Building a fictitious world with the use of sacrificial concepts | Our Progress

Understanding Gungans and their world

Image Courtesy starwars.wikia.com

Sacrificial concepts are one of the most important steps in design thinking. The way it works is that you surface assumptions about the world you are building for and then move past them. It’s important to note that sacrificial concepts should not necessarily be reasonable or feasible, they’re rather a tool to spark conversations about the assumptions early made. They are an essential step in the world and empathy building process.

If you want to learn more about sacrificial concepts watch this video.

In my Digital Media Design Solutions 1 class, the students are asked to first understand and then design prototypes for a fictional world. Our group picked Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace with a focus on Gungans as a fictions world to build for. Only one of my group-mates has watched Star wars before, so we are all in this together.

The force is really strong with Ville Salomaa, he is joining the light side even before the movie starts. With Christina M. Chung , Leanne Perreault and khairunnissa.

Firstly we all watched the movie individually to familiarize ourselves with the world we are building for. Our next step was to watch the movie together and try not only to understand Gungans and their world but also to build empathy with the help of a sacrificial concept. In other words to critically engage with them and their world. This kind of world building exercise is a common practice in many industries, such as gaming, literature and movie.

Extracted from http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gungan

Before we start, I wrote the facts we know about Gungans on the board just to keep ourselves in the right track, and a reminder that we are not designing for ourselves, Gungans have different needs.

We started the meeting at 4, and each brought some snacks (totally recommended for long meetings). Based on our discussions the battle scene was very crucial to our understanding of the Gungans and their world. Then we imagined what would be next and how would they take care of their wounded soldiers. Therefore we decided for our sacrificial concept to be an Otoh Gungan Hospital. We listed down the equipment, roles, venues and services that we find in our world, then proceeded to watching the movie with an open eye.

After the movie was finished we examined each item on our list and tried to imagine how would it be in a Gungan’s hospital, only to come to the conclusion that Gungans won’t be having a hospital! After a lot of long discussions from their spiritual beliefs and sacred statues we realized it’s more likely of Gungans to take their wounded to a sacred place and their god or a super natural power to heals them.

Next we picked two scenes of the movie and then discussed what is happening, the evident social dynamics in the scenes, and the reason for the their behavior. The answer to all these questions were somehow similar in every scene. Which was a relief and meant we had a consensuses on Gungans and their world.

Image courtesy of starwars.ea.com

We found Gungans to be”

1.United and ready to sacrifice their life if need be

2.Respectful and loyal

3.Peaceful and isolationist creatures

5) Obedient

6) Don’t hold grudges

7) Team oriented & good communication

khairunnissa posing with her writing

Our last step was to compile a list of 4 or 5 agreed upon ‘rules’. These rules will help keep us on track while designing for Gungans and their unique world.

These are what we came up with:

1. Peace over conflict
2. Society follows strict rules
3. Society is based on fairness and mutual respect
4. Community over individuals
5. Technology is in harmony with nature

This 5 hour meeting was just the beginning of our design process. We are meeting again tomorrow, this time to Synthesis with the Gungan’s world. Sitting in a meeting and discussing Star Wars and exploring all you want is indeed an enjoyable experience, very different from the meetings that i’m use to. Looking forward to the next step!

One of my favorite dialogues of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace