Visualized Simulations as Communication Media

Is it possible to get so good at video game creation software that you can quickly create shareable media to communicate complex ideas to other people? What form does the shareable media take?

Part of the excitement of video games is being able to see and interact with things I never would have imagined. It is absolutely surreal to have seen what I’ve seen. Video games are a triumph of human storytelling. This storytelling skill can be used in much broader contexts than they are today.

Interactivity is a piece that separates video games from movies, television or books. Visualizations allow for complex ideas to be shared with others. Interactive visualizations may be the ultimate way of compressing even more complex ideas and then sharing with others.

So why don’t we see more interactive visualizations built for the purpose of communicating with others? I think it’s a combination of two large reasons.

The first large reason is the high skill bar one or a team has to overcome to create video games. Art design, interactive design, story design, program design captures some of the skill required. It takes a very long time to develop these skills.

The second large reason is people haven’t really thought to apply it to a target domain. Video games is new media and the mass amateurization of video game creation software is incredibly young. How many people have these skills acquired? How many people are in positions to introduce something novel?

I believe there is massive potential energy ready to explode into kinetic energy when a team creates a “best fit” interactive visualization that is shared publicly. I imagine this will be shared through a wildly popular conference talk that isn’t a video game conference. I imagine, too, that this will cause video game creation skills will be more widely distributed across industries instead of largely being locked up in the entertainment industry.

The question is “how quick is quick enough?” That is a fantastic question. My answer is “one day to one week.” How much can you do in that time? How much can I?

What form will the interactive media take? The web seems like the most obvious way of distribution because sharing a URL is well understood, so a web based video game build is the best fit. A requirement should be to play from your phone, laptop, or desktop. Since most people associate “video games” with play but not communication, I think wherever the interactive media is distributed should emphasize the communication benefit.

This captures a piece of my contemplation on this subject. What are your thoughts? I would love to see your comments!

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