Learning Points

These are three learning points I would particularly like to highlight, in developing Fast City.

. Media Elements
In constructing this narrative in hypermedia, I have often had to analyse along the way, the particular relationship between text, audio, interactive behaviour and implied user that is activated at each point of reading. Fast City exploits a potential tug-of-war between text and audio, as the user is positioned to pursue the development of narrative experience from either perspective. However, it took much experimentation along the way to settle on this particular configuration. I am also reminded that successful and captivating multimedia authoring benefits greatly from effective collaboration between media specialists, or at least distributed roles, rather than a one-man operation like this.

. Stereo-placement
One multimedia strategy employed in Fast City is the use of a stereo field, to distribute sound effects across the computer's speaker system and provide a sense of real-time dramatic movement as police sirens race across from the left to the right speaker, or gunshots are returned on the user's left and right speakers in turn. This is informed by audio design conventions in movies, and how cinemas are today configured to deliver a full soundscape in relation to the movie at hand. This has imposed another consideration in conceptualising and authoring Fast City, in that the reading experience will need to be "edited" in some relation to film-editing conventions, to more effectively structure overall user experience.

. Remediated as Installation
In intending for Fast City to be taken up as a possible blueprint for interactive media installations perhaps in galleries or public spaces, I have been consciously foregrounding the physiological dimension of interactive media in general, and hypertext reading in particular. Translated most literally onto a physical space, the lexia map can be configured as an interactive floor mat, perhaps hidden under a carpet, with users triggering the lexias and audio clips as they wander around the installation space. Also, different images and video feeds can be added to the lexias for a more media-rich experience. Finally, users might also be armed with handheld devices which display changing lexias and audio clips in relation to their physical positioning within the installation space.