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Re-Imagining the Internet of 1999 for 'Hypnospace Outlaw'

Jay Tholen (Founder & Lead Designer, Tendershoot)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Core Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design, Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Alternate-reality internet simulator Hypnospace Outlaw was released in March 2019 to critical acclaim and 3 IGF nominations, including the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. In this session, lead designer Jay Tholen shares his experiences building a fictional worldwide web that encourages players to celebrate both the garish visual & sonic landscapes of the connected 1990s, as well as the fascinating lives of the people who established virtual homesteads there. He also explains the process of creating a design language from the early web's limitations to sell players on Hypnospace's world of fictional music genres, sports, and dot com era garage startups.


Attendees will learn how to efficiently (and inexpensively) sell players on their fictional worlds by developing their own cohesive and well-researched design language, creating in-universe dev tools, and taking advantage of player scope expectations.

Intended Audience

This session is intended for anyone interested in the history of the web from 1995 to 2001, as well as designers involved with world building and defining visual/sonic aesthetics.