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getting personal (2020)

Journal of my participation in the getting personal – A HANDS-ON GUIDE TO MAKING PERSONAL GAMES course taught by Marie Claire LeBlanc Flanagan, Bahiyya Khan and Lorenzo Pilia.

“What can be gained by learning to express yourself through the creation of personal games in uncertain times?”

Photos >>

Week 1

My interest in this course?
3 reasons:
1) recently turning my hands-on materials workshops into boardgames.
2) during a games residency last year i got an idea for a game about “becoming material” that i would really like to make!
3) curious to be on the receiving end of a workshop, and to be in contact with people interested in games & play as fun and meaningful ways of sharing ideas.

1) The Boardgame as Remote Teaching Tool?
The last weeks I’ve been turning my otherwise hands-on materials of electronics workshops into boardgames that students can play with the materials. Resulting in less screen-time and more time to focus on the materials at hand. I’m calling them Making Adventures.
And have tried to write a bit about the process of making these games on our university blog: “The Boardgame as Remote Teaching Tool?“.

2) Every project begins with a walk in the woods
Last year I spent one month at a Game Residency playing games, discovering what I like, and thinking a lot about how to translate my current ideas into a playful experience. I learned to use Unity and made some character animations, scripted some movements and built some worlds… I was impressed by how easy it was to get classic game behaviors to work and the level of control I had over the aesthetics. While I really liked the idea that I could export whatever I would make to run on everyday devices and be able to share my idea with many people, I was also put off by the screen-based nature of these devices. One month was too short to finish a game, but I have a strong sense for the story/experience I want to tell and some ideas on how to continue….

Week 2 Marie Flanagan: A Kind of Play

zine that lead through the 2 hour session and was both means of sharing knowledge and getting us to put to paper ideas that could lead us to a personal game.

A Kind of Play zine

1) pick an idea or topic from the list you made last week (or a pre-existing idea)
2) take 15 minutes to write or draw in your zine about your idea. Doodle or write a little about the core feelings and playful mechanics you might consider
3) take 5 minutes to write out the steps you might take to make a game. what key things need to get done?

1) my personal game idea?

After completing Marie’s zine, I was a bit torn between thinking further some of the new ideas that emerged and keeping with a pre-existing idea. But am now deciding that I will stick to my previous idea of Becoming Material. The origins of which came from a very personal experience – a rather strange accident!
You can read about it here: Becoming Material.

2) core feelings and playful mechanics?

*joy* in collecting interesting looking materials/things (like seashells on a beach)
*intense focus* during a period of making things with the collected materials
*surprise* when something happens to make one realize that one is also a material

* somehow collecting materials
* somehow building
* the twist/realization/surprise that everything is not quite as it seems…

3) what key things need to get done?

* decide on a format, type of play, type of game? combinations?

* decide on an interface?
i would like the game-play (interface?) to be physical/material and involve being in the world, not in front of a computer&screen….

some ideas to get more physical:
** use a microscope as interface. looking through the scope at a part real, part virtual world. using the knobs on the scope to navigate or control a character through terrain, through the story.
** the game takes place in different parts/levels. one part is a screen-based game other parts include guided tour, making-workshops, walks through woods in search of materials…
** use camera tracking/recognition and drawing black lines on white paper as interface or making objects to have certain shapes….
** using camera to take high-contrast black/white images that then become the worlds one plays in.

*TITLE? subtitle… something in support of the core/key surprising/twisting moment….
** becoming material (we already are material)
** humans are forgetful materials
** the headless pin
** a walk in the woods

Week 3 Lorenzo: Tools

tools for making and sharing visual games.


Make a small game
Can be just one room big and be playable in 2 minutes
Theme: Breakfast
How you like breakfast, why you have no breakfast, what do you do during breakfast, Sunday breakfast, the Breakfast Club
Tool: Bitsy
If you tried Bitsy before and want to try out a new tool that’s ok
Put it on
You can set it to not public, but you should share it with us

breakfast game idea:
Breakfast game ideaBreakfast game idea

breakfast games:

in bitsy…
i tried making a prototype of the game in bitsy and was really impressed by the playful-simple-selfexplanatory-constrained interface. quick and inspiring to use! especially love how the 2-frame animation is done.
but i could not befriend the graphics style…..
and the limits it put on my ideas for interacting with things….

Feeding Hunger (Bitsy) >>

in processing…
so then i continued in processing.

Feeding Hunger (Processing) >>

first prototypes the movement and behavior:

then added in the illustrations and text:

here screenshots of the final version:

here the material illustrations:

the other idea that emerged:

drawing writing making controlling navigating tracing walking going following leaving talking speaking saying

inspired by this note from my game residency:

maybe the electrons can also travel through the lines:

my line attempts in processing:

and of course it has been more nicely and properly by somebody else who has shared their code (thank you!):

generative-gestaltung >>

so am already looking forward to my next attempts!

Week 4 Bahiyya Khan: Personal Games – A horror story in three parts

Bahiyya shared in detail all that surrounded making her personal game After Hours. Besides the act of exposing a personal topic and being so involved in the process of producing and enacting the content, I took a lot from the creative journey/struggle that she shared. Her presentation brought me back to the actually personal experience behind the layers of story that grew around my own personal game idea.

But how exactly to unpack and the personal behind the Becoming Material idea…..

Some good tips on free writing……

Some attempts to

Getting (distracted?) building some sensor insoles to control my game….

Sole Sensing >>
Photos >>

Week 5 Our Personal Game Presentations


on p5:

on openProcessing: