Independent Contractor

> It’s the year 2032 and you’re working a grueling gig-based job for a tech company...

Your task: remotely dispatch drones to deliver packages to people’s homes from your computer. As you work, ulterior motives at play deep within the company become increasingly apparent. You soon come face to face with moral dilemmas as the story unfolds, with your actions revealing an impact on the world.

Independent Contractor​ is a web-based simulation game in active development.

A Critique on Surveillance Capitalism & Gig Economy

As a critical game, Independent Contractor simulates the desktop of a gig economy worker, with multiple applications. Exploring surveillance capitalism’s complex structures in our digital existence, and the problematic labour issues in the gig economy industry, Independent Contractor invites the player to reflect on these issues.

Developed with Webflow & VueJS

To prototype the in-game applications we used Webflow which is a visual-coding website tool geared towards designers. It has a great web-design editor allowing us to customize the CSS and page layouts more easily to later be exported. After creating Webflow prototypes we began developing the core functionality and interactions of the game itself.

This is where our tasks started splitting off. June took on Webflow and certain visual designs while Declan coded using JavaScript and worked on tying together the various pieces, pages, and interactivity for the game. After designing the UI prototypes on Webflow, we exported design components and pages to help us begin creating the actual website and functionality for the game.

We learned a thing, or two...

Working on Independent Contractor has been such a great learning experience. Overall, the development process was a lot of learning, troubleshooting, and devising innovative ways of working on both an individual and collaborative scale. There are endless possibilities for designing on the web today which was at first overwhelming but we were able to constrain ourselves to the desktop medium we constructed. Our process and journey throughout creating this game taught us to be flexible and constantly search for new and effective ways to do things.

Moving forward, we would like to refine the puzzles, adding more delivery challenges and puzzles for people to play. We plan to continue developing the narrative, building a more complex world with many more events that will take place. The game also offers a space for writing and social critiques that can be further explored.

We hope to bring a new way of learning about surveillance capitalism and the gig economy that inspires hope and change in our interactions with technology. We also hope you laugh at the jokes we make inside the game. Thanks for reading!

June Tang

Moving from Ho Chi Minh City to Vancouver for my Bachelor’s Degree in Interaction Design, I am interested in combining interaction design skills with my cultural background to create delightful experience. I am currently exploring how interaction design can impact textual works through format innovation.

When I am not designing, I can be found illustrating, writing sad fiction, or making an oat milk latte, or playing games, or making music, or…

Declan Reilly-Gordon

Declan is an interaction designer and web developer who loves to explore creative and impactful ways of utilizing emerging technology.