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Saturday, August 13, 2022

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Thesis Statement - Video games have often been called violent, exciting and fun. Why not for relaxation and mental wellness? WITH Further development in video game design and deeper understanding in the autism spectrum, video gameS can be used for positive tools and mental wellness.

Base Argument - Video Games are Violent and Addicting. How can developers create a video game based on relaxation and mindfulness? This type of development can assist in further development and understanding of Aspergers Spectrum Disorder.

Abstract-  The goal of this project is to create a game(CREATED) based solely on relaxing the mind and mood. This will separate itself from a “casual,” game, as this will be intentional in its objective. The idea of relaxing with a game is not new, but the concept of a game built for relaxation. These are examples from current productions reflect common traits seen in minds with AS, and therefore can be used to define and separate of what qualifies this new Genre - Mental Wellness

  1. Argument
    1. Violence in Games
      1. Health vs 
      2. Marketability
    2. Addictive Qualities in Games
      1. Designed by Choice
      2. Predispositions
  2. Creative Therapies
    1. Research from Music Therapy
    2. Research Art/Color Therapy
  3. Game design for Mindfulness   
    1. Research Games and apps already built for wellness or social interaction, and what they have done.
    2. What were their approaches (interview questions)   
  4. Justify a new genre 
    1. Goals to help define new methods of measuring anxiety and relaxation, creating an awareness of what current design trends offer, while still remaining the objectives set towards mental wellness
    2. Discover new research methods and definitions for these mental states 
  5. New guidelines for future development
    1. As these design definitions are developed, researchers can tap into their data to help define the science.
    2. Both groups can support each other
  6. Goals and Production Summary
    1.  
  7. Appendices
    1. Terms from the  Game Industry
    2. Terms from Creative Therapies
    3. Terms about Asperger Spectrum Disorder
    4. Successful Devs and Concepts

The goal is to take the research from how Music and Color Therapy affects people dealing with neurological challenges, and how these aspects can be tied into game design in a way to create a new game genre.

The visual component can be used as a conceptual tool which measures color, music tempo, and game speed to help players find a relaxing game play style. The player will be given options during gameplay which will affect these three design systems while tracking the player choices. This data will be shared in the hopes of finding the definition of what makes a relaxing gameplay mechanic for the player. 

My visual component is designed to  allow for players to choose the amount of stimulation in the visual, motion, and the focus of the game objectives.

The design of the visual component is focused around three essential elements based on the research and studies which are color movement and focus based objectives. This is a simple lane runner that will offer players to collect pieces of notes to build a song structure. 

After the player collects a certain number of notes they will have created a loop which will continue to play as long as the players move along the track. As they collect the correct notes and start building their song loops, the tempo of the game will pick up moving the player faster along the track. Once a loop is created a player will be offered choices which can increase the amount of environment art, music tempo, game speed and the types of focus objectives.

The goal is to show how a game can still possess game-like qualities and still be used in a relaxing way, and help start developing a language for design systems which define this new genre, so as not to bury these titles within a general location like "Casual."

Testing concepts will be based upon the player's choices as they run through the game, whether they use more visual stimulation in the environment or less. What tempo choices are slower or faster whether the gameplay speed is slower or faster? All this data will be collected and will go in coordination with simple poll questions at the end of their gaming experience. 

With the actual overall goal to define what was more relaxing. Using these types of general starting points developers can start looking to build more exciting or even more relaxing video game concepts in order to create a more sustainable genre.

Use Testing to shape Rules for this game genre: 

  1. Time in game session is irrelevant to the goal of the game, but relevant to the player being able to adjust from the game to reality
  2. Life Skills
    1. Social interaction - defining methods communicating effectively in team settings.
    2. Focused problem solving - Breaking projects down into more manageable pieces, social or independent
    3. Developing tactics to reduce stress within self
  3. Readiness to “pick up and put down” - 
    1. games typically are based on "re-playability," they are built for addictive game play. It's in the marketing of the industry, but this is not needed for successful game play. Devs will need to make a choice to step away from thinking of sales and time on a game, and offer smaller DLC packages, not larger ones.
    2. The amount of time and intensity is a large factor in game design, and this genre must consider play time values. 
    3. This genre must consider how to allow players to leave the game and adjust to reality. This is a touch metric as games by nature are a release and separation from the real world. Game Time and Focus type goals can be put into smaller time frames.   
      1. Attention can be quantified with a sustained attention to response task
  4. Consultation with Spectrum experts
    1. Define with them testing and research patterns already in place for ADHD and AS
    2. Using their expert opinions to help make a case for the argument.
    3. What do Games already do which are positive and can be utilized or even developed further?’
      1. Zelda’s riding through the world
      2. Focused puzzle solving
      3. Breaking larger problems into smaller
  5. Conclusions
    1. Definitions based on testing and research
    2. How does this data stand up to the argument
    3. Where does this data go from here, and how can the industry apply it?