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Friday, 28 October 2011

UnReality: Closing Statement

I am going to close this project with my conceptual statement from the portfolio hand-in.  I feel it sums up what I took away most from the project, and what I think it conceptually demonstrated best.  The journey itself went well and We all were pleased with the final outcome.

I wasn't really a major part of the technical aspects of the project, nor did I play a major role in the experience itself come time of the event, but thanks to my team-mates everything went smoothly. I would work with any one of you again in the future without question.

Good Run.  Hope our players had as much fun as we did.
"A detailed outline of why your group chose this reality including reflection on group dynamics, philosophical and artistic inspirations, theoretical frameworks utilised etc.

With our latest 'Unreality' project we were tasked with the creation of an alternate reality ‘journey’.

It became clear early on in the concept stages that as a group we were looking at producing a narrative which held our 'players' hands and guided them through our alternate reality. Immersion was going to be a key aspect of our journey, not only did we want to create a fundamental story, but we wanted to create the feel of an entire living breathing world behind it. We wanted to offer an 'experience', -one that was memorable and affected our players. As a group we wished above all else, to make our story believable, If we truly made our players forget that this was a work of fiction, we would have achieved our target of building a truly weighted alternate reality.

To this end we arrived at the concept of submerging players in a world that parallels our own, run by a totalitarian regime, and plagued by political unrest. Our core theme was the battle between obedience and free-will. We drew a lot of creative inspiration from similarly themed works of fiction such as George Orwell's novel '1984', and the movie 'Equilibrium' directed by Kurt Wimmer. In hindsight these contemporary works shone through our own narrative quite substantially, however when dealing with common themes such as 'theft of human 'emotion or creativity' or 'life under constant surveillance from a disembodied higher power, it was always going to be hard to steer entirely away from the aforementioned works of fiction.

This battle between free-will and obedience would be what drove the majority of the project. Once we were past the concept stages, developing this theme was the point of interest that kept us as a group moving forward in the same direction. Group members were strong in favor of having player choice involved in the project. Once talked over it was apparent that giving players the decision to choose right or wrong, good or bad would increase the interactivity of the journey but may not necessarily add to the level of immersion we all aimed for. Instead we found a happy medium, we offered opportunities to our players to change their path without giving them a fork in the road. Instead of implementing a black or white decision, we created a constant morally grey area for the players to dwell in for the best part of thirty minutes. It was this approach that posed the questions to our players -Are you in favor of going along with your orders from start to finish? Or are you prepared to risk consequence for what may be the better thing to do. Who are the 'good guys' and 'bad guys'in this situation? This was a decision that had no concrete answer, but the choice was there for players to make their own internal decision.

The notion of surveillance was also one that lent itself well to our framework, as it allowed us to impose on our players a feeling of anxiety. While they were being guided through their deceptive tour of the city we tried to demonstrate that they were being not only watched but analyzed. That they were being tested. By removing their control of the situation, and limiting the amount of information they were given in advance, we aimed to essentially confuse our players.

Confusion itself is a powerful tool when creating an alternate reality. Whilst treading the fine line between a structured lack of understanding, and complete discord, players we felt would be submerged in a survival situation. Nothing prompts drastic change (such as believing you have been transported to an alternate reality) like necessity. We realized that this confusion had the capacity to hinder our journey, but hope that it instead added to the experience.

Dealing with these themes, and the nature of violence in political unrest (We may have been affected ourselves by the current 'Occupy' protests) our journey took a slightly darker, more nefarious undertone than we had originally anticipated. This again hopefully supplemented our key goal of immersion' rather than distracting the players throughout the experience."

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