Week 6 – Gamifying History and Pushing Onwards
This week’s focus was Gamifying Historical Narratives which brought two new disciplines into focus: game/digital design and history. Throughout the first day, we had the privilege to listen to two historians (Dr. Gianluca Raccagni and Dr. Ian F. Hathaway) who introduced us to several key components of incorporating history into games. For example, Dr. Raccagni detailed the issue of accuracy: how accurate should a game be in terms of history to be deemed ‘historical?’ As someone who frequently games and has enjoyed ‘historically-based’ games such as Assassin’s Creed, it was fascinating to hear of the discussion between disciplines (historians vs game developers) and the eventual compromises made. In the second hour, Dr. Hathaway brought in the component of how to make a ‘historical-based’ game and introduced discipline-specific jargon such as bounce [which makes the game challenging – and thus engaging – for the player].
On the second day, we had an excellent lecture on Islamic culture in 11th-century Spain which lead to a team activity on ‘gamifying’ an Astrolabe. As this was my first exposure to such a device, it was super interesting to hear about its thousands of uses, and to challenge myself in thinking how to then make it appealing to a contemporary generation of gamers. We concluded the first half of the day with a super insightful lecture from Maxime Durand, a developer and designer at Ubisoft, who’s worked on most of the Assassin’s Creed series. This led to the commencement of our group project which tasked us with designing a game which introduces/educates gamers on a particular time in history we are interested in. As someone who has lived in Korea for the past two years and intends to return there, I am currently working on developing the Three Kingdom Period into a game that takes gamers through each kingdom. This will be visual-based and will use aesthetically-pleasing historical elements to draw players in.
Finally, in regards to my final project, I have identified a driving object to my project: developing a futuristic prompt that results in a reply of what AI makes of the future. Instead of a generic story prompt, I plan to present an AI with a ‘problem’ to solve (either editing a piece or providing a solution for a futuristic issue/scenario) and then illustrating the result in a) as a hand-drawn comic and b) as a series of AI-generated images. During the last session with Dr. Clark, the issue of continuity and free-roam arose – forcing two questions to the surface:
- Will I intervene throughout the generative process to ensure narrative continuity (in relation to the story being told)?
- How much free-range will I give the AI? Will I choose to edit the images after they’ve been produced, for example. Or to tweak the text produced?
This is my current scope of research as well as beginning to identify what programs I may use in my project and the best way to then present results. I will aim to produce some prototypes this week !