Tag: Second Life (page 1 of 2)

PICNIC ’08, part three: Social network fatigue and visual asset collections

argnetpicnic2008.jpgEditor’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 third part of Daniël’s comprehensive look at this year’s event, still focused on the first day of conference speakers (the first part is here and the second part here). All pictures are courtesy of Daniël as well.

Next up on the first day’s schedule was Stefan Agamanolis, formerly of MIT, now working at Distance Lab, devising creative ways to deal with distance, giving a talk called Duelling the Distance. His rather bizarre but interesting address concerned itself with the communication analogy of fast-food versus slow-food: it’s efficiency versus quality, generic versus personalized, and so on. A mobile phone has the same ‘design mentality’ as fast food, meaning it facilitates ‘anywhere, anytime’ versus specific communication, it’s generic, and it’s the same device for any type of situation.

So Stefan and his colleagues had been thinking about what ‘slow communication’ would be like and tried to build a system based on those design principles. It would have to be free of distractions, like the concept of a phone booth pushed to an extreme.

What they ended up with were two people, submerged in two different swimming pools, each one’s head encased in a helmet that completely blocked their vision, taste and smell, while the water they floated in diminished their sense of touch. At the same time, their helmet, fitted with ultra-high-quality speakers and a microphone so the two test-subjects could communicate, was attached to three flotation devices so that they wouldn’t have to put effort into staying afloat. They called this concept the iso-phone. The experiment resulted in a lot of gestures under water by people who completely lost track of time.

This is a rather non-practical concept, of course, but it does provide insight into different aspects of the fast vs. slow analogy. We use the same communication device to call our lover as we do to talk to our lawyer or the pizza delivery guy, and this brings up the topic of intimacy. Another setup devised by Distance Lab tried to tackle this topic: a subject wears a ring on their finger that is detected by an overhead camera, which makes you able to draw in the air. The drawings are then communicated through projections of colored light onto someone else, creating an intimate way of communicating. Check out more about this project, dubbed Mutsogoto, on Distance Lab’s website.

Another few less intriguing objects were discussed before Agamanolis finished with a project called Remote Impact, which was described as a ‘boxing interface’ that lets you hit a mattress that’s mounted on a wall, where a silhouette of your opponent (potentially across the world) is projected. This setup proved especially popular on several games-related conferences over the past few months.

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What do Education, iPhones, and LG15 Have in Common?

classroom.jpgAfter cleaning out my inbox (1300+ messages!), I found a few stories from the past month or so that I found interesting, and I hope you will too:

Over at Cross-Media Entertainment, Christy Dena is reporting on a new educational ARG called Help Me Solve a Mystery. Quoting from the Research Quest blog , Dena notes that the ARG will be “designed to teach critical thinking and information literacy skill. The game will be targeted to college students, yet will be freely open and promoted in order to attract a broad range of participants.” Our very own Michael Andersen started up a discussion thread at the Unfiction forums earlier this week. Gayla Keesee, who blogs at Ed Tech Lady, has written an article asking for assistance from people currently playing this game, so if you can help her out, be a good samaritan!

Also on the educational front comes this article by Ian Bogost at Water Cooler Games. It tells of an instructional counter-terrorism ARG called the Never Rest Game and links to a discussion thread at the Unfiction forums.

Just as the news of two instructional ARGs comes to our attention Jeremy Vernon blogs about using ARGs as an educational tool. We hope Jeremy is watching the same blogs and web sites as we are.

The last of the education-themed story alerts pointed us in the direction of Dr. Scott J. Warren, a professor at the University of North Texas. Dr. Warren is teaching his students about alternate reality gaming through a course called CECS 1000, describing the course as a “hybrid course.” Warren is extending his classroom environment to Second Life, but exactly what kind of ARG this will turn out to be is unknown, as it is closed to outside access. However, you can read Warren’s own blog at doorarg.wordpress.com.

Shifting gears now, Wagner James Au and Jane Pinckard at GigaOm have pontificated about the most-wanted games for the iPhone, and #7 on the list is Perplex City, or another top ARG. Their argument is that an ARG would showcase the multi-funcionality of the iPhone, and they are calling for Jane McGonigal to be hired for the project.

Elan Lee of 42 Entertainment was recently a speaker at one of the IGNITE discussion nights in Seattle. Video of his talk can be seen at YouTube.

And finally, another ARG set in the universe of Lonelygirl15 has launched. Mission Anchor Cove is being run by TheLadyLazarus, according to this post at LG15 Today.

ARG Netcast, Episode 9

argnetcast.jpgCaution: possible spoilers about Perplex City are revealed in this netcast.

It’s our first netcast of 2007, and I’m happy to be joined by regular panel guests Brooke Thompson, Jackie Kerr and Marie Lamb, with special panel guest rose. In our ninth netcast, we talk about games, games and more games. Subscribe to the ARG Netcast feed through FeedBurner or via iTunes.

Game News

  • Vanishing Point is live and full of wonderful prizes and challenging puzzles. And, no, we don’t all think it’s an ARG… even if 42 Entertainment is behind it.
  • Puzzle of the week: The META puzzle from Vanishing Point. Read more about it at the Unforums.
  • Township Heights, the new VirtuQuest alternate reality game, launches with a pay-to-play model and a few T-shirts.
  • Meigeist (the ARG formerly known as Geist) goes live and people are already buzzing about the quality of the game this far. Oh, and there are cute, cuddly cats involved. You can get behind-the-scenes information here if you can’t wait for us to publish an ARGNet article about the game.
  • NeoVenus Construction (AKA Nevec) looked to be stalled before candy bars and a new blog opened the game back up with a resurgence. See Krystyn Wells’ ARGNet article for more information.
  • The Sector Seven/Transformers ARG viral campaign stalls. Fanboys and fangirls around the world really want this to be more than what it currently is.
  • Perplex City has life, as the players feel that they are close to finding that darn cube. It’s not an easy path, however.
  • Second Life Future Salon panel discussion on ARGs took place on the 27th of November, we hope to have access to the audio from that discussion soon.
  • The Human Pet reinvents itself with more videos and a shiny new website, complete with community-forming forums.
  • Deus City is on a bit of a hiatus, claiming that the recent storms in the U.S. have thrown an icy wrench into their plans. Yeah, sure — nice excuse. No, really, we like it.
  • Marie talks about Doom Skull, which we were ready to pass off as just another game… until she really sold us on it.
  • Preview for next week — Bristelgoodman.. On first glance, it looks rather creepy. We’ll know more by next week.

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McGonigal Chat Transcript is Online, and the Second Life Future Salon

mcgonigal.jpgOn December 19th, 2006, Jane McGonigal was interviewed by CNET‘s Daniel Terdiman at the CNET Bureau in Second Life, as we previewed the day before. As a follow-up, readers who were not able to get into the live audio interview may want to know that the chat transcript has been posted online for the past two weeks in the Newsmaker section at CNET. McGonigal talks about her history with alternate reality gaming, the possibilities of ARG within Second Life, Cruel 2 B Kind and the Nintendo Wii.

Speaking of Second Life, it’s been quite a while since we were supposed to have reported on the Second Life Future Salon podcast, so now’s just as good a time as any. On November 27th, 2006, the Second Life Future Salon podcast series recorded its second episode. Tony Walsh (Clickable Culture), Elan Lee (42 Entertainment), Adrian Hon and Dan Hon (Mind Candy) joined Jerry Paffendorf of The Electric Sheep Company for a discussion of alternate reality gaming and its relation to Second Life, which also gave the panel an opportunity to pontificate about the future of ARGs in the Second Life universe. While the audio quality is not the greatest, it’s an interesting discussion and is worth taking a listen to.

Jane McGonigal on CNET Tomorrow

microphone.jpgJane McGonigal, the well-known alternate reality gaming designer and academic, will be interviewed tomorrow by Daniel Terdiman of CNET in the Second Life virtual world. McGonigal, creator of Cruel 2 B Kind and former lead designer at 42 Entertainment, will be talking in the theater of the CNET bureau in Second Life, marking the second occasion in less than a month where ARG designers have spoken in the Second Life realm — the other, a Second Life Future Salon discussion, will be discussed in a future article here at ARGNet.

According to the CNET Gaming Blog, the interview will happen at 11 am PST (2 pm EST, 7 pm GMT) but you must be registered at Second Life to access the CNET SL Bureau.

ARG Netcast, Episode 7

argnetcast_december.jpgWe bring you a merry netcast,
We bring you a merry netcast,
We bring you a merry netcast,
The last one of the year (maybe)!

Carie Ward, Brooke Thompson, Sean C. Stacey and Jackie Kerr return to sling the ARG dirt with Jonathan Waite. Episode seven is a doozy, clocking in at 1 hour and 7 minutes, but it’s definitely something that’ll warm your heart this holiday season. Subscribe to the ARG Netcast feed through FeedBurner or via iTunes.

Game News

  • A bit more on the Lost Planet ARG we talked about last week, which Carie wrote about on Wednesday.
  • Lawn Games For Life is sweeping the U.S. with geocaching and puzzle solving. Not only did Carie write about it for us here, but she also started a guide. You go, girl!
    This is also our Puzzle of the Week, as the players need help getting to items left in the Southwestern U.S.
  • Steve Peters of 42 Entertainment continues on his cross-podcast tour with an exciting and informative interview with GeeksOn.
  • Enoch of Gatewood is new on the scene, but the story leaves us giggly.
  • The creator of Hell Is Not Gone asks for help in advertising their game, almost a month after players were first pointed to it. By him.
  • Jericho may have something ARGish brewing for their off-season, but if they don’t, it’d be a shame.
  • Second Life Future Salon panel discussion on ARGs took place on the 27th of November, we hope to have access to the audio from that discussion soon.
  • EDOC Laundry stirs back to some sort of life, partly by accident. Whatever the case, this might be your chance to get in on the ground floor, again.

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