Author Archives: Megan Madden

post-mortem: a silt choreography

Coming upon Open Studios this week, my game is at a point of playability. It is an environment. diamond hole 2 The final challenge  in building this game to be at a point for playability involved getting collision on the diamond portal to trigger the scene change needed to create the visual effect of the fog obscuring the landscape of the scene. (Slitting the encounter, as it were– the instruction provided on the main menu). While I had hope to have music prepared by this point, this will have to wait. Going forward: I plan to research on how to incorporate text and hypertext.  Look into different methods of incorporating into the code (Markhov chains or otherwise). The poem that underlies this work has to continue to permeate it. And other possibilities that I’m not even aware of yet! (Particle systems! As you said, Angela.) I will keep learning C#. And coding in general. As well as Unity. Moving in a slow/accelerating drift with this knowledge / this kind of work. I will keep incorporating what I’m thinking and how I’m learning to “listen”, thinking of gaming/the environments one can make in terms of proprioception/somatics and “listening”/perception itself in relation to pensive spectatorship/participatory spectatorship + stayng attentive to the political potential / tasks that go hand in hand with being in a position to construct an interactive dream with procedural rhetoric, keeping in mind that

“Listening is not a natural process inherent to our perception of the world but rather constructed by the conditions of the spaces and times that engulf us” Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Tape Echo) (Rubber Coated Steel, artist from Lebanon).

The challenge: To be always building and unbuilding.

project proposal: a silt choreography

photo-2 Early concept art for the game. This is an early sketch of how the text of the poem “A Silt Choreography” might read visually at the representational level.  MARCH 2016 CHECK-IN: post one for class Radical Game Design.  Building in Process I am still in an early stage of building this game, making sprites in Adobe, et cetera. Have found myself working slowly in Unity. So this is where I am: still filling the gap between what I know about the engine and being able to put this game together!


If it can be, I want this game to be an experiment in choreography. I’ve been thinking about movement as a form of incitement; as a political act. I’ve been thinking about how we perceive our own flight as a political optics, and hopefully also a haptic. I was interested in developing a game that careens towards a different kind of sight, one that encourages and facilitates a soft gaze, one that prioritizes / embodies a different kind of perception, undergirded with the rewards of moving towards something other than progress. I’m interested in eventually (and maybe not in this first attempt) building a game interface based on haptic (rather than representational/optical) cues.


This game is inspired by ideas in haptic visuality theory. This game posits a kind of movement (proprioceptic) which departs from something like a  formal gameplay style, which relies on the fixed subjectivity of the player (subject-object duality) to create flow. I want flow to be interrupted / disrupted in this game in order to break up the “given.” Influences right now are Apichatpong’s film Cemetery of Splendor (2016), in which Apitchatpong uses layering techniques of incongruous text and image to say a lot about the violence of representation as crafted by colonialism, neoliberalism, capital and the Western eye. I’m also looking a the Heavy Industries project / Young-Hae Chang. link to Heavy Industries. Thinking about how text can drive a game. I’m Mona Hatoum’s work Measures of Distance as an example of a film that employs this haptic rubbing. Also, Fred Moten’s recent body of work from his talk “The Blur and Breathe Books” which is making the rounds right now. link to the talk at NYU this past February. A game designer who already implements these kinds of techniques within the video game medium is Bill Viola, whose game ‘The Night Journey’ incorporates blurred vision and prioritizes slow movement within the game space.

Problem Space / Solution Space*

*From Will Wright
It is impossible to visualize the kind of world that we can live in, that we would like to live in. Actually: It is so hard to dream into other temporalities. It is so hard to try. This is not about making being seeming (Massumi) but about shifting away from the primacy of this imagining of what living should look like.

Asset List

This is what the playtest looked like: The animated asset list at this stage (left to right) runs 1) starfish / cowhand boot 2) bubble blower 3) diamond bubble portal 4) stars that turn into star trails/bleeding stars, 5) radio dial 6) series of screens 7) also *potentially* a dial to switch the screens like a channel remote (actually, this should probably be not in your control at all– in order to communicate a roving disembodied affective spatiality). On the non-animated end, the additional assets that I need to build in Adobe Animate CC/Unity are: worms, disco balls, power line, stars, the train, landscape, platform path, the water, shells, starfish.

Notes from playtest:

Discovered out that I’ll have to decide whether or not to build the game with poetry audio built in to Unity or whether I should build it with the music accompaniment. Both will end up in the game, but I think adding music with ProTools later might be a good idea. Discovered that the mechanics I had in mind are pretty simple: For example, a major part of the game involves a collision of bubbles with a diamond portal into another world. They are meant to disappear through the hole, and they will, because a collision will make them disappear. As an endless runner, it resembles pretty closely the game that we build in the tutorials. It will be different in the mechanic in that there will be a screen that is hooked up to the speed of the player. Still trying to figure out what building that connection will entail.

Paper game playtest. Signs read, left to right: “Representation/visibility: Life as a disco, life as a rodeo”; “Screens” (the beginning of discontinuity between what we ‘see’ as a player and what we hear.

project update: a silt choreography

  (early april) Game update: Skinning, actualities   What i’m working on now  I am working in Adobe Illustrate now on final art for the game, and the assets, as well as the flow of the game itself, is unfolding into a much more simplified version of the game I brought to workshop. All the of the conceptual underpinnings and the affect of the poem/the theory remains, but it’s a simpler project. There’s something very gratifying about this stripping away until what needs to be there is all that’s left (something we talked about happening in the stages of a game design project). Impending breakthroughs -discovering I should be fading in between scenes instead of trying to change the fabulation by learning collision/sorting layers in Unity. -Currently sourcing some atmosphere (sonic), and learning how to insert this.  Building progress / growth[s] (things that are getting easier) Found using Unity for my own game in another iteration of learning a lot more instructive– Working with this material is helping the building techniques stick better. It’s been interesting getting lost (from time to time) in different tutorials’ methods, paths through the engine/Monodevelop, and realizing where the possibility of precision/elegance is in writing code, and where messiness just doesn’t even make sense. Something about working with the programs while already knowing what your goals are helps to understand why choices are made when/where (and serves memory better). Above all, I’m finding the mindset needed to do this kind of work easier to access, and is changing my work process a lot. The anxiety around the process has left for the most part and that hardiness / understanding that it’s always going to be gritty (and when it works, really satisfying) is setting in.   To reiterate, elements still needed to integrate and figure out:
  1. sound
  2. c# methods for: the cover page, the collision reaction (the kill box), the activation of the screen, the holes in the screen, the insertion of audio, which will be layered sound and poetry. the feeling of pink stone.
  3. how to work like heavy industries