Week 180

Last week was packed again. When a few last minute meet­ings get squeezed in, it usu­al­ly means trou­ble. Week num­ber 180 was no excep­tion, which explains the absence of a wee­knote on fri­day. A quick run­down of stuff that went down:

  • Wieger and Syl­van worked on a pro­to­type of the Learn­ing Lab metagame, which we pre­sent­ed on fri­day. Got heaps of feed­back, now all that’s left to do is: do a last live test, doc­u­ment the design, write up things we learned through­out the project.
  • Togeth­er with Irene I spent time detail­ing a sto­ry­board for a video sketch for project Buta. We met up with Hein on fri­day, to see if he could be assist us, since he has mad video and motion graph­ics skills.
  • Prop­er­ly kicked off Maguro on thurs­day. More on that one soon.
  • Did a review of the Pam­pus project, which is com­ing along nice­ly. This fri­day I’ll do the final assess­ment of the project, and the week after it’ll be pre­sent­ed to the client so the heat is on.
  • We did a “pants down” release of the Band­jes­land addi­tions to the PLAY Pilots web­site. Shame’s a good moti­va­tor, so now we have a real incen­tive to tweak it so we can announce it offi­cial­ly this tues­day.
  • I wrote some descrip­tions of the inter­ac­tive work that’ll be on dis­play at Twee­t­akt 2011.

Week 179

Anoth­er quick wee­knote, things are sim­ply too busy. I was going to attend the STRP con­fer­ence today, for exam­ple (which looks great) but have had to can­cel. Too much to attend to.

So what’s up?

  • We ran This hap­pened – Utrecht #8 last Mon­day. For a great impres­sion of the evening read this report by Iskan­der. Video’s will be up soon at the event’s page.
  • Work with Alper, Simon and Bernard on the last of the addi­tions to the PLAY Pilots web­site. The project is near­ing its end as the last live game will launch tonight at Le Guess Who?
  • A full day of meet­ings and a ses­sion with the Pam­pus stu­dent team at the HKU. I also had the chance to dis­cuss the next steps for project Buta (you know, the thing involv­ing pigs).
  • A trip to the Graph­ic Design Muse­um to dis­cuss the chal­lenges of exhibit­ing games.
  • Some work with my interns at Hub­bub on the Learn­ing Lab metagame. They’ve built a great paper pro­to­type; we’re going to play it today.
  • And some talk in between about what hap­pens after PLAY Pilots, as well as about the inter­ac­tive pro­gram for Twee­t­akt 2011…

Week 178

I have devel­oped a sort of rou­tine when it comes to writ­ing these notes. I usu­al­ly sit down on fri­day morn­ing and bang them out in around half an hour. The trick to a lot of the things I do is devel­op­ing habits. Oth­ers would call it OCD.

But when­ev­er some­thing oth­er than the ordi­nary stuff hap­pens on fri­day, it’s a chal­lenge to still post wee­knotes. This was the case last week. I was at Game in the City to see Kei­ta Taka­hashi speak and also par­tic­i­pate in an invi­ta­tion-only work­shop with him. A great expe­ri­ence all around, Taka­hashi-san turned out to be a bit of a philoso­pher, an inter­est­ing com­bi­na­tion of a super-seri­ous and very play­ful per­son­al­i­ty. The signed Kata­mari disk I took home is a per­fect sou­venir.

Week num­ber 179 has tak­en off already, so I’ll have to keep this short now. The most impor­tant things to report are that I worked on the Band­jes­land addi­tions to the PLAY Pilots web­site with Alper, Simon and Bernard. The game had a test-run last fri­day and we’ll be doing a test of the data import this week so we can tweak and tune before the whole thing goes live com­ing fri­day.

Fur­ther­more, I spoke at an event for mid­dle school teach­ers on wednes­day, where I pro­posed a trav­el­ing games stu­dio that would part­ner with teach­ers and stu­dents to make games about a vari­ety of sub­jects (any­thing real­ly). Got some nice respons­es after­wards, which was heart­en­ing. Slides and notes will prob­a­bly show up once things calm down a bit on the Hub­bub blog.

Aside from this I worked on Maguro, the Pam­pus project, Twee­t­akt 2011 and the Learn­ing Lab project, and took care of the last prepa­ra­tions for This hap­pened – Utrecht #8. The lat­ter took place last night and was a lot of fun once again. Bring on the rest of num­ber 179!

Week 177

I was just check­ing out a secret devel­op­ment ver­sion of the Band­jes­land page on PLAY Pilots. It is shap­ing up nice­ly, all the basic tech is in place, now it’s just a mat­ter of knead­ing it to look nice and con­nect­ing it to the instal­la­tion Monoban­da are build­ing for Le Guess Who? When all goes accord­ing to plan we’ll have a love­ly online record of what went down in that very spe­cial place in Tivoli Oude­gracht. Get­ting the scaf­fold­ing up for this took up a large chunk of the week, with Alper and Simon back in the stu­dio for engi­neer­ing and design.

Next wednes­day I’ll be speak­ing at an event for teach­ers in mid­dle edu­ca­tion at Pakhuis de Zwi­jger orga­nized by Noord­hoff Pub­lish­ers. I’ve been asked to share my most remark­able idea for engag­ing stu­dents in a nov­el way. I have a rough out­line of the thing on paper (it popped up almost ful­ly formed when I woke up this morn­ing, love it when that hap­pens). Now it’s just a mat­ter of build­ing the slides. Shouldn’t take too long.

Anoth­er major thing this week was coach­ing the devel­op­ment of a paper pro­to­type of the game we’re design­ing for the Learn­ing Lab. Wieger and Syl­van, my two awe­some interns at Hub­bub, have come up with a love­ly con­cept for some­thing that runs on top of the course’s inter­nal blog sys­tem and sup­ports stu­dents with reflect­ing on their self-devel­op­ment. We played through it this morn­ing with the client, filled a big white­board with com­ments and are now in good shape to work towards a ver­sion that we can playtest with stu­dents. Love­ly.

Week 176

As I was start­ing to write this a dis­cus­sion broke out on dra­matur­gy and game design. So I got side­tracked debat­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences between dis­ci­plines and most impor­tant­ly what they have to offer to each oth­er. The room was filled with inter­ac­tion design­ers, game design­ers and folk with a the­atre back­ground.1 So that was inter­est­ing.

More mix­ing of dis­ci­plines: on tues­day I spent a day work­ing on Buta with Irene van Peer, a prod­uct design­er with a tremen­dous amount of expe­ri­ence in the health­care domain. We sat down and man­aged to push the work for­ward through lots of sketch­ing and mak­ing. Next up is more work with pigs and farm­ers on site.

The rest of this week was tak­en up by work for PLAY Pilots (Monobanda’s Band­jes­land for Le Guess Who? is turn­ing out great), the Pam­pus project at the HKU, and a few meet­ings for new projects on the hori­zon.

I have been pay­ing atten­tion to my calo­ry intake the past few weeks. It turned out this was far too low. Now that I am eat­ing much more I find myself being able to cope with less sleep, more stress and just gen­er­al­ly feel­ing much bet­ter. Which also makes for more plea­sure tak­en from my work. Who’d have thought food could be such an upper?

  1. Wieger and Syl­van, interns at Hub­bub, study Design for Vir­tu­al The­atre and Games at the HKU. []