A collaboration between a diverse group of people all involved with pervasive games. Sadly their mailing list is broken. Via Andy and James.
Month: September 2007
links for 2007-09-28
23, creators of a Flickr-like photosharing service are developing their service further (accounts in your own design and under your own URL) and are launching new products as a company that support visual sharing in the workspace.
“Apparently you can’t do a Pong remake without approval from Atari”
Ever since I saw Ahtisaari speak on Blyk at Reboot I’ve been anxious to see it actually go live. Here it is, a free mobile network for young people. I love the seemingly random amounts of free messages (217) & calls (43).
A Photoshop killer for Mac priced 59 USD? You’ve got to be kidding. Giving this a testrun right now and at first glance it’s quite good. Adobe look out.
Footage of upcoming indie game that involves you helping a bear find its way home. Nice cartoony visual style, intriguing control scheme. Shame about the crap sound that accompanies the clip.
Good lord, Samba de Amigo is coming to the Wii. That’s it, I need to get my Wii over from NL to DK.
Timo describes the Picnic photo-booth – an RFID-enabled, it uploads to Flickr and automatically creates relations in Picnic’s social networking site. My favorite photos are the ludic ones where people try to trick the technology into doing silly stuff.
A new Stamen piece for Digg. Not sure this classifies as insightful but it sure is pretty and like the rest of the Digg pieces gives you a feel for the activity on there.
links for 2007-09-27
On using books for interior decoration. I know it’s tacky, but I’d love to have a wall full of books in my home.
Fun little platform game with some interesting mechanics: fire ‘anomalies’ that change gravity and then use them to reach the exit. Minimalist but effective visuals as well.
Cook shares some of the storyboards he’s made for an upcoming gameiscussing the process of how they are made, used an shared along the way.
Summary of my Playful IAs argument
I thought I’d post a short summary of the argument I made in my Euro IA Summit 2007 talk, for those who weren’t there and/or are too lazy to actually go through the notes in the slides. The presentation is basically broken up into three parts:
- Future web environments are becoming so complex, they start to show emergent properties. In this context a lot of traditional IA practice doesn’t make sense anymore. Instead of directly designing an information space, you’re better off designing the rules that underly the generative construction of such spaces.
- IAs tend to argue for the value of their designs based solely on how well they support users in achieving their end goals. I propose supporting experience goals is just as important. From there I try to make the case that any powerful experience is a playful one, where the user’s fun follows from the feeling that he or she is learning new stuff, is kicking ass, is in flow.
- Game design is not black magic (anymore). In recent years a lot has become understood about how games work. They are built up out of game mechanics that each follow a pattern of action, simulation, feedback and modelling. Designing playful IAs means taking care that you encourage discovery, support exploration and provide feedback on mastery.
Get the the slides, and a list of sources for the talk in this earlier post.
links for 2007-09-26
A first testrun was quite encouraging. Perhaps worth using sometime to explain a concept on my blog. Seems unusable unless you have a Wacom tablet though.
Playful IAs — slides for my Euro IA Summit 2007 talk
After a considerable amount of fiddling with SlideShare I’ve finally managed to upload a version of the slides that go with my Playful IAs presentation. This more or less as I presented it at the Euro IA Summit 2007 and includes an approximate transcript of my talk. I hope to get an audio/video recording of most of it in the near future as well. When I do I’ll update this page.
Download a version including an approximate transcript (14,5 MB).
I had some great reactions to this talk and I want to thank all the people who engaged with me in discussions afterwards. It’s given me a good picture of what areas I should develop further in future subsequent talks. I’m also pleasantly surprised to see that contrary to what some people think, the IA community (the European one at least) is very much open to new ideas. That’s really nice to experience firsthand.
A lot of people asked for a list of books and other good sources on the topics I covered. Here’s an incomplete list of stuff I’ve used at some stage to inform my thinking:
- Rules of Play by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman — Possibly the best book on game design out there. Big and meaty — not at all what you would expect from a games-related book perhaps.
- A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster — A book I have yet to read, but the central argument is described very clearly in the initial presentation (PDF).
- There isn’t much out there on the topic of Garrett’s algorithmic architectures. I took some notes the second time I saw JJG speak, at Reboot 9.0. Perhaps they are helpful.
- For an impression of Will Wright’s thinking on possibility space, this oldish presentation at Accelerating Change 2004 is probably the best source. Recently he’s done a lot of public appearances related to Spore. Of those I probably enjoy his high-speed TED performance the most.
- Lot’s of stuff on making your user feel like he’s kicking ass can be found in the archives of Kathy Sierra’s blog, Creating Passionate Users.
- I have to read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow. Salen and Zimmerman discuss it in Rules of Play. There is a short but sweet interview with Csikszentmihalyi in WIRED. The original flOw game can be found over at Flow in Games.
- Daniel Cook’s model of how game mechanics work is best described in his Gamasutra article The Chemistry Of Game Design. His blog Lost Garden (where I first encountered the Wii Help Cat) is highly recommended.
- Richard Bartle’s article Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs is a great examination of how various player groups influence the experience of a MUD. Readily applicable to the design of MMOGs and social software (as Tom Coates and Matt Webb have argued in the past.)
If that doesn’t keep you busy for a while, you could always have a dig through my del.icio.us links. There’s plenty of good stuff there. Of course
of you ever find anything you think would be of interest to me, do let me know. Just tag it for:kaeru.
links for 2007-09-25
Well presented argument by Steven Pinker that we are actually living in the most peaceful period yet. Includes an explanation of zero-sum games. Via Iskander.
links for 2007-09-20
“build anything, and play everything, from anywhere” The ‘game’ developed by Raph Koster’s Areae has gone live.
This might be the first Star Wars game I’m looking forward to in ages – one that makes use to the Wiimote and Nunchuck.
Notables in the overlapping area of interaction and game design
With the Euro IA Summit soon approaching and my presentation more or less done, I think it might be a good time to post a list of people I’ve found inspiring while working on it. These are all persons who one way or the other are working in the overlapping area of interaction and game design (at least as far as I’m concerned.)
Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman are the authors of the excellent book Rules of Play. This is arguably the foundational text on game design theory. It is so good even that much of it is readily applicable to the broader domain of interactive media.
Daniel Cook has written some thought-provoking pieces on his blog regarding the application of game design to interaction design. I admire the way he combines an analytical mind with considerable skill in visual arts, allowing him to communicate his ideas in a very engaging way.
Raph Koster is the author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design, a book I have yet to read. He’s the designer of the early MMOG Ultima Online and has since gone on to found his own company that is apparently focussed on delivering games everywhere. He’s recently presented some worthwhile talks on the area where the games and internet industry meet.
There are more, but I’d just like to highlight these three because they’ve all provided their own framework for thinking about games in such a way that it can be understood and used by relative outsiders like me. Take a look at their work, and let me know what you think.
links for 2007-09-18
Fun interview of William Gibson by the Boing Boing crew. I particularly enjoyed his comments on what it’s like to write SF nowadays and it reached its peak in the 60ies.