On the 20th of November “dotfes2016 Shibuya” took place, an event focused on thinking about the design of new lifestyles and forms of entertainment, using as its concept the phrase “design x ○○”.
There were many talk sessions and exhibits from various enterprises, so we will pick a few of the more unique ones and talk about them.
■The words “Shibuya” and “design” go hand in hand
The event took place in DeNA’s main offices, located in Shibuya Hikarie. Mr. Goto of the design strategy offices in DeNA, who sponsored this event, spoke to us of the intention behind hosting this. “Shibuya is full of design companies, it’s where most designs come from. We wanted to open a space for thinking about how ‘design’ is more and more present in a variety of different areas,” he said.
The event was lined with exhibition booths where you could experience the latest in technology, videogames, etc. Next to these were the talk sessions and workshops. Partly due to the event opening on a Sunday, the hall was full of visitors of all kinds, from families to designers.
Shibuya Hikarie, where it all took place
There were a lot of talk sessions covering many fascinating topics
■Pick-up exhibition booths
“Tataite Kabutte VR”
KAYAC Inc., a corporation specialized in entertainment, exhibited an enthralling videogame which combined traditional Japanese games like “Hit and Cover, Rock, Paper, Scissors!” with “dark fantasy” into a unique virtual reality experience.
Players got sucked into the world of dark fantasy thanks to the VR capabilities, and competed against other players who were just as immersed as them by playing a life-or-death version of “Hit and Cover, Rock, Paper, Scissors!” Both parties battle each other wearing heavy armor and carrying hammers or swords in their hands. They play rock, paper, scissors and whoever wins gets to hit their opponent. If you lose you can still wear a helmet to protect yourself from the blow, but if your defense fails you will fall to the floor with a splash of blood. Since it is such a simple game, it is inevitable that players will become engrossed in the gameplay.
Mr. Hajime of KAYAC’s VR department told us: “we wanted to convey to the users that same familiar sense which traditional games have, but made with a totally new design. Furthermore, there are still not VR games with a dark fantasy theme, so in that sense we felt this was a truly new endeavor.” With these words he explained their approach in developing the game.
Users playing the game, holding a hammer in their hand and a helmet on their head
The VR screen in the middle of a game (in reality it has 360 degrees) “Rock, paper, scissors! It was a draw…”
If you’re beaten, the screen flutters and show the words “you died”…that’s too bad!
The booth from CyberAgent, Inc. exhibited “Ameblo EX”, and it drew a long queue of visitors. Mr. Uruhara, who works at Ameba’s general headquarters, said that “we wanted to visualize a form of blog which could become the blog format of this new generation.”
If you take a peek through this AR headset, you see a 3D AR space shaped like a room with a water tank in the corner, and various words which fly around your visual field. Each one of these words are part of different people’s written blogs, and when you focus on them the screen opens up to show you that specific blog. This 3D blog format was very visually stimulating, and had a really fun design.
The monitor shows what the players are seeing on their screens. Words float around this space.
“Rakugaki Card Battle Gekitsuiou” (The Gekitsuioh Game – Doodle War)
What become noticeably more popular among the children at the event was the arcade game designed by coconoe, Inc., “Rakugaki Card Battle Gekitsuiou”.
You first draw fighter aircraft or alien spaceships on a card, and then set of them on the game console. By doing this the drawings on the cards spring to life and become images on the screen. By controlling the buttons you can shoot bullets and fight with your enemies. Furthermore, depending on the image you draw the parameters will change, so your abilities will be different in each case.
It combines different forms of play, such as just drawing images, with a simple shooting game mechanic. Adults and children both found it really fun.
First you draw your image
Then you start shooting at full blast! There were many other games on display.
A game which reads the data from paper money and sets them to battle each other. The 2000 yen note is very strong!
A racing game which uses AR technology
A game where you drive a UFO through a town and abduct people
Ahh…they’re getting abducted…
■Pick-up talk session
“Behind the scenes of CyberAgent’s service development”
During the talk session of Mr. Sato, of CyberAgent, Inc., he introduced their new Internet TV channel “Abema TV”, and their free homepage service “Ameba Ownd”. He described in detailed how they had been completed, even discussing their past prototypes.
A characteristic feature of both services is their intuitive and simple UI, and according to Mr. Sato the most important thing was to think “how would my own mother use these services?” These services were a result of seriously considering this question and taking all the appropriate decisions based on it. The audience seemed to agree with these ideas, and listened intently while nodding.
Their company are also training “technical creators”, people who have an expertise of both “design” and “IT technology”, in order for the company to have the necessary human resources to pour into such projects as the ones mentioned above.
Another thing that has vastly changed in recent years is their rating system. Previously a project was rated just by being completed, but now the rating includes aspects like “design strength” or “design quality”. At specific dates they host a “Design Royale” (where all employees rate the projects based on a 5-tiered scale, without taking into account people’s age or experience), and these help raise the design capabilities of the whole company. It was having a great effect on their overall performance.
The talk session of Mr. Sato, of CyberAgent, Inc.
There were many other interesting talk sessions, such as those hosted by QualiArts like “an introduction of trends in smartphone VR contents” or a “project suggestion game show”.
One of the talk sessions by QualiArts, the topic was “VR games for smartphones.”
■Are design and technology evolving at the same pace?
Attending this event made us feel, once again, just how important it is for design and technology to co-exist. Games such as “Tataite Kabutte VR”, presented by KAYAC Inc. during the event, all made us think that when you preserve the simplicity and depth of traditional games by mixing them together with VR technology and novel designs, a sort of chemical reaction takes place which creates a whole new form of entertainment.
No matter if it relates to our lifestyle, or to entertainment, companies are now aiming for a mix between “design” and “technology”, to fuse them into one same experience.
(Article by: Kenichi Nakamura)
Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.