Over the weekend I went to the Southbank Centre in London to see We Are All Human, an exhibition of art from offenders, secure patients and detainees. I was looking for some inspiration before I began to come up with my own game ideas. I wanted to see how outsiders expressed themselves and in what mediums they chose to do it. It was a fascinating journey through so many different types of artistic expression: There were portraits, sculptures, poems, short stories, music, woodwork, ceramics, crochet – pretty much everything. There was even a six-foot long dinosaur thing made from paper mache. The work on display was hopeful and uplifting, but slightly tinged with sadness. I felt like the artists were putting so much of themselves into their work. There was no sence of facade, the art was just who they were.
The exhibition was very eclectic with so many different types of art, but one portrait really stood out to me. It was a gigantic painting of a woman’s face which filled an entire wall and was absolutely beautiful. The piece was called Rosa. Luckily, the exhibition allowed you to write a message to the artists. It was a really nice way to show appreciation to the artists and something which made me feel connected to them in some small way.
My trip to London was quite short, however on my travels I kept a look out for defensive architecture in the capital. I must have looked like a really weird tourist taking pictures of benches, but I managed to find some good examples. I’m sure if I was there longer I would have found even more:
When you’ve been made aware of it, you can can’t help but see it everywhere. I couldn’t walk three minutes without noticing another example.
Overall, my brief trip to London was really invigorating. After five weeks of research, I’m feeling eager to start creating again. I’m really looking forward to coming up with interesting ideas over the next phase of this project.
What’s In A Name?
On my way back from London, I was thinking about what my project could be called. My initial name was ‘Change’, but this was always meant to be temporary. I thought of naming my project ‘Keep Clear’ after seeing it painted on the road outside a car park near to where I live:
I quite like the name, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. It’s one which evokes multiple meanings, but I think it doesn’t convey much by itself, except maybe something negative. Ideally, it would be understood as keeping homelessness clear in your mind, or about how defensive architecture keeps homeless people clear of certain areas, it could even be interpreted as keeping clear of drugs. However, the phrase by itself is quite negative and people might just assume that my project is about keeping your distance from homeless people. I feel like I need to work on it a bit more and maybe get some feedback on what the name means to people.
To help me think of some better names, I’m going to do a brainstorm to see if I can come up with something more interesting:
This was a really fruitful brainstorm and I think I found some really good names. I came up with quite a few, but I think there are three which rise above the rest:
- Out Of Site
This name attempts to evoke both how homelessness is being hidden away and the idea of someone being removed from a place.
- Cover Up
I think this name evokes the idea of homelessness being covered up and also the idea of staying warm.
- Sleep Clear
I like this name because it has quite a lot of meanings and there’s also an opportunity to play around with the logo design by using a ‘Keep clear’ style sign.
Out Of Site and Sleep Clear are my favourites, but I’m leaning more towards Sleep Clear. To help me make up my mind, I’m going to make a few logo mockups. I want to see if the ‘Keep clear’ sign idea works:
I really like my last iteration:I’ve manipulated the exclamation mark with a simple rotation and slight shape alteration so it looks like someone sleeping. I’ve also used the correct blue colour and font from road signs in the UK.
I’ll think more about the name when I have a better understanding of my project overall. It might change completely and the name wouldn’t make sense anymore, so I’ll wait for now.
What’s In A Game?
I already have a rough idea for the first prototype in mind. It came to me quite spontaneously at the tail end of my research. We are taught that our first ideas are usually not to be pursued, however, I’ve decided to take the advice of How to Have Great Ideas: A Guide to Creative Thinking:
Value First Ideas
“There is a great temptation to reject all first ideas, feeling they have arrived too soon, but every so often the first idea is the perfect idea.”
Before I start to prototype my idea I want to perform a brainstorm so I can get a sense of the scope of the game:
I’ve decided to call the game Faded. This idea was the first I came up with in my project overview. It’s a game where the player becomes progressively more invisible unless they can get help from a crowd of people. The game aims to highlight how homeless people can feel invisible because they are ignored by society.
My brainstorm surfaced quite a few design challenges which I will need to solve if the message of the game is to come across to the player.
- Only a few people from the crowd should help the player, but how many? I could find out from research, but will this percentage be good for gameplay?
- The crowd should begin the game by ignoring the player when they notice them. Only a few from the crowd will be willing to help, so how do I identify these people? Maybe I can signal to the player which people from the crowd are likely to ignore them, they could have some tell. Like turning their heads or looking at their phones. Those in the crowd who do neither are the ones willing to help.
- Asking for help needs to have a downside so that the player doesn’t just spam the button. Maybe a cooldown? Or maybe asking for help from someone who doesn’t respond decreases invisibility even more. I could signal this by zooming in on the player and showing their visibility slowly decreasing. Or I could have a picture-in-picture doom style HUD to show this.
- The game needs to be progressively more difficult so the player loses. While also allowing the player to think that they might be able to win. I need to finely balance this.
- I need to keep the game really simple, I can’t add too many mechanics otherwise the message might be lost.