May 4, 2006

Lecture 8: Persistent inter-reactions and functionalities

Filed under: KIB210 — *Emi @ 12:56 am

This week's topic: what IS the difference between a user and a participant in a work?

"How well (and reliably) the interactive controls and media perform on the target platform"
[Lisa Graham, The Principles of Interactive Design, 1999]


How well the interactive performs?

embedded in this notion of functionality is the idea that the design DOES SOMETHING

what kind of something is the question your prototype should be answering ….

this is the first part of the NEEDS ANALYSIS [what does it do?] and who for?

users: users are probably looking to achieve a TASK

viewers – readers: this is a group who are probably looking for entertainment and or experience

participants: this group is looking to become ENGAGED – possibly PLAYFUL

performers: also called prodUSERS. this group looking for a generative experience .. but possibly trapped in the machine [?]


UsersThe task that is set for the user to look and achieve is to be educated on the dance steps through visal aids. Viewers – readersViewers that watches users interact with the prototype seeks to be entertained by watching and not interacting. The experience they gain is the excitement for the user's ability to achieve tasks and accomplish each level of difficulty.Participants

Participants in the pototype seeks to be engaged and act playful during the course of interaction.


Experienced users or prototype demonstrators will work and test the prototype to generate alternative experience. They are the creative users that provide generative[有生產力的] experiences.

"the rush to stuff content into interactive media has drawn our attention away from the profound and subtle ways that the interface itself, by defining how we perceived and navigate content, shapes our experience". [Rokeby 1998]

this is DESIGN essence

shoe goes on – shoe goes off

the humble shoe horn .. made for users with a simple task to enact [上演;扮演(角色)]



user protypes and needs

users typically exploit interactive interfaces to enact TASKS

user is resonant with the early 40s conceptualisation of the human in need of assist [homer shows us how much!]

prototype design for users – the OBJECT – ACTION schematic

objects – what you use

actions – what you do to the objects

  • ObjectAction design starts with deconstructing the nature of the task
  • task includes the universe [!] of task appropriate real world objects and actions
  • objects get ‘decomposed’ into units
  • actions get ‘decomposed’ into steps

from ben shneiderman [designing the user interface]

prototype design for users – the OBJECT – ACTION schematicobjects – Flash Game SWF file actions – what you do to the objects

  • press the keyboard arrows to cancell out the corresponding arrows on the screen
    • by doing so, the user will be able to avoid crashing into their dance partner (as though it is happening in reality).
    • if not, the user will lose one life (out of three)
  • the arrows displayed on the screen educates the user the order of the steps, tempo and a visual representation of how it should be done.

here, the goal is that holy grail of HCI: the invisible computer [donald norman 1999] : commercial interface design aims at making the presence of the computer less and less obvious to the user

prototyping the functionality – mechanics

using PSEUDO CODE and a pseudo code standard

IF keydown THEN
open [colour]
play [sound]

the NEEDs analysis is the TASK – playing a piano


a sweet little USER prototype – play the rainbow

big 1988

and homer simpson shows us how to play


prototyping for viewers and readers

VIEWERS: are people who seek entertainment. They want to be surprised, seduced, led along a path. their goal is the journey, not the end result. [99rooms]

READERS: those who seek the same kind of interaction they get from a novel or a film – narrative experience [pictures at an exhibition ELO and wikipedia entry on mussorgsky]


Experience Design is an approach to creating successful experiences for people in any medium. This approach includes consideration and design in all 3 spatial dimensions, over time, all 5 common senses, and interactivity, as well as customer value, personal meaning, and emotional context. [nathan shedroff]

experience design – prototyping

focus decision:

  • mechanics
  • emotion

here simple robust mechanics need to be EMOTIONEERED [see freeman on emotioneering in games]

"Emotioneering™ refers to a vast body of techniques which can create, for a player or participant, a breadth and depth of emotions in a game or other interactive experience, and which can immerse a game player or interactive participant in a world or a role." [David Freeman]

xperience design – prototypingfocus decision

  • mechanics
  • emotion


Techniques to make the player want to keep on going and make it through the game.


Principals about adding a sense of realism to the NPCs emotional actions and reactions.


Techniques to make games appeal to both kids (or young teens) and adults.


What constitutes a "story?" Each element opens up possibilities for emotion.

SELF-CREATED STORY TECHNIQUES (a.k.a. Agency Techniques)

A game, to a greater or lesser degree, helps guide the player's choices and determines the possible consequences of his or her actions. However, it's important to make the player feel like he or she is impacting, if not shaping the story. This is sometimes called "giving the player a sense of agency," or simply "giving the player agency."

This chapter focuses on ways to accomplish this — i.e. to help the player feel that he is she is playing the game, rather than simply being taken along on a ride.


In some games, the story and the game-play seem to be unrelated. Even if the story is great and people enjoy the gameplay, the ideal is to link the two. This chapter addresses this issue.


For games which utilize an opening pre-rendered cinematic or game-engine cinematic, this chapter shows ways of using that cinematic to suck the player into the game.

BONUS CHAPTER (Chapter 5.3 in the book)

Trying to understand all the different ways a game can be fun, and then using these elements to create imaginative new games.

audio environments: try iserenty

needs analysis

if you are designing for viewers and readers, you need to consider AUDIENCE RESPONSE

  • music – environment
  • symbology
  • lighting

listen to the producer of dr. who describing his visualisation and choice of language for the new series


  • music – environment is upbeat, motivating and fun.
  • symbology – part of popular culture, recreational activity.
  • lighting – spotlight, shining upon the user as though they are the hero of the stage.
  • WORDS – STORY of The Red Shoes
  • EMOTION – motivation, realistic, cross-demographic, fun and excitement.

narrative experience

winston yang's space to place is an audio experience environment

getting physical?

the trust exercise blindfold your colleague and lead them around the placedaredevil teaser 2003 [mov]

janet murray [hamlet on the holodeck 1997] describes the viewer-reader as a VISITOR – she likens the experience as akin to the theme park – where the visitor is taken through the experience

stark ravin mad [wmv]

functionality – mechanics

IF X [click – move]

can you see a developing ISSUE here?WHAT are the MECHANICS of EMOTION?

notice how the MECHANICS are actually IF – THEN – point and click essentially:
what happens when the visitor becomes a PLAYER – moving beyond point and click?


prototyping and needs analysis for particpantsin interaction design, a PARTICIPANT is an essential element of the interface – it does nothing without their action

they must PLAY

laurel makes a distinction between the notion of designing “for needs” and designing “for delight”

murray: "the active creation of belief" [in contrast to coleridge's 'willing suspension of disbelief']

salen and zimmerman : “To play a game means entering into a magic circle, or perhaps creating one as a game begins.”

needs analysis:

for delight, engagement, challenge …. making the transparent obvious

see also james gee: problem solving in games is good for your mind! and will wright on games as dream machines

a participant needs analysis should focus on the OBJECTIVE – the PLEASURE becomes the client

needs analysis:for delight, engagement, challenge …. making the transparent obviousOBJECTIVE (participant) – complete the game, achieve highest score in the ranking list PLEASURE (client) – being able to watch participants interact with the prototype. Enjoy the visual experience of someone else's dance style.

and prototyping becomes ESSENTIAL

gamasutra: pre-production through prototyping

essentially, a prototype should DEMONSTRATE the mechanics of the work – find out IF they sustain delight …

gamasutra: how to prototype a game in seven days

a participant environment prototype should EMBRACE FAILURE – basically, you really want to know NOW if this isn't going to work!

“Mime After Mime” and “A Mime to Kill” were two games I made that attempted gameplay using only positional audio cues with no visuals. Although they were utter failures, the whole team was thrilled to take such a bold risk to prove the failure of audio-only gameplay, and I could point with pride to my hideous creations. As I gathered experience throughout the project, I was able to take more directed risks that lead to successful games.” [kyle grey]

some basic participant [gameplay] mechanics

  • Can the player make meaningful decisions?
  • Is the player getting the feedback they require to make good decisions?
  • Are the major risk / reward schedules in place?
  • What is the pacing of the experience?
  • Is there enough meat here to hang the rest of the game on? [lost garden]

and actions:

  • collecting
  • points
  • feedback
  • exchanges
  • customisation

how this mix is concocted produces a passive game, a casual game, a hardcore game and even a persistent world

basic participant [gameplay] mechanics

  • The player make meaningful decisions by selecting which type of dance style they wish to learn and accomplish. They can also select the level of difficulty to challenge their ability to comprehend step scripts in fast tempo.
  • The player will recieve feedback as to loosing lives if they miss the arrows. However, these feedback puts pressures on the player, which does not necessary help them make good decisions.
  • There are the major risk, but rewards are scheduled in the game. The player will be able to list their name on the game's ranking list according to the level they have accomplished and number of lives used to finish the game. In addition, they will also recieve the knowledge of dance orders and co-ordinations throughout the game play.
  • The pacing of the experience is relatively fast. It is a quick-short gameplay that enables players to achieve in a short timeframe.
  • There is enough motivation to continue the development of hi-fi prototype. The game will be educational and exciting. It creates physical strain yet challenging. It is not a mere single-player experience, viewers will also benefit from the experience they have visualized during the player's interaction.


  • collecting = recieve information on dance steps, order, timing and tempo through the gameplay.
  • points = 3 lives they recieve from the start of the mission
  • feedback = they recieve stage accomplished information in order to proceed to the next level.
  • exchanges = being able to rank themselvs on the ranking list and share with other players.
  • customisation = n/a


meaningful decisions = AGENCY

Games cultivate – and exploit – possibility space better than any other medium. In linear storytelling, we can only imagine the possibility space that surrounds the narrative: What if Luke had joined the Dark Side? What if Neo isn't the One?

In interactive media, we can explore it. Like the toys of our youth, modern videogames rely on the player's active involvement. We're invited to create and interact with elaborately simulated worlds, characters, and story lines. Games aren't just fantasy worlds to explore; they actually amplify our powers of imagination. [will wright]

the search for a definition of interactivity diverts our attention from the real issue: How can people participate as agents within representational contexts? [laurel 1993]

REactive – it is the idea of meaningful decisions that enables AGENCY and PLAY – participate in possibility space


“the satisfying power to take meaningful action and see the results of our decisions and choices.” [murray 1997]

“the power to construct a representation of reality, a writing of history, and to impose reception of it by others.” [Kramsch, A’Ness, & Lam, 2001]

agency is a feeling of CONTROL over destiny, it makes the world a better place [cory doctorow 2006]

NEEDS ANALYSIS: in particpant interaction design, the NEED is the creation of a SENSE OF CONTROL

participant design prototyping

  • mechanics – action – DYNAMICS
  • emotion
  • PLOT – mindware

REZ [mov] [wmv]


concept design [PLOT] you are a hacker travelling thru' cyberspace restoring activity [according to will wright, THIS is the most important phase]

mechanics [?]

IF playerMove to [x,y]
THEN launchBogies at player
IF bogiesStrike = 1
THEN points = [x] + 1
GOTO levelNext
ELSE IF bogiesStrike = 0
KILL player

emotion: hallucinogenic audio and lights

notice the BIG difference between participant interaction mechanics and user – viewer – reader mechanics – TIME

mechanics become DYNAMICS


mechanics, agency and play: using audio

friendchip's little sound toys are made for viewers and readers but they do embed minimal play but little agency [friendchip]

mere mechanics

casual games like ultratron engage with more agency [power and control enabled by fragging]

mechanics become dynamics

ultratron satisfies with sound [exe] [site]

and zero mechanics – audio immersion

songlines immerses with ambient audio [mov]

IMMERSION? time to get physical ….. REactive agents

most of the installations in REactive introduced [a sensation of] AGENCY via PHYSICAL PRESENCE – embodied interaction

To date, many developments of movement-based interaction styles are not noted for their attention to lived human embodiment, treating the body as a machine executing commands of a disembodied logical mind [interaction design and work practice lab]

but is embodied interaction a mere trick?

“The idea behind the work was to make a sound mechanism or device that, when placed in the powerhouse, sort of activated the space through its resonant frequencies.” [David O’Donoghue]

is embodied interaction actually a return to the ghost in the machine – users, no longer human but now aspects of PERFORMANCE?


embodied performance?

prototype functionality:

  • mechanics
  • hardware
  • wetware – DYNAMICS

prototyping out of the box:


the person wearing the system receives audio files, that are dynamically adjusted in volume to create a tridimensional audioscape depending on the direction or objects they are looking at.

transmute collective's intimate transactions

Intimate Transactions is a new type of interactive installation that allows two people located in separate spaces to interact simultaneously using only their bodies. As this highly immersive experience evolves, each participant begins to sense their place in a complex web of relations that connect them, and everything else within the work.

how do you prototype out of the box – embodied concepts?

jonas lowgren's 'how to sketch designs'


when prototyping embodied performance, the [wetware] performance is what is being exampled

wetware + technology = action
IF wetware [moves]
THEN [do reaction]

immersion and agency

embodied performance and immersion often DOES NOT enable agency …

a design might involve 'the willing suspension of disbelief' NOT 'the active creation of belief'

the PERFORMANCE itself becomes the client

digital peacock feathers

humans are happy to be rational only part of the time

embodied agency in participant designs

much more problematic

How immersion, or “the suspension of disbelief”, is and will be achieved and maintained in this new emerging media form is the central goal of the Embedded Theater research. Through the Embedded Theater system a person, wearing an unobtrusive garment that provides location based sound and video, becomes a participant in a context-specific story that evolves based on their position, movement, and choices. [cutecircuit]

embodied agency is a revolution – "the play's the thing"

dance dance revolution [2005 winner] [one step beyond].

more revolutions in participant embodied design:

sony revolutions:


nintendo revolutions:

the fabulous fully embodied potential of revolution [mov] [wmv]



and zero technology

never confuse technology with agency and play in design

AR game designs

prototyping and needs analysis

  • mechanics = rules of the game
  • dynamics – people and play
  • plot – narrative

once again, the client is PLAY, delight, constructing the magic circle

time for one last simpsons example? homer goes physical embodiment and gameplay 🙂 [wmv]

something missing here?

next week: the war between ludology and narrative at the end of the world

and an introduction to play testing and evaluation methodologies

something to bear in mind:

when you construct your NEEDS ANALYSIS, you are setting your project up for evaluation [assignment 3]

KEEP all of your DOCUMENTATION carefully – this will be an aspect of assignment 4

Finding measurable characteristics for the user experience criteria is even harder, though. How do you measure satisfaction, fun, motivation or aesthetics? What is entertaining to one person may be boring to another; these kinds of criteria are subjective and so cannot be measured objectively

[Löwgren, J. (2002). How far beyond human-computer interaction is interaction design? ]






1 Comment »

  1. only studied up to:

    meaningful decisions = AGENCY

    for LEC 4

    Comment by Beefy — May 4, 2006 @ 9:02 am

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