WK10 – Nose dive in blurry directions (Pre-alpha Build)


Goal: Playtest the first build of the full experience.

Challenge: Prototyped without having a finished design direction.

Did we fulfill this week’s goals: Yes!


Goals for this first builds playtest:

  1. Usability of our drawing activities on the iPad.
  2. Overall experience: Drawing prompts, phone calls mechanics, artist’s stance.

Zoe made a physical wireframe for us. Having physical material to quickly look and point at enabled our workflow to be super effective! Saumya also put together several drawing interfaces. We used the “Statue of Liberty” for this playtest. 


Dave and Brenda gave us great feedback. [Links to videos]

  1. The artist’s phone calls created a great sense of urgency.
  2. The artist sounded apologetic.
  3. Do guerrilla artists care about gatekeepers?
  4. Drawing mechanics felt good and engaging.
  5. Drawing prompts “Draw what freedom means to you” and “Draw what freedom in America means to you” required too much thinking from the audience – Audience needed a “permission” to know what one can discuss.
  6. Censorship mechanics was cool but relied heavily on the audience drawing something controversial.
  7. Hard to control player-generated content.
  8. What if we provide context for the drawing activity, such as putting the drawing up in a school, or a prison, would that help the audience censor others’ drawings?
  9. Most importantly, what is the artist’s stance on freedom?

We knew this last piece was the biggest problem! We had spent the past 2 weeks not being able to create the artist’s statement. Because of our diverse background, we struggled to arrive at a statement that would resonate with all of us despite finding inspirations from Ai Wei Wei, Marina Abramovic, JR, and Banksy.

Reaching out to experts

I reached out to Raul, ForFreedoms, Jon Rubin, Alisha Wormsley, Sabrina Culyba Jessica Hammer, and the Guerrilla Girls in hope that they could shine lights on the things we had not yet known. On other hand, Games For Change and ForFreedoms were not sure what kinds of artists we were looking for. 

Losing hope

Boyi attempted another iteration on the “freedom” prompt. Our team ran into a conflict around the concept of “gatekeepers.” Half of us decided to steer away from the “gatekeepers” and the other half thought it was important to let the guests experience being gate-kept. We all felt that there was still a big missing piece, and we felt incompetent for not being able to figure it out! We almost pivoted our direction to “Art is a process” once again out of frustration.

Finding motivation

I reflected on our progress, wondering when it started to become so difficult! I realized that our team without the fictional character (a guerrilla artist) was like a ship without a steering wheel. Here’s why:

  1. The meaning of being a guerrilla artist was strong and cool.
  2. The puns “guerrilla” and “gorilla” and other associated pop-culture icons like bananas worked with our humor as a team.

I discussed with Kevin about the problem. We decided to take a break in the weekend and think more about it.