There’s a lot going on at the Leapfrog studio, which explains at least in part why things have gone quiet around here. However, I wanted to take the time to alert you to some upcoming events that might be of interest.
An urban game in the Rotterdam city center
On Sunday September 27 around 50 young people will play an urban game I designed for Your World — Rotterdam European Youth Capital 2009. It is part of a two-day event called Change Your World, which enables groups of youth to set up a new ‘movement’ with financial support and advice from professionals. You might want to hang around the Rotterdam city center during the day, to witness what is sure to be an interesting spectacle. More info should show up soon enough at the Your World website.
A pervasive game in the Hoograven neighborhood of Utrecht
Around the same time, from September 18 to October 11, you’ll be able to play Koppelkiek in the Hoograven area of Utrecht. This is a game I’ve created for the Dutch Design Double program. To play, you take photos of yourself with others in a range of situations and upload them to the game’s website. It’s designed to subtly permeate your daily life. With the help of our players we’re hoping to create a collection of photos that provide a unique look into life in the neighborhood. Do join in if you’re in the area. Also, we’ll have a playtest on September 16. If you’re interested in playing a round or two, drop me a line.
Data visualizations of silence
I’m wrapping up some data visualization work I’ve done for the artist Sarah van Sonsbeeck. Sarah’s work revolves (amongst other things) around the concept of silence. Alper and I took a dataset she generated during a few of her ‘silence walks’ using a GPS tracker and a sound level meter and created a number of static visualizations in Processing. Some of the output can be seen at the exhibition Een Dijk van een Kust. More will probably be on display at another occasion. Also, I’ve learnt some new tricks that I intend to share here soon.
What else, what else…
- I’m still meaning to write something up about the work that went into Mega Monster Battle Arena™ but it will have to wait. I attended two of the three shows and enjoyed both throughly. There’s some photos up at the opera’s website.
- We’re in the process of finishing up the This happened – Utrecht #3 videos. Once they’re all done we’ll add them to the event’s page on the .org site along with the slides. Planning for our fourth event has already started. Mark your calendar for October 26 and subscribe to our newsletter so you won’t miss the registration’s opening.
- And finally, I’m slowly but surely giving shape to a new venture which will focus on the use of play in public space to effect social change. Its name is Hubbub. The crazy designers at BUROPONY are developing a sweet brand identity and a first placeholder site is up. Stay tuned for more news on that.
That’s about it for now, thanks for your attention. I promise to provide content with more meat and less self-promotion in upcoming posts.
This Saturday I’ll be jumping on a plane to San Francisco. As mentioned earlier, I’ll be attending the Game Developers Conference. I have a session at the GDC Mobile sub-conference elegantly titled “Designing a Casual Social Gaming Experience for Generation C”. Read more about my session on the conference site. It’ll basically be 1/3 crash course on the social web, 1/3 rant on mobile gaming and 1/3 talk about enabling creative expression through games. We’ll see how it goes.
I’ll be in SF the full week (flying back the next weekend) so if you happen to be around, and feel like hanging out, do drop me a line. (Your best bet is an email to “kars” at this domain or d-ing me on Twitter.)
Finally, if that isn’t enough self-promotion for one post, (I’m risking a mass unsubscribe here) I was interviewed a second time for the Playyoo blog. Head over there for some talk about the Game Creator—a tool I designed for them that allows people to customise classic games and publish them to mobile:
“And then there are the games that are entirely personal. They make no sense to you or me, only to the person who created it and their friends. For example, I saw one variation of Lunar Lander where you need to land a crab on someone’s, let’s say Debbie’s, head. Now, I have no idea who Debbie is, but I can imagine Debbie is a friend or sister of the game’s creator. And it must have been a lot of fun for them to include the picture, and then have an easy way to distribute it to their friends.”
Most of you will probably know I’m involved with this new mobile game community called Playyoo. I haven’t blogged about it here explicitly because most of my contributions so far are still being developed and will hopefully hit the internet around December. I have an excuse to talk about it now though, because recently I was interviewed by the people of Playyoo for their blog. Read about my thoughts on the role of sociality in (mobile) gaming and how that will work in Playyoo’s meta-game, as well as what I think about casual games and the unique game design opportunities for mobile.
A quote from the interview:
What does the term ‘casual game’ mean to you?
‘Casual,’ to me, says something about the level of attention and engagement that a player has (or is required to have) with the game. For me as a designer, casual games provide interesting challenges. It might seem simple to create these casual games, but they’re actually quite tricky to pull off, or pull off well, that is. From a game design perspective, I think it’s more challenging to pull off a high quality causal game than yet another first-person shooter game.
Read the rest of the interview over at the Playyoo blog.
It’s been quiet here lately. Even the del.icio.us links have dried up. The reason: I have been frantically preparing my talk for Reboot. It’s nearing completion, and I’m pretty satisfied. Looking forward to delivering it to the cool people in Copenhagen.
- My slot has been announced. It’s on thursday the 31st, starting 12:20 in ‘the box’ (interesting name for a room, hopefully it’s not too descriptive).
- Nicole Simon has interviewed me as part of her podcast series for Reboot. It should be up any time now. Hear me babble incoherently about why I think games & play are such interesting areas for designers.
- Guy Dickinson has been so kind to invite me for his micro-presentation session. I’ll be in the one during the evening ‘happening’, so you can all drink and talk while looking at the pretty pictures in my slides.
It’s going to be an amazing two days. See you all there!
I got awesome news the other day: my proposal for a talk at Reboot 9.0 has been accepted. I’m very honoured (and a little nervous) to be presenting at a conference with so many smart attendees. Now to get my act together and create a kick-ass presentation.
If you have anything related to this (pretty broad) topic that you’d want me to address, please do leave a note in the comments.
One thing’s for sure: I’ll try to build upon what has gone before at previous Reboots, such as Ben Cerveny’s mind-blowing overview (MP3) of how play is essentially becoming a new language for us to communicate with and TL Taylor’s great talk on the dynamics of virtual worlds.
What I will be addressing is still slightly unclear to me, but the direction I’m headed is:
- Games can be social play, which means they can be used to forge and experiment with social relations in a ‘safe’ way. This happens whether you design for it or not, but can be nurtured.
- When games go mobile, the borders of the space and time in which a game is played are blurred. In this way, games bleed over into culture in a gradual way.
Enough to chew on for one talk, I guess. Again, any questions, comments and suggestions are more than welcome. See you all at Reboot 9.0.
I’ve just submitted my proposal for a talk at Reboot 9.0. It’s on the three areas I am most fascinated with at the moment: mobile, social software and gaming/play. After attending this great conference twice it’d be really cool to get the opportunity to present there.1
Take a look at it and let me know what you think2, I’d love to get some feedback up-front so I can maybe work that in there. What do you want to know about this topic?
Curious what this might be like? Take a look at the Pecha Kucha I delivered on mobile gaming for a taste of what’s to come.
Just firing off a quick post while packing for the IA Summit. Tomorrow morning I’m taking off on my flight to Vegas. For anyone curious about my doings while in the states, your best bet is Jaiku1. SMS-ing the occasional update should be affordable and won’t take too much time. No live blogging I’m afraid, I will be taking plenty of notes2 and promise to do a proper write-up when back.
1. Although all the crazy Americans are hooked on Twitter like an addict on crack, so to keep up with what’s going on there I’ll need to switch between two presence apps. Grumble.
2. A fresh squared Moleskine pocket notebook is ready for action.
Planning on making a trip to Rome, Venice or Florence? Check out the free digital travel guides from Schmap. The new editions contain some photos I took while vacationing there this spring. Schmap use Creative Commons-licensed photos from Flickr in their guides. They always politely ask for permission first even though strictly speaking they don’t have to. The guides are PC only but they’ve promised me Mac versions will follow shortly.
And yes, Edgar was there first.
Next Wednesday, see me do a presentation on mobile game design at the 6th Pecha Kucha Night in Off_Corso, Rotterdam. Pecha Kucha are super short presentations consisting of 20 slides. Speakers have exactly 20 seconds per slide to do their thing. Quite a challenge! I’ve finished my slides and a first draft of the talk, now to practice the hell out of my lines… Here’s an Upcoming.org entry I made for the event, here’s the Dutch and international site and finally, here’s some cool Pecha Kucha tips by Yongfook.
Just now I finally finished tagging the last few photos taken in Venice. The whole set of Lieke’s and my vacation in Italy is now online. Total number of photos we ended up selecting is a whopping 411. You can start at the first new one since the previous update over here.
Plenty of pretty shots in this update, my favourite is probably this one: