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 2009.1 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.2 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.3
Data visualizations of silence
I’m wrapping up some data visualization work I’ve done for the artist Sarah van Sonsbeeck.4 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.
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.
Karel Millenaar, game designer extraordinaire at FourceLabs and a fellow resident of the Dutch Game Garden, has helped me out on this one. [↩]
You might be wondering what’s been going on at the Leapfrog studio lately, since I haven’t really posted anything substantial here in a while. Quite some stuff has happened — and I’ll hopefully get back into posting longer articles soon — but for now, here’s a list of more or less interesting things I have been doing:
This happened – Utrecht
We had our first This happened – Utrecht on November 3. I think we succeeded in creating an event that really looks at the craft of interaction design. I’m happy to say we’re planning to do three events next year — all at Theater Kikker in Utrecht — and we’ve got lots of cool speakers in mind. If you want to make sure you won’t miss them, subscribe to our newsletter (in Dutch).1
My students are nearing the end of their project. They’ve been hard at work creating concepts for mobile social games with a musical component; they came up with 20 in total. Now they’re prototyping two of them, and I must say it’s looking good. They’ll have to present the games to the project’s commissioner — a major mobile phone manufacturer — somewhere the beginning of January 2009. I hope to be able to share some of the results here afterwards.
Since December 1 I am a resident of the Dutch Game Garden’s Business Club. That means I now have a nice office smack in the centre of Utrecht. The building’s home to lots of wonderful games companies, some, like me, operating on the fringes — like FourceLabs and Monobanda. If you’re curious and would like to drop by for a tour, a coffee and some conversation, let me know.
I was invited do help compose one of the cases for the ‘Grote Amsterdamse Waterbrainwave’. A one-day brainstorm in which 45 students from various institutions were asked to come up with water-related innovations that would make the Netherlands a significant global player once again. It was organised by the Port of Amsterdam, Waternet and Verleden van Nederland2. I also attended the day itself as an outside expert on games and the creative industry in general. Read a report of the event at FD.nl (in Dutch).
Dan Saffer’s book Designing Gestural Interfaces has been published by O’Reilly and is now available. Turn to page 109 and you’ll find a storyboard by yours truly used for illustration purposes. That’s the first time any work of mine is featured in print, so naturally I’m quite proud. I have yet to receive my copy, but got a sneak peek this weekend and I must say it looks promising. If you’re a designer needing to get up to speed with multi-touch, physical computing and such, this should be a good place to start.
That’s about it for now. There’s a lot of exciting stuff in the works, the outcomes of which I will hopefully be able to share with you in 2009.
And that was it. After exactly one year in Copenhagen I am back in Utrecht. I enjoyed my time in Denmark tremendously, it has proven to be a great place to start my new life as a freelance designer. Now I will continue my practice over here. Different city, same international outlook.
There is not much time to catch my breath, however. I have client projects happening throughout July and of course there is also plenty of unpacking and merging of the old and new life to be done. I hope to publish the NLGD and Reboot stuff shortly, but it might take me a while.
Now that I am back in the Netherlands, I can also move forward with some small plans I’ve had for some time: one being a local design event and the other a ‘different’ kind of office space. I am also still looking for a creative technologist to partner up with on potential future projects. If any of this piques your interest, do drop me a line.
Less than a week from now I’ll exchange the lovely Netherlands for the equally lovely Denmark. I’m taking what you could call a working sabbatical. I’ll be freelancing from Copenhagen and have (pretty exciting) work lined up for the first three months. If you have a gig in social software, mobile or gaming and want to work with me from October onwards, get in touch.
Besides Copenhagen, you might be able to grab a hold of me in Brighton, where I’ll be attending dConstruct 2007 or Barcelona, where I’ll be speaking for the 3rd Euro IA Summit. Perhaps I’ll see you on the road?