Freeplay panel: Avoiding Crap Design & Process Decisions in Games

For the next Australian independent gaming festival, Freeplay, I’m curating a panel on gaming decisions:

How Every Little Decision Can Bring You Closer To or Further Away from Creating Crap

“A (self-described) “handsome and debonaire stranger” said to me the best way to avoid creating dull projects is “don’t work for shit companies” and “only go indie if you have a brain”. But what happens if you (think) you don’t work for a shit company and you have a brain? Are there still little things you can do that gradually and inevitably steer your project into the sea of mediocrity? This session is a discussion about how all of those little design and process decisions build to make or break your game.”

The panel includes (in alphabetical order):

It is shaping up to be a cracker panel with lots of war stories and advice on design and process decisions for a variety of games — console, mobile, pervasive, exertion — at the wonderful Freeplay Festival this Saturday. See you there!

P.S. I’ll also be helping out at the Lemon Joust Club organised by the wonderful Leena – a kick-ass fun game that Tassos Stevens introduced us to with his Secret Agent Training.

Announcing my first Universe Creation 101 “playful story”!

Hello everyone!

As many of you are aware, for the past few years I’ve been concentrating on two things: finishing my PhD (which I submitted in 2009), and working on great projects conceived by other people. I’ve conceived, designed and executed some small alternate reality games, but all the major projects were work for other people. This I still love and will continue to do, but now I’ll also be going back to doing my own projects as well. In the past I’ve conceived and created theatre shows, short stories, a literature installation and websites. But now I’m happy to announce something different…

It is with great pleasure that I announce my first “playful story” from my company Universe Creation 101. It is called “Authentic in All Caps”. It is a story that explores the importance of being yourself, through an endearing and entertaining comedy-drama. It also is an innovative technological experience that combines the best of radio drama with dispersed online entertainment. Check out the main website to view the teaser video we’ve created, sign up for updates, give feedback in our social media channels, and even pre-order to help progress the production! Enjoy! 🙂

Update: UC101, Litopia, Australia Council, Crossover, TMV, IGDAM, etc (cross-posting)

I’ve been a BAD blogger! It has been so long since my last update I need to list a few things I have been doing. I’ll list them in order of the most recent and upcoming, to the oldest (but still interesting!). 🙂

The most exciting news for me is the forthcoming announcement of my own creative project. I’ve created my own stuff before — like mini-ARGs, short films, and theatre shows — but I’ve mainly worked on others people’s projects for a while. Very soon I will be releasing a Teaser video for my project. As a way of preparing, I’ve created a Facebook Page and Twitter Account for my company, Universe Creation 101. I’ve created accounts for my company rather than for the individual project because it takes so long to build an audience, I don’t want to have to start all over again when my next one comes out (I have ones being gradually developed in the background too). So add zee FB and Twitter as they will be the first and main place I’ll be releasing info about the project… 😀

Also, on Friday night in the UK (Saturday morning for me in Oz), I was a guest on the amazing Litopia Radio Show. It is a writer-focused show, with a huge following around the world. The panels are a rollicking good time and I had a lot of fun. And I just may have given a sneak peak into my creative project… 😉 Here is the link to the show!

The Australia Council for the Arts commissioned me to write a couple of articles for their new initiative: Connecting Arts Audiences. The site is a “collection of posts […] commissioned to act as practical support to accompany the online audience engagement research”. My first article is about The Process of Creating Quality Transmedia Experiences, and my next one is about transmedia for event-based arts.

It was also announced that I am part of the Storyworld Conference: an event happening in San Francisco where “professionals from across the media spectrum to discover the creative—and financial—potential of transmedia”.  I am on the Conference Council. After the announcement there was, understandably, a bit of stink about the lack of female representation on the Council. I responded with a post: The Messages We Send Each Other. I’ll be coming over to San Fran for the event – so I look forward to catching up with many of you there! 🙂

I’m also excited to now be on the Board of Aphids. Aphids is “Aphids is an artist led cultural organisation creating collaborations across artforms and borders. Aphids’ projects sit at the nexus of contemporary music, performance, technology and site-specific practice.”

At my website You Suck At Transmedia, I published an interview with indie ARG developer Jan Libby (who also works on branded entertainment). She recently completed a “short story ARG” and shares great info on how the process changed for this length of time.

I also participated in Playful Secret Agent training run by Tassos Stevens of UK’s Agency of Coney. Tassos was a guest at the event I ran in January: Transmedia Victoria. It was SUPER fun, and very helpful to hear more about the systems and philosophies of Coney practice. I found their approach is the best I’ve seen in addressing ethics issues with pervasive experiences.

In April, I was the guest of Geek Girl Dinners Melbourne. That was a great night, where I chatted about the realities of my “career”.

I travelled to Phillip Island, Victoria, to be a mentor at the Crossover Lab funded by Film Victoria. The lab brought “together 24 documentary / factual film, games and digital media producers (12 from Europe and 12 from Australia), in two reciprocal cross-platform creative and commercial development Labs”. I have mentored at a previous Crossover Lab and I find their creative process really effective for getting the best out of people.

I also flew off to Marseille, France to present at the Transmedia International Masterclass. There is an interesting bunch of speakers. I presented on Writing , Designing and Directing Transmedia, and co-ran a workshop with Lee Sheldon. What was great about this event is that it was created especially for the local gaming students – to make sure they’re aware of and experimenting with transmedia early in their career. Awesome.

Near the end of May, I was “In Conversation with Matt Blackwood” at the Emerging Writers Festival. Matt spoke mostly about new technologies, as this was appealing to many of the participants. And I chatted about working in transmedia, and transmedia writing.

As you know, I ran an event called Transmedia Victoria in Jan. In March I held the first “travelling meetup”. This is a transmedia meetup that I curate, but is hosted by an existing community. The first was with the amazing Melbourne chapter of the International Game Developers Association. The night drew in over 180 people, the largest they had had and since then their numbers have increased. It was a fascinating night, with both speakers providing helpful insights into the process of working in franchises (Jarrad) and the process of creating theatre experiences (Carl). I also put up new presentations from Flint Dille (on writing transmedia worlds for games, TV & books) and Sue Maslin (on working with digital and TV). Check all the presentations out here.

Phew! I think that is it for now. I promise to be better at my updates.

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