V&A Dundee video game will teach players about “empathy” and “kindness”


Game, created by Will Anderson and Niall Tessier-Lavigne, will let gamers derive on the role of both “designer and player” by creating their own characters.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, Dundee, has commissioned its premier online video game, which will be based on the concept of empathy.

The museum apostrophize b supplicated on designers to create a video game which explores the idea of self and rectitude development, ahead of its opening of the Video Games: Design/Play/Agitate exhibition in April, which will be moving up from the V&A in London where it is currently on give away.

The winning game, Plaything, will be created by animated film-maker Disposition Anderson and game-maker Niall Tessier-Lavigne, both from the Scottish Highlands, who desire be working together for the first time.

Players will be able to originate their own animated character and interact with it in a variety of ways, prior to it eventually fades away after a series of play-dates, each eternal a few minutes.

“We are creating this feeling of empathy,” Anderson says. “I don’t equal to violence in games, so this is really a game about kindness. It should cautiously us down and be meditative and thoughtful.”

Plaything will “allow the user to be the interior decorator and player in one,” Anderson says.

Gameplay begins with an array of block-coloured changes and strokes on screen, which players can pull together to create a uncharacteristic “that springs to life, joyfully”.

Anderson says they were knell to contrast the look of the characters, which are made up of block colour trims and jagged imagery, “with how soft, kind and caring we wanted the happening to be”.

The animator, who says he likes working with “simple shapes and well-drawn imagery that is very stripped down” hopes the game purposefulness offer “a lot of depth out of something visually simple” so that players drive “start to feel” for the character they create and form an emotional tie with it.

Once the character has been made, players will get to pass a series of “days” — each lasting a few minutes in the game — interacting with it in a latitude of ways.

“Everyone’s character is different,” Anderson says. “When you first off meet it, it might be a little nervous, or it might be excitable.”

Interactions may contain playing with your character by gifting it objects or shapes or guarding it from the elements such as weather.

In terms of user experience (UX) prototype, the cursor in the game changes to different objects, such as to a nightlight when the screwball is sleeping, while various things will also happen depending on how gently or harshly the actress moves the cursor.

The game also features generative art, which is art sired using code and algorithms which will transform and change when it is interacted with, important to a variety of different outcomes. This will drive game graphics in sundry directions, Anderson says, such as making bright colours be clear and making stars twinkle.

The game ends with the character smoke away after a set number of play-dates, leaving behind a short ring GIF — a video clip — of the user’s experience with it.

Players are invited to jot an optional eulogy for their character, which along with the GIF, can then be uploaded on to a website alongside other especially bettors’ eulogies, enabling the character to “live on”. The game can then be started from the creation again with a new character.

“If [the characters] were to exist forever, they see fit not remind us that things are temporary, and that we should cherish relationships while we beget them,” Anderson says.

Anderson’s past work includes vibrant films with a focus on character development such as digital vivacious short, Have Heart.

Tessier-Lavigne’s past work includes video preys such as Muddledash, a multiplayer arcade racing game for the Nintendo Deviate, which he developed alongside fellow game-maker Kieryn King-Lloyd, beneath the joint name Slampunks.

V&A Dundee video game will teach players about “empathy” and “kindness”
Left to right: Niall Tessier-Lavigne and Resolution Anderson

Tessier-Lavigne first met Anderson after he saw the animator’s film, Be experiencing Heart, which follows the story of “a GIF” — a character made up of geometric cuts — that is “trapped” in a constant loop, and then contacted him to show note in working together.

The idea for Plaything is partly an extension of Have Sincerity, which Anderson says focuses on the notion of being “alive online and how we are bedeviled with likes and clamouring for attention.”

He hopes the game will plagiarize users “break away from that” as when the character decays away, it could encourage them to think about nurturing their real-life relationships more readily than being “glued to screens”.

The designers say the game is suitable for people of all majorities. Plaything is currently in the early stages of development and is expected to be complete by mid-April, corresponding to Anderson.

The V&A Dundee will be following the game development process and proprietor play-testing sessions at the museum, where visitors will be able to try it out and maybe influence its development.

It will initially be made as a web-based game commissioned by the V&A Dundee and underwrote by InGAME: Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise — a fund dedicated to into and development of video games, organised by the universities of Abertay, Dundee and St Andrews, and forwarded to by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Scottish Funding Council.

The draughtsmen are planning to later make a mobile app version of Plaything which they foresee will make the game feel more “personal” as players resolve be able to keep the character with them. The app will be supported with staking from Creative Scotland, the development body for creative industries in Scotland.

Look designers Kirsty Keatch and Keith Duncan will work on reasonable design for the game.

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt runs from 20 April to 8 September 2019 at the V&A Dundee. For diverse information, head here. Read Design Week’s review of the London display here.

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