Fundamentals Studio Final with Chris Fahey, Fall 2010. Created in collaboration with Kristin Breivik and Michael Yap.

Challenge

Develop an idea from concept to final prototype, using new technology and modes of interaction where appropriate.

 

Approach

We first started the project by talking about what topics we wanted to explore, given the initial sketches we had iterated. After meeting at a café for a general discussion, we realized that we had a common interest in the idea of intimacy in the digital world. Time capsules, memories, secrets… conversation points that seemed diluted by the social networking and modes of digital communication that exist today. Digital technology won’t be going away anytime soon, so we wanted to reframe the experience: How do we bring more intimacy to the digital world?

We spent majority of our time in the assessment and brainstorming going through scenarios to a granular level of detail that maybe, in retrospect, we didn’t need to some extent.

One defining commonality for our group was our inexperience with game design… so we spent a lot of time working through the logic and technical process. We eventually discovered that the logic in itself is a major hurdle. And in a way, our final product reflected this. While we had the singular scenario prototyped for our presentation, there were so many other possibilities and implications through this game that could have been expanded with additional time (the idea that others could accidentally stumble on a person’s game, introducing less structured and more whimsical factors, etc.).

We also conducted individual observations to better understand the user experience of the game. My focus was on the orange lockers in the back of the IxD studio. They’re a reminder of my days growing up watching Saved by the Bell and fully expecting my high school days to be similar, only to be disappointed. Ironically, it took going to graduate school to finally get my own bright orange locker a la Zack Morris. It was pretty insightful doing this observational research. Questions sprung up such as “Am I making a memory of a memory?”, “How do I effectively capture this? Saved by the Bell was about more than just the iconic orange lockers… the theme song, the characters”, “And then my own high school… where do I even begin to tell that story?”

Outcome

With that framework, we developed Found, a smart-phone app that encourages game creators to capture their lives and create personal game-inspired journeys for others to experience in the real world. The idea is that your future child, best friend or even “the future you” can play your game with your leading from story-to-story; location-to-location.

In short, Found aims to…
1) Enable the creation of personalized, game-like itineraries;
2) Map stories to locations;
3) Facilitate storytelling from your memories.

We human beings like to tell each other stories, and have developed many different means to accomplish this end: talking, writing, drawing, composing music, taking photos, creating videos and so on. Telling stories through games has, until now, largely been the domain of game designers and developers who’ve spent years of their career acquiring the skills necessary to do so. Found aimed to shift this paradigm by combining the familiar ways of sharing stories with the interactions afforded by game design; this approach leads to a whole new way of storytelling that will emerge and be accessible to us all.

Addendum

Now that presentations are over, and I’ve had time to reflect, I think it would’ve been interesting if our entire game/project was also about the city in a larger context. More specifically, random, found objects that are left behind in this crazy city, like the forgotten lone mitten laying in the street, or a ticket stub that has a story and person associated with it. And finally, maybe a game doesn’t have to be so obviously a game.

    Whiteboarding the game logic

    Whiteboarding the game logic

    Storyboard galore!

    Storyboard galore!

    Wireframes for how to play the game

    Wireframes for how to play the game

    The various kinds of assets that could be captured at a location

    The various kinds of assets that could be captured at a location

    Found, a game-inspired journey created from your memories

    Found, a game-inspired journey created from your memories

    Curate an experience for others to follow

    Curate an experience for others to follow

     

    Final Demo

    View our demo of Found.