On October 28-29 (today and tomorrow) the second annual experimental writing conference hosted by the CalArts MFA Writing Program focuses on the legacy of Oulipo — the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (“workshop of potential literature”) founded in Paris 45 years ago. Comprising writers, poets, mathematicians and logicians, the group has formulated playful and exotic new “constraints” as alternatives to the hidebound rules of traditional literary forms. This conference presents two members of the group, including its current President, as well as a host of American, Canadian and English writers influenced by them in varying degrees: Caroline Bergvall, Christian Bök, Johanna Drucker, Paul Fournel, Tan Lin, Bernadette Mayer, Ian Monk, Harryette Mullen, Douglas Nufer, Vanessa Place, Janet Sarbanes, Juliana Spahr, Brian Kim Stefans, Rodrigo Toscano, & Rob Wittig (see schedule for details).
October 28, 2005
October 27, 2005
Game designer, writer and book author Chris Bateman has a blog just a few months old called Only a Game. Lots of great lenghty posts to be found, including Between Stories and Games, Fractal Stories, A Template for the Future of the Game Industry, Grass Roots Gamers, Racheted Progress, and an extensive post-mortem (1 2) of a game he worked on.
Chris co-wrote the newly released 21st Century Game Design, was designer and scripter of Discworld Noir (UK, 1999), and is now the managing director of the game design studio International Hobo and a member of the IGDA Game Writers SIG.
October 25, 2005
The interesting links keep piling up:
The ongoing Helsinki lecture series “Games and Storytelling” has Gonzalo Frasca as a speaker on November 8, with an interesting talk title: “Mini-games, maxi-storytelling: looking at minigames as a narrative genre”. The previous speaker was Greg Costikyan, talking about “Constraining Interaction to Create Emergent Narrative”. (Reading Greg’s powerpoint slides, this appears to be a design-centric attempt to squeeze another drop of water from the rocks that are today’s AI-light game engines.)
Another European interactive narrative lecture series, sagasnet, is releasing a collection of papers called Developing Interactive Narrative Content, including a (new?) Michael Joyce essay, “Interactive Planes: Toward Post-Hypertextual New Media”.
October 24, 2005
… and Not Sticker Literature That Says What Someone Else Wants You Say. Well, that could have been the name of the project, but it’s called The Bubble Project. “I printed 15,000 of these bubble stickers and place them on top of ads all over New York City. Passersby fill them in. I go back and photograph the results.”
October 21, 2005
Matt Kirschenbaum just sent out an exciting announcement about a new journal that will serve as a forum for scholarly and creative work in electronic media. Digital Humanities Quarterly will publish scholarly articles, editorials, experiments in interactive media, and reviews of books, web sites, new media art, and digital humanities systems. Importantly, this will be a free, open-access journal, and both critical and creative work will go through a peer review process.
Call for Submissions
Digital Humanities Quarterly
Submissions are invited for Digital Humanities Quarterly, a new open-access peer-reviewed journal sponsored by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations and the Association for Computers and the Humanities. Submissions may be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. A web submission form will also be available soon.
October 20, 2005
IGDA has released their new report: Game Developer Demographics: An Exploration of Workforce Diversity on Oct 18. You can download it as a PDF.
Update from the Road: The Microwave International Media Art Festival is in full swing here in Hong Kong, focusing on “Culture as Play”; the program consists of two media art exhibitions, workshops, screenings, and a conference on new media. The game art exhibition space in City Hall is organized like a game level or maze; it’s quite a large space, really nicely set up, and positioned to receive many visitors to the government and cultural Hall. The exhibitions and screenings run for a month.
Game Studies 5:1 is out. The new issue includes:
- A survey method for assessing perceptions of a game: The consumer playtest in game design, by John P. Davis, Keith Steury, and Randy Pagulayan
- The Hunt for Collaborative War Gaming – CASE: Battlefield 1942, by Tony Manninen and Tomi Kujanpää
- Player-Centred Game Design: Experiences in Using Scenario Study to Inform Mobile Game Design, by Laura Ermi and Frans Mäyrä
- Formal Models and Game Design, by Stefan M. Grünvogel
- The Semiotics of Time Structure in Ludic Space As a Foundation for Analysis and Design, by Craig A. Lindley
October 19, 2005
October 14, 2005
Update: DAC 2005 is over – it was great! GTxA’s non-exclusive coverage of the conference is available:
Digital Arts and Culture 2005, to be held this December in Copenhagen, looks to be a very stimulating event as usual. The list of papers is now online, including several scholars and artists you may be familiar with from discussions here at GTxA:
Ian Bogost: The Rhetoric of Exergaming
Espen Aarseth: Fiction vs Simulation in Games
Jill Walker: The Digital Aesthetisation of Oneself
Douglass, Marino, Dena: A Framework for Comparative New Media Studies
Scott Rettberg: Collective Knowledge, Collective Narratives, and Architectures of Participation
Michael Mateas, Andrew Stern: Procedural Authorship
Fox Harrell: The GRIOT Improvisational Poetry System
Stuart Moulthrop: Rethinking Scholarship in the Days of Serious Play
Michael Mateas, Nick Montfort: A Box, Darkly: Obfuscation, Weird Languages, and Code Aesthetics
Boehner, Sengers, Medynskiy, Gay: Technology between Art and Tool
Panel: Gameplay: The Great Debate (Juul, Bjørk, Aarseth, Iversen)
And many more beyond just this corner of the blogosphere (do spheres have corners?):
On the heels of delaying The Godfather videogame until 2006 (a project Coppola is unhappy with and supposedly never approved), it was just announced that EA will be giving Steven Spielberg an office their Los Angeles studio, to work side-by-side with game developers to develop three yet-to-be-determined games.
Spielberg has been an avid follower of games for years. In a speech last year, he told film students they could change the face of filmmaking if only they played more video games.
October 13, 2005
Tal Halpern’s “Le Nouveau Western,” a Turbulence commission, has just come online.
My first impression is that this is an intriguing segmented text, presented in a visually compelling way, with some interesting sound elements. It doesn’t take long to read through; I certainly recommend it. The interface is little more than a wrapper for this “content,” though, and there seems to be little that makes much interesting use of Flash here. (The main effect of the Flash implementation seems to be that there’s a delay between lexia, or at least, a more noticable one that is highlighted by a “loading…” notice.) To me the piece evoked Composition No. 1 and La Jette more than The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It seems to be a good example of a rather tired electronic literature form, the “interesting notebook.” Maybe the form actually isn’t a problem; perhaps it’s that the interface somehow seems to suggest or promise more to me, leaving me a bit disappointed as far as interactivity is concerned?
October 10, 2005
Belatedly, I’ve written up a few thoughts about the provocative Kelly Writers House sessions I went to at the Elective Affinities conference. These were on September 27, almost two weeks ago, and I did not take any notes, but I won’t try to represent the particular statements and arguments of all the speakers – just my reveries. I hope that audio of all these talks will be online, soon; I’ll link it in when I find out about it.
October 9, 2005
Adding to yesterday’s coverage, I’m continuing to blog live today at the IndieGamesCon in Eugene, Oregon.
(Some fun news — they just announced Façade has won Most Innovative Game at the IndieGamesCon’s Player’s Choice Awards. It’s gotten good play and buzz at the show-off center here this weekend. :-) Almost no one had heard of it till seeing it here.)
back to the talks…
The Billion Dollar Indie Opportunity
Benjamin Bradley of GarageGames
only indies have the risk-taking ability to go after these 12 steps of indie success, that I’ll talk about here
We’ll also talk about China — every major game studio wants to go after China
But isn’t there no such thing as “indie” in China?
October 8, 2005
I’m not blogging live, but wanted to mention something else interesting from Thursday at the NMC conference at Yale. I was glad to hear Bill Crosbie (Rutgers) and Jessica Hammer (Columbia) preaching the gospel of play in their presentation “Letting Go of the Reins – Giving Your Learners the Freedom to Play.” They explained to the attendees there some of the history of game and play research, and how many of the benefits that gaming offers may not fit into the “mandatory fun” situation of gaming in the classroom as it exists today. They also suggested the game Insaniquarium as something that had some of the qualities of SimCity, Civilization, and other complex simulation-based games, and was educational in similar ways, but which could be played in only a few hours. (There are other versions of the game floating around out there, nyuk nyuk, including a perhaps more extensive pay version for Windows. But this on ran on my Mac. And I definitely think you should be able to convert a Mac into an aquarium.)
I’m blogging live today and tomorrow from the Independent Games Conference, aka IndieGamesCon, in Eugene, Oregon, organized by GarageGames.
“It is now possible to quit your dayjob and support yourself making indie games”
Casual games panel
Casual games are currently a $0.5B business, may grow to 3x that in 2 years
Popcap — James Gwertzman, previously of Escape Factory and Sprout Games, now the new director of business development for PopCap
Mobile casual games are becoming big
I’m concerned about venture capital money coming in and not keeping eye on short-term profits — there’s a danger there
I took the first train of the morning up to New Haven on Thursday, arriving just in time to speak last on a panel called “A Dialog on Gaming and its Potential” at the New Media Consortium New England Regional Conference. I gave a short talk on IF, mainly to evagelize about the form to the courseware creators, educators, and educational IT folks who were there. I wish I could write up my reaction to the panel, but I missed almost all of it! From the Q&A, I gathered that it was pretty good.
The Electronic Literature Collection will be an annual publication of current and older electronic literature intended for individual, library, and classroom use — and will be open to interactive fiction, interactive drama, literary games, and other forms of interest to GTxA folks. The publication will be made available both on the Web and as a packaged, cross-platform disc, in a case appropriate for library processing, marking, and distribution. The contents of the Collection will be offered under a Creative Commons license so that libraries and educational institutions will be allowed to duplicate and install works and individuals will be free to share the disc with others. The Collection will feature a variety of electronic literature in many forms and genres — a broad selection of quality work. This will include new work that has been selected by editors as well as notable electronic literature from the past.
October 7, 2005
WSU Vancouver, in the Portland area of the Pacific Northwest, has a program in “Digital Technology and Culture, a liberal arts-based curriculum exploring relationships between technology and meaning-making both in historical and contemporary contexts.” They’re seeking an assistant or asssociate professor. See below for details…
If you haven’t yet, be sure to participate in this chatbot research survey that ends in one week! The research is being conducted by Mark Marino, who blogs by night at WRT. Also, check out his latest post on i.plot, an interesting program he and I saw demoed at last July’s Siggraph.
October 6, 2005
Jim Whitehead, whose email this summer kicked off a thought-provoking GTxA thread on game curricula, has sent me another interesting message. He writes because the Computer Science Dept. at UC Santa Cruz has been given the authority to hire a tenure-track faculty member (assistant professor) whose research interests lie in computer games. His question:
I was hoping you might have some insight on where we could advertise this position. We’re frankly a bit stumped on how to find a gaming-interested person who has strong technical research credentials.
October 5, 2005
This is a version of my Elective Affinities talk “How Stella Got Her Text Back: Trajectories of Word and Image in Creative Computing” given on September 26, 2005, at the University of Pennsylvania.
October 4, 2005
All Your Base Rhapsody: Demonstrating that, despite what you might believe from watching Highlander, not every media experience is enhanced by a Queen soundtrack.
Oct 26-27th, the first annual Game Writers Conference will be held in Austin TX. A former Human Code person, (where many a fab person worked), Susan O’Connor, is the chair of this year’s conf. It’s going to be a great chance for writers to meet face-to-face…for writers from other disciplines to find out what game writing is all about…for devs who want to make more engaging games…and for students who want to meet the writer of Half-Life 2!!