conatus. Latin for impulse, inclination, and tendency, it refers to the will of a thing to continue to exist and enhance itself. In my project it relates to both the nature of water and the possibilities of humanity to act as a part in larger-scale change for good through social design.
The project and its corresponding logo started from parallels drawn between both the Zen Enso circle worldview and the cyclic, unchanging nature of water’s elemental composition- An undocumented connection that transcends symbolism.
Yet during the process of exploration, issues of sustainability and imperfect water cycles, along with the issue of water crises that impact a significant subset of humanity, came to attention. It was rather fitting that a project on imperfect water cycles then comes full circle with the leveraging of progressive media and social networks to induce change- hopefully to a perfect cycles.
Conatus consists of three main core frameworks: a puzzle game in which users solve water routing problems, a level editor and sharing service intended to build a community, and what we dub The Cycle, a way for gamers to give back their water “earned” in game, to be matched to donations for a certain water project. I’d even like to think of Conatus as not just a singular project in charity effort, but a possible framework approach towards social media making a difference on a larger scale contrary to the stigmatized view of slacktivism in the majority of non-profit projects so far.
The backbone behind these three components is the main website, a modular system that allows for all functionality to be embedded in one single site without the need for a fragmented, disruptive experience.
1. The Game
A preview of how the game is expected to look and play like. The game tasks users with routing pipes from water sources to the output to gain “water points”. In order to encourage creative problem-solving, concepts such as multipliers and bonus tiles are added. Later, more challenging levels will also have a proportionate increase in points earned. Leaderboards are also included for friendly rivalry between users and their friends on social networks.
2. The Site (pt1): Nexus
Nexus is a major component of the website, allowing users to build, share, rate and discuss levels. By shifting from vendor-authored content to a user-generated system (after a certain number of levels), users are encouraged to engage in the community and stay around to explore the intricacies and the freedom of tools given to them.
3. The Site (pt2): Cycle
While Nexus focused on cultivating a community, the Cycle encourages this community to play for contributions to water projects worldwide. Users can choose the amount of water points, matched to monetary donations, to water projects and funds. The Cycle will also provide information about such projects, their progress and follow-ups even after completion. Donors with a high amount will also be able to send a personalized message that will be sent to the beneficiary community.
4. Project Information/Education (Web/Print)
Other than frameworks, information and rationales for the Conatus projects are also given- both on the webpage as reference, and also a print direct mailer that will be given to households to spread awareness of the project.
DV3000 – Visual Communication III
Game, Graphic design, Website
Art, Design & Media Library
26 March 2015
29 April 2017
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