SFU-UofA Exchange

In early November the University of Alberta Play-PR group hosted Vicki Moulder from Simon Fraser University for two days of workshops and project planning. Vicki and Shannon Lucky from the University of Alberta attended the day long GRAND: Catch Canada’s Digital Wave workshop where they connected with many of Alberta’s gaming industry and funding agencies as well as researchers from across the university. The second day focused on a series of meetings introducing the fAR-PLAY game development platform and the U Alberta GRAND/Play-PR group’s various research projects. At these meetings the Play-PR representatives discussed the potential for collaborating on several projects and plan to continue working together in the following ways:

  • fAR-PLAY Developer David Holms will create a tutorial video that will demonstrate how to build a geo-locative game using the U Alberta developed fAR-Play game design platform. The U Alberta group will make the design platform available to SFU and other partners as a free prototyping space for artists to design story-narratives that are composed of a series of location-based micro-narratives. Vicki will present the tutorial video to Radix theatre in Vancouver to gage interest in this tool within that creative community.
  • PLAYPR Nation-wide Survey on Location-based games It would be of benefit to the entire group to compile a survey of all of the PLAY-PR partner’s location-based game platforms (both original designs and commercial products used). This data could be used to identify design patterns and outline the characteristics of this multi-scaled research space and/or produce a guide that compares the way story-narrative can be adapted in this specific type of game.

The group also plans to create a comprehensive literature review regarding ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) beginning with the University of Alberta’s Zotero collection of references. Hopefully this would serve as a useful reference for the entire group as well as a way to find common threads between existing projects to support future collaboration. The University Alberta will continue this successful partnership by sending a GRAND researcher to Simon Fraser University in early 2013.

Solar Sound at Burning Man

Another successful Burn for Professor Scott Smallwood (me), who attended the Burning Man Festival as part of the theme camp First Transdimensional Bank and Church.

This year, in addition to running our theme camp and it’s 24-hour Karmic Teller Machine, and afternoon Full Solar Salvation Music Jam on solar-powered instruments, I also brought to the deep playa two sound installations.

The first, Black Box, which also appeared last year, was a success and survived the entire festival. The second piece, Arcade Bells (pictured below), was, sadly, destroyed by an art car early in the event. This was due to its small profile, and inadequate lighting. Lesson learned!

The event, in general, was yet again a wonderful display of interactive arts of all kinds, and amazing burn events (including the symbolic burning of Wall Street). I was happy to see the Saskatchewan CORE brought a piece again this year: a lovely wooden sculpture of a buffalo, which burned on Thursday night.

I will discuss my experience this year at the Burn in our first interactives meeting of the semester, to be scheduled soon…

Re-Playing Japan Symposium

Replaying Japan: A one day symposium on Japanese game culture and industry

Replaying Japan is a one day symposium on Japanese game culture, game studies and the gaming industry that will bring together researchers from Japan and Canada on August 22nd, 2012 at the University of Alberta to talk about the challenges and opportunities in cross-cultural study of game culture with a particular focus on university/industry interaction. The symposium will run from 9:15am – 5:00 pm in Humanities Centre L-2, University of Alberta campus. Anyone interested in game studies and/or Japanese popular culture is welcome.

Where: Humanities Centre L-2, University of Alberta
When: August 22nd, 9:15am till 5pm
Who: Speakers include:
  • Koichi Hosoi, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
  • Kazufumi Fukuda, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
  • Kevin Kee, Brock University, St. Catharines ON, Canada
  • Mia Consalvo, Concordia University, Montreal QC, Canada
  • Akinori Nakamura, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
  • Geoffrey Rockwell, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada
  • Mitsuyuki Inaba, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
  • Sean Gouglas, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada

The program of talks can be found here: Re-Playing Japan Symposium Program

Cost: None!

Replaying Japan is supported by GRAND (http://grand-nce.org), the Prince Takamado Japan Centre, the Canadian Institute for Research Computing in the Arts, and the China Institute

fAR-Play Update

David Holmes has been working hard all summer updating the authoring environment of fAR-Play, the geo-locative scavenger hunt game and authoring tool developed at the University of Alberta.

You can check out the changes and sign-up to create your own game here: http://farplay.ualberta.ca/

We will be updating the documentation very soon and welcome any feedback you might have on this project. Please leave comments on this post. Thanks!

Cobble Cards

Cobble Cards is a simple card game that can be used by small teams within a workshop or classroom to generate and discuss rough game concepts in a short period of time. This ideation game was created by Patrick von Hauff with the assistance of David Holmes at the University of Alberta with support from the GRAND-NCE research community.

The game consists of a deck of “constraint cards,” bearing words and short phrases that teams must incorporate into the development of a game concept. There are three main categories of constraints: Who, Where/When and Wild cards. Additional cards may be added to the deck as desired.

The game has three phases:

  1. Idea Generation
  2. Prototyping
  3. Discussion of Prototypes.

In our experience, a game may require between 90 minutes to 3 hours to complete, depending on the time provided for each phase.

You can create your own deck of Cobble Cards for any ideation goal at this website: http://cobblecards.ualberta.ca/

Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments.

There are three main categories.

A sample hand.

Players receive two cards from each category.

Players must interpret the meaning of the “phrase” created by the cards.

Players may prototype their game concept to share with others.

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