Reading Response #6 to Artful Design • Chapter 6: Game Design “”

Aaron H.
Music 256A / CS476a, Stanford University

Principle 6.14 on “Induce and Harness Flow” seems very relevant to the audio sequencer we’re working on. Even within the development phase as the creator, the conditions stated that emphasize “balance, potential, and goals” are very relevant to coming out with a design I’d be happy with. I find that starting and knowing when to stop are the most difficult for me when working on a creative project. It’s funny because the beginning and end are so crucial to the structure of design, how would you get anything done? And in an essence this realization is sometimes true, where I don’t finish a piece of music I’m working on, or I get discouraged start a cool idea without a timeline in sight. That’s why I’m really finding the condition of setting goals very unveiling for me in this chapter and Music 256. In the past, I think I found goals or even schedules to be inflexible and taking up too much time especially when anything can happen in the day. However, I’m starting to find that having at least some kind of plan can garner more creativity when you know where you’re going or at least know your constraints. This has been a lesson for me as I continue braving the mountain that is 256 and can only dream of finding a flow state while completing work in the class.

One thing I’m curious about flow, and I always seem to have a theme like this in my response, is what is the association of flow to the type music? In the video game examples or even music improv examples given in artful design, there seems to be a solid theme of continuity when entering a flow state. However, is there space for interruptions or abruptness in the art of flow? Also can being in flow through one medium translate to flow in another? I tried experimenting with this a little when it comes to listening to one of my favorite rap songs right before a huge math test. It was the song “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar which has become a motivator and anthem for many. Walking over to the exam I would blast “Alright” and even rap the parts I knew by heart which I would identify as putting myself in my own flow state. The lyrics resonated with me and the message induced the sense of fluidity that I always hoped it would help me translate a similar state when taking the exam. There have been a lot of studies on which genre of music is best for prepping for the exam. I guess now my question, what is the effect of playing your favorites song, the one that gives you the most confidence, and is that song enough to improve your performance in another task like an exam? Can this translate to other situations outside of something stressful like meditating or winding down before you head to bed? I’m not really sure where to start with these questions, but hey I might try a little experiment of my own!