The Designing Social Networks module focuses on teaching the process and steps involved with creating SNS technology. The itinerary of the course included researching potential communities surrounding a certain craft and design discipline and this is what was first explored in the module.
To complete the assigned brief, we were asked to work in groups of 3 and to begin brainstorming different craft and design elements such as printmaking, street art, game design and character design to define our research areas - areas we'd be interested in finding more information about. Game design became our agreed upon discipline, since we felt that character design was too specific, when the point of this exercise was to find a broad discipline.
The next part of the exercise was to list the activities that were involved with game design, in order to find any specific activities that could be the centre of a niche community. Activities that stemmed out of this included, once again, character design, story/plot writing, the map design, considering what textures to use and the actual programming of the game itself. We were asked to choose one of these activities and delve deeper into it. This time, we choose character design: this is a discipline that has improved and changed over the years in games due to advances in technology. We felt this would be an interesting approach to the next exercise.
For the next exercise, we split the task into two columns. We were asked what variables affect our chosen discipline - in this case character design - and what else might our discipline might affect. For this task, we included character design in animation, as to not just limit our research and to include both of our interests (in my case, character design in games and my partner's interest in game design in animation.)
What affects character design?
- Style of certain games/movies
- Speech - voice of character
- Project briefs - specific needs
- Type of media (games, cartoon, animated film)
Effects character design has elsewhere?
- Tone of the plot/personality of the character
- Set design
- Target audience, makes the character appeal to players or viewers
- Animation, how the character moves
The fourth and final task of the workshop involved selecting one of the variables we had come up with in the previous exercise. For this, we chose voice acting and speech of the character and we were asked to think of any information that people would use SNS technology to find out through communities. For example, a person may want to find out about a specific voice actor and their filmography. They may also want to enquire about whether or not this person is well known and new on the scene. This exercise was the most challenging out of the four, requiring a lot more thought. In hindsight, I found it a useful exercise to help create concepts for specific social media sites; in this case it helped visualise concepts for a site based on voice acting and how to get involved in this process. While in the end, we did not continue with voice acting and instead returned back to character design as a whole as our chosen concept, it was useful for when we began research into character design to create our powerpoint presentations.