There’s a vast team that have contributed hugely to The Building Is… So many, in fact, that we needed to go alphabetical order to fit them all in. Huge thanks from all of us at H&S to all those listed below.
It’s the opening day of the exhibition in Paris! And the Hide&Seek team, along with all our collaborators, having been working very hard indeed. This is a very ambitious project to pull off…
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.
Today’s blog post – and tomorrow’s, and probably the day after’s – are about narrative frameworks. One of the many things that frustrates me about the ‘games v story’ debate is that it’s presented as a binary – narratologists over here, ludologists over here – with debate revolving around ‘action’ vs ‘cut scenes’. It’s absurdly reductive. A good narrative envelops and intertwines the game design, kindling moments of meaning throughout the system. And that’s what we’re making.
Something that’s important when creating games for buildings is the question of identity. Identity – registering a person, linking the state of a game to a person, tracking essential data – is fundamental to a satisfying game experience. Imagine if Blizzard’s World of Warcraft servers just forgot you, and your Level 57 Death Knight disappeared… We expect that a game will remember where we were up to, and pick up exactly where we left off, and we expect that to be seamless and instantaneous.
Coming to the end of week 1 of our install and we’re in reasonable shape – we completed our first playtest yesterday, of the Building Sees, and it was mostly fun! Mostly fun is a pretty great state to be in at this stage…
Things I didn’t realise would turn out to be a massive design constraint #7432 – it’s complex to drive two different screens, displaying different information, from the same programme. This runs counter to two things:
Today’s design blog is about game literacy, and its effect on physical games. Our goal is that everyone who plays our game enjoys it – that means it has to be rich and rewarding enough for the hardcore gamers, and comprehensible and accessible to newbies. Because the game takes place in physical space, and is intended to run without too much human intervention, we don’t have the EASY / MEDIUM / HARD option. Instead, we have to integrate difficulty settings into the physical elements of the game…
When we playtested the Smells course, we built a long, linear route for people to progress along. You can see it in this video:
So, a lucky team from Hide&Seek arrived in Paris yesterday. We’re here for the next month, completing the design and installation of The Building Is... our new game commission for Joue le Jeu, la Gâité Lyrique’s summer festival. It feels really important to document the making of this game, so we’re going to do that here.
There’s so much to write about, and artist process blogs can be a bit tl;dr if you’re not careful. So – here’s the rules. 250 words a day, on a different topic, with pictures and practical examples.
Okay here goes. Word count starts now!
This summer, Hide&Seek will be playing in Paris.
We’re so excited to be able to announce our involvement with the upcoming exhibition Joue le Jeu at La Gaîté Lyrique, an amazing institution that opened in 2010, devoted to exploring digital culture. Their big summer exhibition this year will fill the building with astonishing games: a stupendous installation from Fred Deakin & Company, a gorgeous social strategy game from Eric Zimmerman and Nathalie Pozzi, a charmingly bewildering construction from Babycastles, and so much more… including our own The Building Is.