Games designed and developed by Jivitesh Dhaliwal- abstract strategy, turn based games and real time strategy games. Even more thought provoking than Chess and Go. 

—  Games  —



  • an approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience. - Google Dictionary

Phenomenology is a virtual reality game directed by Richard Lemarchand, a former Lead Game Designer at Naughty Dog and now an Associate Professor in the USC Games program, along with a team of developers in the USC Game Innovation Lab that includes Atley Loughridge, Jung-Ho Sohn, Stephanie Henderson, Raymond Sheng and Jivitesh Dhaliwal. 

The game is a collaboration with composers Prashanth Srinivas and Jacques Brautbar, around whose music the project was built, and features actor Katherine Jacobs of USC’s School of Dramatic Arts. The game is also made in collaboration with the School of Cinematic Arts Jaunt Cinematic VR Lab, using the Jaunt One immersive video camera.

‘Phenomenology’ is an experiential virtual reality “game of vignettes” about the objects of perception, and about being present in our bodies. ‘Phenomenology’ is an ambient game. ‘Phenomenology’ is short philosophical tract. ‘Phenomenology’ is a piece of experimental aleatoric music. ‘Phenomenology’ is a score for a performance art piece where the performer and audience are the same person. ‘Phenomenology’ is a game poem.

Phenomenology is a gentle satire on the technological limits of virtual reality, and a sincere love-letter to the artistic possibilities of the form. It’s a tactile game, where you never touch anything. It’s a music game, where some of the music is just noise. It’s a narrative game, with no story.

‘Phenomenology’ was an official showcase game at Indiecade 2018.

The ToyMaker's Bequest

The Toymaker's Bequest is a mobile puzzle narrative experience that tells a sympathetic story of a toymaker leading a reclusive life manufacturing mechanical toys that capture stories of societal struggle under a playful veneer.  
As a vignette based interactive narrative, the game centers around 4 different automated toys: shadow puppets, marionettes, music box, and peephole theater. Each toy offers a different mode of interaction for the player to operate and unveil the narrative. The game is in development as a USC Games thesis project by Jung-Ho Sohn and Yiwen Dai. I worked as the Technical Designer on the team.  

The Bookcase

“The Bookcase” is an abstract strategy game that arose out of an experiment in the study of emergence.  Click here to download the beta version and to learn more about the project. 

For All

For All : Designed by  Jivitesh Dhaliwal ,  Rudi Vanzin  and  Brooke Jaffe

For All: Designed by Jivitesh Dhaliwal, Rudi Vanzin and Brooke Jaffe

Liberty : "the quality or state of being free: the power to do as one pleases/freedom from physical restraint/ freedom from arbitrary or despotic control/ the positive enjoyment of various social/ political, or economic rights and privileges/ the power of choice"

 [Merriam-Webster English Dictionary]

A group of people sit around a table: people of myriad races, ethnicities, religions, socio-economic backgrounds; men, women, and non-binary folks; tall and short, fat and thin. All of these people exist in modern America; and yet is there truly "liberty and justice for all"? 

For All is a 4 to 8 player card game that explores the concept of liberty: Is one person's liberty independent of another's? What does it mean to have liberty? What constitutes a liberal society? 

The game challenges its players to think deeply about these concepts and to examine privilage in our contemporary societies.

Featured at the USC Games Expo 2018.


Divided was a week long project designed around the exploration of space. I chose to depict the story of the Partition of India through minimal graphics and music. It is the story of neighbours turning against each other and the loss of innocence. The experience was made in Unity. You can play it on your mac here. Use up/down or w/s keys to move and the mouse to look around.

Flags of My Enemies

Local multiplayer 4-player game. Capture the flag, with a "climb-the-tower" spin. The tower can be rotated by flipping switches floating on the sides of the tower. You can force-pulse other players off the platform. It creates a kind of "lobsters in a bucket" free-for-all where everyone is trying to impede the others from reaching the top and claiming a flag.

Featured at USC Games Expo 2018.

Her Face

Experimenting With Morality

"Her Face" is an interactive narrative. Mostly a text based experience, it is an exploration of Immanuel Kant's philosophy on morality. The fictional story of "Her Face" takes place in northern India  sometime during the early 90's. A father-daughter relationship acts as a backdrop to the story on different definitions of kindness. It is a minimalistic game with the sole purpose of enabling players to understand (from Kant's perspective) the morality of kindness. "Her Face" uses facial expressions as inputs to proceed the story, adding another layer of empathy with its characters.

This game is available for you to play on a Mac here. Instructions on how to install the app can be found here.

— Interactive Media —

Mobile and Environment Media Lab

Housed within USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, The Mobile & Environmental Media Lab’s design methodology straddles the cultures of visual storytelling, games, and interaction design. Accordingly, our work mashes together conceptual tools of storytelling (dramatic arc, character motivation, conflict, obstacles, and resolution) with the core concerns of game design (systems, procedures, constraints, objectives, resources, core mechanics).

I am currently working on the Virtual Design Workplaces research project. This research project explores how immersive design tools may impact the future of design and creative work. Insights from fieldwork with designers and engineers at Steelcase inspired a series of design fiction scenarios in room-scale VR.

We focused in particular on exploring how immersive interfaces could reshape practices of ideation, sketching, modeling, annotation, and prototype-review. We developed a methodology we call immersive design fiction to situate fictional embodied experiences in VR. As speculative interaction designers, immersive design fiction enables us to go beyond the simple prototyping of interfaces to also model the interaction rituals and surrounding social worlds that might envelope these experiences.


Parkinson’s disease is the second most common progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting approximately 1 million Americans and 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) every year. This chronic disease impairs walking and balance, which 50-68% of people with PD experience one or more falls related to walking every year. The high risk of falls devastatingly affects the individual’s quality of life and independence. The cause of PD is unknown, thus physicians and therapists have focused on reducing parkinsonian symptoms such as walking disability. However, multiple clinics encounter some limitations where dynamic walking environments are difficult to simulate in a clinical setting.


Walkabout is an over-ground walking intervention in immersive Virtual Reality that can help players to practice walking in motivating environments while achieving dynamic walking skills such as obstacle negotiation and walking in a narrow path. Players experience a wide range of dynamical environmental challenges during walking as well as altruistic feeling of helping the virtual world. Accurate and efficient walking to a target is the key element to win the game. By using vive trackers for the feet, we were able to give useful feedback to patients about their walking skills. 

Walkabout was created by a team of five including a current PhD candidate in Physical Therapy, a film maker and three MFA candidates from the Interactive Media and Games division at USC: Aram Kim, Patrick Bender, Daniel Batista, Wilson Stiner and myself. Walkabout was created over a duration of 48 hours. It won the second prize at VRSC, a student organized festival at USC. Here is a link to the github repository for the project. 


Hack Music LA was the first ever hackathon organized by the LA Philharmonic to bring together 75 of the country's most creative musicians, engineers, artists, game makers, filmmakers, and entrepreneurs to create tools and experiences that expand access to music. As a part of the Hackathon, my team created Maestro, a VR conducting application that could detect and analzye gestures of a conductor to control MIDI output in real time. Maestro won the Amazon Web Services and the Oculus prizes. 


LiveLikeVR is a live streaming platform that allows broadcasters to stream regular or interactive VR content under their own brand with or without a VR headset. LivelikeVR successfully streamed major sporting events such as the French Open and the NFL SuperBowl. I had the great fortune of working with the young and talented team of LivelikeVR before joining the Interactive Media and Games Division at USC


I was given an interesting challenge to work on while at Livelike. We have a multiplayer feature where multiple people can watch a live game together in the same virtual space. However, due to bandwidth limitations, some users' video streams would lag behind others. This ruined crucial moments in the game for users, which was unacceptable to us as the creators of the interactive experience. I was tasked with finding a solution to this problem. With the help of some brilliant people working at Livelike, we managed to successfully resolve this challenge. 


What it is

Interactive Music for Art Installations

How would it be if another layer of expression were added to the experience of looking at art at an art exhibition?

This was the starting point for my interactive music for art installation project. I wanted the viewer to be drawn to the painting and while they were looking at it, to discover greater meaning in the painting through music. 


The Wall-e like thing is the Ultrasonic Sensor and Receiver Unit Connected to an Arduino, which is in-turn connected to Unity

The Wall-e like thing is the Ultrasonic Sensor and Receiver Unit Connected to an Arduino, which is in-turn connected to Unity


Music From Your Heart

Try it out now on your  PC  or  Mac .

Music From Your Heart is the more ambitious and potent successor to the Interactive Art Gallery project. Instead of relying on external factors, Music From Your Heart is based on the premise that a truly interactive experience should be channelled through emotions. Using expression recognition, this experimental application can change the music you hear to reflect the emotions you are experiencing. If look happy, you hear a more upbeat music, while if you look sad, the music is stripped away to just the melody. 
This project is my starting point in the exploration of emotions as a tool to craft more influential experiences. I want to use this project as a means to answer the most pressing question I have- How do I design moving stories for my players?

Try it out now on your Mac or PC. 

Instructions on how to install the app can be found here.