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.
And finally, in other news: we announced the next This happened — Utrecht, and I uploaded a selection of photos from the Bocce Drift game Hubbub ran a few weeks ago.
This week was all about frantically getting things sorted so that I can completely disconnect for a week on starting friday (tomorrow).
- Putting up the scaffolding for project Fugu; a collaboration with River Institute on an experiment in higher education at the UvA. Hubbub will be designing some ARG-ish additions to its program. I am bringing on board two interns to work with me on this. I’ll have them introduce themselves at the Hubbub blog soon.
- Final exams at the HKU which is best described as a roller-coaster ride of draining and exhilarating moments. I judged the work of 10 interaction design and game design students, including those I coached myself. Some were very good. There is a show at the faculty on september 10 & 11 called EJECT.
- Had some meetings about yet another project which I have decided to codename Ika. This is a mix of me coaching a group of HKU students and doing design research in the cultural heritage domain. A hybrid educational model.
- Various management-type activities for PLAY Pilots. Mostly aimed at helping the Zesbaans / NFF pilot make it into the world and getting the Wip ‘n’ Kip additions for the site up.
- This afternoon we’ll kick off project Maguro which is about using pervasive games for internal training purposes at a government agency.
- Tomorrow at 12:15 I will get on this boat to this island and will be very hard to reach for a week. I plan to do a lot of reading, cycling and walking and not much else. Well, sleeping probably. Lots of that too.
So, don’t expect any notes for week 167. I’ll be back to report on #168.
You have Alper to blame for this. Alice started it, many followed (some well worth reading) and now the meme has crossed the pond it seems. I know, we’re a bit slow in NL. So, what am I thinking about?
My upcoming holiday, which will be the first break in over a year. I am planning to completely unplug, which I am both dreading and looking forward to. It seems the longer I am self-employed, the harder it gets to just leave work behind for an extended period of time. It seems crazy to be worried about the continuity of my business when I’m only away for a week on a freaking Wadden island.
Today marks the last day of final exams at the HKU and I am lead to wonder about the future of design education as it happens there and at other similar institutes around the world. It often seems too closed off from the outside world, too insular. I am looking forward to tangling with this subject matter more in an upcoming project with River Institute.
Choosing has never come easy to me. In the past I have found it painful to choose between disciplines, skills to develop, projects to work on. And at some point I sort of decided to stop forcing choices and find ways to have them all mesh. I think that finally I am getting to a spot where I am comfortable in not choosing. So now I wonder why that is, what the value of refusing to choose is and what that means for creative disciplines.
I am essentially pessimistic about the future of this world. I have a very hard time conceiving of any future, in fact. Recently I found myself in a workshop aimed at making plans for an event in 2015 and I was totally lost. Having learnt this about myself the next question is how to act — I don’t wan’t to “play dead” as Bruce Sterling would say — so what’s the alternative?
Since it is at the core of my business I am thinking a lot about domains where games could go next. I am thinking a lot about citizen engagement, particularly when it comes to public policy, but I am mostly stumped about making inroads into that area locally.
There you have it.