Tag: Adam Brackin (Page 1 of 2)

Return of the ARG Practicum: A Three For One Deal

Last year, the University of Texas at Dallas’ Emerging Media and Communications program offered a practicum in ARG design taught by Deus City developer and UT-Dallas professor Adam Brackin. Over the course of the semester, the class developed and produced the Electron Innovations alternate reality game. This year, Brackin’s ARG practicum, affectionately referred to as “ARGlab 2.0,” is back with three new alternate reality games. According to Brackin, these three projects will reflect his Circular Model of ARG Development embracing parallel games, sequels and spin-offs within a shared “game world.”

While Electron Innovations was the product of a six-person team, ARGlab 2.0 is comprised of 20 students divided into four teams. Three of these teams are developing alternate reality games. The fourth team is documenting the creative process of the other groups, and will publish a “making of” documentary upon completion of the ARGs.

The three ARGlab 2.0 ARGs can be found at priestlyindustries.com, iknowwhathappened.wordpress.com, and sunshinebooks4less.com. Priestly Industries explores a contest to win $10 billion in venture capital from the wealthy and eccentric industrialist Gerard Priestly, while I Know What Happened follows novice geocacher Becka Belle as she tries to figure out the meaning of a mysterious box she discovered. Sunshine Books 4 Less, on the other hand, revolves around a series of strange, defaced posters scattered around downtown Dallas.

Continue reading

How committed are you?

ca.jpgThe name Deus City should be familiar to some, as we have reported on it numerous times over the past year-plus. This Alternate Reality Game launched in November of 2006 and wrapped up almost exactly a year later, developed by a team led as part of Adam Brackin’s doctoral project at the University of Texas in Dallas.

ARGNet can reveal that a doctoral dissertation is not the only likely result from this team, however. In post-game contact, the puppetmaster team from Deus City hinted at an upcoming project with a teasing few letters of a domain name, “www.conspi….” The complete URL may be found by watching this video, “Conspiracy Asylum File Zero,” which was recently uploaded to YouTube (or it could also be found by clever parsing of this paragraph).

Our sources tell us that the above video is something of a beta-test but that we can expect a public launch around the first of February. Fans of Deus City who are aching for more contact with the universe may be pleased by the setting of the upcoming game in the same universe as the prior, although our sources also tell us that this story will not be directly related nor a sequel to DC, so players unfamiliar with Deus City need not be deterred from joining in. Here’s another one to look forward to in 2008!

ARGFest 2007 Panel I: Developing an ARG

ARGFest attendees were privileged to be able to sit in on — and participate in — dialogues between many of the field’s leading developers during the panel discussions held on March 3rd. The first of these panels, Developing An ARG, consisted of Adam Brackin (Fundi Technologies — Deus City), Brian Clark (GMD Studios — Art of the Heist, Who Is Benjamin Stove), Adrian Hon (Mind Candy Design — Perplex City), Evan Jones (Xenophile Media/Stitch Media — Regenesis, Ocular Effect), Jan Libby (Sammeeeees), and Dave Szulborski (Chasing the Wish, Urban Hunt). Unfiction’s Sean Stacey (a.k.a. SpaceBass) moderated the discussion.

As one might expect from such a gathering of alternate reality gaming’s better-known puppetmasters, the discussion was packed with information and insights from behind the curtain (although Brian Clark’s frequent wryly humorous interjections kept it entertaining as well as informative).

Continue reading

The Sedulous Amalgamation of Alexis Wright, Senior

eggrem.jpgAfter over four months of completing puzzles via the Postal Service, participants in the innovative ARG The Committee of the Sedulous Amalgamation (tCotSA) received cryptic notes that eventually decoded to reveal the history and purpose of the organization behind the mailings – the same organization that funded the creation of Deus City’s Time Communication Project.

According to the information revealed through the cryptic mailings, the Committee for Sedulous Amalgamation was established five hundred years ago to protect fragments of Nostradamus’ folio. They then funded Adam Brackin’s Time Communication project and charged its members to join the agents of Deus City and collect the missing pieces of the Nostradamus’ work.

Further investigation reveals additional parallels between the two games. An arithmetic symbol used by the Deus City PM, known as “Hank Eggrem,” appears on many tCotSA messages, including its trailhead. tCotSA also makes reference to the death of one of its members, which parallels Alexis Wright Sr’s plane crash in Alabama from the Deus City story.

The impact of this merging of games remains to be seen, as both ARGs have employed very different gameplay styles, with Deus City relying heavily on character interaction while tCoSA utilized “snail mail” to great effect. A similar merger of ongoing games happened in the past with Wildfire Industries and Synagoga. Watching these two communities interact will be an interesting study in merging gaming cultures, whether the games merge completely or continue running concurrent plotlines.

DeusCity resources:
Click Here for the Deus City website
Click Here for the unfiction forum thread
Click Here for the Deus City wiki
The Committee of the Sedulous Amalgamation
Click Here for the tCotSA unfiction forum thread
Click Here for the tCotSA story so far

Deus City: Big Brother Wants to See Your Karma

deus_redux.jpgWhen Fundi Technologies announced their foray into the world of Alternate Reality Gaming with Deus City, they promised something different. An immersive reality with economic, prestige, and karmic systems judging players’ decisions. Actually, they promised nothing of the sort — but they’ll probably deliver anyway. Now that the main site has relaunched (Jan. 15), we are finally able to explore the districts of Deus City in 2037. Expect numerous references to dytopian stories in this post-apocalyptic landscape.

Since ARGN’s last article on Deus City, players have received frequent communications from 30 years in the future as characters scrambled furiously for control over the mysterious Defense-Corp Incorporated. While Adam Brackin traveled North America following the trail of prophecy, Alex Wright and “Foo” gained access to the Time Communication interface, allowing players to register as “Temporal Agents”. Alex’s father became the first in-game fatality due to a plane crash, and the fate of Defense-Corp employee Phillip Moore is currently unknown, with our last interaction ending with gunfire.

Continue reading

Deus City Countdown

No, it’s not another Top 40 list from some radio station in Deus City! It’s a new countdown started at the main page at Deus City! Currently the countdown is set to expire on November 11th (if my math is correct), and what will happen at that time is anyone’s guess! As reported earlier, the game isn’t scheduled to launch until 2007, so expect ARGN to be on the case, reporting anything new that happens on that date!

In the meantime, don’t forget that you can submit your own puzzles to be used in the game, by contacting Adam Brackin, and you’ll get the details, and the required API for submissions.

In other Deus News, the Deus City Blog has been updated, including some strange hybrids of science, prophecy, and homebrew time/space theory. It’s worth a read, and quite entertaining, as well as head-‘splody goodness. In a nutshell, the author of the blog proposes we can communicate with the past and the future, although the exact nature of communicating with the past (which therefore allows communication with the future, for those in the past, receiving that communication), is not yet given in detail.

Essentially, the future is now. So that makes it the present. But since that already happened, it’s the past. Whew…. Anyway, once you get your head around this stuff (at least enough to not re-read everything four times like this writer) you get a feel for where this game is headed. The concepts are fun and well thought-out, and the story for the game, while obviously not entirely in plain sight yet, are prime for game-time.

I personally look forward to playing this game, and always enjoy good immersive pre-game, even if that game’s launch is quite some time in the future. As always, continue to look to ARGN for news on this and other Alternate Reality Games in the future. The Future. Yeah, I’ll just keep on saying that…in the future.

« Older posts