I do see art as experimentation. It’s fundamentally he process of combining things that have never been combined before. I’m fascinated by the process of translating ideas from one reality into another and ways that systems and structures can influence and guide new creation. To some extent art is an excuse. It’s a word that we use for yet-to-be-defined progress—necessary experiments in thought space which help us define and test limits. These are experiments that allow us to question, reflect, discover, and appreciate.
I suspect it doesn’t need any more complexity, and literally nobody is advocating it does. That’s why that the web is a big place sentiment is so useful. We talk about complexity, but it’s all opt-in. A wonderfully useful (and simple) website of a decade ago remains wonderfully useful and simple. Fortunately for all involved, the web, thus far, has taken compatibility quite seriously. Old websites don’t just break.
– Chris Coyier on complexity in web development
Master Leonardo da Vinci’s kitchen is a bedlam. Lord Ludovico Sforza told me that the effort of the last months had been to economize upon human labor, but now, instead of the twenty cooks the kitchens once employed, there are closer to two hundred persons milling in the area, and none that I could see cooking but all attending to the great devices that crowded up the floors and walls – and none of which seemed behaving in any manner useful or for which it was created. At one end a great waterwheel, driven by a raging waterfall, spewed and spattered forth its waters over all who passed beneath and made the floor a lake. Giant bellows, each twelve feet long, were suspended from the ceilings, hissing and roaring with intent to clear the fire smoke, but all they accoplished was to fan the flames. … And through this stricken area wandered horses and oxen … dragging Master Leondard’s floor-cleaning devices – performing their tasks valiantly, but also followed by another great army of men to clean the horses’ messes.
– From a 1482 report describing the Sforza castle kitchen as managed by a 30-year-old Leonard da Vinci, as printed on the insert in the recent food-themed postcard pack from Public Domain Review
At a recent game designer retreat (Project Horseshoe) we had a working group trying to understand the psychology ‘comfy games’ like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. One thing we noticed is that many games focus on the bottom portion of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. They deal with survival, food, shelter and physical threats. Comfy games are instead comfortable spaces where you can work on some higher level human needs. You can dabble with self reflection, little social moments and maybe self expression. Games that treat players like higher order humans instead of twitchy, fear-based animals are a super cool thing!
However, when a design introduces intense lower level needs, it can ruin the atmosphere that makes a comfy game work. Pocket Camp introduces time pressure and responsibility. If you don’t get that stupid sofa crafted before the animal leaves, you’ll miss a chance to progress along the checklist. Even when you do complete the task, it is entirely transactional. What would have been a mysterious quirky nuanced relationship in Animal Crossing is reduced to a meter incrementing so you can earn precious currency. This is not an environment for self actualization. It is a place of rushed, time sensitive labor. Ugh.