(this post continues on from #6, which was about narrative).
Maybe the best place to start explaining how narrative and game design weave together in The Building Is… is to talk about interfaces. If you’re reading this, you’re a human, mostly (hello bots!), and so the idea of getting to know a sentient building presents some challenges. Buildings aren’t people. Buildings are buildings. They can’t move, make love, knit or dance. Their view of the world is very different indeed…
Which has led us to thinking about buttons. Tom wrote a great piece about buttons which really got me thinking thoughts that led to a blog about unreliable interfaces (the studio’s mini-scenius in action). And it became clear that a Building can perceive the people within it – just. People are to buildings what bees are to trees – essential, pleasing, but very hard to meet individually. That meeting point comes in the interface – or rather, interfaces.
Our Building hears through its telephone exchanges, feels through its buttons, smells through its air vents and sees with its CCTV cameras. It wants you to play with its senses so it can try and make you out.
What are you playing for? The chance to gain the Building’s trust, touch the Building’s Heart, and change the way it feels.
Hopefully, each piece of information I’ve shared above gives you both an inkling of what the story of the Building might be, and also indicates the game that you’re about to play. Each interface becomes a locus of both story and game, designed to be fun to play, and to invite a new understanding of the Building’s unique way of being.
Next time, I’m going to write about how different narrative structures invite different types of playfulness, and how essential the right one is to games (or other kinds of immersive experience) designed for public spaces.