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Conference Papers Year : 2022

Readymades & Repertoires: Artifact-Mediated Improvisation in Tabletop Role-Playing Games

Abstract

Game masters (GMs) are creative practitioners who plan and orchestrate tabletop role-playing games. Through an interview study, we investigate how eight expert game masters adapt everyday technologies and materials as creativity support tools (CSTs) for improvisational and collaborative play. We integrate theories of improvisational and distributed creativity with the human-artifact model, which provides an activity-theoretical vocabulary for analyzing the mediating relationships between specialist practitioners and their tools. We show how GMs prepare and deploy readymade artifacts: analog and digital CSTs that flexibly mediate recurring creative tasks in their practice, such as improvising narrative elements, facilitating smooth play, and creating aesthetic effects. We find that GMs demonstrate designerly thinking as they create, share, and refine repertoires of readymade artifacts. We argue that our theoretical approach can inform future studies of IT-mediated creativity, and that readymade artifacts can be an analytical and generative concept for the design of novel creativity support tools.
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Dates and versions

hal-03991883 , version 1 (16-02-2023)

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Philip Tchernavskij, Andrew M Webb, Hayden Gemeinhardt, Wendy E. Mackay. Readymades & Repertoires: Artifact-Mediated Improvisation in Tabletop Role-Playing Games. C&C '22: Creativity and Cognition, Jun 2022, Venice, Italy. pp.298-311, ⟨10.1145/3527927.3532798⟩. ⟨hal-03991883⟩
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