Interactive Entertainment IE'13 (2013) RMIT Melbourne, AU

Designing for Depth: Underwater Play

The 9th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment: Matters of Life and Death

Sarah Jane Pell & Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

The underwater domain is an alluring 'other world', inviting of human-aquatic interactivity and bodily play and yet it is also an extreme environment as it is inhospitable to support human life without external air-supply. Playful interactions are therefore matters of life and death in the underwater domain. We correlated data on human-aquatic interactions and narcosis with a range of game design principals to produce a design pallet for digital underwater play from water level to 30m depth. We also present a proof-of-concept system called Gravity Well as an exemplary research tool. Through our work, we aim to inspire other researchers and designers to consider creating digital play in and under water.

"In preparing definitions and design guidelines within the aquatic domain with the intent to design unique exertion games that facilitate full-bodied play experiences we looked at the issue of Narcosis as one example of a complexity that is not normally considered in parallel land-based exertion games." Pell & Mueller, 2013

  • IE'13 Pell & Mueller Slide 1
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Slides from 'Designing for Depth: Underwater Play' presentation by Sarah Jane Pell & Floyd Mueller, at The 9th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment: Matters of Life and Death, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia — Sep 30 - Oct 01, 2013.

IE '13 Proceedings, Article No. 24

Interactive Entertainment is Australasia’s longest running games and digital entertainment conference, and embodies the spread of disciplines which contribute to the field. IE welcomes computer scientists, designers, artists, technicians and academics across the spectrum. This year’s conference embraces some of the recent changes in games discourses both inside and outside the academy, and turns its attention to “Matters of Life and Death”. In a field concerned with entertainment, seriousness has hovered on the edges of discussion and helped us interpret technologies of leisure. If we reframe seriousness as ‘matters of life and death’, we can look again at the factors which impact computer games and other interactive entertainment. Questions emerge from this framing and from recent discussions such as: How do we map changes in the economic environment of games? How do designers deal with increasingly mobile, active, tactile play forms? How do scientists evaluate and build for diversifying platforms? How can we study the manufacturing, resourcing and logistics of games distribution – especially when those systems are largely digital?

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