Transmission 15.3: THE PALINDROME'S DYNAMICS
This is a newsletter for designers and time travel facilitators. It has insights about the speculative practice & tools we use in our method that they could try as well. Today we energize Palindrome.
PALINDROME is, depending on the order in which you use it, a speculative design toolkit or a game of futures. We are finally releasing the game this spring <3
The upcoming Transmissions series (15.1, .2, .3, .4, and .5) will each focus on a stage of the work we are doing towards the game’s first irl play on May 31st at the Danish Design Center.
The upcoming transmissions are:
15.1 Collect & Research (April 22nd) Transmitted! Get it here. 15.2 Narrative (May 6th) Transmitted! Get it here.
15.3 Dynamics (May 20th)
15.4 Object (June 3rd)
15.5 Outcome–Launch (updated to June 10th)
If Palindrome’s narrative is about holding gratitude as our primary emotion, Dynamics are about observation and awe.
We play too, “presenting objects and facilitating actions that represent inner issues thus enabling players to act on those issues in a meaningful way” (x), and we chose observation and awe as the doors that open that meaningful play.
Dynamics in Palindrome are connected to two main elements of the game: a puzzle, and to storyworld.
Relation to puzzle
The story, as we have outlined it in past transmissions, is a found artifact that is deconstructed; deconstruction means to imagine what this artifact is about. Now we imagine all the steps to all the playing happening during Palindrome.
Nomic, Dispatches & Jejune are inspirations; our The Writer’s Game and Life: A User's Manual helps with a constrained meandering (see Knight's graph); the elevator game and symbolic enactment support and connect our creation.
Dynamics are, finally, compared against realizations, which so far are:
The player has amazing things inside (dark and light), and they’re all accepted. Learning how to make stories is an important skill.
Play feels good and is helpful. The world is beautiful. Stories can be made with what’s around and with feelings.
The player can see an answer to the reason they’re playing in the first place. Player knows at least one thing they could do. The gameflow is actually a learnt process.
One important element of dynamics is our Gameflow–Map
Palindrome players will receive a gameflow–map that will push the dynamics and meandering narrative forward. Each activity includes a moment to introspect and leave a breadcrumb.
Inspired by Jim Rosenberg’s Diagrams, each player can make sense of their own meandering with minimal visual guides provided by the game.
Also, the gameflow stretches out to cover details of the individual steps. Here are some prototypes:
Relation to storyworld
Whenever we found ourselves having trouble completing links between dynamics and the feelings supporting them, we used world-building as an approach to see open problems from another side.
Since the world is only accessible when playing the game (that content only exists from the players’ POV), we are listing some of the exercises we followed to world-build Palindrome and to stay in that world during the weeks of design:
Meditating on gratitude, 15 minutes at a time
Observing nature from every window and walk possible
Playing association games
Playing with AI
Writing the 19 postcards which contain the 19 artifacts that are possible to deconstruct using Palindrome in this first edition.
And with this, we are closing design! Now we’re moving straight into physical production. The next transmission, in two weeks, will tell you about Object.
TAKEAWAY / PLAY AT THIS STAGE
Go to this UBUWEB page,
Pick a poster that catches your attention and that seduces your wit. This poster is a message from someone and somewhere else.
Print your chosen poster and cut it in three pieces. Write these words behind each piece: WHO? – FROM WHEN? – WHY ME?
Find about 30 minutes to play uninterruptedly, then
Find a staircase or elevator and place yourself at the bottom level.
In each step or floor you go up, you will attempt to answer the questions behind your poster–message using different media.
For instance, let’s say you pick the piece that says ‘Who?’. Your task, then, is to imagine who sent you this message.
Perhaps you can think of a list of people you usually talk to; perhaps you go through your messaging app, pick the 5 people you message the most, and imagine which of those people could be sending you this. Perhaps you call them and ask them directly, the mystery is just too much! Once you have an idea of who, perhaps you decide to take a screenshot of the chosen person’s avatar and save that image.
Then you move onto the next step or floor: ‘From when could they have sent this to me?’ Maybe an audio file is a good format to explore this quest(ion)? Maybe you imagine what “they” listen to while having lunch? Perhaps you get a clue of Where they are?!
Lastly, ‘Why me?’ might require that you film yourself thinking, analyzing, going through your phone, through your most recent captures, figuring out what’s so endearing about you lately. Maybe they’re watching you.
What happens next, we couldn’t say, we’d have to play a full game :D
DURING THIS STAGE <3
The endless screens with the accompanying release of DIY/rapid prototyping.
Note on these transmissions:
The Time Travel Transmissions will transmit elsewhere between July and September– they will be getting ready to run–host a monthly hybrid Palindrome game that will stretch for 4 months or so. Every recipient here will be able to participate. More soon <3