PROJECT

PROJECT PAGE FOR THE BRAINMIND RESIDENCY

Hello! This is where I am collecting together some materials to show that I at least have some video game making experience. I know its weird to apply to make a game and to show a bunch of poems instead, but I promise there is an underlying logic!

LINKS

IMAGES

I have been working in Godot and using Dialogic to add text.
A lot of this I have learned from a tutorial by Heartbeast on Youtube
The current progress on the clicker game.

In order to better learn Godot, I started making a clicker game, since clicker games are one of the easiest kind of games that you can make. I thought it would be poignant to make one where you spend money instead of generate it. The game still needs a lot of work, but it fits all of the basic definitions of a clicker game, this one continues until you run out of money. Eventually I want to make it have some relevant buttons to spend money in amazon themed ways. The general idea is to make it so you spend money in ways that are implied to dissatisfy besos (and at the same time represent a moral/social good) and as you spend the money his face slowly grows more dissatisfied and he turns red as his fortune is reappropriated.

TEXT FROM MY APPLICATION

I want to make a videogame that is poetry.
Many games have elements of poetry in them, and may be about poetry/ have that poetry as an important story element (a perfect example is Dear Esther) but dont go as far as to make the experience of playing the game itself an act of poetry. This is a difficult and elusive concept to explain, but the majority of poetry in games is an element of the gameplay or the game is about poetry.

A game that is poetry is more like an interactive poem, one where the player is forced into a poetic act or into a game where the poetry pervades the experience in a more robust way. This is achieved by integrating the poetry into the experience, not just having it in the game as an object or element

Here are some ways I think this can be done-
All elements in the game are careful to convey meaning (or not) in a poetic way
Poetry both interacts and is integrated into as many elements in the game as possible
Examples of game elements as poetry-
The characters name is a poem, a leading text into every line they say
the inventory is a poem, modified by the items present
Interactions are poetic elements
Unavoidable ways of modifying meaning via interaction with a world.

As for what a final game would look like, I don’t know the answer to that. What I want to work on is a big experiment, one where many of the outcomes are unknown.

Structure-
I want the game to be about something I call the incognative. The incognative in this context is meaning out-of-control, it is communication where cohesive or definitive interpretation becomes impossible. This idea is closely associated with my experiences of 3 major neurodivergent aspects of myself- Autism, Touretts syndrome, and obsessive and repetitive behavior.

Major themes-
Failure of communication, being unable to understand
Extreme indirectness, to the point of not understanding
The use of overwhelming and chaotic communication that is too much to be understood

The breakdown of structure in communication
Extreme repetition and patterns
The familiar made strange
The communication of nonsense
Communication without intended meaning

Remember this is an experiment, one excepting of idea that may and may not work, seemingly illogical attempts at creating a new experience.

I have made several prior attempts at Poetry integrated into a genre it is not normally associated with.
The main example of importance is a project I did called Sticky Melon. In this project I integrated poetry into web design. The internet is a perfect place to integrate poetry but has chronically been limited by the overarching structures of websites. I will link to a couple of examples of my work attempting to copy the interface of twitter desktop (circa 2018) and a mobile based example that is fairly incognitive and gets at many of the experiences I have with being unable to understand human centric communication.

Planned schedule-

Month 1
Rapid learning of Godot from online tutorials, community forums and paid game making tutorials
Gain an understanding of the limitations of making a game, as well as gaining a sense of how quickly a game can be made.
Minimum of 10 hours per week working directly on the game, either programming or making assets.
Use these newly developed skills to create one or more short game demos, elaborating in various ways the ideas behind a game that is poetry. This is the experiment stage to see what can work.

Month 2
Release one or more game demos that begin to construct my ideas around poetry gameplay, send it out for community feedback
Taking the knowledge that I have learned in the first month, and the feedback that is giving, outline ideas for further game development.
Continue the minimum of 10 hours a week making a game.
Working with greater knowledge of making games, feedback, and mentorship, figure out what is possible under the time constraints to be released in ~1 ½ months time.
Either expanding a demo or starting from fresh begin work on a final game.

Month 3
Continue constructing and refining a final game.
Work with mentorship to begin finalizing the game ideas past the rough outline. Gain a sense of what can be completed under my knowledge and time limits.
Working a minimum of 10 hours a week get as far as possible towards a finished game.
At the end of the month release what has been made, hopefully in a presentably complete form.

Diversity Statement-
As a queer and neurodivergent artist I never fit in with the educational system surrounding STEM and programming. I think a major part of my decision to pursue art as a career is related to this, It was a far more friendly genre in school to people who have unusual ways of thinking and seeing the world. This leaves me in a position today where I am a skilled visual artist who works in physical mediums, but I have very limited knowledge surrounding the tech side of these skills. Throughout my high school and college days the idea of taking a programming course seemed absolutely foolish, it simply wasn’t an environment where I thought I would be respected and far from one where I would have anything in common with others.

2020-2021 has been an interesting physiological experience for me (as I am sure it is for almost everyone). I have seen my neurodivergent characteristics become significantly more pronounced then ever before. In autism there is a term called masking, it is the ability for someone to synthetically understand and mimic the social norms in order to ‘mask’ or disguise their neurodivergent characteristics. This is a fundamental skill for people with autism to pass as non-autistic in social situations. I have long been skilled at masking, and throughout 2020, largely from isolation and only interacting with my closest, also neurodivergent friends, I suddenly found it next to impossible to mask myself anymore. This set into a series of events of me becoming much more conscious of what I have been doing for years and a sudden sense that it is entirely a wrong way of presenting myself, one that his hindered my own happiness and emotional progress in life.

My art has long presented my traits in a positive light, often highlighted by the whimsy of my obsessive interest in the naturalistic world. I have recently been interested in presenting my experiences around language and communication as a major theme in my art. Sticky melon is a project has this as a major theme, as explained above as incognitive poetry. A lot of the point of this interest in meaning is that it is one of the most frequent things to brake down when I experience the world and the many ways I find myself incapable of good communication with the neurotypical world.

I have long wanted to make a video game, but for me the idea was always one where it abstractly was like making art. The idea of learning a computer language and programming a game made this much less appealing to me. There has been a major change in this thinking for me, earlier this year, I discovered a game making software called Godot. The community surrounding this software and the kinds of games being made on it surprised me greatly. I have started learning the software and associated programming language and I have had more success then I could have ever imagined. I have managed to follow through several tutorials able to make a functioning game but currently have difficulty bringing the games further then where the lessons end off. In order to get further on this I will have to more robustly learn the theory and programming language behind making games.

Closing Message-
I am overwhelmingly excited to see the outcomes of this residency, I may write like I am a confident applicant but like many, this is a front for my underlying uncertainty about my ideas. I am a big fan of the Hbomberguy videos and something about my familiarity with your themes gave me a huge boost of confidence applying for this residency. I hope that similar feelings bring out some amazing other minds who would not normally apply to a residency attached to a more formal institution. Whoever you pick I know the opportunity will go to the right place and that some incredible new art will be made because of your generosity.

All the best,

~Wesley