Shuyu Xu

Game Designer
Shuyu Xu is a game designer who aims at the connection and interval between art and game. She prefers to combine sociology, politics, and game theories together to expand the boundary of games.
Shuyu Xu is a game designer who aims at the connection and interval between art and game. She prefers to combine sociology, politics, and game theories together to expand the boundary of games.
Thesis Faculty
John Sharp, Ethan Silverman, Fields Harrington, Loretta Wolozin

Ilinx Rhythm

Ilinx Rhythm

Ilinx Rhythm is a VR music game, in which players don’t have any specific clues to follow but have to find out the beats by themselves, such as by counting numbers or tapping their feet. The difficulty depends on their mood and emotions, only by keeping a clear mind can players keep pace with the rhythm. In this game, every other exterior design and rule is a neutral intervention to distract attention from the player. The body serves as a medium for players to perceive reality in the Ilinx world proposed by Roger Caillois, while the real rhythm only exists inside the player’s mind.

Anti-Flow Zone

The flow zone theory is proposed by game designer Jenova Chen. But the flow zone of a well-designed game experience could eliminate all the unexpected misery, seizing players with its illusions and eventual victories.

Split Screen in Each Eye

The immersive feeling of new reality created by game designers alters the way of observation as self-juxtaposed to the virtual world voluntarily. The different content in each eye interrupts the complete perception of the whole world, driving players to integrate information with their own imagination.

The Aesthetic of Perception Disorder

Background Story: Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains, The 1st Ji’nan Biennial, Shandong, Xu Bing, 2020

Art plays a role as a self-discovery byproduct, under the external influence of social norms, being processed like a liberated, omnipotent, and all-knowing object. Ironically, Xu Bing’s Background Story: Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains demonstrates the drastic contradiction. The back side of the Chinese painting is composed of ugly garbage. How to perceive beauty/ugliness or goodness/badness depends on the subjects’ perception and the manifestations of jurisdiction with its motivations at the same time, which is also the indivisible tripartite relationship of artists, audiences, and artworks. Compared to flow zone theory, it flaunts the inviting effects of game experiences in advance and crowds out the personal perception of players from their minds to complete the process of alienation and break the personality into fragments. It is not because of the beauty of the flow zone itself make the optimizing game experiences, rather, it is the imposed ideology that transforms the completed self-perception

Body as a Medium of Perception

The ilinx and amour require the body to experience with a humble and energetic mind. Body movement can follow the music and rhythm as it realizes its incapability, and it is also a way to reorganize the soothing order inside our internal world. In this game, the gesture recognizer permits players to wave both hands like a conductor to hit the beats with their body’s perception of the VR world. Players participate in the world with their whole sensations rather than only two hands, thus, they would like to explore more information about the external world and internal world with critical thinking.


Visual and Auditory Ilinx

Intervention Types

The spaces of Ilinx Rhythm are categorized into several different types according to Camillo Sitte’s city plan topological typologies: square, room, colonnade, and corridor. Every combination of space is based on these types. The connection to various compound spaces requires the following typological elements: door, wall, column, and stair. The perception of space derives from the combination of these elements, creating a rudimentary and abstract VR world stably, since interventions postulate the steady status such as improvisation to techno. The basic elements lay emphasis on the relationship between void and poche such as the intervals between every note rather than those notes themselves.

Space Typology

Players will lose every direct hint to guide their sense of beats but only rely on their self-discovery abilities. The scene without any sense of flow zone immersion arouses the suspicion of players to dig deeper into the game and wait for the moment of Eureka. In Ilinx Rhythm, I take advantage of those various sound effects, such as reverb, glitches, and filters to alienate the order. 

Praxis of Introspection

Generally speaking, a game without specific clues put players in a situation where they feel confused and lost, parallel to some sandbox games, Minecraft, SimCity, they prefer to stay under the invisible dome. Ilinx Rhythm only provides basic mechanisms with players and leaves the complex world for them to explore, while some of them are afraid of being out of control like abandoning them in an empty desert. According to players’ feedback, interestingly, the polarizing comments constitute most of their feelings about this game. Some playtesters who cognize the hint to hit the beats might feel satisfied with the self-discovery journey and prefer to repeat the game again and again, but those who do not get the point of the game might feel upset. In fact, the process of unpuzzling by players resembles the way of puzzle games, yet players seldom accept their incapabilities except for puzzles.

Constrained in a magic circle of immersion, external suffering, on the one hand, pushes players into a dark abyss, on the other hand, it serves as a motivation to escape from the unendurable situation. Likewise, when playing chess, game rules play a role as the big other sustains players in the magic circle, which guide the outcome situation unless players have already known the big other, the chessboard is not all your world, then, the outcome means nothing. The reason why games are games does not results from immersion and fun, it is the conscious exiting ability that avoids the passive codependency with unconscious addiction, contributing to the emancipation of individual minds. All rewards, punishments, ignorances, intimacies, etc. in either Ilinx Rhythm or real life have something to do with people, while at the same time, do not have everything vital to do with them.

Thesis Paper

From Ilinx to Amour: Anti-flow Zone Game Interventions to Inspire Self-discovery in the Journey