Thesis: Reflections

Because I presented my thesis to the class this week, I thought I would use this post to reflect on my experiences and write about future steps.

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I am happy that I’ve learnt a lot through research and experimentation and talks with professors. I am also happy that I worked hard and made something that generates interesting questions. If I were to do this thesis again, I would change my process. The original process evolved as I was learning what was more important to work on, what my project was about and what my project could be about. I was also learning about my work habits and my interests. I got the chance to explore fields including perceptual psychology, narratology, film and animation. I also found that I enjoy reading academic papers.

In my first thesis course, I debated whether to do a thesis on surrealism or on creativity in games. I was worried I wouldn’t be as attached to the former idea. It was not as familiar to me. However, I think I chose it because I knew there was something really interesting about that first transition I tried out. Through these past three semesters, I discovered a tornado of fascinating interrelated subjects that connected to this transition.

Either project would have been an exploration of a more experimental, unconventional type of game. These types of explorations are really difficult, because they involve a lot of unknowns. The process of making this project was not constantly gratifying. It took a long time to make scenes that were somewhat close to what I had imagined in my head. I also had to focus on a lot of technical issues before I could implement visual details and I kept getting story ideas that wouldn’t work in the game. It often felt like I was holding my breath.

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One of my favourite moments was watching classmates play, and walk into objects because they assumed something unordinary would happen. These people were using expectations built from hearing me talk about my project many times. I really want to know if I can build up these expectations in the game itself. I want to encourage this weird form of play. I want to create a game where players take on a unique mode of interpreting space, where players anticipate some of the abstraction that takes place and factor this into their own actions, so that an illogical space has an alternate kind of logic.

I’m going to keep working on this project at least until the graduate exhibition at the start of May. I want to polish the experience, making it more intuitive to navigate and adding more aesthetic consideration. I also have a lot of ideas I didn’t have time to explore. One of them is to blur figure-ground relationships. Another has to do with kaleidoscopes and 3D space.

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