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Imagine a world where possibilities are limitless. You could be a soldier fighting in a war one moment, or a space alien across the universe struggling for the survival of your kind in the next. Taking on any role without consequences. Having the freedom to explore vast new worlds. How has gaming as a mass medium become an extended arm that has the potential to contribute to the way we see design and, can change modern design. How do we conjure such scenarios? Where did these ideas come from? Where along the line does culture morph these ideas and how is it being sold to us on the global market, and why in this manner.
Since long ago, people have always wondered what the future would be like; Science fiction was pretty much circulated based upon the ideas of conceptualizing how the people will look like or how they will live. Would they be inhabitants in the sky or dwellers under the sea or even move onto other planets, and even alter realities.
The mass media has always been a huge contributor to globalization, with illustrations depicting cities of the future. Be it by means through movies, TV shows, magazines and so on have all, at one time or another have had their very own coverage shown some form of science fiction and fantasy related material, and from these we have been cultivated and spoon fed what the future is predicted and illustrated to be. This is most definitely the way that everyone, as far back as a century ago, sees it. Citing names like H.G. Wells and such.
A very good example would be to look at the very well known franchise named ‘Star Trek' created in 1966 as a Television series by Gene Roddenberry, has had huge success and has left a powerful lasting impression on the world as a glimpse into the distant future. Controlled by aspects of science fiction and fantasy. Along with William Shatner as Captain Kirk, the art design and set design which depicts environments within the shuttle as being futuristic, and in that sense, to this very day this is the genesis of how we still see and think what embodies the term “Futuristic”.
One of the books that I stumbled upon doing research for this paper is titled “Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is reshaping the business forever”, this sums up the point I am trying to put across in this essay. Our generation, heavily submerged into technology, often than naught hearing someone say that they are unable live without their personal mobile devices or the Internet for a day and having been exposed to the media with the standard and frequency of today's technology. The gaming industry that has capabilities of producing new frontiers of environment that has never been seen before, using the more than capable technology of today as a platform to sell and market these ideas, will definitely have an impact of what we as designers produce in future. The power to detail environments.
The idea of how the future will look like or how things are considered to be “Futuristic”, all these ideas had to have come from someone's imagination, and for it to blossom and to reach people on a global scale through the media, only to influence their thoughts and mindsets that drive their minds in turn to think and to paint a picture of what “Futuristic” means and looks like.
An excerpt from John C. Beckand Mitchell Wade's book says that “the total size of the game generation is already far greater than the baby boom ever was”, “Right now, there are far more people who speak the language of games than there are baby boomers. This goes to show that the generation to come that will definitely be in a position to shape and design the world in the next phase, and will definitely have a good general understanding from experience since their youth and growing up with something ever so common now a days.
Households with multiple consoles combined with personal computers, game devices, DVD players and even the television are subjected to being fed the views of globalization and have been implanted deep within their minds whether or not they know it, Will associate their lifestyles and lives based on what the mass media puts on and games that they experience in the past and present.
Gaming provides almost a form of escape from the real world. A freedom to move and do anything the player desires within the generated environment. Allowing anyone to retry and relive and to correct their mistakes combined with the satisfaction of completing the quest at hand.
Gaming allows us to be fully immersed into an alter reality where we can step away from who are and what we do in real life. As games of today compared to games some twenty years ago, have really grown into a whole new breed [fig.1], often more realistic and violent in nature, catering to a more mature audience, becoming anything or anyone the game creators intended you to be, but that's just about where it ends.
Although virtual reality and gaming is technically a visual three dimensional experience, it is really only being portrayed to you on a two dimensional plane, which exists only within the boundaries of a screen and isn't something that we can grasp with our hands.
However, over the years, a project titled the “I-Cocoon”, or the “Immersive cocoon” by Tino Schaedler, a cross disciplinary designer for Film, Architecture and Gaming knew that any sort of interactivity with a computer's interface has had always been limited on a flat surface that did not have any way of allowing users to be transported into a totally different environment and has since come up with the idea of breaking away from the two dimensional gaming user interface and to also remove the limitation of user interactivity, while looking at how to create a full physical and immersive environment for a single user.
It is what the name suggests, a dome like cocoon booth with an interior [fig. 2] that is covered with displays, within this dome, integrated motion tracking cameras that will compute the user's body movements into Real-time input which creates the opportunity for interaction.
Further proving the point on how the mass media and globalization has crafted and molded the way we see the future, this idea of reach out and grab technology was first seen only in the form of a concept in the movie “Minority Report, 2002” [Fig. 3] which created quite the hype back when it was in the movies.
The reason why it has the capability of mesmer to grab our attention for hours on end is because it provides an interactive and limitless world where dying is an option and you and only you will have the control of what you choose to do with it.
After establishing that the experience of gaming in general is based solely on frames of images projected by a two dimensional plane, the experiences is only limited by its screen. However if we were to transform the idea behind alter reality existing within a two dimensional plane into a three dimensional space where users feel that they are physically in a world that is separated from the outside, based on their mindsets on what they have been brought up and conditioned to identify without much thought of what “futuristic” is supposed to look and feel like.
The purpose of an exhibit, let alone a gaming exhibit is to promote awareness for whoever the target audience may be, to reach and seek out the potential consumers who may or may not have the intention, knowledge or interest in the product at hand. How do we allow these users to identify it as a gaming exhibit? By feeding off and playing around with the ideals and mindset of how the media has portrayed and spoon fed science fiction ever since the beginning.
If we were to break down and simplify the site into simple zonings of spaces [fig. 4], it is easy to see the idea behind the design of creating an immersive environment within the existing reality, as an exhibition. The purpose is to create awareness and to initiate the audience's interest and to make them want to find out what it is all about.
The concept behind the exhibition's design is to create a space where the lines extracted from the site is used to change and stray from the existing linear path and vary the visual alignment of the space which then, leads into the spatial elements of the exhibit itself. Exploiting the full potential of the chosen site's overall length into how the users will have sufficient time and opportunity to fully appreciate the spatial quality before reaching the end of the exhibit and stepping back into reality.
Creating separations of spaces both in horizontal and vertical elements, concealing the exhibit from the outside, just enough to arouse curiosity, but open and freely accessible from within, provides a sense of exclusivity for users within the space and from others out of the exhibit.
In the same way that the exclusivity of prestigious schools are based on not how many students they accept, but by the amount of students they reject that do not make the cut each year.
Making use of the variations in circulation and predetermining the flow of how the space is used, reinforces the sense of an alter reality by straying away from the conventional juxtaposition of the chosen site.
Engaging the Public:
This effect is achieved by making use of “inaccessible feature spaces” [fig. 5] where the objective is to provide an opportunity for the unintended public passersby to be allowed only a glimpse of what lies within the exhibition space, so as to entice them into wanting to enter the space, even so, only revealing so much at time to them.
Also by allowing them to enter this partial space and then to physically limit and prevent them from continuing into the actual exhibit by means of glass partitions, relates back to the notion of gaming being something immaterial and alter reality being something that we, are unable to physically touch, gain access to and is only viewable from within a frame, alas a monitor display, unless they decide that they are interested and want to “enter” into the alter reality space through the designated entrances.
Mixed with a combination of forms, lighting, materials, colours and interior spaces, these are the necessary components that will provide an all-round first person experience, and not only will the users be able to identify with the visual properties of the exhibit, but will also have a great impression of the exhibition.
In conclusion, we now have a better overall understanding on how globalization has played a part in affecting our mindsets and paints a universal picture that we all have, over the years, been spoon fed and made to think and believe. What we see of the future and how we see it isn't something that comes from deep within our minds and own intellect, but from years and years ago when the idea of how the future would look like has morphed back and fourth into what we see it as today.
This generation of gamers, tech junkies and mobile bloggers are unquestionably aware and without a doubt, will be able to identify easily with characteristics and ideas of what it should look like.
In the form of products, movies, graphic novels and so on. Passing through cultures on the global level and making hybrid copies in different versions and taking on its own unique characteristics as these ideas are swapped between different cultures around the world.
This has been the way modern design and science fiction has been portrayed to us for as long as we can remember. Be it through products or gadgets that have changed the way humans of modern societies live. And this is the way that it has been. And this is how it will always be till the end of time.
- John C. Beckand Mitchell Wade(Hardcover- Oct. 1, 2004) Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Foreverby Harvard Business School Press
- John C. Beckand Mitchell Wade(Paperback- Nov. 1, 2006) The Kids are Alright: How the Gamer Generation is Changing the Workplace
- Paul Hopper(Paperback- Dec. 19, 2007) Understanding Cultural Globalization
- Geoff Kingand Tanya Krzywinska(Hardcover- Mar. 3, 2006) Tomb Raiders and Space Invaders: Videogame Forms and Context
- Simon Egenfeldt-Nielson, Jonas Heide Smith, and Susana Pajares Tosca(Paperback- Feb. 19, 2008) Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction
- Steven E. Jones, 2008,The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Strategies
- Lou Michel(Hardcover- Oct. 27, 1995) Light: The Shape of Space: Designing with Space and Light (Architecture)
- Barrie Gunter(Author) Effects of Video Games on Children: The Myth Unmasked
- Alexander R. Galloway Gaming: Essays On Algorithmic Culture (Electronic Mediations)