This week on Wednesday I found myself in the lovely KNAW building to talk about the far future of applied game design. I was invited to do so by STT, together with David Shaffer, Jeroen van Mastrigt and Jeroen Elfferich. I talked about the incapacity of design as well as science fiction to effectively imagine a future, how to deal with that as a designer, and two areas that I see as truly virgin territory for applied game design: the new type of city we’ve seen emerge in the East, and synthetic biology. I got some nice responses and some challenging questions from the crowd, so I guess things went OK. The annotated slides will find their way to the Hubbub blog soon.
Aside from this, I spent the week working on PLAY Pilots — continuing work on the next pilot for Le Guess Who? together with Monobanda. And at the HKU, working with my students on the Pampus project. Finally, my interns have kicked off their third game at the Learning Lab, this one running on their internal blog platform. It involves monkeys and a blind dragon. Looking forward to the writeup for that one.
Quite a few bits of content found their way online too, by the way. In case you missed them the first time around, here they are:
So, I got back from a one-week holiday on Terschelling last weekend (which was lovely, by the way) and immediately dove into work again. So much to do at the moment, it’s a challenge not to get swamped. Anyway. And it is one of those weeks where I need to look back on my calendar just to remember what has been going on…
Most notably, two interns have started at Hubbub. They are working on games for the second installment of the Learning Lab, an experimental educational program created by River Institute, which will be running at the University of Amsterdam the coming months. Their first assignment is to design a game that will be played by Learning Lab participants (who are called “pioneers”) today and tomorrow at the Natural Networking Festival. It is nice to have these guys on board. This week I regularly sat down with them to review their plans but aside from this they are incredibly self-steering. They’ll be blogging about their exploits on the Hubbub blog soon.
Also, I had a full day of work on Maguro yesterday. We spent the whole day at the client’s office (a large governmental organization which I can’t name at the moment). The morning was taken up by short presentations from the side of us, the design team. We also had the chance to talk to a selection of people from our target audience and get a tour of their work environment. In the afternoon we sat down to brainstorm concepts, and came up with some interesting ones. I enjoyed getting a chance to see this organization from the inside, which due to to the sensitive nature of their work is a little secretive. We decided to use part of the workshop’s program to try out some mechanics that we might be using in the game, without the audience being aware of it. That lead to some interesting results.
This week is bookended by meetings for project Ika. This project is run from the still very new Design for Playful Impact research group at the HKU. On monday I spent some time with the people leading the other projects to get a general sense of the program. Today I’ll be meeting up with the client for the first time.
And in between I’ve been doing more work on PLAY Pilots. I dropped by Zesbaans to check out an early version of their installation for the Netherlands Film Festival, which is called The Stereoscope and is this kind of toy-like VJ-ing tool loaded with fragments from Dutch films from the past 30 years. Awesome, awesome, stuff. It’s already fun to play with, even though the custom-built console is yet to be finished and the game mechanics haven’t been implemented yet.