With the currently divisive social climate, there are sparse outlets aside from social media to discuss important topics, let alone contentious ones. The risks for discussing these opportunities either in person or via online platforms, unfortunately, can lead to misunderstandings, misinformation, or even verbal, physical, or professional conflict. Gamification holds great potential to provide a unique and fun approach to encourage healthy discussions and education. In addition, this delivery can also help reduce and contain the risk of security whilst engaging all players. With this in mind, the CMTC team worked to create a game that sought to draw out moments of mutual understanding across a wide variety of backgrounds by having participants discuss various topics from their point of view while also working together to achieve a common goal.
A primary goal during this project was to make sure the information our game was providing was unbiased and sourced. To do this our team members researched several topics extensively and included questions that were presented a neutrally as possible. Through our research, our team learned that we needed to phase questions openly to increase participation. We also aimed for questions that might prompt users to get to know each other and engage in anecdotal conversations.
Domain of Discourse is a game that understands how hard it can be to discuss controversial topics and provides a platform that encourages healthy communication. Within this game, developed by members of the CMTC Design team, participants would be encouraged to engage in discussions with the aid of fact-checked and sourced information on various topics. Through these discussions, team members must work past differences and work together to move from round to round. In order to create an inclusive environment, our team worked to include discussion tools and strategies to circumnavigate hostile situations.
In order to counteract the weight that the difficult topics brought the game, our team chose a light visual aesthetic and color scheme. We focused on the analogy of “growing a garden” as these conversations might take hard work to plant but would grow into a beautiful outcome if given the time and care. From this analogy, our team created storyboards and mid-fidelity prototypes which we used to test the game. After hearing feedback from various sources both inside and outside the CMTC, several iterations of the mid-fidelity prototype were made.
With the structure and gameplay becoming more finalized we turned our attention back on the source questions. In order to increase our access to factual and sourced information, the team began searching for potential partners in research and current events. Alongside searching for potential partners to help us manage information and sources, the team also began preparing content for potential patrons, such as Domain od Discourse stickers, and posters.