Games and Interaction design

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Does gaming have a lot to learn from Interactive Art Installations?

More great coverage from We Make Money Not Art, this time from Game Set and Match II. Interesting commentary, but I'm not sure that I necessarily agree with all of it. I think it assumes that just because games are not created that explore such outlandish methods of interaction (such as touch-sensitive coloured floor-grids) or unusual environments, that these are currently areas not being considered or explored by game developers. I think the final comment: "If the gaming industry doesn't pick up from this, in the end it will be left behind by the new art of gaming born from installation art and architectural design." is perhaps slightly naive, and doesnt really factor in the essential differences between an artistic endeavour and a commercial product for consoles. A lot of R&D is done exploring exactly the same ingredients on show (gestural interfaces, natural interfaces, even things like Philips game controlled ambient lighting), but its rare that such a product breaks through, due to the huge number of restrictions on creating a commerical product. Eyetoy is a great example of something that was developed as an R&D project by Richard Marks at SCEA R&D while artists such as mine-control were doing there own thing. The end Eyetoy product could not use background subtraction or color tracking (some of the most effective forms of computer vision for interaction) because you cannot guarantee lighting conditions in the living room of the average consumer, so it was only viable for the controlled conditions of gallery spaces (for now).


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