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.
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…
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. 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?
Had another busy week, with time equally divided between projects Buta and Ebi.
The former has come to an end with the delivery of a video sketch yesterday. Leading up to that on monday we tested several paper prototypes of games for people and pigs with farmers. The response we got from them was encouraging. Having processed this feedback we settled on one concept that would be developed further into a video sketch. After this we developed a scenario, sketched a rough storyboard and divided up tasks. I hacked together a software prototype of one half of the thing, which is aimed at people (using Processing and the LiveView screencaster) while Irene built a to scale physical model of the installation for pigs. I can’t share the video just yet but I’m sure it won’t be long before I can.
Ebi’s first iteration has come to a close today and I am happy to see we have working software with pretty pictures and nice words, all thanks to the hard work of the team (hello, Alper, Bernard and Simon). I was mostly making sure these guys could do their jobs, as well as organizing work that will need to be done by others in future. Next week, after iteration two, I think we will have a thing we can show you. Can’t wait for that.
And now, it’s time to close this damn laptop and prepare for the afternoon’s game. I’m not a big fan of football but Netherlands — Brazil is not to be missed.
I have some catching up to do with these. What can I say, things got in the way of writing last week’s notes.
These past two weeks I have been pushing to get a new project, codenamed Ebi, off the ground. It is the next step in my involvement with the PLAY project in Utrecht. I’ve put together a team consisting of Alper, Bernard and Simon to build a game that will tie together several other playful things that will take place over the coming months at several Utrecht events. We’ve had our kick-off and are now in the midst of the first sprint, with delivery of a first rough system by the end of next week. Copy is being written, software is being developed and designs are being made. It’s a pleasure to see this ad-hoc team coming together so fast and getting down to business. That takes real skill, in addition to the craftsmanship each brings to the table.
Other than that, project Buta (another codename) started this week, which is a research thing at the new Design for Playful Impact group at the HKU. We’ve been doing field research and have been sketching and prototyping initial ideas. The subject matter is kind of controversial, so I can’t share too much about it, other than that it involves pigs. Yes, pigs.
In between, I dropped by the presentation of the U‑turm project, a student project where I acted as advisor on. The demo worked nicely. With some additional work on the game design I am sure it will be a hit in Dortmund. I also attended Layar’s one-year anniversary event, where several things were unveiled that I had some part in, such as the all-new floaticons.
Looking ahead, I’ll be busy with Ebi for the next month or two and will also have to take some time to move into a new studio, that I will be sharing with FourceLabs in the new Dutch Game Garden on the Neude. Ace location, nice space, can’t wait for that to happen.