State of Matterless #13
Hello frens! This week we are talking about the evolving moods system and our first meetup face to face in Croatia. Here is Jason and Damir, sharing their thoughts and experiences about design and meeting team members in the flesh.
Mood system design
Since I started at Matterless, the thing occupying most of my brain space has been the mood system. Why? Because the mood system is foundational to the rest of the features of the app. How so?
— Mood affects the way your companion moves, acts, and sounds
— Moods can showcase unique personalities
— Mood gives a short-term gameplay goal
So. Moods are something I want to get right.
Our starting place is two moods: Hunger and Social.
What was helpful was to look at actual happiness hormones such as Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins to help inform our design decisions. Using these I split “social” into two categories.
— Food 🤤 which we talked about before, and have a decent grasp on already, and
— Exercise 😤 relatively self-explanatory. The first main mechanic for this is to take your companion for a walk. This can also tie in with geo functionality.
— Love 😍 AKA Affection. The first half of social. It stands for your animal feeling loved and cared for. Hand detection comes in here, for pets and belly rubs. And boops!
— Status 😎 AKA Cool or Proud. The other half of social. This represents one's place in the social hierarchy. I think the way to improve this mood is by succeeding at difficult tasks, winning against others, or doing impressive tricks.
— Comfort 😌 AKA Being Chill, or Relaxed. This represents your animals state of mind, is it at peace, and feeling safe. Things that can improve comfort include resting or meditating, and having items like sleeping mats and pillows can help.
— Fun 😁 AKA Thrill, or Play. Animals who don’t have fun are bored. The way to improve fun is to do fun things like playing games.
These are still being worked on and are subject to change, but our thoughts on the Mood system are percolating and slowly coming together. We are happy with the direction we're taking.
This week has marked a first in Matterless team history — we made it to Croatia for a physical meet-up. Part of the team made here from Sweden, Hong Kong, Spain, Greece, and the UK. We made a temporary HQ in our sound studio in Zagreb, which you can see in the photos. We have been graciously hosted by our sound engineer Dusko, who made our stay as smooth as possible. Massive props to Dusko!
Matterless has always been about creating a strong bond between our team members. This opportunity is crucial for us to connect as human beings, and meditate on what is our core belief, tell the story of how Matterless came to be, and make sure everyone here feels included and knows how we are proceeding forward. We talked a lot about what it means to be mentally present around other people and deepened the sense of intersubjectivity — a shared perceived sense of reality, expectations, and knowledge about the world.
We talk about intersubjectivity a lot. At our core, we are a startup that is creating a relationship and intersubjective feedback from a digital companion, so it’s crucial for us to create that same sense of communal understanding within our own organization. We finally got an opportunity to be in the same room physically, and it has already borne fruit.
We are exploring some more experimental features of the Matterless experience, and taking the time to anticipate what a Matterless user would love to do and have in the app. We are not building a game, we are using shared AR to build a sense of companionship.
It feels great to put our minds together; the work that comes out of this will be instrumental to our future.
We have made a big breakthrough last week, and we think Matterless will be able to do something no one ever did before. But for now, we are keeping that idea close to our chest. We will deliver a demo when the time is right. This is our first meetup in a physical location, but certainly not the last.
Another eventful week, to be sure. Till next time, connect with each other!
-Damir, CCO, Matterless