Week 153

I total­ly for­got to post this last week; I’ll blame it on a com­bi­na­tion of excel­lent weath­er and too much work on my hands. We’re already well into week 154, but to give you a brief overview of what num­ber 153 looked like, let me just say it was more or less divid­ed between:

  1. prepar­ing for and sub­se­quent­ly run­ning a hand full of urban games at the NU Grounds fes­ti­val in Lei­d­sche Rijn (we had gor­geous weath­er and a lot of fun, can’t wait to run more)
  2. sit­ting on a mid-term exam com­mit­tee at the HKU (exhaust­ing, but when a stu­dent nails it, as hap­pened sev­er­al times, it’s a real treat)

I also attend­ed Kun­st­gras where a book pro­fil­ing sev­er­al cre­ative entre­pre­neurs in Utrecht (for which I was inter­viewed) was pre­sent­ed.

That all left me quite spent so I took Mon­day off. Which, I think, is a first in over 6 months. And now we’re in the sec­ond week after my return from Copen­hagen. It already seems ages ago since I stepped off that air­plane.

Week 152

This was the last week of my stay in Copen­hagen. Com­ing Sun­day it’s back to the Nether­lands. As usu­al leav­ing feels bit­ter­sweet. There cer­tain­ly things I’ll miss about being here, not in the least our love­ly apart­ment in one of the city’s nicest neigh­bor­hoods. And the many great cafés. But there’s a lot to be said for being in Utrecht, too. I have so much stuff going on there, it got a bit tir­ing towards the end man­ag­ing it all remote­ly.

So this week…

  • I went over to Malmö to meet with Dan Gär­den­fors at TAT and with Jonas Löw­gren at MEDEA. In both cas­es there is rea­son for fol­low-up; it looks like there might be a TAT-Hub­bub con­cept video about per­va­sive play and mobile UIs on the hori­zon, and I might come back to MEDEA to do some teach­ing.
  • I had a marathon Skype ses­sion on wednes­day. Talk­ing to all my stu­dents who are now ner­vous­ly prep­ping for their mid-terms. As well as ses­sions with Clau­dia and Karel in prepa­ra­tion of the urban games fes­ti­val in Lei­d­sche Rijn we’re assist­ing with.
  • I lec­tured (and ran a lit­tle playtest of an audi­ence game I’ve been tin­ker­ing with) at CIID. Look for a full report and anno­tat­ed slides at the Hub­bub blog, soon.

And now, it’s time to do a few more touristy things and then pack, and head home. The next wee­knote will be Dutch fla­vored again.

Week 151

So, some notes for the past week. They will be very short because there is not much to tell real­ly. It was one of those weeks with a lull in between projects, and also vir­tu­al­ly devoid of meet­ings, today being the excep­tion.

I went over to Like­Mind to catch up with my fel­low Dutch­man Mark, who seems to be doing great, liv­ing and work­ing between Copen­hagen and Lon­don. Not the shab­bi­est pair of cities.

I also had anoth­er chat with the guys run­ning the U-Turm project who seem to be mak­ing nice progress with the image track­ing side of things and are now real­ly get­ting into the game design. Which means, as I told them, they need to start iter­at­ing on the rules like crazy, doing paper pro­to­type after paper pro­to­type.

Aside from this I’ve been doing some prepa­ra­tions for PLAY, reach­ing out to cre­ative teams and indi­vid­u­als who I’d like to see be part of the pro­duc­tions we’re going to be run­ning. Get­ting lots of pos­i­tive respons­es so that is great. I also post­ed some back­ground on the work we’ve been doing so far for this at the Hub­bub blog.

Julius and Karel ran a suc­cess­ful sec­ond urban games work­shop in Lei­d­sche Rijn for Cultuur19 last sat­ur­day. We are now gear­ing up to assist with NU Grounds, a games fes­ti­val in the same neigh­bor­hood where there will be sev­er­al urban games on offer. That’s going to take place two weeks form now and should be good fun.

The rel­a­tive qui­et this week has allowed me some time to tin­ker with Pro­cess­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Box2D library that Mr. Shiff­man has put togeth­er. I’m just mak­ing a lit­tle sil­ly soft­ware toy with that to kind of flex my flim­sy pro­gram­ming skills. Noth­ing spe­cial but I might post some screen­shots and maybe a screen­cast lat­er any­way.

And also, I bit the bul­let, installed XCode, and had a go at Open­Frame­works, most­ly to have a look at some of the Box2D stuff out there that is con­trolled with OpenCV (a com­put­er vision library). That seems to be a real­ly nice basis for gam­ing in pub­lic space using urban pro­jec­tions and such. I don’t see myself work­ing in Open­Frame­works though, it real­ly is an increase in com­plex­i­ty as opposed to Pro­cess­ing. Still, by mess­ing with it, I can now appre­ci­ate it bet­ter.

Next week is going to be my last one here in Copen­hagen and looks like it’ll be slight­ly more busy, with anoth­er trip to Malmö and a lec­ture at CIID. After that it’s back to NL. Time real­ly flies.

Week 150

That’s a nice num­ber, 150. One-hun­dred-and-fifty. I like the sound of that. So what’s been going on this week?

I hopped on a plane last Sun­day to the Nether­lands for This hap­pened – Utrecht #6. Wouldn’t miss out on my own par­ty, of course. And I’m so glad I didn’t, because we had awe­some talks by Berend & San­neke, Matt, Sebas­ti­aan and Keez, plus a sur­prise appear­ance over Skype by Mr. Bux­ton. The room was packed, inter­ac­tion design­ers of all stripes were chat­ting away before­hand, dur­ing the break and after­wards over drinks. I had a blast and judg­ing by the reports that have been com­ing in, so have many oth­ers.

Before head­ing back to the Nether­lands the next day I man­aged to squeeze in a few meet­ings. One of those was for PLAY which, now that I’ve wrapped up project Tako,1 is ready to move into its next phase. We’re plan­ning to pro­duce sev­er­al play­ful ‘things’ for a num­ber of cul­tur­al events and tie them all togeth­er with a meta-game. It’s a mat­ter of get­ting all the right peo­ple on board now and get­ting going as fast as pos­si­ble. So I’ve a list of folks to con­tact in the com­ing days.

I think I broke a per­son­al record for the num­ber of Skype ses­sions in one day on Wednes­day, with back to back talks with my HKU stu­dents as well as a plan­ning ses­sion with Karel and Julius for an urban games work­shop they’ll be run­ning tomor­row in Lei­d­sche Rijn.2

And today, after spend­ing Ascen­sion day on a couch, plug­ging away at email and to-dos, I’ll be mak­ing the trip across the Øre­sund to Malmö in a bus full of mak­ers and inter­ac­tion design­ers to attend Thought­Made, which I’m real­ly excit­ed about; an exhi­bi­tion and talks includ­ing a can­dy machine con­trolled by Twit­ter. What more can one ask for?

  1. I need to write a report on that one at the Hub­bub blog soon. []
  2. A new devel­op­ment area of Utrecht I’d say is the clos­est thing to a real-world Sim City project that I ever saw. []

Week 146

Crazy, crazy week I am glad to have sur­vived. But wait, it’s not done yet. Tomor­row (sat­ur­day) I’ll be run­ning a work­shop in Lei­d­sche Rijn with local young folk, for Cultuur19. The aim is to design a lit­tle social game that’ll func­tion as a viral mar­ket­ing tac­tic for our upcom­ing urban games design work­shop in the same dis­trict. This is a Hub­bub mis­sion, and I am glad to have the sup­port of Karel who — besides cook­ing up crazy plans at Fource­Labs — is an occa­sion­al agent of Hub­bub.

This was my last week work­ing on site with Layar because I’m head­ing to Copen­hagen on sun­day. I’ll be stay­ing there for a few weeks, work­ing there — for Layar still, pos­si­bly for Social Square — lec­tur­ing at CIID and apart from that just tak­ing it a lit­tle slow­er. My apart­ment is around the cor­ner from the Laun­dro­mat Café in Nør­re­bro so that should be no prob­lem.

I was at Waag Soci­ety’s beau­ti­ful The­atrum Anatomicum last wednes­day to cohost a work­shop on games and archi­tec­ture as part of the Best Scene in Town project ini­ti­at­ed by 7scenes. I pre­sent­ed three bold pre­dic­tions for the future of games in the city. Look for a write-up of that one at the Hub­bub blog soon. The teams came up with inter­est­ing con­cepts for games in Ams­ter­dam and I enjoyed work­ing with all of them.

Going back to the start of this week, I turned 30 on mon­day. A water­shed moment of some sort I guess. Some­what appro­pri­ate­ly, we announced This hap­pened – Utrecht #6 that day too. Check out the pro­gram, I am real pleased with our speak­ers.

Now let’s just hope that vol­cano doesn’t mess with my flight in sun­day and the next note will be com­ing to you from love­ly CPH.