THE FOREST OF DREAMS IS ALIVE
Mio the virtual shaman is not going to happen. At least not for Game Design. In any case, if anyone wanted to see, here is the start of how it was going to be:
Hello there, I am Mio
I am a virtual character created to try to help. I am not a virtual therapist, this would imply that I have a formal preparation in the area of psychology. I would call myself an experiment.
See, I don’t know if I work. What I do know is that my creator is very serious about me. His goal was to create a character with the capacity to guide a thought process in order to help reframe an issue that is affecting your well-being in such a way that it either stops being destructive or as destructive to you or so that it becomes constructive.
I would say that you can think of whatever I say as if you were talking with a friend. When you go to a friend to talk about an issue which is affecting how you feel, you hope to get advice that will be helpful. You listen to what they say and then you go and think about it. If it makes sense, you might choose to go ahead and try it out. When you try it out, if it works for you, then you are happy and you might choose to adopt it for the future, if not, then we are not as happy and we stop using it and move on.
This is what I hope I can do. I’ll talk and try to guide you towards what I think can be helpful. You can then go think and feel and decide whether you want to try it out and see if it works for you.
Unlike your friend who might get a bit sad or angry if you choose to not do what he thinks is right, I am not going to get angry or sad, you see… I can’t.
I’ll say this, I think, that any issue we have, anything that is in some way affecting our well-being, arises from a perception of misalignment. We feel something is not working, something is causing us to feel the way we are feeling.
And this is important. It is important because what we feel is what is most true to us. If we feel sad, there is nothing that is false about this, we feel sad. If we feel happy, then we feel happy and there is nothing that is not true about this.
So when there is something that is affecting our well-being, we should address it, unless of course we don’t care about our well-being. In that case, we should continue to feel bad.
My presumption is that if you are here today, going through this experience, then you have at least one thing that is affecting how you feel. Something in life is not great and you want it to be.
And this makes sense, it is rational that we are concerned when things are not the way we would want them to be.
So my question to you is this, what is the cause of this thing that is bothering you? Do you know what the source of the trouble is? Perhaps you think you know or you are indeed sure you know. What you will often be told, is that you should attack the source of problems…
Before we try to attack the problem though, let’s talk about controlling our lives. Perhaps you will disagree with me but I think that any sensible human being wants to feel in control of their life. We want to have agency, a sense that we can control our life’s direction. Control gives us a sense of security, we feel that we can make choices about the future so it stops being as uncertain which brings us a feeling of well-being.
When we are told to attack a problem, we have to think about what this means and what the implication of this attack is. I am not too keen of the word attack, attack tends to be interpreted as destruction and we don’t really want to destroy… Or maybe we are very emotional about this issue and we really do want to destroy.
But destruction by its very nature is not constructive, it is the opposite. Construction often tends to happen after destruction but is it necessary to destroy in order to construct.
Whatever. So a different thing is happening. It is called the Forest of Dreams. It is a mix between my first and second project, its a branching interactive dream. It has a dialogue intended to feel loose and relaxed yet very serious. It uses a cool (blue, purple, green-blue) color palette to convey a feeling of relaxation and wander through the images. There is no happy or sad ending, there is just ending. I started the dialogue but it is a secret except for paolo if you want to see it. I also have some of the art, this was a test with Photoshop filters, but I think this is the visual style I will use (blurry light).
I want to create a virtual therapy experience that will try to help guide users with personal problems through the use of various techniques including cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology, perceptual change, sensory experiences, changing of perceived reality and others.
The therapist is virtual and will tell you that he is indeed a programmed software designed to feel human and that this is so that you, the user will actually allow yourself to believe the illusion that you are being treated by a real therapist. “Only if you believe this illusion, will you be able to trust me, the system, that I might indeed be able to help you with something that is troubling to you.” So by the time you enter the system, you know everything, your choice is whether or not you want to jump and take the leap of faith under the assumptions that one, it might not work and two, that whoever made this character, was a human so his thinking is projected in the character you are interacting with which makes this character not entirely non-human.
It uses the structure shared by many problems (cause, perception, wishes, reality, emotions, imagination, multi-perspectives, and others) to attempt to guide you into fixing the problem at least a little bit, it is designed to try to help the player deal with something real in a way that is very real and fake but more importantly, helpful.
It is a game that will hopefully be uplifting to the players, it will at least attempt to help you see a problem in a way that is not as stressful to you. Mio will be like anyone else, opinionated, it will have its own biases which will be my biases (I’ll try to not have them but it will have them). It tries to treat the user with as much respect and it tries to have a real conversation with you and tries to guide you in what it thinks is right.
“Hello there, I am Mio”
“Although I am a computer software, I have been programmed to feel human. You see, what I say I mean and I am created to try to help”
“I have this idea that I can help guide you through a problem you might be having if I choose the right questions and responses.”
“My belief, is that most issues arise from a similar place, a perception of misalignment”
Turn ON the sound 🙂
Download GameMaker file from here:
MODIFICATION: I wrote the below stuff on a bad mood. It changes how you read stuff, so that is why it’s kind of angry. Note to myself… being in a bad mood is bad, when in a bad mood, try to get out soon because happy mood is generally better than bad mood. whatever.
I read the article on Disneyland and the creation of Narrative Environments. What I think is that we should not go to games or to special places to have this immersive experiences. Why can’t we have these awesome experiences in our daily lives? Its completely backwards that we have to pay or to go to a special place to experience awesomeness. We can just make life awesome and then we wouldn’t need to go to a theme park for the purposes of experiencing fun.
Then I read Transit and I have the same thought, why did we even start to make video games, was it us seeking to experience more? The promise still feels unsatisfied. We choose to make things that will make things cooler or better and yet things still feel kind of dull. And why do we even seek this excitement, even in real life? Is it a thing that is natural to us or is it a weird desire we developed over the years because something went in a way that was not the best?
em is a game inside the mind.
The Garden of Forking Paths
As I read this portion of the story, I became more immersed in it. Partly, I think this story achieves this because it narrates the story in such a way that it was easy to identify with the character, he had the desire to share the information with others in order to help those like him. When he reads parts of his ancestors story, you go through his mind as he thinks and converses with Albert and interprets what the reason for the existence of this story is. You get to think as Hsi through the use of narrative as you are placed inside his head and you see how he tries to make sense of what exists in the world and what is being presented to him and you think and feel as he does.
Computer Lib/Dream Machine
I did not get to read the full document but I got a good chunk of it. The idea that when we build pieces of technology we should be building our dreams is very appealing to me. The things we make should be meaningful to us. Seeing the stage in which computers are in today, they have evidently changed to become more friendly and easy to use. It is interesting to me that these designs might have been influenced by the dreams of Ted Nelson and so many others. I share this video which I saw over the Summer about the things we build and the power we should have to create them not to the limits of technicalities but to the limits of our imagination http://vimeo.com/34017777
An interactive experience which aims to serve as a vessel for the user into his own mind in order to experience it in a different way than usual. I am interested in creating an experience that will give me the illusion of traveling into myself, hopefully I can give any user this experience. The story is not about events occurring so much as it is about describing the sensory characteristics of an imagined environment. My wish is to describe something which is defined loosely enough so that people can fill it with their own constructs but at the same time have a similar sensory experience to that of other users. I am interested in studying how the story affects the emotional state of players. There will be certain ambient conditions and perhaps even a series of steps/ritual before starting to read the story, the purpose of these will be to have the user enter an ideal state of perception and openness to feel the story. I try to avoid talking about things I want people to stop perceiving, like time for example. I also attempt to make the descriptions come alive in such a way that they can be felt by people. The choice of words I use needs to be particularly careful so that they can generate the right feelings in the users. Progressively, the story moves from more concrete to more abstract.
The vast dark ocean blue under the black sky, you can feel the dark blue as it embodies your being… The cool temperature inside the cave where light has never been. You cannot see well, it is too dark to know. The cool underwater which allows you to feel its internal currents as they go through your physical body. You allow yourself to leave it, to immerse yourself in the alternative, the one where it is dark and blue and your heart is cool and your spirit is free. Where the sounds are of life, pure and absolute.
– Experience what awaits further. I have opened my heart to live fully.
– Internal forces have not aligned for me to be able to feel as I need to yet.
A little orange fluffy ball of emotion named Kuku falls next to you. It makes some squeaky sounds and it rolls a little on it self while it appears it attempts to get itself into a consistent shape. It reacts to the user but it has no face to show emotion. The story revolves around you having to decide what to do with this ball. It doesn’t look at you or react in any other way but sound. The idea of the game is not so much to give the user choice, but rather to make the user feel in certain ways when he makes a choice. If he treats the ball well, he will receive love and will hopefully feel good about himself in the real world. If he doesn’t care for the fluffy ball, he will receive sad feelings which are contagious. The more involved he gets with Kuku, the more it will be able to influence his emotions.
What is this? It is right next to you. A little orange fluffy ball. It has a name tag, it says Kuku. It seems it needs to roll around for some reason, it looks like it is trying to get into a comfortable shape. Maybe you can help it by picking it up and trying to help it fit into its natural shape?
– My joy is profound when I see this creature, I will love it.
– I am too busy to help a living creature that needs my help.