An intense week, not in the last place because of Alper’s physical presence at the Utrecht studio for the whole week. It was time for another OKR review and we prefer to do those live in meatspace. As always, we graded ourselves, came to some harsh realisations and adjusted course accordingly. Building an applied game design studio unlike any other is no picnic, I can tell you. But still totally worth it.
(Actually, the day before, Sunday, I had also spent working. I assisted with getting the European project proposal about climate change for which we are a consortium partner ready for submission.)
On Tuesday we tested the tolerance of our studio-mates Tupil even further by bringing in Simon to spend a full day reviewing and working on AJI. We are so close to a beta release candidate I can smell it, but as always the final touches take the most effort. It was good to have the whole team onsite, though. We made real progress and got into some of the more gnarly bits of the thing’s design that really require close collaboration between all disciplines involved.
Continuing the trend of touching base with all the folks involved with our operation, we had our first conference call with our associates on Wednesday. Once we managed to get everyone into a Google hangout—which was more trouble than it should be—we had a very productive session sharing our plans for the immediate future and hearing about the same from Sebastian, Ianus and Joris. It’s pretty amazing having such a brain trust to bounce ideas off of. I look forward to seeing what we’ll do together in the future.
That evening we were visited by a group of young Dutch art critics who operate under the name Vuurlinie (“firing line”). Over the course of three hours we had a very stimulating debate about games, play, “digital culture” and so on with our work serving as background. We also demoed AJI and got some very encouraging responses.
The next day, Alper and I spent some time thinking about what direction to take in our collaboration with our NYC contact. Later that day we had another conference call, shared our ideas and decided we had come to the point where we are ready to outline one more formally and make it ready for grant application. We’re working on some pretty heavy subject matter in this project so it’s been a challenge to find an approach that is respectful but engaging at the same time.
We also had a visit from Niels to evaluate our work together on KAZUNOKO. Looking back on projects with clients and collaborators is a habit I think is important to maintain because it often leads to great ideas for how to do things differently the next time around. This session was no different.
Satisfied with our progress, Alper and I decided we could afford to take Friday off. We spent a few hours in The Village drinking too much coffee and playing Netrunner. Alper caught on quickly (this was his first game) and ended up snatching victory from me at the very last moment. Afterwards I needed an hour to come down from the adrenaline rush as a result.