AbstractThis course teaches how to explore technologies for their potential in regards to play.
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. This course explores new and emerging technologies from a play design perspective, while engaging with interaction design theory, philosophy of technology, and science and technology studies. Throughout the course students explore the design challenges and opportunities that arise with new digital technology. A central part of the work is the development of that explore future forms of digital play. This is a course about finding the play element in cutting-edge technology.
In 2021, these technologies will be AR, AI-powered Voice Assistants, and OpenAI’s GTP-2 text generator. We will be using ARKit and/or ARCore, the Web Speech API, and a selection of Colaboratory Notebooks and other platforms. Prospective students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these technologies before the course starts.
The Web Speech will be introduced using this tutorial: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Web_Speech_API/Using_the_Web_Speech_API
GPT-2 will be introduced using this tutorial as a starting point: https://minimaxir.com/2019/09/howto-gpt2/
PlayLab introduces students to the method of Critical Technical Practice (Agre, 1997). The course presents students with 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 one proof-of-concept and one fully-fledged prototype that explore both the theory and the material properties of the selected technologies. Students can choose which technology to use for each of these requirements.
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.
PlayLab is not a course about game design. Therefore, students are not required to have passed any course on game design. In general, the course has 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 insights 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.
- Apply advanced concepts in play theory to the literature and practice of design
- Understand advanced concepts in play theory as applicable to the analysis of digital playful technologies
The course literature is published in the course page in LearnIT.
Student Activity BudgetEstimated distribution of learning activities for the typical student
- Preparation for lectures and exercises: 20%
- Lectures: 20%
- Assignments: 60%
Ordinary examExam type:
C: Submission of written work, External (7-point scale)
C1G: Submission of written work for groups
For the exam, students submit a portfolio with the prototypes developed in groups during the course.
Together with the prototypes, students hand in an individual reflection on each prototype. That reflection is a text no longer than 5000 words in total, in which students analyze their own work using the course contents, with a focus on applying the method of critical technical practice.
Group and individual
- A group consists of 2-4 students.