers (not just computer games) are becoming more and more appreciative of the physics of the real world. This is particularly buoyant in games, but can also be observed in how the iPhone adds weight to contacts, for example (You could push that further by 'adding' extra weight to 'heavy' - equals more important - contacts, so they come up more prominent when you flick through with your finger).

In order to design for the body, the best advice so far (to be most effective) is therefore probably no to think, but DO. Designing for the body means moving the body, and you hopefully have seen how the tape-body-parts-together might have given you ideas that would be a million times more complex to imagine and describe with the mind.

I realized that I did not let enough people speak who have not said enough yet, so sorry about that, I'll try to be better next time.

Homework for next week:
* Blog: a) Comment on the lecture OR b) repeat the most important point you have learned for those who could not attend OR c) describe the difference between Wii and Natal for designers IN THE SEPARATE BLOG ENTRY
* Report progress on your team website/blog
* Read the reading assignments for next week
* If you have not done so, email me your dots, video and promotional pic

PS: For the rock-climbing team: Have you thought why you are trying to 'improve' rock-climbing? Are you improving it? If so, why? Or are you making it more accessible? Or more engaging? What do you tell a rock-climber who might say: but rock-climbing is great on its own? Why do we need to add computers?

PPS: A note on getting in the paper: try to market your game through facebook, twitter etc. Email your video out. You have no idea how many people would like to pass your game video to their friends rather than do work in the morning. Just ask all your facebook friends to send it to their friends (this is not spamming, as they should only do it if they like it). Tag the video properly. Increase the hit count. Tell people what they should write about: This game gets fat kids off the couch because ...

PPPS: Thinking about a tag line for any newspaper article might also help your game: If a reporter asks you, what should be the headline? What would you say? Why do we need your game? This is were a target-group might come in handy: Your game might get kids active who so far only liked computer games. Or create a game that takes the piss out of the Myki system: You would need to swipe a fake card a 100 times in order to get a score.... any topical statement is always great for the paper. Or make a game for the unemployed Storm players. Think of a headline: would you print it? If so, your game is on the right track.
And then send it to all the papers, blogs, online articles you know: they all have email addresses, twitter accounts etc. Hey, you have seen what they show on TV (especially shows like Sunrise etc), and they are asking in any of these shows to send in any news, so make use of this! Be an active citizen!

PPPPS: To the Bubble Popper team: Sorry if I might seem very pushy for you to create something new, but I have been thinking a lot why I would like to see this: I think it is a) because I see potential. Everyone enjoyed playing your game. It was simple but wonderful at the same time. Your game did not have a tag-line though (it did not 'help' anyone, did not make the world a better place, but it was so obvious 'fun'). But maybe it did not need one. Nobody also needed to think why this game needed a computer. It was clearly a computer game. You could not do it without a computer. And then I realized: Maybe it is b) I would like to see if you could pull this off again, i.e. do you have enough knowledge about games to do it again but with a different game or was it just mere luck? :-)  


  1. There was discussion about whether it would be better to begin designing a game with a specific audience in mind, or to just design the game itself and let the target audience sort itself out.

    I believe both methods work, however I think aiming at a specific audience limits the creativity to rehashing old ideas, even though it is more likely to be successful.
    On the other hand, designing a game with no target audience (restrictions/guidelines) allows for a much broader range of possibilities, but at the same time lowers the chance of success.

  2. While some were inclined to believe that playing a game heavily requires interaction with the mind, and others the opposite whereby the body was more a significant component, I truly think that innovative and awesome games should combine a mixture of these. All though they may seem similar and are often used in a similar context, there is a difference between FEELING AND EMOTION:

    Feeling- indicating the sense of touch, therefore the reaction made by the body when it encounters another (or even so a foreign) object.

    Emotion- the internal reaction made when the mind recognises a particular situation.

    First thing's first: it all comes down to the TYPE of game, and additionally, the target market it is trying to attract. For example, a puzzle game would utilise much, much more of the mind than the body, while the basic Wii Bowling or Wii Tennis would be more concerned with the body (don't get me started on Natal). This will also mean that it is up to the game designers to decide whether their audience want to challenge their mind or their body.

  3. I really liked your talk about physics in computers and games, I'd never thought about simple physics such as the iPhone's menus making the menu navigation "fun" but now I realise it actually does.

    I'm going to sort of bring this idea back into video games now and make mention of mucking around with the physics in Counter-Strike. The normal game physics are quite average, attempting to mimick the height a person can jump in real life. Tweaking the physics to low-gravity though, you are able to let players jump to incredible heights and in "surf" maps, players can use the physics to attempt large jumps you wouldn't be able to do in real life. This is fun because it uses the "best" parts of physics to create an experience that wouldn't be possible outside the virtual world. Now, if the player had been given the opportunity to move wherever they want, up, down, left or right, with no gravity, it wouldn't be fun anymore. Even though this is giving the player even more "superhuman" capabilities, it removes the restrictions offered by physics and the connection with the real world which make the low-gravity craziness seem so incredible and enjoyable.

  4. i think the reason why people like physics and realism in games is because they want to live out something that they normally wouldnt do in real life. they dont want to get away from the real world just because they have a virtual world. i would think it is quite the opposite. they want to bring the real world into the virtual world so they could experience sensations that are prohibited in the real world. like shooting someone. you dont play it cos you are a sadistic sociopath. you do it to experience what it would feel like in real life, even though the experience may be far off, even completely off, from what happens in real life. its same as how people enjoy paintball fights. they want to enjoy the thrill of a gunfight without the health risks. same goes for games even though it may be restricted to a keyboard and a mouse. people want to fly airplanes but they cant afford the plane. then they can simply try and play a simulator game even though how lacking it might be compared to the real thing. if the game is very realistic, good crisp images and realistic physics, it adds to the experience and people appreciate it more. even if the game was a simple platform game, the physics imitation in jumping on objects, people subconsciously appreciates that adding to the realism. because that shows that the game is not completely out of this world and people cant relate to it or understand it.
    on to another thing...
    you know how you spin your ipod wheel to change volume and choose songs. well i remember when like the first ipods came out and they used that wheel to spin the lock combinations into place, just like how you would spin and open a real lock. dont know what you exactly call these. spinlock? padlocks? those things you normally see on safes.
    yeah. anyways. simple stuff but i thought it was pretty clever linking a physical wheel to a virtual lock wheel.
    oh and just about that phantom limbs and how body recognises body parts. i have been wearing glasses for about 12 yrs now and they are completely a part of me. this happens to me from time to time. i take off my glasses before i sleep, i go away, for example to brush my teeth, then i would come back. and i would try and take off my glasses only to realise that they are not there. it feels just like they are there but they are not. i put my hand up expecting to grab my glasses time and time again. so the only way to get to sleep is to put the glasses back on again and then take them off again. because otherwise i would think the glasses are still there. i think your explanation on phantom limbs explained it a lot.

    goddamn i am ranting now

  5. Good lecture in opening my eyes to the idea that simply adding weight to contacts so you have to flick on the iPhone can be fun. Yes it seems that physics these days is being incorporated into more and more games and could I maybe suggest that it is because it perhaps adds randomness which we talked about before...
    In the iphone when you flick because of the physics you dont know where it is going to land opposed to when you are scrolling regularly one by one. I think this randomness that the physics brings creates fun but also allows for people to experience fun when they "master" their flicks and they go YAY when they flick it and get very close to the contact they were looking for. I'm trying to think of a way to implement this into our game because I want that degree of randomness which we can't get at the moment.

    Anywho, good lecture about stuff and shizzle, keep up the good work floyd and to anyone that missed it the key point is:

    physics added to everyday simple tasks can make them fun.

    Or that's what I gleaned from the lecture.

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  7. Sorry for the late comment, but I've been having some computer issues. Finally I can start commenting.

    This lecture was by far my favorite to date, I enjoy philosophy and the philosophical element that worked its way into the lecture was something that I greatly appreciated.

    ALSO (a bit late but I'll put it here anyway) Awhile back Floyd raised a point concerning his game "Table-tennis for 3" where some players knew one another and others did not. Those who knew one another interacted to a greater extent than those who didn't. So this got me thinking, in a game (such as my teams') where there is a risk of hurting your opponent (that's not the point of the game, but it could happen) I believe players who didn't know one another would exercise a certain level of restraint in playing the game, because of the risk and fear of hurting someone who may or may not forgive them easily. As opposed to those who do know one another quite well and would therefore more readily forgive their opponent and friend.
    To quote William Blakes poem “The Poison Tree”:

    I was angry with my friend,
    I told my wroth, my wroth did end.
    I was angry with my foe,
    I told it not, my wroth did grow.

    I just thought it was an interesting take on the magic circle as its nature and the level of behavior of which it can excuse can be influenced by personal relationships.

  8. The group presentation was pretty interesting this week and they had some really great videos to illustrate their concept. The one with the piano stairs is just like what they've done to the stairs at Southern Cross Station to advertise the Melbourne Jazz Festival. It'd be interesting to see if more people have been using those stairs too. I walked up them just for the piano noises when I was there. Also I want all the bins at RMIT to make the falling sound effect like in the film :)

    The idea of manipulating our senses and perceptions through video games is a really fascinating idea to me. When I did psychology in year 12 I loved learning about the elasticity of the brain, especially the eyes. Not only does everything appear inverted/upside down for the brain to correct but the brain actually 'sees' all the blood vessels in the eye as well so it puts everything the right way round AND edits out the blood vessels. No wonder sometimes your eyes trick you.

    Video games could be an important step in expanding brain function and helping people with disabilities as Floyd mentioned; yet, like games that encourage exercise, the big thing will be to make them fun. Some people might find messing with their eyesight fun but for most it would be inconvenient to spend even a day seeing things upside down. Someone is also bound to bring up issues of morality once you start doing experiment-esque things to the human brain even through games.

    Incorporating physics into games and technology is a good way to start learning more about the body but yo really start to learn about ourselves and our bodies through video games we need to push the boundaries a lot more.

    Just one last thing- We talked a bit about flow in games. I really love the flow in the game Mirrors Edge. It's frustrating when you get it wrong but it feels so great when it works!

  9. good lecture and good presentation

    the presentation about theory of fun was really good and now i just realised how the simple thing could affect how people live .like piano stairs ,it has made people using stairs more that elevator(actually this thing can be found in southern cross station).

    from floyd demonstration i also learnt that body interaction with computer could be that fun ,

    i dont have iphone but i have been tried scrolling up and down on my friend's iphone contact the 1st time i really loved doing that with no reason , and now i know why its fun ..

    combining body interaction with computer are making people feels "un-normal" i mean they will feel like something different with their daily live. i think that is the main reason why this is FUN..

  10. This was definately my favourite lecture as well. The philosophical element really grabbed my attention and I found everyone's different views interesting...

    I had always liked my iPhone's scrolling and flicking interface, but I had never really seen it as having weight and gravity. I appreciate it that little bit more now...

    When I do get bored on my iPhone I do fiddle and try to trick the menu flicking to get stuck in the middle, which in itself amuses me for a short while. I never noticed that it could be a game in itself.

  11. We got real philosophical this time around, I found it a nice touch.

    It was good to talk about physics in games as it's how the world works. Physics in games are like foley in film, it's tedious task to do and no one notices it after you've done it, but leave it out and EVERYONE knows it's not there.

    On the other hand however I'm not sure Apple seriously looked at the Contacts app on the iPhone and asked themselves "How can we apply physics to this to make it fun?" If they did however, I must question the sort of people they have on their development team...

  12. For those who missed the lecture Floyd raised an interesting point about how designers have brought back elements of physics, such as weight, to make games or everyday devices more enjoyable to use. Using the contact list on his iPhone as an example Floyd demonstrated why good physics are such an important part of the success of an application or game. Basically your average programmer would be happy with a conventional contact list where the user has to scroll with buttons because it eliminates the need to carry around a contact book or “additional weight”. However nowadays designers are looking at new ways to re-apply this additional weight in order to make the applications feel more “natural”. By applying physics that we encounter in the real world to digital applications designers are able to create systems that are much more familiar and in tune with our natural instincts.

    As always the presentations raised a number of interesting ideas. I particularly liked the talk about what makes a game fun as someone asked the question… “Can you force someone to have fun?” Personally I feel that there must be something that the player is amused by or interested in for the game to be fun. I know people who I hate playing sports but love playing sport video games, being able to play at a professional level without the physical exertion or training is something they find satisfying. Ultimately the amount of fun created by the game all depends on the individual. This is of course the reason why most successful video games or video game consoles are aimed at a broad audience.

  13. These lectures are amazing i always find myself mind blown coming out of them. I see games in a completely different light and now find myself consciously analyzing them while i play :P

    I loved the making menial tasks fun to make them more enjoyable really makes you think about you could implement it yourself.

    great lectures and eye opening fun

  14. I want to discuss a little bit about 'hardcore' versus 'casual' games where last week, we were asked what type of gamer we thought we all were. I agree with several others who thought it was silly to classify yourself one either 'hardcore' or 'casual'; there are so many reasons why people play games, what one person is looking for in a game may be completely different to what someone else is looking for, you just cannot simply class as being one or the other, there is so much more to it than that.

    Some people play competitively, others play just to have fun, others play for the social aspect, games are now so diverse and cater for such a range of audiences that there is much more to it than simply saying 'oh, you like to play competitively, therefore you are a hardcore gamer' when that same person may also play games for simple fun; are they suddenly a 'hardcore' and a 'casual' gamer? No, they are just someone who enjoys playing different types of games.

    Oh, and in case my account isn't linked to this site, I have a blog at:

    Jayden G.

  15. I've got to say that i loved the concept of flow and how it really summed up many of the sensations of playing games, sports and fun. That really got me thinking about how games progress and what makes some games great.

    I must also second what Tim Jeffs said about toying with gravity in games, in my experience there's nothing like breaking up an intense social sesh of halo3 than lowering gavity, boosting speed and going to town with gravity hammers. Its just simple random, unpredictable fast paced fun that always has us in stitches from something unexpected occuring and the usual competitiveness takes a back seat which is defs a relief for those who are more casual.

    Also on the note of gravity and unexpected things in games being fun, having a glitched scorpion tank pinging around the roof of a map for 10mins is always good for a giggle and i dont think ive heard anyone complain about it ever :)

  16. When there was talk about the added tangibility to things like the iPhone menu and so forth in this lecture, there was one point when Floyd was saying that it seems a bit strange in its initial concept. That adding tangibility to something that exists because it got rid of the need for that tangibility, seems like a step backwards. Though I think it might be better described as a step in a different direction (while remaining the same idea).
    When I think of an apple supporter, I think of someone I know, who when I asked why they love apple products they answered "It's Apple!" It seemed strange because I'm pretty sure I didn't ask what it was.
    But I think this lecture helped me find an explanation. Ideas like adding a bit of tangibility brings about this nearly sentimental appreciation for things like the iPhone. Although 'ordinary' phones are interactive in a way and they go to the menu we press on, just going to that menu feels more like a result than a reaction. When you interact with an iPhone instead, it feels like it has actual reactions. For example if you turn it sideways, it's almost like it says "Oh hey, I see you're over there now :P ," and then turns to face you again. The same goes for the scrolling technique. You interact with your contact list like you flick through pages in a diary, instead of just pressing a pad buttons more like a calculator. While I'm sure buttons are much more technically efficient, the iPhone reacts in ways that suggest it would actually purr if you patted it. So it's easy to understand why people can feel more attached to what is essentially still 'just a phone'.

    ALL that said though, I remain attached to my crap phone because of the massive crack through the middle of my screen... figure a marketing strategy for that one, lol.

  17. I often eat curry without spoon, and use my fingers instead.
    This way, I can get the curry eating experience not only from my tongue but from my finger skins as well. And it somehow tastes better.
    Also, although I can't remember all the curries I ate, I can remember the ones I ate using my fingers.
    It seems that the memory is recorded more strongly when more senses are involved.

    Maybe giving a weight to a contact list is effective because it then adds a thumb movement experience to the original eyesight experience, and makes it easier to remember where the names are.
    So even when the eyes forget where the names were, the thumb might remember.

  18. Excellent lecture as always.

    I just wanted to post something that's been nagging at the back of my mind that I didn't say in class in regards to a child not recognizing pain (or a hot pan) and thus leaving their hand there longer (Or something like that).

    Pain reflex is one of those things that we as living creatures are all familiar with, even at birth; it's something that's been passed on through the generations. It's a self-preservation mechanism, as when something hurts, it's usually recognized as something harmful, maybe even deadly. Take the hot pan example. You can get a completely unknowing person to accidentally place their hand on a hot pan and they'll recoil, removing their appendage from the heated surface; it's all a muscle reflex.

  19. Agree with the others - this was my favourite lecture so far.

    Agree with both Tims about having fun with gravity. There's nothing like removing gravity and making everyone float up into the air and then killing them all simultaneously by dropping them to release gaming stress. (Sadistic but it works :/)

    That said, I think in games like CS, physics is especially important. The trajectory of bullets, weight and recoil of the guns, and the damage received when a player falls from a high place makes the game that little bit more realistic and enjoyable.

  20. Nice lecture..very interesting..
    many simple things can makes things more fun.. :D
    from my experience..
    i rly like pokewalker that we can get from the new pokemon game.. it makes walk more fun..
    just because it make me think i walk with my pokemon, and i can see how many steps i walk today..

  21. I enjoyed the lecture especially about the whole gravity to add fun. Also the adding weight to the contacts on iPhone, that really got me thinking! We created phones to remove the weight, yet iPhone brought it back and made it fun. I really like the way Apple think and I will be using examples such as this for an eye opener in developing our games.


  22. This lecture highly amused me and really put to point where the novelty in iTouch/Phones came when I first got to play with one.

    Games and objects that react to YOU, the energy and enthusiasm you put in, as compared to the angle we hold a sensor at, really inspires a higher level of interactivity with what we're playing with. I guess it makes the virtual space part of our 'real world' because it follows the same laws of physics and therefore we use it in the same context.
    To turn the screen on your itouch, you actually have to TURN the itouch.

    What makes this fun, though? I think this kind of idea implemented into a game with that 'fantasy' element gives us a stronger connection and involvement into a world more interesting than our own, or a game more accessible and exciting than sports which requires the same types of skills.

    -Amy Jeges

  23. Since the lecture, and having thought about the contacts having weight and acting with gravity, bringing technology back to a more natural state, everywhere I've been thinking about how and where things could be a little less refined and a little more natural.

  24. Yes this is my first post! If any one was really interested in the psychological stuff that we talked about at the end of this lecture you should check out a book called " the brain that changes it's self" it really fascinating and talks about much of the concepts that floyd talked about... Is it all right to comment on previouse lectures to catch up because I havnt really commented at this stage?

  25. So, the body can work with the computer?is there any example?

  26. Imagine if we really could mess with gravity for the sake of a game! Like astronauts (is that how you spell it?) in space! Or maybe making it people feel heavier and closer to the earth and making them play a game of basketball! Or the opposite, and watch them float around while trying to bounce a ball! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!