This course teaches how to explore technologies for their potential in regards to play.
Play Lab both explores the knowledge required to create new concepts for cutting-edge commercial technologies, and proposes new methods and paradigms for developing content for those platforms.
PlayLab is a course that allows students to think while making, and make while thinking, exclusively focused in the challenges of new and emerging commercial digital technologies.
This course is designed to prepare students to conceptualize and develop innovative forms of interaction with new and emerging commercial technologies.
Students should notice that this is not a game design course.
PlayLab is a studio-based course focused on exploring the design space of emerging technologies from the perspective of play. By combining theory from game design, interaction design, philosophy of technology, and media theory, PlayLab both explores the knowledge required to create new concepts for cutting-edge commercial technologies, and proposes new methods and paradigms for developing content for those platforms.
In 2018, these technologies will be AR and VR, Bluetooth Beacons, and AI-powered Voice Assistants. We will be using ARKit and/or ARCore, iBeacons and/or Eddystone, and the Google Assistant SDK and/or Mycroft as platforms (students might select other platforms in certain cases, to be discussed with the course manager).
PlayLab introduces students to the method of Critical Technical Practice (Agre, 1997). The course introduces students to relevant theory for the exploration of play design as a method for creating interactive experiences with new and emerging technologies. At the same time, PlayLab is a practical course in which students develop four prototypes that explore both the theory and the material properties of the selected technologies.
Formal prerequisitesPlayLab is not a course about game design. Therefore, students are not required to have passed any course on game design. In general, the course have no prerequisites. It is an advantage if students are familiar with design methods and theories. Technical skills are not a requirement, but since this is a studio-based course, development skills are welcome.
Intended learning outcomes
After the course, the student should be able to:
- Analyze the design space of new and emerging technologies, as well as their technological possibilities and limits.
- Describe the different perspectives that play provides as a design perspective.
- Explore the playful possibilities of new and emerging commercial technologies
- Design and develop new play experiences and concepts tailored for new and emerging commercial technologies.
The course is structured around a combination of lectures, workshops, student-driven seminars, and lab sessions. These learning activities are themselves structured around the production of 3 prototypes. Lectures are classic, teacher-driven lectures, in which students are presented with the main theoretical concepts of the course. Workshops are sessions scheduled to introduce and explore the technologies selected for the course. Student-driven seminars are mandatory activities in which students, in groups, read and prepare a presentation of a part of the course literature, for class discussion (all students will have to prepare at least one seminar). Lab sessions are scheduled so students can have time to develop their prototypes, and receive feedback from the course manager. Students will have between 3 and 6 weeks to produce each prototype. Besides the lab sessions, the course has been designed so students will have time for development after each lecture and seminar. Workshops will be used to help students brainstorm and come up with the concepts for the course.
The course structure is as follows (each week has 2 teaching days)
Prototype 1: Designing for Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
Week 1: Lecture, Workshop
Week 2: Lecture, Seminar
Week 3: Lab sessions
Week 4: Lab sessions
Prototype 2: Designing for Voice Assistants
Week 5: Workshop (only 1)
Week 5: Lecture
Week 6: Lecture, Seminar
Week 7: Lab sessions
Week 8: Lecture, Seminar
Prototype 3: Student-proposed final project
Week 9: Workshop (only 1)
Week 9: Lecture
Week 10: Lab sessions
Week 11: Lectures
Weeks 12-14: Lab sessions
In total, the course has 8 lectures, 3 workshops, 3 seminars, and 11 Lab Sessions. In each seminar, students will have 15-30 minutes to present some of the readings of the course. This presentation will then lead to a class discussion of those ideas, led by the course manager. The goal with the seminars is double: to let students practice their academic, critical reading skills, and to allow for the students to present and discuss the topics they find more relevant from the course literature.
Mandatory activitiesStudents who take PlayLab will have to prepare at least one a seminar in which they present two of the readings for the course. Participation in the seminars is also mandatory.
The student will receive the grade NA (not approved) at the ordinary exam, if the mandatory activities are not approved and the student will use an exam attempt.
The course literature is published in the course page in LearnIT.
Ordinary examExam type:
C: Submission of written work, external (7-trinsskala)
CG: Submission of written work for groups. As with all exams, a grading foundation must be established to make individual grading possible. You must clearly identify which parts of the work submitted you are responsible for.
For the exam, students submit a portfolio with the 4 prototypes developed in groups during the course. A group consists of 2-4 students. Together with the prototypes, students hand in an individual reflection on each prototype. That reflection is a text no longer than 3000 words in total, in which students analyze their own work using the course contents.