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 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. []

Week 157

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.

Week 155 & 156

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.