— Story —
— Crossing of The Threshold —
It's hard to imagine our own lives as a part of Joseph Campbell's 3 act structure. There are some parts that fit perfectly and others that can't really be classified. Real life is generally a lot less dramatic. There are no evil monsters requiring immediate attention, nor are there any princesses that need rescuing (generally). This, however, in now way devalues the importance of the seemingly innocuous quotidian events that shape our stories.
My story starts with my love for electronics. I was always breaking toys and watches, picking out their parts and trying to get them to work the way I wanted them to. Well, that never really happened, but through it all, I remained fascinated by the magic these gadgets afforded. To have numbers come up on a tiny screen and to have a sound play through some speaker, to me these were comparable to what Harry Potter might have felt walking through the streets of Diagon Alley.
Over the years, I got better at breaking stuff, and putting it together too. While at school, I was a member of a 12 person team of dreamers who were a finalist team in the International Space Settlement Design Competition organized by NASA. This experience fostered in me a curiosity for technology and a belief that it could help solve complex problems.
At college, I was trying out novel ways to use existing technology in day-to-day lives. I created programs to use an 8-bit micro-controller to act as a 'smart' watch, use basic technology to transfer information wirelessly and design robotic navigation systems. I discovered a proclivity towards artificial intelligence. Enthralled to discover dynamically responsive programs, I set about trying to use it in different scnearios, such as for energy optimization in a mall in my hometown, and as a learning agent that could teach itself to play my game and challenge my players.
Over the years, I discovered a true love for systems in general and games in specific. I feel that games have the potential to be the greatest tool to sculpt a deep understanding about ourselves. I intend to use games as a means to impart philosophical knowledge as described in my manifesto Games for the Self.
I am really excited to be on this journey, and hope that you, my reader, my player, will have as much fun playing my games as I have making them. I hope you are able to understand yourselves better through my games. If you do, I would have achieved that greatest goal I have set for myself.
Jivitesh Singh Dhaliwal is a game designer and game programmer. Inspired by the Socratic method, he designs games which present philosophical questions to players. These questions help his players understand themselves better by bridging the gap between belief and knowledge. Jivitesh studied engineering from Panjab University, India. He then proceeded to work on some interesting design and engineering problems. These include: designing a computer program that can learn to play a complex strategy game, designing music and narrative to adapt based on a player’s facial expressions and enabling sports fans to view live sports in virtual reality among others. In his free time, Jivitesh loves to play the bansuri (Indian flute). He also enjoys experimenting with electronic gadgets that somehow never seem to work again. Jivitesh is pursuing his MFA in Interactive Media and Games from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC). He is a recipient of the Annenberg Graduate Fellowship. Jivitesh is currently working on a mobile natural language processing game which asks the question: ‘Are we the same person without our bodies?’. He is also working in USC's Game Innovation Lab on the VR game Phenomenology.