Thesis: Bits and Pieces

In this post, I’ll go into more of the specifics observations and decisions in my prototype-making process.

Because the prototype was more than a couple scenes long, I was able to experiment with motifs. For example, reoccurring train visuals and sounds that support the theme of rootlessness.

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I played around with characters and different levels of visual ambiguity. I used collections of simple shapes that relied on motion to be recognized as figures. This was inspired by this page on biological motion (discovered through my Cognitive Science course).

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Ideas that seemed simple in my head were often much more complicated or time consuming to make. As you can see below, some transitions take a lot of meshes.


I found inspiration for shifts in mis-interpreted images. Often I’ll glance at a painting and the misinterpretation of it will activate my imagination. Then I will look closely and realize that it’s actually portraying something different and less exciting. This relates to the idea of multistable perception (previously written about here).

The concept can also be used in individual scenes.  I’m not sure if intentionally creating scenes with dual meanings will be interesting or just confusing and annoying. However, it’s an important part of my research to clarify this line through testing.

Below: is that fancy wallpaper or are the walls glass?


I implemented a transition and was unsure about it because it didn’t feel as clever (it wasn’t based on multistable perception, for example). However, it ended up being satisfying to experience. It creates a playfulness that reminded me of the spirit of animated credit sequences, though it doesn’t necessarily make the same kind of statement about perception as the other transitions.


This prototype is making me reconsider my understanding of the relationship between surprise and enjoyment in games.