Ken Amarit


A stop-motion felted wool video game.

Procedural Design in Abstract Gameplay

Nest is a fun, competitive, local multiplayer video game. All the art in the game is made from needle felted wool and stop motion animated. I hand dyed all the wool using natural and vegetable dyes, including dye plants grown in my garden, and I locally sourced some of the wool here in New York City from the cotswold sheep raised at the Queens County Farm. In addition, the game will be projected onto a sheet of wool giving it extra texture.

Take control of cute, wobbly and wonky felted wool creatures and fight to control all the nests in the sky. Fly around and battle it out against your best friends and mortal enemies. Win a round by capturing all the nests, or by capturing more than your opponent does before the time runs out.

With Nest, this is the first time I've grown dye plants from seed to dye wool to use in my work. I grew indigo, marigolds, bamboo, basil and used other found plants, flowers, and lichen to use as dyes. I spent a large amount of time learning about natural dyes and experimenting with traditional and folk dyeing techniques.

I also spent time exploring local multiplayer games, both old and new, as well as the current crop of local multiplayer games that are coming out of the NYC indie gaming scene. In addition to the traditional techniques that these types of "party" games employ, I wanted to study the theory and "procedural games" that we covered in class to expand the possibility of what I could do. I didn't want to just copy what already exists.

My target audience is gamers, kids, and anyone with a love for fiber arts.

User Scenario
Four people walk up to the projection. I hand them each a controller. A round begins, and other people curiously approach and watch. When the round ends, the bystanders eagerly want to join in, and the controllers get passed around. People come and go and play all night.

The materials I used are: naturally dyed wool, plastilina, foam. I animated with a Canon t2i with a Canon 50mm macro lens. The game was built in Unity and the code written in C#.

I'm still learning and discovering and breaking things! I learned that adding new features doesn't necessarily make the game better. For example, after I had solidified the core game, I began to add extra elements to spice up the gameplay. Instead of making things more exciting, every *tiny* detail of each element I added completely changed the gameplay and the players' approach and strategy.

I learned that each nuanced addition could drastically change the emergent gameplay and that I have to carefully craft the design of the game.