We got back into the saddle this week with work on Saba continuing, and Buta starting back up again. We also published Hamachi and I managed to squeeze in a lecture at my favorite games program. Read on below for the details.
On Tuesday I met with Irene, Hein and Peter in the studio while Aduen and Alper joined us over Skype. We talked through the work that will need to be done for a very first playable prototype of Pig Chase. We’ve decided to set it up in the studio before making the move to a pig pen, so that we can iron out the basic technical stuff first. There’s quite a number of moving parts on this thing as you might imagine from looking at the concept video. It took us a while to find all the expertise we’ll need but I think we are now well placed to get something up and running.
After the meeting each of the team members produced an estimate of the work to be done. I strongly believe people should make estimates for their own work. it isn’t always the practice in our field, with producers doing the estimation for team members which I think is bad for people’s sense of commitment.
I was invited to provide a lecture on pervasive and urban games at the recently relabeled Interactive Performance Design and Games program. This is probably my favorite games program in NL at the moment since it encourages students to work across media and has a strong focus on performance. I talked for three hours on a hot Tuesday evening to the full first year (consisting of only fifteen students). After a brief discussion of how to define pervasive games – for which I made grateful use of “The Book” by Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros and Annika Waern – I discussed a number of games that I consider canonical. These included indisputable classics of the genre such as Pac Manhattan and I Love Bees as well as personal favorites such as Chromaroma and Johann Sebastian Joust. I wrapped up with an overview of some of our own projects and used those to mostly delve into design challenges that are unique to making games like this.
On the Saba front I continued to work with Alper on the improvements identified after the last play test. Things are steadily progressing. As is the case each week I also spoke to the client and went over some practicalities relating to publishing the app once it is done. A notable step last week was the integration of the sounds produced by Rik of Claynote. It’s a well known fact sound greatly affects people’s experience of games but it never seizes to amaze me quite how much this is the case.
On Friday I met up with Irene once again to collate the estimates. She also dropped off a camera and a beamer that we’ll be using in the first setup.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we published The Ceremony of Surprise – an experimental party game I’ve created together with Tim Bosje. It is completely analog. The rules and associated bits you’ll need to print are available under a Creative Commons license. You’ll only need a few friends, some party ingredients and a cake to play. Have a look and do share your experiences with us.