As with all gameLab projects,
FLUID evolved through a highly iterative process. Our design
and development methodology has a strong emphasis on prototyping
and playtesting, in which we develop a playable version of a
project as early as possible and then base our design decisions
on our actual experience of interacting with the prototype.
gameLab was initially approached by the Swiss Re Center for
Global Dialogue to create a game experience on the theme of
water and sustainability. FLUID began life as a short written
treatment, which was quickly turned into a rough, skeletal prototype.
The visuals evolved as we altered, redefined, and tweaked the
player interactivity and the relationships between the elements
of the system.
While our initial impulse was to create a graphically rich 3D
experience, the game visuals became simpler and simpler as we
proceeded. Since we were aiming for a gallery context, the moment-to-moment
interactivity had to be self-explanatory and immediately gratifying.
At the same time, it was important that players would be able
to discern the actual relationships between the ecosystem elements.
The final version of FLUID has a balance of ambiguity and clarity,
a puzzlingly abstract system that rewards exploration and experimentation.