Last week was a short week as I took a day off on Monday. I’m trying to see if I can do that every other week, at least during the summer months. The assumption is that a little less time spent in the studio and in stead spent outside improves both my working and my playing life. Early results are promising.
Most of my time was spent working with Alper to finish the release client for Saba. After a few furious final cycles of testing and fixing, testing and fixing, we managed to get it done late on Friday evening. There’s a few final assets we’re waiting on but once those are in it’s time to send it off for acceptance by the client and subsequently Apple. The feeling of finishing something was a great way to start the weekend.
Other than that I had a meeting with Dirk and Liesbeth to talk about the planning for Sake. This is a project I was asked to participate in by Dirk, whom I first met at an Ignite at Mediamatic, where I talked about PLAY Pilots. Dirk, among many things, is one of the editors of De Gids, the oldest literary magazine of the Netherlands. Together, we’ll be exploring how the world of games and play overlaps with that of literature. As things develop I’ll share more details.
Finally, on Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting De Beschaving, a music festival set apart by its elaborate side program of science-related talks and activities. The venue was literally on my doorstep in Utrecht University’s botanical gardens. (A music festival in a botanical garden, I imagine that took some convincing.) Anyway, Clemens was asked to talk about Pig Chase in a session on animal welfare. His talk was preceded by an introduction to the topic by Frauke Ohl who emphasized the fact that a lot of our ideas about animal welfare are colored by what we as humans find pleasurable. This was followed up by Eimear Murphy, who has developed a test to gauge the emotional state of pigs, using sound cues and M&M’s. Clemens talked about the philosophical underpinnings of our project and showed the video sketch. Some interesting questions came up afterwards, including why we’re making a game in the first place. Clemens pointed out that play can be thought of as a kind of language that transcends species. It might allow us to have a dialog with these animals that is otherwise impossible. I find that an idea worth pursuing. Which is exactly what we’ll be doing these coming months.