This post is a distillation of some current thoughts on game preservation (extending to software preservation) that arose from a presentation I gave at Stanford two weeks ago. Video of that talk is here. The discussion in this post is a little more advanced and focuses mainly on the last 10-15 minutes of the talk. I have also posted a link to another presentation I gave at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in February. This earlier one is exclusively about the issues with standard game preservation. If you are unfamiliar with this whole topic, definitely check it out.
June 6, 2016
February 10, 2015
New Publication: “A Unified Approach to Preserving Cultural Software Objects and their Development Histories”
We are pleased to announce the publication of our recent National Endowment for the Humanities supported white paper on archiving and appraising academically produced computer games. “A Unified Approach to Preserving Cultural Software Objects and their Development Histories,” is aimed at providing a first step towards an archival methodology for computer games and their development documentation. The report provides an in-depth look at the development of Prom Week, EIS’s social simulation game, with a focus on its development process, context, and documentation. We highlight key moments in its development timeline, and elaborate on the different types of documents produced, and the challenges encountered in gathering everything together for deposition into the University of California’s Merritt Repository.
November 6, 2013
Any software development process involves a fair amount of extraneous creation. Code is revised, documents created and destroyed, prototypes and demos constructed, all in the pursuit of a final, stable digital object. Digital games add even more to this crush of documentation with an unending multitude of art assets, proprietary file types, and a lack of internal documentation. Since most development today relies on cloud storage and backup, code repositories and all forms of digital spatio-temporal communication, just finding out where everything is stored necessitates significant technical effort and time.
April 9, 2013
We are pleased to announce that EIS co-director Noah Wardrip-Fruin, and myself, Eric Kaltman, along with Christy Caldwell at UCSC Library and Henry Lowood of Stanford University Library, have been awarded an NEH Digital Start Up Grant aimed at investigating archival and preservation methods for digital software and games! The grant covers the development of an initial archival methodology focused on the preservation of computer games created for academic research. We have chosen UCSC’s Prom Week as the case object for our investigation, and are extremely honored to be helping further archival research with an EIS created game. The project will focus not only on the game object itself, but also on its development process. Our hope is to enumerate, categorize and potentially archive all relevant secondary documentation along with Prom Week to gain a greater understanding of the requirements for preserving the process and creation of digital games.