Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Week 218

Last week Kars and I went on a trip to Lon­don which was chock-full of things to do and peo­ple to meet. What had start­ed out as a vis­it to Play­ful quick­ly snow­balled out of con­trol. Take a seat, these wee­knotes are a bit longer than usual.

We put some fin­ish­ing touch­es on our work and pre­pared stuff for the trip on Mon­day after which on Tues­day both of us flew into Lon­don from Berlin and Schiphol. Kars met with Joris Dor­mans and Karel Mil­lenaar to dis­cuss auto­mat­ed game design tools for prac­tic­ing game designers.

I hung around in Hox­ton while wait­ing for Kars to arrive.

Look mum no hands

Wednes­day we start­ed the day with our first engage­ment in Lon­don. John Fass had invit­ed us to give a brief for stu­dents in the decom­pu­ta­tion elec­tive of IED. After his intro­duc­tion on play and phi­los­o­phy, we pre­sent­ed on how we approach game design and then gave them the brief to apply free to play game design prin­ci­ples to a real world trans­porta­tion system.


It is very grat­i­fy­ing to present for such high­ly moti­vat­ed stu­dents. What struck us was their inter­est in how we use mod­el­ing and sim­u­la­tion with the help of Machi­na­tions in our work.

The brief is com­plex but the eco­nom­i­cal ques­tions in it are cur­rent in games and oth­er fields. There is a lot of poten­tial to crit­i­cal­ly apply game design to the real world and we look for­ward to the results in two weeks.


On Thurs­day I explored the cof­fee scene of Lon­don while Kars caught up with Adri­an Hon (see this pro­file on Poly­gon) and Tom Armitage. While he was work­ing at Makielab I caught up with my Berlin stu­dio mate Peter Bihr and we worked for a bit at the Shored­itch Grind.

Shoreditch Grind (so past the shark)

Kars had asked Matt Sheret if we could tour the Gov­ern­ment Dig­i­tal Ser­vice so all of us head­ed to Hol­born at the end of the after­noon. The tour was unfor­get­table and I think it man­aged to impress every­body there (read these notes Peter wrote about it). The team and the work they are doing there are immense­ly inspir­ing and we long to see sim­i­lar work in the Nether­lands and Germany.

at GDS

What was very inter­est­ing for us as well is to see the prag­mat­i­cal agile process that adorns most of their walls and how their way of work­ing pro­duces cul­ture right there on those same walls.

at GDS

We then hit a pub near­by with Matt, Anne and Greg & Richard from Mudlark.


And at the end of the evening we dropped by the GV Art gallery for the open­ing of the Helix exhi­bi­tion and briefly met Dan Williams and Hon­or Harg­er.


Then on Fri­day we attend­ed Play­ful which was a bril­liant day of talks about play in the widest sense pos­si­ble. Greg and the team at Mud­lark always man­age to curate an excel­lent pro­gram and going to an event in Con­way Hall always feels a bit like com­ing home.

Anne Holiday at Playful

Kars’s sum­ma­ry of the even­t’s high­lights includes:

Anne Hol­low­day’s doc­u­men­tary films show­ing the work habits of old-school mak­ers and inven­tors. George Buck­en­ham’s geek­ery over game feel and phys­i­cal con­trols. Ben Read­e’s envi­able posi­tion as mad food pro­fes­sor at Nordic Food Lab. And final­ly Dan Cat­t’s humor­ous, herculean—and arguably total­ly misguided—effort to breed the “best” Snakes & Lad­ders board.

It was also a lot of fun to hang out with lots of old and new friends from the games scene.

Hanging out after Playful

On Sat­ur­day we attend­ed Mozil­la Fes­ti­val. We con­tributed to what turns out to be a mas­sive event by facil­i­tat­ing a ses­sion on applied game design. We mod­i­fied a for­mat I had run with Sebas­t­ian a while back on mod­i­fy­ing Parcheesi but we added the free­dom for every­body to choose a social issue them­selves to mod­i­fy the game for.

Game designing

We got a spec­tac­u­lar group of peo­ple with both peo­ple with lots of game design expe­ri­ence and novices in it and they took to the chal­lenge with gus­to. Immi­gra­tion seems to be an issue on every­body’s mind right now and the adap­ta­tions ranged from heart­felt to some­what offen­sive. We called it a win.

Playing with Rules workshop at Mozilla Festival 2013

Mozil­la Fes­ti­val is a huge­ly inspir­ing event for the open web and we were hap­py to be a part of it. We then rode the cable cars back to the city, ran into Com­ic-Con cos­play­ers and hung around Lon­don a bit more before fly­ing back on Sun­day. All in all this was a week to remember.


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