Interactive videogame

Bonsai is the ancient Japanese practice of cultivating miniature trees and requires great patience and discipline. In this game, players are tasked with keeping a small tree alive, caring for it over a period of months or years and ultimately developing an intimate bond with the non-existent.
The genesis of the project is an observation on the “bigger, faster, better” mentality associated with procedural content generation. PCG systems rely on algorithmic methods to create vast amounts of content very quickly and are used in many computer games. The project seeks to take a counter perspective, asking whether there is value in a smaller and slower generative process. The ability to generate huge quantities of content also results in the content being quite disposable, a feature that the project also undermines. By slowing the generation of the tree down to take months or years, rather than minutes or seconds, results in a higher value ascribed to the artefact created. This is particularly true if the viewer has taken an active role in the process.

The contrast is highlighted in the game’s gifting feature where the cultivator of the tree can give it away to a friend. When the tree is gifted, the player no longer has access to the tree and must trust that the recipient will care for it and not let it die. This requires a degree of trust in the recipient on the part of the gifter, giving the object, otherwise meaningless, have an increased sentimental value. The issue is highlighted further by the dissonance in attachment to the tree between the gifter and recipient and whether the recipient is aware of how much effort and care has been put into cultivating the tree.




Physically interactive videogame with sound

A monitor or projected screen display a swirling tunnel moving through a star field. Points of light float towards the player in a patterned movement. The player stands in front of the piece holding a PS Move controller (a small baton illuminated at one end to act as a computer vision tracking beacon) which controls the movement of an eye-like glowing avatar on screen. The player’s goal is to move the avatar in line with the on coming points of light and collect as many of them as possible. As the player collects them, a narrative starts to unfold verbally.

The theme of the piece relates to the concept of reincarnation and thus the narrative follows the story of a character’s life, highlighting a key moment from their experience as a human. At several gameplay thresholds (or levels), the player is confronted by a large rotating geometric shape which they must pass through. If the player has successfully collected enough light, they will pass through the shape into the next level where the process continues. The light is symbolic of forgiveness, harbouring the idea that souls will repeat their journey’s through the earth plane learning lessons and letting go of their pent up karma. Each level is symbolic of a different chakra being represented by the colours, sonic palette, and narrative theme.

If the player fails to collect enough light to pass through any of the seven levels, they are returned to the beginning of the experience but with a different narrative signifying that the soul has gone back to the earth plane, lived another life and is now attempting ascendance again.


We’ve been porting Between over to the Oculus Rift recently (WIP):

Check out the website for more info:

Don’t Let Them Die

Interactive video with sound
Don’t Let Them Die is a digital artwork created using game technology and exhibiting an element of emergent gameplay / narrative. A large screen or projection shows a mountainscape viewed from the sky filled with flocking birds swirling around the viewpoint in a seemingly random pattern.

The behaviour of the birds is dictated by Craig Reynold’s ‘Boid’ algorithm, a common method for simulating the effect of flocking in birds and fish. Treating it as a heuristic model, the piece encourages viewers to also interpret the algorithm as a metaphor for how people relate to one another as agents within society.

The piece is not directly interactable however is designed as a game in that it has an explicit goal which is to keep the birds alive. The piece is internet enabled and pulls in live stock data from some of the top performing stocks in the world; if the prices of the stocks suddenly crash, then all the birds slowly curl up and fall from the sky in slowed motion. The message being portrayed by the piece is that the viewers of the piece are tasked to continue contributing to capitalist society, driving the economy forward and keeping the status quo.

Although the message is on the surface pro-capitalist, there are subtle undertones of a human urge to break free from societal and systemic constraints. The birds seem free, flying in which ever direction they choose across a seemingly endless landscape; however, they are almost entirely constrained. The birds exist within a computer simulation, the sky is merely a static backdrop, and their behaviour is completely dictated by an algorithm that they are unaware of.

Not A Gun.

Static Sculptural Installation with WiFi

As remote technologies and artificial intelligence become ubiquitous, their viability as a form of mechanised warfare becomes more economically appealing. This results in discrete and protracted layers of abstraction between the agent who pulls the trigger and the machine which fires the bullet.

Despite its plastic and colourful exterior, this piece has a Wi-Fi router embedded within it which, once connected to (by holding down the trigger, an electric circuit is completed, powering the router), displays disturbing images of children mauled in US drone strikes alongside a contextually appropriate quote from Noam Chomsky.

This interaction is an attempt to infer a procedural rhetoric about the nature of automated mechanical warfare and also generate awareness of the societal moulding and desensitization to violence through videogames and TV/film.

The title of the piece makes reference to Magritte’s ‘This is not a pipe’ which toys with the notion of form and representation as a semiotic expression.

Level Up!

Static Sculptural Installation

Exploring themes of sacred geometry, gamification and the opaque nature of game technology, this installation projects a virtual shape onto a functioning staircase.

‘Level Up!’ began as an attempt to highlight geometric principals of repetition and symmetry within basic architecture. By winding string through each of the spokes of the bannister, a relationship could be drawn out between them in a tangibly physical manner.
After this initial exploration (the bottom most point of the bannister being connected to each of the points along the top), I decided that it would be too time consuming to experiment with all of the different patterned combinations of string. Instead, I decided that it would be more efficient to recreate the scene digitally so I could experiment with all the different ways of stringing up the bannister.

I wrote a program to visualise the bannister and then wrote a number of algorithms for drawing different patterns of varying complexity. I decided upon a fairly simple yet geometrically appealing design which gave the pattern depth and reminded me of perspective grids from the movie ‘Tron’ and other such ‘retro sci-fi’ aesthetics.

After completing this portion of the installation I decided to experiment with stringing together other parts of the staircase. Between the sections of the staircase (the main bannister, above the bannister, and overhanging the stairs) there are three levels of detail which are mirroring the effect of polygonal tessellation in videogame geometry. In computer graphics, tessellation is a process similar in concept to mip-mapping where more or less detailed versions of an object are served to the player’s graphics card according to their distance so as to optimise the ratio between graphical fidelity and hardware performance.

At the top of the staircase sits a bowl of candy, any staircase dweller/adventurer brave enough to endure the arduous journey of ‘The Dreaded Staircase’ is rewarded by being allowed to take some candy. This stands as a parody of the current infatuation with and misunderstood nature of ‘gamification’ as a subset of Serious Games.

Next to the staircase I have printed some of the unused designs and framed them along with the actual code used to create them. This not only illuminates part of my process but highlights the opaque barrier to understanding of how videogames work. There is also an interesting interplay present between elements of the real world being recreated on a screen, and elements usually found on a screen being printed and displayed within a frame.

There is an element of vulnerability present in the public display of code.

Complimenting this comparison are the three paint palettes used when painting the string which I have mounted too. These are actually pieces of metal from abandoned computer components which have been flattened and used to mix the fluorescent paint.



This (incomplete) prototype/verticle demonstrates the space exploration & mining aspect of a proposed game idea called ‘VOID’. It’s intention is to install a feeling of loneliness and expanse. The prototype is a work in progress and many of the core and polished elements are not included. Below is a link to play the prototype and below that, excerpts from the game’s original design documentation.

Looks like the old Unity Webplayer has been deprecated and doesn’t work in ‘modern’ browsers.. you can try it in ie11, or else just watch the little video I’ve made above 🙂

Play VOID Here

Proposed Design: Excerpts


Void is about space mining and narrative expedition and is planned as an allegory for both internal and external alchemical transmutation.

The ultimate goal in Void is to uncover both internal and external enlightenment. This is achieved internally through completing the narrative journey and externally by transmuting the elements into their highest form, ‘Elixir’.

Externally, the player is tasked with exploring a procedurally generated universe seeking various elements and ores. These elements can be sold, held or combined. Each element has properties that will be enhancing or harmful and the player must choose which elements to hold onto and for how long. By combining elements in specific (and unique for each play-through) recipe sequences, the player is able create precious elements which boost their score and give them tangible bonuses.

These recipe sequences or ‘Arcanum’ are unlocked through narrative progression or through experimentation. Early on in the game, experimentation is the easier method however there is a ceiling to this and after a certain point the player will need to resort to following the narrative in order to unlock higher levels of Arcanum. This mirrors a real alchemist’s need to transmute internally rather than becoming obsessed with the physical transmutation of lead into gold for material gain.


The game relies on a procedurally generated narrative engine to provide an internal trajectory for the characters and player. This both affects and is affected by the player’s choice in physical elements held. The over arching story unfolds across 22 chapters that vary in length, depending on the nature of the characters involved and the players decisions. Each chapter has a theme based on a card from the Major Arcana of the Tarot (as interpreted by the A.E Waite interpretation, See the Appendix) and follows the story of ‘The Fool’s Journey’.

The narrative engine is a complex system of AI interactions experienced in the third person. The player does not control the course of the narrative directly, but rather controls the player’s actions, which modify the characters intentions, which in turn affect the course of the narrative.

There are seven crew member characters aboard your ship, each representing an element of ‘The Great Work’ (lead into gold). Each character is defined by three main factors, their personality, their destiny and their situation.

Personality is defined by a pseudo-astrology. They are assigned a randomly selected birth time and day, which are then plotted onto a simplified version of an astrological natal chart. This defines the characteristics and temperament of each character. These traits act as a filter for any and all decisions and the interactions that the character makes are processed through these traits.

Destiny is defined through an 11 card tarot reading from the full 78 card Rider Waite deck. Each card defines a character’s destiny for 2 chapters and influences the way a character makes decisions, providing intent and direction for the interaction.

Situation is defined by the context of any given circumstance the character might find themselves in.

Interaction Process:

  • Situation defines the options available to the character.
  • Destiny defines the desired outcome of a situation.
  • Personality defines the set of rules by which the character will attempt to fulfil their destiny within the options presented by the situation
  • Story Chapter defines the subtle influence guiding all events and interactions.

These factors are all represented by numbers which influence a probability matrix to output a series of events and interactions.

Credit: Music by Paul and the Stretch

All free models taken from TurboSquid

CubeWorld script modified from Craig Perko’s “Let’s Program” series

Grab The Goodies

Interactive videogame with sound

Designed to educate children about the dangers of underage drinking, Grab the Goodies is an object association game where players must differentiate between objects that are healthy, and those which are not. The gameplay is intentionally simplistic and repetitive but is interspersed with trivia sections between levels. These trivia sections are the actual message carrier; they are unskippable and contain questions far too advanced to be understood by the intended 6-9 year age demographic.

The key element of this trivia section is disproportionate large red button that reading “HELP!”. When the button is pressed, a loud and annoying vocal outburst cries “Mom!”, or “Dad!”. On repeated presses, the voice gets louder and increasingly whiny, eliciting the attention of a nearby parent who will hopefully join in and help the child answer the trivia question. The intention is to initiate a dialogue between thee child and parent about the complicated issue of alcohol and its dangers through references already familiar to the child.

Grab the Goodies is available here:

iOS App Store

Android Play Store

More info…

Review of Grab The Goodies from the Android Play Store:



Screen Shot: Grab The Goodies - Screenshot

Dream Terror

Interactive videogame with sound

Dream Terror is a top down survival shooter where the player is constantly being attacked by hordes of creatures and must survive as long as possible. The game features an array of weaponry and power-ups to help them survive as long as possible. The protagonist in Dream Terror is locked in a series of horrid nightmares. For years, every single time he falls asleep, he has the same recurring nightmare, awakening each time they get him. He is now very tired and is resigned to the nightmares so when he goes to bed each night, he falls asleep reading catalogues of military hardware, arming his war-torn psyche to fend of the horrid monsters for as long as possible… The man just wants to get some sleep.

Try Dream Terror Button(best viewed in Chrome)