Category Archives: Creative Practice & Strategy

2017 Appearances, Releases, etc…

(This page will be updated as the year progresses with forthcoming and archive links)

Events

  • FORTHCOMING – Forward Slash Story 2017, Indonesia – the residential lab I co-run with Lance Weiler, May 11th-15th.
  • FORTHCOMING Keynote & Colab Facilitator, “F**k Storyworlds!: A Mischievous Guide of the Latest in Cross Media Design”, Emergence Creative Festival, Margaret River, Western Australia, 29th March-1st Feb. I will be talking about things from my not yet published omg it is coming book!
  • Moderator, “Immersed in the Story“, VR Plus, Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), ACMI, Sunday 5th March, 2017. Panelists include Navid Khonsari (iNK Stories), Lynette Wallworth (Collisions) and Oscar Raby (VRTOV).

  • Panelist, “Making Games on the Side“, Game Development Brisbane, The Glasshouse, QUT, Sunday 5th Feb, 2017. Panelists include James Bowling, John Passfield, Jason Kristy, and Richard Eastes. Moderated by Lee May.

[Making Games on the Side panel, photo by Ashley Davis]

Workshops & Guest Lectures

  • Facilitator, “Summer Series – Game Development,” SAE Creative Media Institute, Brisbane, Jan 13th-15th. I designed and ran the design side, and Dr Iain McManus did the scripting side. The teenagers created a hybrid digital-board game in 3 days. I took them through player interviewing, play research, speed ideation sessions, and prototyping.

Publications

  • Curator, Contributor (2017) Forward Slash Story Alumni Remote Show #2, 31st Jan. This is a regular publication by alumni who participated in the residential lab I co-run with Lance Weiler. The illustration (below) is by my regular artist Marigold Bartlett.

  • Contributor (2017) One Year in Now Media Vol IV, Simon Staffans, 3rd Jan, 2017. Other contributors include Mike Monello, Jeff Gomez,Asta Wellejus, Angela Natividad, Lee-Sean Huang, Maya Zuckerman, Andrea Phillips and Steve Peters.

Press/Interviews

  • Interviewee (2017) “Creative Practice and the Law”, Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Group, Law School, QUT. 18th Jan. Principal Researcher: Dr Kylie Pappalardo

2016 Appearances etc

(this page will be updated as the year progresses)

Events

  • I moderated the ‘Content Creation’ panel at ACMI’s VR Festival (with Michael Beets, Nathan Anderson, Oscar Raby, and Dan Koerner) , and mentored filmmakers at their VR Lab, 3rd Nov, 2016 [Full list of panels]

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[Magister Ludi being exhibited at the Contours opening]

  • I exhibited the latest prototype of my (now) boardgame DIY SPY at the GO423 Popup Exhibition held at The Powerhouse for the Brisbane International Game Developers Association, 29th August, 2016.

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[Photo of myself showing DIYSPY to GO423 Popup Exhibition visitor Cailean, with Burger Up creator Matt Parkes watching!]

  • I gave a speech at the Navitas Women’s Networking event on ‘How to not take your career seriously’ on 26th July, 2016 at SAE Creative Media Institute, Sydney

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[Photo of host Helen Zimmerman (Head of Corporate Affairs at Navitas) thanking me at the end of the talk, by Kali Taylor]

screenqueenslandpremeeting[Screen Queensland pre-meeting 18th June, 2016 at Real Serious Games]

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[Screen Queensland Funding Event 8th July, 2016]

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(I’m at the 6min mark, but check out Dr Rebecca Giblin’s great introduction)

Guest Lectures

  • Guest Lecture, “Interest Design in Film, TV & Games,” MDU111 Contemporary Storytelling, Bachelor of Filmmaking, SAE Creative Media Institute, Brisbane, 14th & 18th, November, 2016
  • Guest Lecture, “Making Transmedia” CIU210 Media Studies, SAE Creative Media Institute, Brisbane, 14th, 15th & 18th, November, 2016
  • Guest Lecture, ‘Emotion Design in Games’, Studio 2, Bachelor of Games Development,SAE Creative Media Institute, Brisbane, July, 2016
  • Guest Lecture, ‘Multiplatform Writing & Design’, 1114 GFS Reading the Moving Image, Griffith University , 23rd & 24th May, 2016
  • Guest Lecture, “Interactive Documentary,” Studio 2, Bachelor of Filmmaking, SAE Creative Media Institute, Brisbane, 2016
  • Guest Lecture, “Emotion Design in Film, TV & Games,” MDU111 Contemporary Storytelling, Bachelor of Filmmaking, SAE Creative Media Institute, Brisbane, 2016

Articles & Book Chapters

Press

  • I was interviewed for a special feature on me: Lawrence, Nathan (2016) “Hands-On Learning” for Game Informer Magazine, Dec

  • I was interviewed on games education by O’Connor, James (2016) “Games Education in Australia”, Hyper Magazine, Nov

  • I was interviewed for Game Informer Magazine, June, 2016

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Judge & Funding Assessor

Book Assessor

  • ETC Press (Entertainment Technology Press)
  • Bloomsbury Academic

Awards & Salutations

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“This narrative game has a novel interface, which is particularly well-designed for use through a tablet. The mode of interaction is simple, but the choices to be made ask the reader to consider how the game might work, with unexpected responses being the most successful. As it develops through the reader’s interactions, the narrative questions traditional ways to view education and life experience and suggests new ways to think.” 2016 Judge’s Report, WA Premier’s Book Awards.

New Boards & Committees

 

Archiving play with a town

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been commissioned by the Creative Recovery Network to create a locative game with a regional town in Queensland. It involves a location-based experience that is very low-fi, along with archiving stories of the town. To get the link between the past and the present and the need to ground players in the space, I decided to explore archiving play: how people have played in the home, school, streets, and paddocks over the generations.The design is heavily inspired by Hide & Seek’s ace Tiny Games.

I think when I mention I’m archiving play, people assume that I’ll be archiving how people play right now with video recordings. My plan was more about what they play (the rules) rather than how. But as I discovered, there are ways to draw out the rules and the nuances that are critical.

So today I had the first session with the school kids (grades 4, 5, and 6). I started off by talking about what a game designer is and got them to brainstorm what you do when making a game. Of course, their responses were about creating the graphics (“images”), characters and sounds. So we talked about the designers job to come up with rules, like with chess: how there can be people who make the board and the pieces and someone who comes up with the rules. They came up with a list of rules for chess. I spoke about games that can use apps but are about live playing, and showed them some examples. To move them away from the concept of games being (to them) Minecraft, Halo and Grand Theft Auto, towards what we’ll be doing, we played “Head’s Up“. This worked well.

Then we played some live games, and I got them to come up with a list of the rules for the game. I then asked them what games they play in the schoolyard, and we came up with a list of twenty immediately. I tried to get the instructions/rules, but they were often lost in the garbled excitement of explaining them.

We then went for a walk around the town, with a town elder sharing stories of the games she has played around the streets. This opened up other stories from the kids, such as how they make “cubbies”. There was one kid who spoke about having a tree with branches you can lie on. The problem is, “there are six branches and seven kids”. We got to the main park area and after morning tea I invited them to show me one of their games. Some of the kids didn’t know the rules, and so they learned a bit from the instructions from the other kids but mainly from doing. How the game works was infinitely clearer seeing it played, as there are small nuances that are forgotten when describing them. So embodied passing on is important.

Part of what is important about embodied play is the discovery of game set-up and fair-play rules. For instance, when I asked them how they know who is ‘it’ earlier, they gave me two rhyming methods “blue shoes” and “21”. But when they actually played the game, their immediate response was to throw their hand to the grass and yell “touch ground, not it!”. There are other nuances, like how you “have” to tell someone if you’re “it.” There are different ways to do that. When they had described it earlier, they gave me the hand signals you use to indicate if you’re “it” or “human” (“not it”). But then when they played, it was simply yelling “Are you it?” “Yes I’m it!”. All of these kinds of play rely on an honesty system, and what Bernie De Koven talks about with in his book The Well-Played Game.

I loved hearing the games created according to the almost-impossible obstacles you have around you. Such as “Don’t ask a question” or my favourite “Don’t let the dog lick you”. The second one “is tricky because we have 3 dogs and 2 puppies”. It is these bits of context that add to the meaning behind the games, such as “Run away from Ryan’s big brother,” “Let’s clean up my room,” and the “quiet game.”

Other games we have listed so far include: T-run, Tiggie, 21 Home, Dragons, Gang-up Tiggie, 1-2-3 Home, Elastics, Hopscotch, Red Rover, Bullrush, Skipping, Tennis, Soccer, Touch, Brandy, One colour, and “Don’t touch anything”.

What I found fascinating too was that in talking with the Principal we discovered a game he used to play as a kid had the same name as one they play now, but has different rules. This is where the generational aspect of archiving play is interesting. When did the rules change and why?

Another discovery today was being told about the school’s previous experience with kids and play. Two years ago the school found that the students didn’t really know how to play with each other. They didn’t know how to play in the school yard. So they got funding and brought in a P.E. teacher who spent one day a week teaching the kids how to play (not just sports). I tried to figure out how this can happen, and it turns out the years preceding this intervention involved terrible flooding of the area and a long-term dispute with the government. I have asked to speak with this teacher to find out more, but it seems that the stress of community trauma affects the kids ability to play. Good to see the town cared about the kids ability to play, and good to see the kids have come back from that, just like the town has.