Week 177

I was just check­ing out a secret devel­op­ment ver­sion of the Band­jes­land page on PLAY Pilots. It is shap­ing up nice­ly, all the basic tech is in place, now it’s just a mat­ter of knead­ing it to look nice and con­nect­ing it to the instal­la­tion Monoban­da are build­ing for Le Guess Who? When all goes accord­ing to plan we’ll have a love­ly online record of what went down in that very spe­cial place in Tivoli Oude­gracht. Get­ting the scaf­fold­ing up for this took up a large chunk of the week, with Alper and Simon back in the stu­dio for engi­neer­ing and design.

Next wednes­day I’ll be speak­ing at an event for teach­ers in mid­dle edu­ca­tion at Pakhuis de Zwi­jger orga­nized by Noord­hoff Pub­lish­ers. I’ve been asked to share my most remark­able idea for engag­ing stu­dents in a nov­el way. I have a rough out­line of the thing on paper (it popped up almost ful­ly formed when I woke up this morn­ing, love it when that hap­pens). Now it’s just a mat­ter of build­ing the slides. Shouldn’t take too long.

Anoth­er major thing this week was coach­ing the devel­op­ment of a paper pro­to­type of the game we’re design­ing for the Learn­ing Lab. Wieger and Syl­van, my two awe­some interns at Hub­bub, have come up with a love­ly con­cept for some­thing that runs on top of the course’s inter­nal blog sys­tem and sup­ports stu­dents with reflect­ing on their self-devel­op­ment. We played through it this morn­ing with the client, filled a big white­board with com­ments and are now in good shape to work towards a ver­sion that we can playtest with stu­dents. Love­ly.

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 174

STT again

This week on Wednes­day I found myself in the love­ly KNAW build­ing to talk about the far future of applied game design. I was invit­ed to do so by STT, togeth­er with David Shaf­fer, Jeroen van Mas­trigt and Jeroen Elf­ferich. I talked about the inca­pac­i­ty of design as well as sci­ence fic­tion to effec­tive­ly imag­ine a future, how to deal with that as a design­er, and two areas that I see as tru­ly vir­gin ter­ri­to­ry for applied game design: the new type of city we’ve seen emerge in the East, and syn­thet­ic biol­o­gy. I got some nice respons­es and some chal­leng­ing ques­tions from the crowd, so I guess things went OK. The anno­tat­ed slides will find their way to the Hub­bub blog soon.

Aside from this, I spent the week work­ing on PLAY Pilots — con­tin­u­ing work on the next pilot for Le Guess Who? togeth­er with Monoban­da. And at the HKU, work­ing with my stu­dents on the Pam­pus project. Final­ly, my interns have kicked off their third game at the Learn­ing Lab, this one run­ning on their inter­nal blog plat­form. It involves mon­keys and a blind drag­on. Look­ing for­ward to the write­up for that one.

Quite a few bits of con­tent found their way online too, by the way. In case you missed them the first time around, here they are:

Plus a video of the Boc­ce Drift ses­sion Hub­bub ran a while back:

Week 170

Time is short (as seems most­ly the case these days) so a quick run­down of what hap­pened this week:

A promise a bit more reflec­tion on next week’s events.

A quick look at Tweetakt’s playful installations

Twee­t­akt is hap­pen­ing in Utrecht at the moment. It’s a youth the­atre fes­ti­val, real­ly push­ing the lim­its of what we think that means. As an exam­ple, they’ve pro­vid­ed space for sev­er­al instal­la­tions at the fes­ti­val cen­tre on the Neude. I went over for a quick look today — even though I know most of the cre­ators per­son­al­ly and am famil­iar with sev­er­al of the pieces. They’re all free and open to the pub­lic, so if you’re in the area, you should go too.

Knikker­baan

Medialab Utrecht's Knikkerbaan at Tweetakt

Made by a few prin­ci­pals at the Medi­al­ab Utrecht. Push a but­ton and a mar­ble starts rolling down a futur­is­tic look­ing track. Halfway through it enters a scan­ner of sorts, and is con­vert­ed into a vir­tu­al coun­ter­part vis­i­ble on a screen, only to emerge phys­i­cal­ly after some time again. At the end of the track, you get to keep the mar­ble.

It’s hard­ly inter­ac­tive, but does look kind of impres­sive and of course, mar­bles are always fun.

Kleurkamer

Monobanda's Kleurkamer at Tweetakt

A new ver­sion what is becom­ing a clas­sic by the trou­ble­mak­ers at Monoban­da. A beam­er, a white decor and wiimotes enable you to paint with light. It’s a sim­ple premise, the exe­cu­tion is ser­vice­able but the result is quite mag­i­cal. The addi­tion of white jack­ets for peo­ple that want to become part of the can­vas is a real nice touch.

Block­blaz­ers

Fourcelabs's Blockblazers at Tweetakt

Made by my friends at Fource­labs, this is the one that hasn’t the ben­e­fit of a spec­tac­u­lar phys­i­cal shape but is the most fun to play. It’s a com­pet­i­tive plat­form game playable with eight peo­ple at the same time with some clever social and phys­i­cal touch­es. Scor­ing points is reward­ed with a big pho­to of your­self that is shown for a few sec­onds, and the game wraps around two big screens that are back to back, forc­ing you to move around and com­pete with the oth­er play­ers for phys­i­cal floor space.

It’s nice to see this kind of stuff at a the­atre fes­ti­val. I hope the pieces will do well — despite the fact that not all of them have been placed and pre­sent­ed to the pub­lic in the best way — so that we’ll get more of this stuff in the years to come.