Tag: UT

Return of the ARG Practicum: A Three For One Deal

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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.

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ARG Lab: UT Dallas Class Offers Practicum in ARG Design

albrackinLast fall, veteran alternate reality game designer Adam Brackin taught a class on alternate reality gaming at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Emerging Media and Communications program. The course required graduate students interested in the developing field to read a series of academic works on the subject, learn about the history of the genre, and follow a currently running game. This semester, Brackin is offering students the opportunity to put their theoretical knowledge to the test with the ARG Lab, a class where students will design their own six-week long alternate reality game, scheduled to launch in early April.

Brackin’s graduate students seem eager to trade their tuition dollars for the opportunity to experiment with game development through the practicum. Candace Barnhill, one of the ARG Lab students, explains that “we learned so much about the history of ARGs and player experiences last semester that I coudn’t resist a peek behind the curtain. I had no idea PMs did so much to prepare for what often appears to be player developed.”

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