Cross-Media Interaction Design & Nokia Research Labs

I’m about to hope on a plane to go to Sweden, then Finland, Amsterdam, Paris and many places in the US. It will be a great trip…meeting lots of cross-media researchers who I’ve known through cyberspace for a long time, sharing my research and insights and…having a break. My first engagement is a talk for Nokia Research Labs in Finland. Nokia have asked me to come and speak to them about Alternate Reality Games and Transmedia Entertainment in general. That will be lots of fun. Here is the abstract for that talk:

“Watch Out! Behind You!”: Transmedia Entertainment circa 2007

Transmedia entertainment is about stories and games that are expressed across a variety of media platforms. They surround a person: popping up on the Internet, television, mobile phone, newspaper and beyond. The core drive of such pervasive forms is to create a world that exists beyond the media it is delivered on. Media becomes a gateway rather than the final destination. This talk will explore exemplary examples of transmedia entertainment, including Alternate Reality Games. In particular, this session will outline Alternate Reality Game design and general cross-media interaction design principles. How mobile technologies have been integrated into these worlds and their potential future roles will also be discussed.

And then I’m off to present a keynote lecture at the First International Conference on Cross Media Interaction Design. Here is the abstract for the primer paper I wrote:

Patterns in Cross-Media Interaction Design: It’s Much More Than a URL… 

Content can be repurposed, adapted and stretched across platforms. A story can start in one medium and finish in another. How are audiences moved between platforms, and how can one make this traversal a part of the entertainment experience itself? This paper provides an introduction to multi-platform and multi-format entertainment and then outlines the factors that influence cross-media interaction design. What is to be considered when designing for movement between platforms? How are audiences moved between platforms? What influences the choice of traversal? Critical factors will be listed, as a first step towards developing patterns in cross-media interaction design. This first step is a primer for part two, which will be delivered at a conference.

Here is the primer doc [pdf] if you would like to read about some of the ideas informing my talk. I’m so looking forward to sharing my research into this area.

After that I’m meeting more colleagues in Amsterdam, then off for a holiday in Paris, then over to the US to see family and meet more colleagues, including my wonderful co-bloggers from Writer Response Theory. We have been blogging together (though me not as much in the past few months) for years. This will be the first time we have actually met!

I’ll try and keep you posted on the wonderful things I discover out there. And when I come back, be prepared for some changes around here! I’m finally getting cracking with a few projects that have been on the boil for a while. I’m very excited and can’t wait to share them with you.


In-Game Advertising: the V-Lodge model

A while ago I was invited to join the community at V-Lodge. V-Lodge is created by Sergey Salomakhin and Mikhail Zislis. Here is their description:

Our project for in-game advertising, V-Lodge, works from the following assumptions:

* A new approach to in-game advertising is required, “virtual billboards” arent’ doing any good! This goes for both advertisers and gamers.
* A place for direct business communication between gamedev and advertising worlds is needed to build a civilized market in this area.
* The demand for quality information, for new concepts and ideas for this market, is obvious.

We have created an online meeting place for players in this business that serves simultaneously as a business platform and an informational resource. Currently we are inviting advertisers, game developers, technology providers, and consultants to join our club.

I find the model interesting, but am also impressed by their articles on their Method for in-game advertising and the history of in-game ads. What they call “in-context” advertising is akin to “in-game” and “in-story” approaches that we see in just about every format possible now. The history is mighty interesting too. I asked Sergey if it was OK to blog about their project and this is his response:

We believe that in-game advertising is widely misused, and our hope is to change this situation. We see no need in crippling games and irritating players. Obviously, with wider coverage we will achieve this faster.

I like a good mission.

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Second Life and broadcast tiering



I’ve been watching closely the different methods used to tier…to broadcast events that happen inside of the online virtual world Second Life. One of the biggest problems with holding SL events is that there is a restriction on how many people can attend. Too many and the sim will go down. There are a few techniques that SL developers use to get around this: hold events on land that is located on the cornor of four sims — so you take advantage of allowance of four sims rather than only using one. Another technique is to tier the broadcast of the event. People at other locations within Second Life can listen to the audio feed at a nearby by and so on…just like watching a sports broadcast at the local pub. But another tier is to deliver the experience to people outside of Second Life. This allows people who are residents of SL but who cannot go inworld for some reason, or cannot get to the event location, still particpate in some manner in real time. The Electric Sheep Company created Destroy TV to fit such a purpose. With Destroy TV, the events are streamed and you could even enter text, to participate in the discussion inside the world from outside. But a colleague of mine is part of a new service called the Second Life Cable Network. They just ran a pilot live event a few days ago and I was impressed. Here are the details of “the four hour presentation of six great Australian bands and musicians at The Hoe-Down Under – Texas’ Aussie Music Party produced in association with Austrade, from the production company Cattle Puppy Productions: 

Hovering above Salmon Island, swooping past the interview stage, following hosts Starr Sonic and Gonzo Timtam and standing amongst the dancing audience in the mosh pit, Wiz Nordberg and an assistant videographer filmed the whole 3 hour event for SLCN. Video making or as it is called in Second Life, Machinima, is well established in-world. What makes SLCN so innovative is the ability to take several live video feeds from in-world, mix in high quality audio and pump the resulting finished show to thousands of screens throughout Second Life and to millions of web browsers through And all of this live – yes, as it happened.

I enjoyed listening to some great Aussie bands, seeing mates dance inworld, listening to the interviews and just being a part of the fun, without being inworld. This was a great implementation of broadcasting as we know it. Now, all they need to do is integrate ways that event and people inside SL can interact in some way with the people out of SL and it will be appropriate to SL.

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