Week 2 – Research, Research, Research

Tentative Project Roadmap & Deliverables

Being a discovery project makes it difficult to discuss the first weeks of the project, let alone the entire roadmap.  So far, we’ve split up more than sixty hefty research papers on livestreaming among ourselves and read through them for an internal show-and-tell.  We hope to fully understand the possibilities of the medium and where it intersects with existing improv games before moving on to make our own. Our first deliverables will be a series of design principles, intersectional charts, and flow diagrams to better understand the best of both of these worlds.

After that, we’re planning to enter more of a game jam mode after the project begins.  Rapidly prototyping experimental games on odd hardware was a large part of BVW for us, and doing it again here makes sense.  The interaction methods for an audience in a Twitch chat are underexplored and undeveloped; creating Twitch extensions and overlays to encourage play from this social space is the first step in making games work.  From our research, we’ve determined that voting is the most used system currently; this can be implemented through basic methods like chat aggregation or whatnot. But we’ve also seen HTML overlay/interface methods in some extensions unrelated to gameplay, and are curious to explore these.  If every chat member had buttons and controls connected the screen, think of what they could do with that!

So, we’re aiming for a series of games that showcase the possibilities of Twitch, similar to Wii Sports for the Wii’s motion capabilities.  This will include applications handling the input functionality required for the audience participation, but those specifics will be determined by what inputs we end up needing from our design.  As it stands, we will accomplish this by creating a Twitch Extension or Overlay that meets our goals, but we don’t know exactly what it will be yet.

Our composition box made for the end of Week 1

What We Did This Week

As mentioned, we began it all by diving straight into the literature and research that came before us under the guidance of our advisers Brenda Harger and Jessica Hammer.  Our goal is to fully understand the wheels we’re going to be working with before trying to build a bicycle. Leaving the weekend after Week 1 to read, the internal show-and-tell on Tuesday and Wednesday was fruitful.

We turned all of our research so far into a presentation for Brenda scheduled for the end of the week.  Our goal was to present what Twitch was to round off our own understanding, and give her a good enough one to understand what qualities of improv would work well on it.  This slide deck consistent of a) what Twitch, is b) existing great things on Twitch, and c) where we thought the sweet spots in the overlap were.

Lifelong Learning

This project gives us all the opportunity we came to the ETC for in the first place–to make games.  Putting the practices we were taught in BVW and our current Game Design and Studio Art courses into an extended test run is a rare and great opportunity to take advantage of in such an exploratory environment.  We’ll see where this leads up, but for now, the experimentation.

Meet The Team

Co-Producers – Chance and Joey

Lead Programmer – Parker

Lead Artist – Shawn

Designers/Programmers/Minions – Trace, Chance, Joey

Week 1 – Hello, World!

Hello World!

We are Commit to the Bits.  Over the course of this semester, we will be exploring the intersection of Improvisational Acting and Twitch live-streaming.  We are a discovery project – what we are doing has not been done before.

We are a varied team from computer science, engineering, and artistic backgrounds with a lot of overlap.  The strongest common thread is a shared love of game design. We hope to not just translate improv games to Twitch, but to design new ones around the platform’s unique features.

As a research project, we are starting off with a lot of reading.  The first set of actions we took this week was meeting with our advisers, Brenda Harger and Jessica Hammer. In order to help us get a better understanding of existing research, they pointed us towards massive bibliographies, ludographies, and code bases to work with. It was a little bit scary, but we decided by the end of our first week how to break this all up.

We see our cycle in these to be iterating on this research.  Major topics are broad audience psych evaluations or video games with audience voting in them, but we know we want to go deeper than that with this project.  Our ambitions will drive these iterations. We envision many prototypes being made throughout this project as we figure out how best to connect audience agency with what goes on on-camera, and naturally many game jam moments will happen as we come to understand the possibilities of these connections.

But, this is all wishful thinking at the time, this is just Week 1.  We’ve hardly established team roles at this point! Crossing over into Week 2, we plan to absorb all of this research and find where our intersection truly lies.  That is when we will begin to discover our tentative road plan and deliverables.