The main idea of this project is to strengthen community bonds using a physical and web based game. Influenced by emotional design readings I found it interesting to involve people in a common and shared game, with no limit for expanding and exploring affective relationships among participants. People generally make effort when they feel shared responsibility and act together within the community when something depends on them. The concept of this game is it to take care of an object that depends on “its family” and vice versa. The difference between this project and existing similar projects, like tamagochi or webikinz, is that this one combines the physical and the virtual world to explore feelings and role sharing among people that use this object. The project intent is to develop affective, strategy and community competences across all ages.
The objects that compose this game are called “dudies”. They have a sphere, a spring and a small box on the bottom and each part of their composition has a specific function. Participants use their own dudie, and all dudies live and act as a family. Each dudie uses a wireless connection to a computer, which is connected to a web server where all dudies share their emotions. As they live as a family, dudies depend on each other, which means that each player should play alone as part of a group and keep them alive. If a dudie dies, the whole family dies. These objects have some common characteristics such as: age; level of anger; level of happiness; self-intelligence; life. The objective of this game is that each participant has to contribute with real life actions to keep them happy and alive.
So the questions at this point are, how do humans interact with these objects and get responses? How do they understand dudies needs and operate to keep them alive?
There are some physical actions humans can operate on dudie, and that actions have real time consequences on all dudie’s lives. The actions that users can perform are:
– Users should show affectivity for dudies, touching them in a very specific way.
– Dudies will feel happy if they know that their owners spend time close to them.
– Dudies, as kids and animals love to play, so owners show dedicate some time playing with them, in a reasonable manner.
– Users can also put their dudies together to save the family, if they are in risk of death. This action will increase the level of happiness to the maximum.
– Dudies have the capability to calculate the time users spend with them.
Dudies will display the following outputs:
– Dudies will increase or decrease temperature depending on their happiness level.
– When they Dudies feel lonely they warn their owners using vibration.
– Taping the sphere make it shakes, which means that players should manage to do that, but carefully because too much taps will result in anger or fury. Anger and fury are represented using lights and/or sounds.
As we can see, these objects are able to recognize the inputs coming from the environment and transform them intelligently to display adequate outputs. These outputs are shared, which means that dudies have a shared “machine brain”.
The web server is where this “machine brain” transforms and compiles information coming from all dudies. Although they depend on the Internet to communicate feelings, each one have the capability to live isolated for a while. This means that each duddie is able to survive lonely storing and working on the last global state, and once connected it will update the global mood and “get back to the family again”.
Since there is no limit bringing dudies to the game, the system is able to self-adapt and recalculate ratio regardless the number of players. This means that there is a global emotional mood that is calculated and updated based on all dudies state. The funniest thing in this game is that you never know who is playing good or playing bad, the only thing you know is that you must do things right to keep the family alive. This may be frustrating if someone is playing good, but the objective is to build develop community bonds.
Learn how to use accelerometers, heating resistors, and vibration motors. Also I’ll have to learn how to use new libraries in processing and develop some programming techniques, specially using file system and/or databases.