Creating new sports

Aesthletics: Game Designers Should Create More New Sports (from Wired)

It naturally got me thinking about the whole Toccer/Tennis Polo deal and of course, it’s bastard cousin, Viperball. See, what’s funny here is. Both games spawned from the same egg, but they are COMPLETELY different. The latter has all of the elements of video game insanity and probably needs to be paired down, refined or at least, exposed somewhere where there are a lot more people. How it was spawned actually makes a ton of sense and would probably work okay.

Toccer is a more subtle sport that would probably put you in mind of something European. (Maybe that’s why my friends here always tell me that I’m more European to them…) But it’s not nearly as boring as soccer is. (And this coming from the guy who actually watches the EPL from time to time now..)

It’s hard to do stuff like this in places without a critical mass of people. Because it’s easy to convince city people to do stuff. You put up a few flyers and call it a day and they arrive. But when you’ve got very few to choose from, it’s a lot harder to pull that off organically.

During the years when Toccer first got started, I was really aware of all of the random sports that continued to crop up left and right. It was an interesting time and I’ve developed some interesting ideas (to me) about the development of sports and such alike. Most of it has to do with the fact that we’ve just given up innovating for the most part. But I think that’s what happens when otherwise innocent games played by children or young men (back in the day), become the fare of corporate suits attempting to convince us that we don’t need anything other than whatever we see on the idiot box.

Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto For Growth

Trolling old emails, I found a link to this that I sent to someone else last year. I liked it then by and large and still do now. Even if all aren’t applicable, it’s a nice framework for a paradigm shift. It’s for a design firm, but there are things in here I like. The challenge is incorporating your own ideas and finding what works in your field and/or your life.

An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Written in 1998, the Incomplete Manifesto is an articulation of statements that exemplify Bruce Mau’s beliefs, motivations and strategies. It also articulates how the BMD studio works.
1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

7. Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

8. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

10. Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

12. Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

13. Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

14. Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

17. ____________________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

18. Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.

19. Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.
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When the mockups arrive

I think this is the other thing you come to realize quickly. Using outside developers means you’ll never anyone who will really be able to capture the pulse of your institution — especially at a smaller, low-budget school — because they don’t have the time. They’re going to cut corners, they’ll do generic things and try to make your school fit into them.

I get that. But it doesn’t mean we’re happy.

So if you’re the forward-thinking web guru, you’re already thinking to yourself, “this is okay for now. But I’m already thinking about our next redesign officially. Because this is underwhelming to me.” But when you’ve spent too many years in first gear, trying to go from first to fourth isn’t advisable even if you want to.

Once I got that through my head, it was easier to evangelize the benefits of what we were getting. And lucky for me, there weren’t too many gripes about it. In this case, I kept the committee small. Just the PR/Marketing office, the President (since we report to him), some IT folks and an ad-hoc committee created mostly to help us legitimize a lot of the web decisions which were already being made for the larger community to take the heat off of more than a few people.

This process was actually relatively easy. Because despite the changes we ultimately made, they didn’t deviate much from the final design we have now.  From the mockup phase to the development phase on their side, is truly the most painful part of the process. Because you spend a whole lot of time in neutral…