.: Research :.
Our group started out studying bottled water: how it is marketed, packaged and its impact on the environment. Following that, the irony between copy and reality, which hides aspects of our interaction with water began to interest me. Thus, subsequent research pursued this direction. As the project moved forward, the idea gradually evolved and distilled into this: how we treat water.
Man’s relationship with water is one where we are greatly dependent on water. It is one-sided relationship, really. But it’s weird that we don’t treat water that well… We prize clean water because it is essential for life. It is so important that history has recorded mankind fighting over ‘rights’ to this resource time and again. But we also misuse it, take it for granted, and pollute it. Deliberately.
Thus, this project tries to articulate the many relationships mankind has with water, via the perspective of water’s journey through different countries. It is presented in the form of a ‘choose-your-own-adventure-esque’ application. There are happy endings, sad endings, and a few with lingering uncertainties, to prompt us to critically evaluate our relationship with water.
.: The Project :.
The first section of this post will discuss the final deliverables. The process will be included at the end. If you aren’t a huge fan of words, browse the gallery 🙂
The main deliverable is a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ application. The attractiveness of choose-your-own-adventure style stories/games is that the reader makes choices that decide the progression of the narrative. The ending achieved is dependent on the nature of the reader’s choices.
For the purpose of provoking critical thought of our present relationship with water, all story-lines are based on real-world issues. With Professor Nanci’s knowledge and guidance, we narrowed it down to 6 main areas: Malaysia, Singapore, China, UK, America and Africa (not a country, but many nations on this continent face very similar issues regarding water). However, within the project time frame, I could only do 3 (and code only 2) ;-;
The final 3 (China, Africa and America) were selected based on the breadth/type of water stories they had, which appears to be closely connected to the level of development as well. As of now, all illustrations are completed, but only the first 2 have been coded into the application.
If you’d like to try the application, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/dropletsjourney
Advertisment & Plushie
As supplements to the main application, the advertisement, well, advertises the application. It is square format and runs for about 15s. The plushie is in Droplet’s image, measuring 46x50cm. The plushie is made to be cuddled and loved. Treat it with care 🙂
On another note,
The rain falls outside my window as I type this. How fitting.
I wonder where Droplet has landed now. What sort of adventure will it encounter?
.: Process :.
A flair for the dramatic,
Beginner coding abilities,
And a few pairs of eyebags to tide the day(s) by
In terms of character design, Droplet was designed to appeal to people’s protective instincts 😉 it appears to be working…? Also, the other characters are also not created to ‘bad’, they have no knowledge of (or agency over) their effect on others. It should be observed that this is the premise which the stories are built upon: man is often the one who has agency, and is also the one to benefit, or suffer, from the state of water, which is affected by our choices and actions. This is why Droplet has no hands; no agency. Also, Droplet is naive and innocent, which is why it is so helpless against the perils of the world (and why the player has to make the right choices to help it!)
Before getting to the meat of things, Prof Nanci had me do a user experience prototype, so as to gauge the duration and detail for the story lines. This was a really helpful process!! I got to storyboard (kinda) and try it out on people (hurhur) without having to code.
But since one of my recent goals is to learn to code, I tried my hand at it for this project! I’m super delighted that the code actually works! Okay, honestly, it’s quite a simple code (though tedious), but to beginner me, I get very confused with all the lines and stuff. Really thankful for the ‘block’ system Code.org had that made things easier to understand. The loops/skips in some parts of the story, make me feel even more confuzzled… learnt somethings though, so that’s good.
And a do-or-die attitude :p
It was my first time using Adobe AfterEffects. An interesting experience, and could still be improved on. But my primary focus was on the application, so the ad didn’t receive as much attention. The purpose was simply to advertise the application, and give users some idea about what the application is about.
1/2 metre of soft blue cloth,
Ruined fabric pencil,
Helpful neighbour who has sewing machine,
And a set of numb fingers
Another reason why the ad was less loved is because of the plushie 😉 I made prototypes of varying sizes, and it more than doubled in size each time. So the final plushie is the size it is (46x50cm). It should sit pretty comfortably in your lap and still be nice to hug. Went shopping for materials with Christy (see her post here!) hehe it was great fun! We had to conduct #facetest to evaluate the suitability of cloth for our plushies.
This was a very demanding project. I was far too ambitious at the start ;-; it’s a real pity the application isn’t complete yet. However, I did learn a lot from this. Knowing my limits for one, dabbling in a few new skills (coding and aftereffects) as well as an increased awareness of our impact on the environment ;-; sometimes, ignorance is bliss, other times, not so much.