We needed to explain to the programmers how our connection system worked. Because it’s super specific and also very flexible. So, while wrestling with this and trying to find the best way to efficiently demonstrate it for the programmers, Adrian Forest pointed us towards Kate Compton’s Generominos. The Generonimos are used for designing and teaching the flow of data as it is transformed in a generative system. It uses symbols and small portions of text to describe each point that data can be transformed from one type to another. These are positioned on the cards so that the modules inputs are on the top and the outputs are on the bottom. So many pieces of this systems design can be transferred into our needs and we would be foolish to not be inspired by the Generonimos when trying to explain our system design to our programmers. Suitably naming them, Signal Flominos, a name that stuck super glue.
Cate Kompton’s Generonimos
Since the Generonimos were describing a flow of data as it is transformed, we could use the idea and method to describe the flow of a signal as it is transformed and altered through the modules. The Generonimos use symbols to represent the specific connections that can be made, so I used different shapes to demonstrate what modules could connect to what. This was a solution to the initial problem of trying to explain the connections to the programmers, but we also realised that these cards could be used for much more than that. We started using them to prototype our levels by using a whiteboard and some markers and it became clear that these could also be used as a teaching tool with some refinement. After realising the new uses, I suddenly had more reason to continue refining the cards, and so I did.
I spent some of my time after that working on refining the cards. I ran some of the earlier versions by our audio contact, who informed me of some of the big mistakes I had made in the ordering of certain pieces and how the connections worked. I also tried to streamline the sorting process by making certain elements that would need to be found quickly a different shape. This resulted in 4, 6, and 8 sided cards for different purposes. The next step of the improvement is to ask a graphic designer to come in and give some advice and work on some symbols for the cards to better describe the goal, instead of just having google drawings. After this fourth version that I have just finished creating, I will almost definitely need to make even more adjustments. But for now I can only wait until I’ve got them printed and laminated to start testing.