I was out of the game for a day this week due to a cold. Back in the saddle now, off to Amsterdam for more work at Layar. I’m going to pick up where we left off last week when the workshop with BERG finished.
It’s less than two weeks to the next This happened – Utrecht. On monday we opened the registration and even though we had twice as many spots than last time, we ‘sold out’ in half the time. One minute. Crazy. I met up with Alexander and Ianus on monday evening to go over the last things that need to be done. We had a look at our new venue too, the HKU Academy Theatre, which I think is real nice.
On tuesday I went over to Codarts to give a lecture on games to music students (producers, composers and songwriters, mostly). I was invited by Daniël Hamburger, whom I collaborated with on the Monster game opera. I wanted to provide the students with starting points for collaboration with game designers. So I decided to focus mostly on the notion of player experience, and how game designers contribute to this, and how music and sound can. It went OK. I started by chatting with them about the games they play, so that I could use those as examples in the rest of my talk. That’s a trick that works well, I’ll be sure to use it again.
There’s some more speaking on the horizon. On monday I booked my train to Hamburg, for a talk at RaumschiffEr.de; a sort of mini-Reboot taking place on february 21. Read a bit more on that at the Hubbub blog. Perhaps I’ll see you there?
On a train to Amsterdam again, extra early so that I am on time for the second day of a workshop we’re running at Layar. It’s being facilitated by BERG’s Schulze and Jones, which is a real treat. Without giving too much away: we’re working on new product concepts. Can’t wait to see what results from this session, since it looks like I might be developing them further in the months to come.
I was doing some work this weekend, mostly planning the upcoming months since there’s so much interesting stuff on the horizon. I also popped over to Hilversum for a look at the games created during the local Global Game Jam. Some 170 people participated and I think around 40 games were created. The general quality was quite high. Some of my favorites included:
- So It Floats, which features gorgeous watercolor art and a biblical theme. You’re a monkey trying to get Adam and Eve to leave paradise. The gameplay resembles …‘s games.
- SSSSSOS, where you control a tiny space ship trying to survive a massive battle between two armies consisting of swarming space ships. You can get them to engage each other in stead of you by attracting and repelling them. It’s all driven by nicely tuned Newtonian physics and is accompanied by adaptive music.
- Resonance, which was strikingly well-rounded for a 48-hour game. I’m not a huge fan of puzzle games, but this had a good learning curve spread across 14 levels. The musical theme was a nice touch too.
- Save Your Souls, a frustrating experimental game you control with two mice, each tied to one character running down a track. From playing I’ve decided bimanual input devices are not for me.
- What The Faql?, which I liked for its interesting social mechanic. Four players collaborate to get a cart from one end of a mine to the other, but one of them is a ‘mole’ whose goal is to sabotage the whole operation. This player gets a small jolt of force feedback from his controller at the game’s start.
All the games created in NL and across the world can be found at the international Global Game Jam website. Have a look.
Most of the conversations with project Tako participants are now finished. I had one more this monday, with the people who organize the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition. Not much else will be done this week, but I’ll need to start processing all the notes in the coming period.
Now that the EMMA group projects have finished the next phase for graduate students at KMT has started. They have four weeks to develop their graduation project proposals, which includes a research component. This phase was kicked off with a symposium on monday about creative processes in multidisciplinary teams. On friday, I’ll meet with the group of students I’m coaching (together with Irene van Peer) and review their plans for a short field study, which they’ll need to complete the next week. The results from this will feed into their final proposals. Can’t wait to see what they come up with.