Future Generations: Rule Book and Resources

“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” — Abraham Lincoln

Future Generations is a role playing game in which the players collaboratively build a near future world, discover the role of learning within it, and play out a community meeting, in the style of a PTA meeting, where the needs, concerns and dreams of the community are discussed.

Link to Rule Book

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Oscuri – Final Deliverable

With Oscuri I tried to investigate the internet as a design medium (or place). With trying to create a far-fetched secret society I explored what is necessary to get a story living on the internet. The conclusion is that it is quite a bit harder than it looks, but definitely not impossible.

Oscuri is a secret society that is within the Illuminati. Oscuri has empirical evidence for the existence of God and is with this also able to predict the future to a reasonable extent. Think about stock fluctuations and natural disasters. I created a Wikipedia page for this society, or at least tried to, and created a forum post on a conspiracy forum about Oscuri in hope to get some kind of response.

Forum: http://www.therealconspiracyforum.com/index.php?/topic/1283-oscuri/
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft:Oscuri

Unfortunately I underestimated the time I needed to create evidence (and I underestimated the amount of evidence I needed). The resulted in a completely unbelievable conspiracy theory and a 24 hour ban from being allowed to post on Wikipedia. Next to this I have gotten no response from anyone on the forum.

I think the main problem in this case was the lack of evidence. I should have posted more things under different names on different kind of sites and all link them to each other. Creating this spider web of enough people saying that they have seen them and similar things, without extremely good evidence. Next to this a photoshop of a “book I found” for instance could have helped.

On the final exhibition I presented my conclusions on a poster next to the draft Wikipedia page. The poster I presented is here:

Final

 

 

 

Workshop 2 and 3

From the first workshop, we had a list of feelings and actions that our participants associated with moments of empowerment when it comes to learning. We also asked them to think of a story where they felt empowered and to describe an action that was associated with the story.

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The participants were then asked to design a learning environment for different age groups that they imaged would exist 35 years from now.

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Workshop 2
After the initial workshop, we used some of the ideas that came out around empowerment to hold a second workshop where we asked our participants to design a short segment of game play. The idea of this workshop was to experiment with the use of the composition box for game design and to have rapid prototyping of games. Besides seeing what elements were common across the games and how they used the elements from the first workshop, a goal was to see where their needed to be more structure and where there needed to be more freedom for the participants to be able to successfully prototype games.

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One thing that we found about the process what that there needed to be more set-up around the premise. Often the participants were worried about what was going to happen next and thinking about the end product. More structure around cementing each step of the process would be very beneficial.

From the second workshop, we found that our participants were very focused on having dialogue between the different players and having a discussion. Along with this, they often had the different players having goals they were trying to achieve individually in the game.

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Based upon the first two workshops, we decided to develop a role playing game. The game was centered around the idea of getting different stakeholders in learning (e.g. teachers, administrators, parents, community members) together to discuss important issues for education in a fictional future. By having the players role play and take on the different roles, they would not be as tied to their personal beliefs and would be more open to listening to other player’s concerns and values. We will have another post with a more detailed description of the game.

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Workshop 3
Our last workshop was to play test the game. Because the game was in a first phase, we helped to GM the game so that if any major issues were encountered we could help to work through them and keep the game moving. We found the game to be very fun and enjoyable. We found some things to be necessary to add to the game play, such as a meet and greet at the beginning for the characters to get to know one another, which we have added. Other things went very smoothly. The players for the most part easily jumped into their character and were comfortable adding and developing the future world as the game played out.

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NOT.SO.REAL

Core Concept

Not.So.Real is a project that investigates the way we perceive both boundaries and connections between the digital and real world; between our digital and real identity. These two realities interact with each other through the sensors we wear and the devices we own. Imagine a world in which the sensors we put on our body no longer augmented our experience with the surroundings. Imagine instead, that they gave a body to a digital identity. Following this dystopian scenario, I designed a set of five sensors, related to the five basic human senses. The sensors are to be worn by one person, so that their digital identity counterpart can hear, see, taste, smell and touch. Humans are no longer central to their own experiences, but props and facilitators towards something else. These sensors, though, have to scream that they are different from any other wearable technology that is emerging these days. I therefore decided to make them pixelated. They are standardized rather than custom, they are recognizable rather than hidden.

Instead of showing the objects themselves, I will exhibit a set of 5 pictures.

to-hear to-see to-smell to-taste to-touch

Related Work

Books:

Madeline Schwartzman, See Yourself Sensing

Movies:

La Jetée

Her

Black Mirror

Ex-machina

Design Process

My design process has been quite restless and has involved several iterations, which led me to change my mind from seeing digital and real as antithetic to more and more intertwined. During the first half, I focused on the concept of identity and the perception of self. During the second part, instead, I focused on how experience happens through our sensorial apparatus. In specific, I pinpointed four stages.

Scenario 1: What if we used the digital world, the way we do experience online in order to learn something new about ourselves? My focus was on the way we perceive differences in behaviors and ethical values. It resulted in the first idea “Digital Picture of Dorian Gray”.

Scenario 2: What if we could chose in between the digital and the real world? My interest was in understanding whether switching in between the two realities was an option to speculate on, especially I was thinking of using the digital world to eternalize real identities.

Scenario 3: What if the way we experience in the digital world has become so compelling that it becomes our preferred way of living? Feelings can now be coded and sent directly to the brain area which processes them, making so that digital experiences can finally trigger us in a physical way. It resulted in the idea “Documentary of the Life of Brian”

Scenario 4: What if digital identities become interested in particular physical experiences? This led me to the final concept definition.

In the end, I made the, must say, rather arbitrary decision of showing pictures instead of the artifact. I never took pictures before, and I thought I could take advantage of the expertise around me here at CMU to just do it. Arbitrary decisions should not be allowed in a proper design process, apologies for that.

Reflection

I should have focused on a more specific topic, as the amount of time available proved not to be enough for the massive topic of identity perception first and experience through senses later. I stumbled a lot during this project, I especially got lost within the huge amount of freedom that I was given in finding a proper context for my concept. What I got proven, again, is that building off existing knowledge and the work of others is less disappointing then when you think you made something new but it turns out not to be.

Spekkl: Food Safety, Revealed.

Core Concept

Our project addresses the themes of trust, information credibility and the relationship between fads and crises. We are using food safety and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as target issues because the information surrounding them is notoriously hyperbolic and their proponents are stereotypically ill-informed or easily persuaded.

We are creating a pseudo-scientific food safety product, Spekkl, that targets overtly health-conscious parents—mommies and daddies actively anti-GMO blogging and shopping. The caregiving and protective nature of these parents makes them an especially susceptible audience within the realm of food safety.

Related Work

Works of satire and designed hoaxes were influential to the way we approached our project.

Carrot Dan Angelucci

Audio Tooth Implant Auger

Bhopal Disaster The Yes Men

Food Babe

The Onion

Design Process

Finding a topic: Our team was interested in food because it is a necessity to life, and therefore can ignite highly controversial futures. We began to look at large, evil food manufacturers like Monsanto and the anti-GMO movement as starting points for areas of conflict.

Deciding an angle: We chose to, rather than pick a side of the GMO issue, use the topic as a method of critiquing the naivety of those that buy/write/discuss in reaction to it. We decided on a near-future scenario that would bring the issues of credibility and trust to a more believable, and possibly shocking, reality.

Creating a product and brand: We used our strengths as industrial and communication designers to build believable prototypes, renders and online content for the fake product. We believed these elements to be essential to creating a convincing project. The product’s form was inspired by products that are similarly trusted by our audience: baby thermometers and infrared meat thermometers. The brand materials such as logo, color and pattern were created to be friendly and relate to our key audience of parents.

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Developing brand language and communications: Online content and our audience-reaching methods of website and marketing e-mails relied on fine-tuned language that delivered approachable authority. Again, realness was key. Our email marketing was sent to the food safety and wellness blogosphere, complete with a thank you coupon and link to the official product press release on the product website.

Response: An important part of the project is witnessing and recording how participants react to the fake product. We will send the email to our blogger list in the coming days and wait to see what their response is. We will be keeping track of pre-orders on the Spekkl website to understand the number of people who seem to believe and want to own the product.

Reflection

Throughout the project we have more clearly come to understand that it’s too easy to make fake things. We haven’t confirmed that people will believe our product, but the process to make a pretty convincing, bogus product was fast and simple. We used free or cheap online services to build a functioning website and marketing email. This makes us question the responsibility held by designers and the power we put in their hands. Do we feel evil? Not really, but we’re a little scared by potential susceptibility of our audience.