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Week 148

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.

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