Technology, Prophecy, and Interactivity


Until recently I was expecting a whole new age of interactivity; But with the smart phone, the  technology  universe seems to have hit a wall; New tools are added, but no new metaphors; I get the feeling that we are re-hashing low-graphic games from the 80’s; This is what formerly would be called the “Emerging Age of Interactivity”; But which now seems like the emerging age of obscure prophecies about when and if the effulgent dreams of  technology  will ever be fulfilled with satisfaction;

One could try to predict interactivity; One could say the variety of haptic devices is bound to converge with the new understandings of the brain and direct hand-eye cum nerve-brain connectivity; I am disgusted with the way this has been re-hashed before, and nonetheless I must say, whether or not virtual reality emerges in the near future, there is some question as to whether the basic bullet points of interactivity are being fulfilled, independent of any platform;

We are all familiar with how some low graphic games were superior to the first 3-d simulations; And many of us are now familiar with how 3-d graphics is becoming the new standard of computer interface, initially compromising some of the values, and gradually corporatizing demand, so that the needs that get fulfilled tend to be mass-market interests, in other words large voting categories or genius cohorts; To some extent the puzzle that was present in 2-d games is not solved, because it was the problems already inherent in interface which morphed into the successful games that followed;

Many gaming geeks are familiar with how the greatest insights about a game hark back to insights made with earlier tools and platforms; There is still a reliance on certain forms of traditionalism, particularly those that resemble myth; Although game designers go a long way towards establishing new paradigms when they have a large design team, to some extent these groups end up seeming like ‘lucky lunatics’ in comparison to a struggling status quo; Where the status quo demands originality, the large design teams end up allying themselves with some kind of ‘paradigm virtue’ which emerges by rationalizing market trends and consumer demand, not necessarily making the absolutely brightest moves, except in barebones realistic terms, like pleasure or visuals; By and large, when the terms of success could not be empiricized they were not written into literature, to say nothing about code, and hence did not evolve at the pace even of so-called gradual events like the shift from 2-d to 3-d.

Lessons can be learned from relative scales of gradualism, a concept which earlier in history had little meaning outside of politics, history, and philosophy; Yet recently, the concept applies itself to interface in the context of the Moore’s Law and Kurzwelian concepts that are emerging in media, gaming, and other design-related fields; Consider for one thing that the 2-d to 3-d development is like a child inscribing the first geometric shapes; There is no need to believe that these trends are ‘fulfilled’ or ‘developed’ merely because they occur; Nor do we need to believe necessarily in the fulfillment or development of greater dimensions to believe that it is possible to develop these dimensions;

Gradualism is potentially an unused metaphor, if it is seen that the development of numerous fields is not yet dimensional; But, as I mentioned earlier, with the quickening pace of  technology , there is also I will say a quickening pace of gradualism; One implication is a kind of ‘pick-up’ culture of ready-made conceptual tools and retrofitted, full-menu design functions; Another is the so-called inevitable relationship with functional life categories;  Technology  develops not only as a function of applications, however benighted and contextual, or however proprietary and self-serving (but however potentially coherent and automatic), but also as a function of what may be called ‘functional emergence’ or highly specific configurations of capacities and preferences, which also benefit by coherency and automation;

With that context considered as a pre-text (2-d, 3-d, interactivity hitting a wall, need for applications, highly specific market or design configurations, but potential for coherency and automation), it is worth again considering what I have made the central consideration of this article: the subject of interactivity;

I’m attempting to shy away from mere virtualism, mere platforming, and the haptics catch-all; Instead we will consider categories which are permitted to emerge when there are a few subtle factors, including functional applications, coherent interface (such as supposedly the internet), automatic or parsing paradigms, and relative-or-gradual attainment of design goals;

What can emerge? What is possible? What is the prophecy?

I will consider that a prophecy can be fractional, and that the best way to get results is to consider that which is always involved but which is never considered, in other words, the mirror image of design failure; For this purpose I will do a little analytic on the nature of gradualism and automation; For it is these two factors which have been present, but which have only been emerging in the abstract;

Automation is the ability to add exponents to any design decision; When a product has an advantage, indexes, parser interpretations, and media enhancement churn out a better result than a single consumer impression; This depends on or is compounded by the functionality of applications; Applications ideally add functional complexity; The role of automation is at least to cut through the boundary between simple and complex media, and also to cross the boundary between multiple applications contexts; Thus automation is not just the circuitry of the computer, the functionality of the company that designs the software, or the role of the parser used by the consumer or the corporation; Instead, it is the role of the parser in retrieving a total product, inclusive of media, inclusive of preferences, and inclusive of functions; Nor is it, I shall say, superficial; Instead, it is tripping over obsolete standards of gradualism; In this way, there are intermediate stages that were not previously visible; Reaction time has increased the visible resolution of demand upon computer resources, and it is no longer adequate to provide (or assume) just one interface, just one platform, just one program, or just one context of media; But the stage beyond this is also necessary, as the pace increases: to provide that halcyon of programming judgment: a program, for every functional context; But remember, at this point we are referring primarily to automation;

Turning to gradualism, the other paradigm that has been neglected: gradualism first of all, realizes exactly what it is doing; For a long time in history, games were NOT thought of as designs, but as tests of strategy; This has largely changed in modern strategy games; Strategy is now thought of as a continuum with other aspects of life, such as media components, standards of consumerism, and typical demands; No longer is the user told to ‘rise to a platform’ to play Chess (“the game of kings”) or choosing straws (“the measure of a life”); Largely the literary standard of games has been abandoned; And so, if design has the same absoluteness as literature once did, the imperative is some degree of interactivity; But this cannot be defined in terms of rules such as chess, gambling (probability), beauty (improvement), or participation (imitation); Instead, games must be defined by the  technology  and determined properties of the medium of design; Games and interfaces must realize their full potential in terms of the wider array of tools and applications which define the new context of assumptions, the new prevalences and markets, of computers, which at their core consist of applications, new media, and potentially also life as we know it;

If interfaces and games are meant to realize exactly what they are doing, then interfaces and games don’t have room for passive or inefficient functions; In reverse of the earlier all-encompassing notion of using the parser, the gradual approach to games and interface is that applications are naturally compounding, and that no function should seem incomplete by itself; Instead of a market driven function, gradualism suggests standards of perfectibility which have little to do with media, programming techniques, or concepts of relevance; Instead, these principles are defined in a purely informational context, which has everything to do with optimization, independent of implementation;

Combining the two elements may not seem easy; But I predict that there is a high compatibility between fixed functions in media which have been perfected to re-apply automatically, and parser-product (module configurations), which are contingent on media, programming, and preferences; If it can be observed that this second form is about the automatic, and the first form is just about coherency and categories which are deeply quantifiable and exponential, then it is clear that there is a deeply exponential framework for considering games and interface, which is largely a function of two properties: interface design, and universal applications;

One could imply at a second degree of distance that user preferences are important, and range of media is important, but these factors have a potential to be variable over long periods of time; Furthermore, preferences may sometimes screen out media, and the reverse when expectations are met; In that sense there is a dependence on the specifics of available media when the context is not genuinely coherent; So there is a need for corporations to provide a coherent variety of media, or to provide an interface that meets standards of taste; But unfortunately, although interface has been a firm approach amongst game designers, interface alone does not provide an experience without some involvement with applications; Thus there is sometimes an unfortunately willingness to play ‘lame duck’ by betting on interface, and then failing to provide adequate (applications) functions; (One alternative is to find a different context than computers, but I will ignore this stipulation for now);

Returning to the two major points, interface design and universal applications, it would do to apply them to the two remaining uninvestigated categories which I introduced to explain the failures of design: functional applications and coherent interface; This raises a question as to whether (1) interface standards are being met by the devotion to applications (perhaps if they are universal), and (2) if interface design is only a matter of having the correct functions (presumably, as it sets a standard for functional applications);

Now let us borrow those paradigms interpreted from the four initial categories to construe some new concept of the future of media, interface, and games:

[1] Multiple levels of interface and applications design exist, which may be corporatized as applications; When they are not corporatized, the result is a slower progression of interface reform; But when the contents are proprietary, or there is no hegemony to compatibilize with preferences, the result is a schism between design functions and user preferences (as seen in Adobe Photoshop);

[2] Gradually, new interfaces and games are only a function of information, not applications, unless they themselves embody applications; Otherwise the market is being dishonest;

[3] Game interfaces are overtaking platform interfaces, through their advances in interface design and media integration, perhaps even interactivity; I will argue that these advances are a function of the universalizability of applications, which independent of the game industry can define the value of interface;

[4] Interface is missing the opportunity to integrate multiple applications and create complex user-preference functions, based on the strength of independent platforms called applications, and the availability of information; In the future, some platforms (applications) should be based on the collection of preferred information, whereas other applications (platforms and games) should be based on user-generated or corporately-optimized correspondences between optimized applications; This new paradigm, of the cross-transference of platforms and applications may be necessary to shift the perspective towards interactive media; But more important than interactive media may be the interface design and universal applications which determine media, and why not, haptic potential;

People continue to integrate with interfaces that please them or don’t; It would be a pity if significant prophecies and suggestions went unheeded, as future prospects of media design and experience processing depend on an ‘optimal game’, what has been called an ‘optimal experience’, namely the integration of those two functions: interface design and universal applications;

What I have described is a function for future social contexts and gamification; Chess, 2-d games, and Moore’s Law are not so all-embracing as they once were; Life depends on applications and ways to interpret them; Life depends on complexity and user preferences; It depends on the perfection of interface, and the coherency of information; Perhaps finally I have described accurately what I set out to write in this article::

Source by Nathan L Coppedge

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