Tag: amsterdam (page 1 of 2)

PICNIC ’08, part one: A healthy dose of cross-media inspiration

ARGNet @ PICNIC 08 LogoEditor’s Note: Daniël van Gool, an administrator at the Unfiction forums, was on the scene at PICNIC ’08 on behalf of ARGNet. We were impressed with Daniël’s work covering PICNIC ’07 and, as media partners of the annual cross-media festival, were invited to a number of special events in addition to the speaker sessions. This is the first part of Daniël’s comprehensive look at this year’s event. All pictures are courtesy of Daniël as well.

The morning of the 24th of September marked the third year I walked up to the intriguing Westergasfabriek area in the West of Amsterdam to attend PICNIC on behalf of ARGNet. In my report on PICNIC ’07 I tried to describe why this area is perfect for a conference that is all about creativity, innovation and inspiration: the Westergasfabriek area just breathes all those things. If you want to try and get an idea how PICNIC looked and felt in 2008, check out the set of rather nice 360-degree pictures made by C360.

PICNIC’s ambition is still growing, and they have taken things another step further this year, welcoming an even larger audience in attendance and hosting even more events before, during and after the main conference in comparison to the previous two years. The PICNIC Club, the central lounging and networking area, was moved to the Gashouder building this year. Previously a huge silo used to store natural gas, during PICNIC it was fitted with large patches of grass, rows of picnic tables, a stage with some impressive lightning, a couple of huge displays of hundreds of images of sheep (I will come to this later) and various booths and domes where demonstrations were held and books and picnic-baskets were sold.

Around 1:00pm. Bas Verhart and Marleen Stikker, founders of the Crossmedia Foundation and PICNIC, opened the event and announced that over 5000 people had registered this year for the main conference and all the partner events. The main theme of this year’s conference was Collaborative Creativity, a subject that has a couple of interesting parallels with the world of ARGs.

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PICNIC 08 is days away

Picnic 08 LogoMy oh my, how the time flies. We are on the edge of our seats as PICNIC 08 fast approaches, now only three days away. As we have told you before, those of you lucky enough to be in the Amsterdam area with a few days to kill can still register for this cross-media conference at a discount rate. We are fortunate to have received an invite for the partner/speaker breakfast, and are fairly confident that Daniël van Gool will be on scene to meet and greet with industry leaders, visionaries and those that will shape the future.

We’ll be bringing you coverage of the event in the next few days, so keep it tuned right here for the latest news on PICNIC 08!

We’re helping to create the future at PICNIC ’08

PICNIC 08 LogoBack in 2006, a cross-media festival in Amsterdam called PICNIC ’06 caught the eye of our friend and cohort Sean C. Stacey. Billing itself as the “first ever annual event for people interested and involved in cross media content and technology in Europe, North America and Asia,” speakers included John de Mol, Philip Rosedale and Craig Newmark. It also included a presentation by the ARG IGDA SIG, who talked about their first published white paper. The conference was a smashing success, and plans were made for the following year’s festival.

In 2007, PICNIC ’07 expanded on the format of the previous year, incorporating nightly entertainment, partner events and a Green Challenge with their speaker presentations. Sir Richard Branson got involved with the Green Challenge, and visionaries such as Cory Doctorow, Walt Mossberg and Dennis Crowley delivered speeches and participated in discussion panels. Our man on the scene, Daniel van Gool, was especially impressed by a trio of speakers — Eduardo Dias, David Polinchock and Jeroen Mol, who collaborated on a presentation called “Augmented Reality for Advertisers.”

This brings us to 2008, and another installment of the popular cross-media festival. Things kick off on September 24th, and once again ARGNet is a proud media sponsor of the event. This year’s conference will feature a wide range of speakers which include Jyri EngEström, a co-founder of social networking site Jaiku, Martin de Ronde of the Onebiggame charity, and Kara Swisher from AllThingsD.com, a tech and media web site. There are also special events planned for each day of the festival, such as book releases and breakfast sessions with speakers, and PICNIC Labs, which are “practical workshops that challenge you to re-imagine your business, develop new products and services, refine ideas and formats and come up with creative business concepts.” Daniel van Gool will once again attend the conference for ARGNet, and we’re looking forward to more of his stellar reporting and analysis.

You too can attend PICNIC ’08, and because you are such wonderful, loyal readers of this little news site, you get a discount! So, if you plan on being in the Westergasfabriek area of Amsterdam and want to save a few bucks on attendance costs, click the link below for details on how to register and to find out how to apply the discount code.

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Part Three – PICNIC ’07 – Three days of cross-media madness in Amsterdam

Editor’s Note: Daniel is an administrator at the Unfiction forums and was part of the team that created the Project MU Archive Book. He was on the scene at PICNIC ’07 as a representative of the ARG community and was kind enough to submit a report on his experiences. This is part three of the report. We thank Daniel for his support of ARGNet and his wonderful report and pictures.

main_conference_hall.jpgOn to the Friday then, which, like last year, was divided into three separate ‘tracks’: Feel, Make and Play. Being on a mission to report on PICNIC for ARGNet, and not having encountered a lot of ARG-related topics yet, I naturally chose the Play track. It kicked off with a keynote address by Katie Salen, who is, among other things, executive director of the Gamelab Institute of Play. If you listened to episode 37 of the ARG Netcast series, you might have heard that the panelists were all especially looking forward to this presentation. Maybe this raised the bar a little too high, because I was fairly disappointed in Salen’s talk, but I think this had a lot to do with its length: it was only 30 minutes, which was just enough time to put forward some interesting notions, but not nearly enough to give an in-depth look at them. However, here are a couple of the things that stuck with me:

  • When designing a game, keep asking yourself, “What does the game want?” i.e. what does it desire or require from the player? Sometimes a game might surprise you in this area. Just as poker is a game that requires lying (bluffing), other games require collaboration. Keep in mind what you want your game to require and make sure that what you add to the game fits with how you expect the players to behave.
  • There’s the aspect of lusory (playful) attitude. If a game encourages players to take on an active attitude, you do not necessarily need to design or create as much yourself, as players will bring a lot to the game already. It is important, however, to keep in mind that this works best when there’s a transactional relationship between the game and its players: the players give to the game, but it they should also receive something back from the game in exchange for their input.

Salen ended her presentation with a nice example that demonstrated all the theoretical points she addressed: Karaoke Ice. It’s a project she did in the past which features a person in a giant squirrel suit driving around in an ice-cream truck which doubles as a karaoke bar. At first, onlookers were given free popsicles, but then they were invited to get into the back of the truck to do some karaoke. Against the expectations of most, people turned out to be more than willing to perform a few songs. One of Salen’s conclusions was that players of a game are generally willing to go along with, say, an alternate reality, if they understand that the point is that they are part of an experience.

This example was followed by some closing remarks regarding interactivity in play — interactivity only works when it’s meaningful, core interaction must be fun and audience/player expertise should be rewarded. I think these are some excellent points that easily apply to the ARG universe. Interaction for the sake of interaction is meaningless and therefore completely uninteresting. Interaction only enhances play if it’s actually fun and serves a purpose!

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Part One – PICNIC ’07 – Three days of cross-media madness in Amsterdam

Editor’s Note: Daniël is an administrator at the Unfiction forums and was part of the team that created the Project MU Archive Book. He was on the scene at PICNIC ’07 as a representative of the ARG community and was kind enough to submit a report on his experiences, which we will release in parts over the course of the next few days. We thank Daniel for his support of ARGNet and his wonderful report and pictures.

picnic_club.jpgFor the second year in a row, I was able to attend PICNIC, the Crossmediaweek Foundation’s conference on media, internet, technology and creativity in Amsterdam. Once again, I went courtesy of ARGNet, and like last year, it was a blast! The past few days really flew by… I’ve been to my share of conferences, and the thing with PICNIC is, the moment you walk onto the Westergasfabriek site, where the conference is held, the atmosphere just grabs you.

The site is a rather peculiar place, or at the very least not the typical conference environment. The area consists of about fifteen small and large brick buildings, originally part of a natural gas processing plant, but now built to suit anything from dance parties to exhibitions and conferences. The first thing you notice when walking around is the high production value of the whole event — every area and room features a patch of grass, paths laid out with wood chips, plants and flowers everywhere, wooden picnic tables and of course the obligatory red and white checkered tablecloths.

There is also the PICNIC Club, the main lounging area where demos are being held, at which several sponsors have set up their booths, including artists showcasing their creations and a lot of other interactive stuff. Then there’s the Extraction Hall, the main conference hall, where the stage is actually a garden, complete with flower beds and 50-foot high banners hanging down from the ceiling, lighted in such a way it looks like see ants and other bugs are crawling around, to give you the real outdoorsy feeling. Very impressive.

For those of you not quite familiar with PICNIC, this is the second time the Dutch Crossmediaweek Foundation has organized a massive conference on cross-media and everything related to it. A lot of very interesting people attend, including many pioneers in media, technology, the Internet, and also (pervasive) gaming. This year, in addition to the three-day conference, there were many affiliated events planned as well. Take for example PICNIC JR, an attempt to get younger people interested in media and creativity, or the PICNIC Academy, a mini-conference intended for students. There was also the first Dutch edition of Come Out And Play festival, which turned the city of Amsterdam into a giant interactive playground. For more details about PICNIC and all these partner events, head over to the PICNIC website (http://www.picnicnetwork.org/).

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For the second year in a row, ARGNet is pleased to be partnered with the PICNIC cross-media conference! PICNIC’07 takes place at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam from September 25th through the 29th, during which a wide variety of events and discussion will take place. This year’s festivities also include a Come Out and Play event — London and New York have also been COaP sites. Last year, Sean C. Stacey and Brooke Thompson represented ARGNet at the conference, and provided a number of articles outlining the presentations and events that took place at PICNIC’06, and Sean will be returning this year, so expect more of the same top-notch reporting as last year!

PICNIC at Night, one of the festival’s special features, is a series of concerts and exhibitions that include various aspects of cross-media entertainment, from live music by worldwide artists to virtual worlds and groundbreaking animation. These special evening events are sponsored by companies such as Red Bull and Heineken, as well as the Creative Commons organization, and should deliver enjoyable, entertaining experiences to attendees.

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