Initially explored participatory design methods. Though eventually realised they were not suitable to this application which needed a technological probe to observe user reactions. Hence, technological and cultural probes were explored, attempting it with one of the first groups of participants (though, as the application did not physically exist yet, it was motioned conceptually). As this first session evolved into an interview, interviews were taken with three other groups (one group of one and two pairs).
Findings included the need to facilitate the casual, and temporal nature of games whilst prolonging it’s life via aesthetics and rewards. There did not appear to be much of a need to facilitate social communication or change, except for the mutual unification of players via shared activities (or shared space, a “common reference”). Awareness of others was an important aspect, of friends and strangers, their immediate status’, activities, and offline presence (interactive ghosts and avatars were suggestions).
To contextualise these findings, further exploration was required. The paper “Asynchronous gameplay in pervasive multiplayer mobile games” and video on the “State of Social in Social Games” by Aki Jarvinen presented intriguing similarities that reinforced the interview findings in the context of mobile, social, and casual games.
Interestingly, the paper also stated that players were more interested in creating ‘encounters’, or environments of social play, rather than playing. The video encompassed several points on social play quite succinctly. It presented the need (in the context of this application) to minimize social cognitive load via simplified social communication channels, delicately balancing social presence (which conveys ‘immediacy’), facilitate the single-player experience, creating parasocial experiences (aesthetically attachable characters), and the need for shared social spaces.
Full App Concept (Future Work+)
Stage 1 – Choose a Game
- – Filtering of Results Contextually (e.g. location, time, ~activity) and Socially (Past Personal Plays, Friend’s Plays)
- – Results able to be ordered by ‘ranking by location’, ‘ranking by creator’, ‘already played’, ‘Friend’s creations/plays’
- – [ Should not think about scaling with this type of project ]
Stage 2 – Play Game (mechanics)
- – Ghosting, interesting to explore Conceptually (not technically) in terms of social implications
- – Possibilities: Path Tracking, Accelerometer/Gyroscope, Top-Down, Racing
Stage 3 – Results of Game
- – High Score (Conceptual ‘Observation’ of other’s Plays Possible)
- – Replay, Next Stage, ‘Edit’
- – ‘Edit’ would have security concerns, and evolve into more of game forking/versioning
- – Ranking
Stage 4 – Edit Game
- – Easy to test out [link gamasutra level design] – (e.g. flip phone to test)
- – Restrictions on items, (e.g. game collectables) – (Conceptually explore the sharing of such items via level creation – LBP)
- – Possibilites: ,Drag & Drop, Draw,
- – Drag & Drop Object
- – Move Object
- – Delete Object
- – Objects: Start/End Position, Basic Obstruction
- – Level Screen
- – Win Screen