Autoethnography

Digital Asia

Before this class Digital Asia, I had never heard the term or concept of  autoethnography, but after doing a little research it became clear that it is quite a controversial scientific method with varying degrees of respect from the scientific community. Carolyn Ellis and associates provide a detailed overview of the practice of autoethnography:

Autoethnography is a form of research that requires the author to immerse themselves in the subject matter and to “analyze their own personal experience in order to understand cultural experience”. (Ellis et al., 2011)

This definition and discussion in class took me back to year 11 psychology in high school, and the difficulty of studying a science that cannot be directly observed or quantified. Just like autoethnography, psychology was also perceived as an unprofessional domain as much of the research involves making assumptions and drawing conclusions without physical concrete evidence.

But I found this kind of…

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Gojira

Digital Asia

I have my brother to thank for my introduction into the world of Japanese media, the many plots he conjured to sneakily change the channel from mum’s morning news to the much loved Cheez TV without her noticing. Though thinking back it was probably the chaos of organizing 3 rowdy children that she was oblivious to the change of station rather than my brothers sly ploys. Either way from a very young age I’ve been watching Anime, Manga and various other forms of Japanese media starting with Pokemon, One Piece, Avatar and Naruto on morning TV to watching Attack on Titan and Full Metal Alchemist as subbed series online. I have not however watched many non-animated Japanese movies so I was quite excited to see how or if it would differ from the mediums I usually consume.

In the first couple of scenes I very much got a Hitchcock “the…

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Prototype and Play-testing

Prototyping and play testing the mechanics of my game was pretty straight forward as I used an existing game, which has been proven successful, as a template. This allowed me to focus more on the theme and my individual objective of using the board game as an educational tool. Creating the game took quite a bit of time as I used foam board which is trick to deal with when cutting precise shapes. The most time-consuming aspect was creating the player cards and drawing the figures but I am really happy with how they turned out.

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Game Setup

Once the board was completed I gathered a group of friends together to test out the mechanics. I found that it actually took a while to explain the rules to everyone, and it was much easier just to start playing and explain as the game went on. This I noticed that the objective of the project was a little lost and more of an afterthought because everyone was so focused on learning the ropes of the game. Thankfully at the end of the first game they all really enjoyed it and wanted to play again, and in the next game they stared to understand the message because the basic game play was learned.

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I thought this was a really cool insight to come from the game actually, it almost mimics the perspective I was trying to push in the first place. With the players/public not having an understanding or grasping concepts of the game/science, and then learning in an engaging way how it works.

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I have done some more research into the manufacture of my game through the site game crafter. 

 

 

Item

Amount Total cost
Med Booklet 1 $0.98
Med Game box 1 $6.00
Player Cards 32 $3.32
Mission/Discovery cards 26 $2.89
Round Tracker (dial) 1 $5.28
Board 1 $10.00
Resource tokens 9 $5.60
Broadcast stations/void 5 $11.20
Point Tokens 46 $2.59
Broadcast destinations 27 $2.59
Player tokens 88 $54.00
Total   $105.34
Bulk total per game (100+)  

$89.01

The price to manufacture a single game is quite expensive, racking up over $100. However if I order 100+ copies of the game the price does drop quite significantly. The item that makes the manufacturing price so expensive is the player tokens which are non-printable, so if I can design or find other options for these pieces then it could potentially reduce the price by half.

Although this game can be played recreationally, It could also be used as a learning resource in schools, meaning it could potentially be government funded and distributed.

Overall I really enjoyed the process of making the game, it was really interesting to see how the mechanics and details that go into making a final product. I think that my aim of communicating the issues of science could be more highlighted, perhaps by linking my project for Digc335 as reference.

Sir David AttenBRUH

Current events in recent weeks have provided the perfect segway for my research topic and board game design for DIGC310. March for Science is a movement that occurred in major cities all over the world in an effort to purify scientific method and demonstrate the involvement of politics in innovation and discovery.

The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.

-March for Science Mission 

Now the reason that sparked March for Science is partly the on going climate change debate, even though there is a majority consensus there are some public figures who’s voices are projected through social media and cyberculture, spreading doubt amongst the public. But climate denialists aren’t the only voices that are being enabled, as cyberculture has changed the game making controversial topics more available to the public and giving air time to both parties.

Many scientists have become influential pop culture figures through platforms such as radio, television and you tube, creating a huge fan base and changing the stigma around science. Dr karl  is a science professional who co-hosts a radio show on Triple J, inviting listeners to call up and ask science related questions. He has become quite popular with younger listeners as he is open to answering controversial and open minded questions.

Sir David Attenborough is another example of a a scientist who has risen to fame, and in this case almost revered as royalty. In this case it could potentially be involuntary pop culture fame, however it has sparked interest into animal behavior through his series Planet Earth. 18209743_10155871821517908_1113557515_o

Poster created and distributed through popular David Attenborough fan page.

An Australian Senator of the far right wing One Nation Party Malcolm Roberts is a climate denalist who is very active on social media, often sparking debates with renown science figures in the public sphere. Roberts is not a scientist but instead has a history in the coal mining industry. As it is beneficial for the mining industry for there to still be doubt surrounding climate change, it is possible that Roberts is a denialist to reach a political agenda.

Earlier this year Dr. Karl re-tweeted a video posted by the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which presents data about the global temperature increase over the past 150 years.

Malcolm Roberts commented on the video claiming that the data had been manipulated and not scientific fact. Dr Karl obviously regarding Roberts statement not worth the effort, previous attempts to explain the science proving unsuccessful, gave a simple response. You can see the exchange below

Twitter has enabled debates about controversial science to be aired in the public sphere. Giving a voice to both arguments and holding each party accountable for their opinions by the potential millions looking on.

Malcolm Roberts again took on another renown science personality on a climate change episode of Q and A. The video below shows Brian Cox with empirical evidence of the average surface temperature warming trend, and Malcolm Roberts claiming again that the evidence has been skewed. Q and A airs live tweets from the viewers at home whilst the debate is occurring, allowing the public to 1) be involved in the conversation and 2) see what other viewers at home are thinking.

 

Cybercultures have changed the playing field when it comes to science communication, allowing the public to be up-close and personal with the debate of controversial topics and enabling access to to resources that would have previously been unattainable. Scientists have become the subject of popular culture and sometimes ‘worshiped’ by followers. Through my research I hope to further study the effects that cyberculture has impacted on science communication and if it is likely to be constantly changing the way the game is played.

 

Game Pitch: Influence

I have decided to incorporate the topic for my DIGC335 Cybercultures project as a theme in the board game I am creating for this subject. My aim is to demonstrate the reality of science communication and how is is not so black as white, or fact and fiction. Factors such as political or financial gain encourage major power players in society to convey half-truths or ‘cherry pick’ data which suits their agenda.

Now the importance of science isn’t always the number one most fun conversation that everyone is scratching to talk about, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to utilize the devlopment of a board game to present the issues the science community has in presenting innovation to the public.

I have decided to use a similar game structure to the Fantasy Flight game Mission: Red Planet. Red Planet is an area control and role selection game where mining companies are racing to control and mine the resources on Mars. The video below gives a detailed rundown of objectives and game play.

I chose this framework for my own board game as it can be manipulated to resemble the political dance that is science communication, and actually puts the players in the shoes of major players and corporations. I thought this would be an effective way to show a different perspective that is interactive to the audience. A detailed review of red planet can be found here.

Game Summary

Objective: To become the most influential figure on the planet.

Players: 3-6

Age: 10+

Time: 45 mins

Gameplay:

A new planet with relatively primitive inhabitants has been discovered by your people, a technologically advanced civilization and a major power player in the galaxy. At first there was little interest in this new planet as it seemed to hold little potential. The government divided the new planet into 9 regions, began to educate the inhabitants and learned to communicate with them. It was soon realized that the inhabitants were hiding a valuable energy resource, however it’s whereabouts still unknown.  With this revelation interest was sparked and the race to find this resource began. Only the player with the most influence over the inhabitants can gain their trust and have control over the resource.

The game has two boards, one showing broadcasting stations, the other showing the new planet. Players drop tokens into the broadcasting stations,  their signal being broadcast to its preset region the second the station is full. Once your signal arrives in a region on the planet you’ll find out how valuable it is by turning a token face-up. At the end of turns 5, 8 and 10, whoever has the most tokens in that region has the most influence and gets as many points as the region’s worth.

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Image: The Nine regions on the new planet, with example values.

Each player has a tactical team of specialists numbered 1-9 at their employ, and each with a specific skill set. These specialists are your moves, and each round a count down from 9 is started and whatever number the specialist you picked this round, determines when you get to make your move. However once you used a specialist you cannot use them again.

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Image: Specialist card example – No.4 Secret Agent

Take no. 4, The Secret Agent. He loads two tokens into two separate broadcasting stations, then forces any one station to broadcast early. Or no. 5, The Saboteur, who loads one token into a station, then blows up a station which is not yet full.

Event cards can change rules of a particular region secretly, either supporting or detracting influence. Mission cards will gain players extra points if the objective is completed.

Manufacture & Distribution: To develop my board game I will use the game design guide provided by Panda Game Manufacture which goes into detail the finer points and specs of design such as dimensions and programs to use. To actually manufacture through this company there is  a minimum of 1500 units and $1500 USD spend. Although this game can be played recreationally, It could also be used as a learning resource in schools, meaning it could potentially be government funded and distributed.  The art-style I have chosen is inspired by artist Nikita Binda who is a fantasy artist from the Netherlands. By incorporating a fantasy component to the game design it will be more inciting to the target audience and a more subtle learning component.

Through the design and production of this board game I hope to create a resource that indirectly demonstrates the reality of communicating science.

 

Science in CyberCulture

The Internet has created a global network connecting scientists around the world and enabling collaboration and innovation. But many new complications have also arisen within developing cybercultures and citizen involvement.

References

Ala.org.au. (2017). Citizen Science – Atlas of Living Australia. [online] Available at: http://www.ala.org.au/get-involved/citizen-science/ [Accessed 21 Mar. 2017].

Cass Sunstein, “Polarisation and Cybercascades,” in Republic.com 2.0, Princeton University Press, 2007, pp.46-98

Jansma, S. (2017). Cybercascades in Twitter. [online] Masters of Media. Available at: http://mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl/blog/2010/10/09/cybercascades-in-twitter/ [Accessed 21 Mar. 2017].

Trench, B. (2017). [online] Available at: http://doras.dcu.ie/14807/1/internet_science_communication.pdf [Accessed 21 Mar. 2017].

Warden, R. (2017). The Internet and science communication: blurring the boundaries. NBCI. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234032/ [Accessed 21 Mar. 2017].

Whaling.oldweather.org. (2017). Old Weather: Whaling. [online] Available at: https://whaling.oldweather.org/#/about [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017].

King of Tokyo: Game Review

I honestly do not know where to start with this game, but it’s safe to say my group and I all learnt something about ourselves and each other because of it…… and may need to go home and have a good think about our choices.

King of Tokyo is essentially a simplified whilst also expanded adaptation of the classic dice throwing game yahtzee. It was designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of ‘Magic – The Gathering’, and produced by Iello Games in 2011. It is an expanded dice throwing game which incorporates a board, player tokens and upgrade cards. The game costs around $40 and it is for audiences aged 8 and over.

No one in my group recognised that it was a yahtzee adaptation in the beginning because none of us had really played it before. We picked up the rules pretty quickly however as the instruction booklet clearly described how to play with examples and diagrams. The playing board is quite simple, it represents Tokyo city where no more than two players can be at any given time. each player is given a character playing piece and a corresponding scorecard which keeps track of your health and victory points.

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Player Tokens

Like Yahtzee there are 6 dice, however instead of numbers 4, 5 and 6 there are three Icons that incorporate and new element to the game, which enables players to win in more than one way.

  • Heart: the heart symbol represents health, if you roll a heart you receive +1 health.
  • Claw: the claw symbol represents attack, if you roll a claw you attack one or all players (more detail below)
  • lightning: the lightning symbol represents energy which can be used as currency, if you roll a lightning you gain+1 energy.

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Dice

The game also involves cards which can give your character upgrades, and can be bought with energy. The better the upgrade the more energy it costs.

To win the game the player must either be the first to collect 20 victory points or kill all the other players before they do. Brutal.

It seems simple enough, but until you play you have no idea. This game is so much more than simply trying to collect points or kill your opponents, it’s about the mind games, the shaky alliances, the ever present struggle of whether or not it is better to be in or out of the city of tokyo. I still think about it, and I still don’t know.

The artstyle of this game is one of its greatest features, very much inspired by Garfield own game Magic – The Gathering, all of the characters, tokens, cards and even the board create an atmosphere that feels like you’re in a cartoon horror/action comic. Even the design of game play emphasises the artstyle; for example when you attack another player, or enter the city and become the king of tokyo it adds to atmosphere and you truly feel all powerful.

I would just like to take a moment to point out that this group had only met each other a week ago, and still at a very new/polite stage of friendship before playing this.

In the beginning everything was quite tame. We started out by simply getting a feel for the game and how it all worked. Each player would roll the 6 dice, keep the ones they wanted and repeated 2 more times in hopes of getting either a combination of numbers  to earn victory points, or gaining health/energy/attacks. Having not really worked out tactics, most of us just accumulated health and tried for victory points.

It wasn’t until a couple of attacks deep that I think we realised what we had gotten ourselves into. If you roll a claw  you can attack a player, if you are outside the city (board) you have to attack one of the players inside, if you are inside the city then you attack all the players outside. Depending on how many claws you roll is how many attacks you deal out.

This is where the game gets political; if you’re trying to win killing everyone you have to be aware that you’re making enemies, and if they roll an attack then chances are they’ll hold a grudge and attack you by default. on the other hand if you try to win by accumulating victory points you can’t peak to early or you have to do it secretly. One player managed to get to 19 points fairly quickly and as soon as we realised we panic attacked and killed her before her next turn. This moment was the turning point of the game.

Absolute chaos.

None of us still didn’t really knew what tactic worked, one player essentially created her own isolated economy of energy and used it to buy ability cards, most of us forgot to collect victory points because we were to busy settling grudges and accumulating health to sustain this endeavour.  Yelling, so much yelling.

In the end I managed to win the game by somehow collecting 20 victory points (unintentionally but i’ll claim it) whilst the other players believed I was trying to kill everyone to win (I was).

For what we thought was a slow game turned very fast paced and suspense-filled. Yahtzee, who’d have thought?

 

 

Reflective summary

Our work is an exploration an object through projection mapping, an experiment of optical illusion. The work is an abstract representation of a man trapped, not just physically but also the mental frustration of helplessness. When looking at the piece it does not look like the man is actually trapped inside of the box, instead a multifaceted perspective of his internal struggle. An eerie and uncomfortable atmosphere is created when viewing the piece which encaptures the audience. In a similar work, Bego Santiago explores similar themes though projection mapping, however instead of individual fear she explores fear in society. “Often fear is the complete destruction of what unites the social fabric”. Through the use of projection mapping technology atmosphere and a more immersive experience can be created for the viewer. Trapped explores the medium of projection mapping and the limits of digital process in relation to optical illusion as perceived by the human eye.

Little Boxes By Bego Santiago  was a work we found early on in our researching of projection mapping. It is an interactive work demonstrating ‘group think’ and society’s reaction in fear.

“Even though They are all Individuals Who Can move around on Their Own, They behave with a united mindset, always following the crowd.” – Bego Santiago

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The work consists of various shaped boxes arranged in rows, people have been projected onto each row to fit the size of each box. These projected people appear to be quite content and acting as individuals. When an audience member walks near the work the projected people scream and run away in the opposite direction, causing the rest of the people in the row to run also.

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“The theme of the piece reflects on the fear of every civilization to be destroyed and the use of such fear as a means of control Civilization indirectly” – Bego Santiago

In a similar way our work explores the concept of fear through the medium of projection mapping, however it is the fear felt by individual that many can relate to. In Santiago’s work  the people do not look like they are actually inside the boxes, just merely a surface to project onto.

This project has definitely been a rollercoaster, always one step forward and three steps back. Our team has been very resilient however and always manage to find a solution so we can keep it moving along. Whilst VPT7 proved to be a challenge to work with I really enjoyed working through the mess of it, figuring it out in the end made it all worth it. Everyone in the group has been extremely flexible with all of the issues and made it incredibly easy to meet up out of class time to finish off the installation.

The project definitely has a different result to what we had imagined originally, but I actually think that it comments on the restrictions of projection mapping and digital processes. Trying to manually create an optical illusion though physical elements to them be actually created by the content projected was an amazing outcome. If we had more time it would have been good to incorporate a more interactive element using an arduino or even fixing issues such as pixelation and projection quality.

Well I have most certainly learnt a ridiculous amount about VPT7 and considering writing a book for struggling beginners. As well as technical learning, I learnt a lot about my own process when completing a work. When I get involved in a task that is a puzzle to work with, I am motivated to figure it out. In a way this manifested into a second practices project, learning just as much about myself as I did the program.

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