Mind Map + Writeup: Working With System Dynamics

My P3 group is working on a game currently called “Congrats Grad!” that explores the complexities and often dysphoria of post-grad life. There is such a building up to the golden haze of graduating and celebrating all of your accomplishments that the crash afterwards ⁠— when you realize you now need to figure out life in the “real world” ⁠— can be significant and very disorienting. Decisions related to jobs, moving, etc. can seem straightforward in some cases, but at the time you really feel an urgency that anything you do will majorly determine the direction of your life and what kind of person you want to see yourself grow into. This pulls very much from both personal and friends’ experiences. In our case, we chose to focus more specifically on the moving aspect.

Given this, some of the values we’re hoping to explore include conceptions of autonomy / individuality, loyalty, ambition, and change. We have also chosen to frame our game in an RPG format, because we thought this reflected the emerging quality of this transitional stage in giving each player the creativity to explore unique scenarios, maybe grounded in their own experiences, within the primary “traits” we have defined. In this RPG format, the main loop manifests through turn-based storytelling of scenarios: for each player’s turn, they make a scenario, receive a difficulty / feasibility judgment (one kind of feedback), and then roll the dice to success or failure (another kind of feedback). This loop continues until the first player reaches 15 points. Based on the ethos of their particular group, the player may strategize ⁠— updating their mental model ⁠— as they get a feel for how the group tends to judge feasibility. The arcs (evocative content) can currently be seen as coming into play at three main points: first, when the player has finished rolling to build their persona, and gives a little introduction to their group; second, when the player succeeds in aligning their values to MOVE or STAY, thereby achieving focus in their direction; and third, when the game ends and the player delivers their post-grad story recap (whether winner or not).

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