Government Surveillance and Privacy in America
An Interactive Nonlinear Story Telling Website that
Encourages Users to Think about Issues of Personal Privacy vs. National Security.
Project Promo Video
Team Cheshire along with students at Carnegie Mellon’s Philosophy Department hopes to build a non-linear storytelling experience that will encourage users to think about the issues of national security versus privacy by games, digital video and other cross media platforms on an engaging interactive website. Our goal is to captivate users and help them think deeply about the implications of current events on a personal level and as a community. We will attempt to tackle the great debate over privacy versus security in the digital age objectively to help users gain an interest in the issues.
About Team Cheshire:
Team Cheshire consists of 6 ETC students with various backgrounds. We brainstormed ideas, designed the prototype, and built the final experience along with the undergraduate class at Carnegie Mellon’s Philosophy Department. We also led the undergraduate students to learn and participate the pipeline of making the product.
Producer: Rik Chuang
Artists: Cecilia Peng / Rik Chuang
Programmers: Bora Kim / Emily Chang / Junyu Chen
Film/ Writer: Nafisa Baker
My Main Work
Designing, developing and building the second mini game was my main focus and responsibility of this project. The purpose of the second mini game was to add more details to the story: showing how one’s personal data leaks in daily lives.
So the idea of the game was having a machine that can detect data leaks in a living room and reveal what those data leaks are. The game is a coverage solving problem game with a limited coverage of the machine signal and limited revealing times.
How Paper Prototype Works
The judge marks the data leaks at the back of the paper so the data leaks are invisible to the player.
The judge needs to tell the player how many data leaks is in the range of detector every time the player moves the detector.
When the player says reveal, the judge will mark the data leak that is in the range at the front of the paper and the player uses one of the chances to reveal.
If there are 10 data leaks and 4 revealing times, the player who successfully reveals all 10 data leaks wins.
The above picture is the paper prototype that I created and playtested. I actually found people get interested in solving the coverage problem.
We decided to keep the basic of the game mechanism after the several playtests of paper prototype.
After several weeks of iterations and playtests of PC version, then came the final version:
Pop up windows
The pop up window tells the information of the data leaks and how can those leaks personal data legally.
This is the final look of game 2.
The UI shows that there currently 6 data leaks left and the player still has 3 changes to reveal. The red circles with numbers indicate the number of data leaks is the fan shape area right now. In this case, the player finds 2 data leaks, and can choose to click reveal button to see what those are.
My Other Work
Our team discussed and pitched ideas to the client for the whole experience. We came up a story, added interactive parts, and designed a structure of the experience together. This include several video clips, one interactive environment, one synthetic interview with lawyer and three mini games with topics of facts of personal privacy, data leaks and law.
However, we did not figure that the first mini game was the hardest game at the first place. Since it needed to be the simplest and get people hooked, the initial idea of the combination of maze and quiz was very problematic. We only kept the idea of cyberspace and “ask simple questions” at last. Therefore, the visual of the cyberspace becomes very key part.
In this game, I helped designed and created the short repeating animations in the cyberspace with our team artists.