News from Room 402 / Late September 2011

Game Design: We’ve spent the past few classes working with game mechanics – that is, the rules that determine what players do in a game. For example, “fighting” or “capturing.” Game design challenge #2, which is due on Monday, October 3, asks designers to match a mechanic with a theme so that those two are integrated. Our example in class was a frog game that involves a “jumping” mechanic, but there are so many possibilities! Up next: chance and skill.

Cartography: We’ve been working with scale and projection, with some choosing to draw Wyoming at a 1 inch = 12 miles scale and others redrawing my huge map of California (same scale) at 1 in = 24 miles. It gets tricky along the coast! We watched this episode of the West Wing as a way of getting into the conversation about how map projection influences our world view, and have been thinking lately about the definition of a country as we prepare to turn our newly paper mache-d balloons into globes.

Design: For the past few weeks, we’ve been working on interviewing and listening and asking “why” as a way of understanding client needs. The past two design challenges – one, to design something to support a partner’s weakness; and two, to observe how someone else uses/modifies their headphones, and design headphones for that client – have put that work to the test. We’ve also begun to study how Tim Gunn approaches design critique by watching clips from Project Runway. Coming up: better brainstorming!

Sixteen: We spent an amazing morning last Friday having dim sum in Chinatown as a class, and documenting that experience with flip cameras. We dedicated this week to creating a mini documentary with that footage, and will continue to work on ethnographic research with a cultural probes assignment this weekend (taking pictures of meals, bedrooms, outfits, etc) and cinematography with a new film next week!

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