Designing for Depth: Underwater Play

Sarah Jane Pell, Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller Exertion

The underwater domain is an alluring ‘other world’, inviting of human-aquatic interactivity and bodily play and yet it is also an extreme environment as it is inhospitable to support human life without external air-supply. Playful interactions are therefore matters of life and death in the underwater domain. We correlated data on human-aquatic interactions and narcosis with a range of game design principals to produce a design pallet for digital underwater play from water level to 30m depth. We also present a proof-of-concept system called Gravity Well as an exemplary research tool. Through our work, we aim to inspire other researchers and designers to consider creating digital play in and under water.