After much deliberation about how to handle the narrative element of my app I believe I am close to pivoting in a slightly new direction. Although I’ve identified suitable source material for a narrative, it isn’t really what I want to do at a personal-creative level. Although, I understand that in business apps, the user is of course the center of all design considerations; and in terms of the app’s features that will be the case; however, I am very attracted to the idea of approaching this app-game with some artistic license. One of my early desires, as a ‘creative’ prior to committing to the general direction of the app’s premise, was to be able to interact with the users, who I tend to describe as ‘participants’ in my ongoing thought processes.
Using a cloud based approach I would be able to bootstrap the story within the app and then using analytics to understand how people interact with the environment and the initial narrative premises. I can then introduce new elements of narrative blocks in a non linear way as well as prompts, hints, clues, personal and spatial interactions. This had also been my initial intention in the earlier phases of ideation.
I am thinking along the lines of a ‘Lynch’ or ‘Jean Luc Godard’ (my favorite French filmmaker) style narrative whereby things don’t necessarily happen in a linear sequence and can even been thrown in there to shake things up and above all allow the participant to direct, to some extent, the narrative themselves and ultimately formulate their own conclusions.
“Ainsi, peu à peu, le passé revient-il au présent,
à travers la mise en scène imaginaire d’une
expérience visuelle qui toujours sollicite plusieurs regards.”
Jean Luc Godard
“Thus, little by little, the past returns to the present, through the imaginary staging of a visual experience that always invites a few glances.”
Jean Luc Godard
I believe this approach can really work well for my app-game; not only does it free me up from the narrative payload upfront it makes the app-game a unique experience for each participant and an ongoing experience, too. I can use the many cloud based features of Google Firebase for a truly connected and cutting edge experience.
The town where I am piloting this has great wifi and 4G connectivity and some quick research into current mobile phone data usage has persuaded that this is not going to be restrictive in terms of accessibility either.
The average 4G user in France in 2019 consumed nearly 10GB per month. [https://www.servicesmobiles.fr/20-chiffres-sur-les-reseaux-mobiles-en-france-57558]
In my earlier journal articles I studied and spoke about how “choose your own story books” were in fact book-games, and how the interactive Netflix film, Bandersnatch is a movie-game. We all know what a video-game is. What I am building is an app-game. That is to say, it should fore-mostly look and feel like an app – applying UI and UX (User Experience) design. It will consume cloud based API’s that are typically designed for business or consumer apps. Yet, it will be an app that is to be played.
In my Agile Stories, I tend to describe my user persona as a ‘participant’ rather than a player. I am, however, unsure as to whether a user is a participant or a participant is a user.
But, this conundrum is okay to me. I’m influenced by my research into the boundaries between fiction and reality [https://journal.matwright.dev/2020/10/24/interactive-narrative-blurred-boundaries/]. I want my creative app to echo very much this idea of confused realities : past/present, inside/outside, real/fiction.
The general functionality, in terms of how the participant interacts with these boundaries remains the same as described in my proposal – A Conceptual Interative & Spatialised Narrative Design [https://journal.matwright.dev/2020/11/10/a-conceptual-interactive-spatialised-narrative-design-2/ & https://journal.matwright.dev/2020/11/08/a-conceptual-interactive-spatialised-narrative-design-1/]. Using immersive 360 imagery and film as well as Augmented Reality and Spatialised engagement.
Furthermore, the cloud based approach as opposed to a hard-coded approach build with everything hard-baked-in, allows me to take advantage of all the connected lifecycle tools and services offered by cloud web services like Google and Amazon. I can use Cloud Messaging to push realtime messages and content to my app’s users. I can create Funnels to help visualize how users move through and complete events within the app; study retention (how many users the app retains), and use this data to help predict how users will behave within the app. All of which corresponds both with the dissemination strategy for the app but also through the ability to interact with the users in a creative way – the data influences the ongoing introduction of new content, for example; based on the live and ongoing feedback from participants.
De la réécriture chez Herberto Helder et Jean-Luc Godard [http://debordements.fr/De-la-reecriture-chez-Herberto-Helder-et-Jean-Luc-Godard#nh26]
20 chiffres sur les réseaux mobiles en France (20 key stats for french mobile usage) [https://www.servicesmobiles.fr/20-chiffres-sur-les-reseaux-mobiles-en-france-57558]