Monday, March 5, 2012

Second Class on Radical Games: Design Workshop

Today we learned some strategies on how to come up with a Radical Game. Basically, sitting on your own and waiting for your creative spark is probably not going to do it! 
Try instead to:
  1. Design the game FOR someone
  2. Gain empathy with this someone
  3. Interview deep (ask "WHY?")
  4. Reframe what you found in your own words
  5. Check what others have done to address the challenge
  6. Articulate the
    1. Novelty and
    2. Contribution
  7. Get feedback from who you are designing the game for
  8. Ideate (jot down as many ideas as possible)
  9. Re-frame: ask outsiders for feedback
  10. Iterate and re-iterate through getting feedback
  11. Build and test 
Next week is a public holiday, so we meet again on the 19th, again in the Exertion Games Lab, 9.1.27.

Prepare a 90 sec elevator pitch for your team's (design team of 3) radical game idea (1 presenter): Finish with the sentence "it is novel because ... and the contribution of our game is ...". Practice it. (We will cut you off otherwise!). In the next class you will get feedback from everyone Madness-style!
Update your design team's tumblr (design team of 3)
Read the papers for next class
Prepare your group discussion task (group of 2) (check the schedule to see when you are on)
Write critical reflection on blog below

Thanks for participating in the design workshop today!


  1. I really enjoyed today's class once again. I found brainstorming with other class members quite effective and also surprising the different ideas that were produced. I think building on frustrations with games and finding a way to solve this can lead to some very innovative concepts. We all have things we enjoy about gaming but finding ways to improve the mechanics that have been missed out on has heaps of potential. In saying that moving away from conventional gaming is just as important.

  2. The most helpful part of this morning's class was running through the process of teasing out a "radical" idea. Although I found the very limited time restraints frustrating and difficult, I found that they forced me to generate ideas quickly for refinement later.
    The "Wizard of Oz" prototyping was particularly interesting because it allowed me to see the raw gameplay of my idea without the restraints of art and graphics.
    Regarding Floyd's point about the "radical scale". I don't see a radical game sitting on an incremental curve, but instead in absolutes as either radical or not. Either the game makes a significant contribution to the games community and society in general OR it doesn't. However, I do agree that subjectively you can judge a games innovativeness, but objectively, in the eyes of the community as a whole, see it as being an absolute.
    That's all, great class, and great food for thought.

    - Alex Johnson

  3. I found today’s class extremely enlightening, as from it i was able to see how by gaining empathy and making an attempt to focus on one another’s frustrations and excitements, that we were- as opposed to second guessing- able to note down the deficiencies and limitations that are currently prevalent in certain genres/games. Able to gain a better understanding of the sorts of experiences people anticipated and, from the knowledge acquired, was able to come up with a solution that not only effectively met/facilitated the needs of the individual but at the same time one that constantly proved itself as a “radical game”.
    Moreover on the topic of research and design,I always, innately, understood the importance of doing research and what not, yet it was only from today’s exercise, and from having conducted those interviews, that I began to understand - as was mentioned in the first lecture- that research isn’t merely about googling whats out there and trying to conform, but by doing the hard yard, putting oneself into one another’s shoes and trying one’s hardest to figure out whats fulfilling, whats unfulfilling and why (emphasis on the why).

  4. In all honesty I was a bit put off when I saw that worksheet places in front of us. But when it got to the point where we had to dig deep into a partner’s mind I found myself formulating questions I don’t think I would have never asked. But developing these games I found that the class as a whole was extending the boundaries of a game both in a physical work and digitally simply addressing a single problem.

  5. Before this class coming up with radical game ideas was really intimidating, and I still think it's hard to explicitly try to come up with games that aren't just novel but that contribute something to what we know about games.
    But it was a lot easier to come up with something that satisfied a narrower design brief, and then to push that to be a radical concept.
    It was interesting that a couple of groups came up with Minecraft as their example of a radical game. Sorry if I'm wrong but it sounded like it was based on Minecraft's gameplay elements, which I sort of think had all been done before, maybe just not in that combination.
    But I think Minecraft was a radical game in its development process. The way that it was sold from Alpha and then incorporated mods from the community into its Release was really interesting, a truly community-driven game. Now with Double Fine crowdsourcing the funding for 'Adventure' and asking for community input on a game made to be sold directly to the community instead of to publishers it seems like audience-driven development could really have legs.

  6. The exercise Floyd and Chad presented us this class certainly helped frame the mindset one needs to be in to design a radical game. From a practical standpoint for the class however all the information I personally pruned isn't much use for the class as all the ideas were tailored to making AAA hardcore titles 'radical' rather than something that would be possible to build for the class. It certainly has provided foundations that we can use in our group projects, and I agree the message is clear that you can't design radical games by writing random ideas that pop into your head down on the page.

  7. oh right. posting stuff. about the lessons.

    it is interesting to note that by following the steps provided, my partner was able to come up with a pretty much exact game that me and my friends had devised/planned around last year. that game took some discussion over few days while your process took few hours. just interesting to note.

    although i do see how this method helps, and it seems to be a lot more efficient, i would personally use the other time consuming discussion method though. only because i am hardheaded.
    @ Chad. I know i was meant to find that light box thingies but it is rather hard to find something that is like a decade old on the internet. especially when i saw it on a magazine, not on the internet. it is rather similar to swarmbots that we have now(you can check those out easily)

    I am not too sure what their logic behind movement is(it may or may not have been touched based mechanical movement) but the person who did it put hundreds of them in a room and made them all light up and stuff, like you were talking about. obviously this was more of an art display than an actual game of interaction with humans.
    also. because i am just a big fat jerk.
    on the definition of the whole "radical" game thing. everyone is really pushing for the whole originality thing. i do understand that this is to extend the boundaries but would really have to ask how anything is original. many of the radical games show so far, if i was to speak rather pessimistically, involves rehashing a preexisting game to contain an electronic component. the electronic component usually taking the role to simply automate the process or just enable long distance play.

    to give an example. the whole pain station. the pain is automated via computer. the game itself isnt "radical", the fact that it inflicts punishment is "radical". does that mean when someone plays drinking games, the taking of shots(or any other punishment) is radical? it really isnt. i mean. it sure is fun. but it isnt really radical. it may have been at one time but it no longer is. so. it isnt radical right now but if it is done electronically, it is radical all of sudden? and does the transfer to electronics make it original?

    please rebutt in any way you please.

    1. Hey DK, cheers for post. Perhaps this was the project you saw?

      Also, great rant on what you think radical is or isn't. This is the kind of discussions we encourage. Only through critical thinking like this can we move forward. I agree that what was once radical may not be so after a certain period of time, but consider this. Does it break new ground, does it have a contribution?

      Adding a high score system to a game may not be radical now, but what about when there was no high score system? Again, it might not be as radical now, but using MP3 files to generate a level and allowing players to "surf" it while listening to it was pretty radical. And in regards to adding a component (electronic, digital, etc.) to a pre-existing game or activity, think about whether people were able to play that game or participate in that activity the way they can now compared to beforehand.

      Scoring points existed, we add that to a game (Space Invaders) in a way that it allows for a high score system.
      MP3s existed, we add that to a game (AudioSurf) in a way that it allows for people to "play" or "surf" their music.
      Headsets and heart rate monitors existed, we add that to a game or activity (jogging) in a way that it allows two joggers who aren't co-located to jog together.

      What does everyone else think?


  8. A few words of the "design with a partner" exercise. I told my partner that my favorite parts of a game & or what I liked best about games are the moments/sequences of video games where the design & the mechanics come together at a cohesive point (sort of like a eureka moment) that it takes you out of the "immersion" of the game because the sequence you just played was so wonderfully thought over & devised that is immediately reminds you that someone/somewhere designed that & the creator/s presence/s is felt, like an actor winking at the camera.

    Needless to say....I was not easy to design for

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