LAMP.jpg“Where the Bloody Hell are You?” It’s a simple question, and yet it becomes a pivotal one in the world of Alternate Reality Gaming, where live events, deaddrops, and local advertisements feature heavily in the experience. And thanks to the dedicated work of the Laboratory of Advanced Media Production, things are looking bright for Australian ARGers.

LAMP is faciliated by the Australian Film TV and Radio School and provides numerous seminars, workshops, and residentials to aid in the development of cross-media entertainment under the direction of Gary Hayes (Personalize Media). Fellow staffer Jackie Turnure refers to the organization as “a hothouse or idea incubator, an intense brainstorming residential” that takes eight development teams away for a six day program to refine their concepts and develop pitches under the guidance of guardian mentors. Past mentors have included Christy Dena author of and co-author of the ARG white paper, as well as Evan Jones (Stitch Media) and Tony Walsh (Clickable Culture).

On the first day of the LAMP residential, the eight teams experience a condensed, customized ARG designed by Gary and Jackie as both a team-building exercise and an introduction to the possibilities of the genre. You can find past games documented on the LAMP Wiki, most recently featuring an Italian mystery quest functioning concurrently in the real world and in Second Life. The remaining time is spent working with numerous experts dealing with issues such as cross-media production, financial modeling, and new media models. The residential culminates in a 15 minute visual presentation to a group of VIPs.

The most recent conference in May produced numerous projects in varying stages of development that should be of interest to Alternate Reality Gaming fans. Some of the projects below are meeting with sponsors, while others have already been optioned, so keep your eyes perked and ears peeled for the following projects:

  • Get Carla is a radio driven ARG spanning numerous media. The story revolves around a kidnapping, and asks the question “Carla is on the run with 100 grand. Do you help her…Or turn her in?”
  • Middlemania is a cross-media murder mystery series taking place during a community’s local council elections. This project has been optioned, and we can look forward to more exciting news in the future.
  • Killer Gene follows the disappearance of a genetic scientist who may have discovered the code of life itself.

Remember, this is only a sampling of the offerings from one LAMP residential. It must be great being Australian. With all of these projects in the works, chances are that we’ll be hearing more about LAMP soon.