In Marshall McLuhan’s book, 1964, ‘The medium is the message’ he states “A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a social effect; that is, a light bulb enables people to create spaces during nighttime that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness.”
My game design, Reflect uses projection (light) as its main mechanic instead of a physical board game. This has proved challenging as I am reversing the idea of physical to digital. Projection which has been around for centuries focuses on the idea of creating a space of reality that people can enjoy. My design teases out the idea of projection as a spacial element, in order to create a game in the space that its in and for players to interact with it. The light is the medium in which the spacial message is created. It also draws attention to the idea of forgotten projection potential. Potential which can be used across multiple mediums in order to create a new sense of space, purely through the manipulation of light. It is both digital and analog in the sense that the pieces which are being created through 3D printing and software design are being created for the sole purpose of analog gaming.
The definition of Analog eludes to the idea of a mechanism being a continuous variable. This can be applied to my design in the sense that it is a physical object that will produce the same outcome, however I have modified the lantern mechanic to change and be multifunctional in order to play multiple games with the one device or mechanic.
Much of game design today focuses on digital gaming, however by creating a tangible mechanic such as my lantern, which I will be talking about shortly, I wanted to create a social space, which coheres to both the digital and analog as a way of thinking about revolutionary game design.
The magic lantern which was developed during the 17th century was one of the main gadgets within my research in DIGC335 that stood out to me with gaming potential. I have obviously dramatically adapted the lantern by adding gaming features but as an initial starting point, this is where I gained my idea.
During the very beginning I was playing with the direction of light and material by using a lamp in order to understand the way my game would have to be designed, which was great in figuring out the direction of light in regards to what I was projecting as well as what shapes I would use and the distance I was projecting them (because this changed the outline of the shape and the direction of the projected shapes). After much trial and error, I decided to take what I had learnt when making my ‘Draft lantern’ and 3D print the pieces of the lanterns structure.
Over the last couple of days I have been using Tinkercad, a 3D modelling program which has been great in establishing what needed to change with my initial design concept in order for it to work.
Below are my mock designs for the 3D printed game mechanic that I will be creating:
Above was my initial idea, having 1 lantern which could be interacted with by each player twisting the layers in order to project the correct sequence of shapes that is shown on the play cards before the timer sounds and they have to pick up a new card.
However, to 3D print runners in-between each layer in order for them to be spun would of been a nightmare not to mention it would send the printer into overdrive.
Below is my new and improved lantern. Each layer can be separated and players can each have there own mini lantern to work on by drawing cards that show a shadow of the projected shape, players work to get the right cards that match each projected shape on their own lantern in order for one of the players to win.
This design also creates a multifunctional game, where each layer can be slotted on top of one other in order to a) either add levels to the game or b) create one giant lantern where players work as a team to beat the timer.
As seen in the below mocks, the shapes are what will be projected. Each layer will have a lid with a spike on the top so that the other layers can slot on top of one another in order to create a stack.
The second design I believe works a lot closer to this idea of spacial interaction as a way of establishing that the medium (which is the light) is the message. It also draws players attention to the importance of working with light in the space that they are playing in, in order for them to enhance the gaming experience. The light adds a massive historical respect value, which although may be overlooked, targets the ability to create a social effect through its spacial limitations.
Please see the below video, highlighting my thought process: