CMD+R AVAIR presentation Tuesday July 7 at ZERO1 Garage

Ars-VIrtua-Cmd-R-AVAIR (1)
Ars Virtua Artist In Residence (AVAIR) Presentation
6pm, July 7, ZERO1 Garage, San José

How would you survive if the world as we know it ended? Do you have the knowledge and skills for a comfortable life without the technological support of the network? How would you adapt to the changing world? Artists group Chaika, Muftakhova, Naymushin, Rokotyan and Koturgina respond to this premise in their residency in the virtual environment/game-space of Minecraft. The artists model different versions of survival scenarios in an artificially made post-apocalyptic reality.

The artists construct different restrictive conditions including survival in a glitchy world, and survival without the help of Google. Adaptation and working together become crucial in a crazy artificial generative glitchy world of code with blocks, diamond and gold everywhere. Come to see them and listen to their story!

This project is an unofficial extension of the Valley to Valley project from the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial and the 2nd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art. The work continues with a project at the next Ural Industrial Biennial this September in Ekaterinburg Russia.

Artists: Zhenya Chaika (Женя Чайка), Rigina Muftakhova (Ригина Муфтахова), Sergey Naymushin (Сергей Наймушин), Nikita Rokotyan (Никита Рокотян), Irina Kotyurgina (Ирина Котюргина)

Ars Virtua was founded in 2005 to look critically at emerging virtual environments and has funded residencies and art projects in Second Life, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes and Minecraft.

“AVAIR” was originally a 2006 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It was made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation.

Ars Virtua is grateful for the support of San José State University, and ZERO1.

Artist Info:

Zhenya Chaika
Philosopher / Art manager / Curator
Curator of Artists in residences program of Ural Industrial Biennale since 2012. She has been involved in work within the industrial context of Ural region since 2008, when she coordinated French participation in the first “Art-Zavod” festival.

Nikita Rokotyan
Digital artist / PhD in Physics
Explores the border between physical and digital worlds by creating interactive installations and participating in various art projects.
More info:

Sergei Naimushin
MA Philosophy, his profession is CEO of the advertising agency. He has participated in different projects in the field of contemporary art (as a member of Ars Virtua). His creative and professional interests are in the field of communications and new media.

Irina Kotyurgina
Art historian / Freelance graphic designer
Irina was an organizer and a participant of several projects which are related to new media and interdisciplinary art. Her interests include: research of mutual influence between new technologies and art, interaction between art and design. Irina also works as a graphic designer and an artist. She is a member of Ars Virtua, as well as individual projects with Nikita Rokotyan and other artists.

Rigina Muftakhova
Journalist/ Sociologist/ Culturologist
Interests: arts and culture of North Africa and the Middle East, artistic culture of Islam, ethnic communities and international relation/interethnic relations. Member of the research team of the project mezhdistsplinarnoy V2V “Valley of the valley”, realized in the framework of Art residences within the 2nd Ural Industrial Biennale.

Fanime, Super Soul Bros, Retro Games @ Stritch

Just finished setup, if you are in town for Fanime or just want to play some retro games FOR FREE come to Cafe Stritch on 1st Street, upstairs.  I am on shift until 8pm tonight then Super Soul Bros plays! (actually I think there is a DJ in there before they go on DJ Cookie(?)).

Let the fun happen!

Arcade Stats from AFK openings


The Game Dev Club volunteered an arcade cabinet to help flesh out the gaming options at the AFK openings.

We sent our brand new cabinet, lovingly referred to as “Coin-Op” and “Flagship” and it got a good amount of play.  There were some serious learning to be had regarding leaving the cabinet unattended.

We moved in for the first of the soft openings on March 26 and brought the machine back on April 21.  It lived on site almost a whole month and got some good play. One of the issues we had to deal with was the startup / shutdown sequence and trouble shooting. Davain Martinez took the lead on much of this as he was working at AFK but even his heroic efforts were not enough. We know that if we want to have a stand alone cabinet in public, it needs to be simpler to startup/shutdown and needs to be bulletproof, that is to say that it needs to be able to recover from its errors and to test to see if it is running properly and fix itself.

No small task.

Anyhow, here are the stats from the AFK openings, they are not terribly reliable especially since people have a tendency to walk away from a game, I think Laser Cat benefitted from this in terms of time played, but this does not effect number of plays (note the image should link to stats :

Screenshot 2015-04-24 14.56.45

Screenshot 2015-04-24 16.13.58

the spreadsheet is here: DSCF7243


This is the cabinet shortly after installation, note the impromptu power cord.

Cab at AFK


And in context of the space, it fits nicely and looks beautiful.

DSCF7323This is the last play session before we moved it out, much enthusiasm!


Games and Stats from Rockage SJ

Screenshot 2015-02-26 18.05.47

The data is not glamorous, and at times not complete, but I am reasonably confident that these represent actual plays and actual play times. The team on site was very good about resetting games that were abandoned and getting the cabinets back to the launcher. So here is my initial analysis:

Totals: Across the four cabinets that our games were on, there were 1246 plays for 4104 minutes. This comes out to 68.4 hours of play in a 23 hour event.  The breakdown per cabinet is equally as exciting (all data is linked at the bottom of this post).

The top five played games were Prismic Shift, Bako Ikimashou, Spellcraft, LaserCat y LaserDog and Recyclegame. Prismic Shift had nearly 10 hours of play by itself and Bako Ikimashou ended up having the longest average game play at nearly 8 minutes.

Spellcraft, LaserCat and Recycle were all brand new on the cabinet with Spellcraft and Recycle having been developed by club teams in Fall 2014 and LaserCat being from Global Game Jam 2015.

I was going to make a clever graphic visualization, but I don’t think I care enough.  If anyone comes up with one I’ll put it here:


Raw Data is here:

and an initial swipe at processing it is here:

Analysis is all mine and I will try to post data along with any assumptions. None of this would be possible without our new game launcher by Henry Tran.

Most of the analysis is done by hand here, which is something I want to iron out a little for the future, and also to shift from a running total to include actual data along the way as I think it will make it easier to work with and more meaningful.

SJSU Student Call: Development Group for Privacy, Literacy

Thursday Feb 26 from 7:15 to 8:30 pm, we shall be interviewing SJSU Students  to create a prototype.

(Privacy Literacy Tool- Game Dev Ad)

There is a small honorarium/stipend for this but more importantly it is an opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary team working on a game-based project for a real client.  There is also the possibility that this will get some national recognition and be fully implemented.

What you should do if you are interested:

Sign up on Facebook, we shall interview people for different roles in a first come first served basis.  Roles will be listed below.

Bring a copy of your resume/cv.  Make sure this lists projects that you have done with links to either video or playable versions (preferred).

Prepare a very short demo (no more than 3 minutes). This should be something you worked on and you should be ready to talk over top of the demo about what you specifically did. You will probably only have time to show one thing.

Roles we shall be interviewing for:

Lead Programmer: Knowledge of HTML/CSS/JavaScript, Drupal or WordPress integration is a plus though not necessary.

Lead Artist: Web formats or video experience would be a plus, but are not required. Please mention any video editing, animation, motion graphics or similar work.

Producer: What projects have you completed? How did you manage them?

Game Designer: What games have you worked on?

General advice: having the skills does not guarantee anything, willingness and ability to learn are as important if not more important here.  Do not worry about being exact, we understand that as student developers this may become a learning experience.

We will probably not interview from one entire category, but will try to follow the order of signup as closely as possible.  That is to say if the first 5 people to sign up are artists we will likely collect the resumes, interview a few and move on to programmers.  This is because we need a balanced team.  If you are applying for more than one role, please state that.

WoW More RockageSJ Stuff

My first post about Rockage SJ focuses on what got us to the show, our arcade cabinets and our games. This post is about some of the great things that happened to happen at the show.

DSCF7116Friday at 5:45 we did a Game Development Panel! JP Bruneau handled the tech and the slides and our panelists included student developers from both Global Game Jam and the Game Dev Club. On stage were Byron Custodio, Kristina Lum, Chris Lindsay, Chris Victa, Angelica Cabanlit, Andrew Puentes, Neal Salud and Kristi Loo. JP and I talked about the various initiatives to include more gaming in SJSU curriculum as well as the tried and true paths thru CS or Animation. We also mentioned the various interest in studying games and learning, and how the library has enthusiastically adopted the club as we got too big for the Art building.  Angelica talked a little about the club and how we welcome anyone who wants to make games and how you don’t need any knowledge to start.  Angelica is a communications major and has little experience with art or programming but found that she could produce, voice act among other things that make a video game a reality.

Byron and Kristina demo’d their Global Game Jam game 4 Sides which is a horror game that relies on dark light and attention to the screen.  The audience (well some of the audience) did jump at the first scare.  The premise of the game is that you are in a square room with a flashlight and monsters are coming at you from all sides.  You need to scare them back before they get you.

Angelica’s team demo’d Laser Cat y Laser Dog. This adorable coop game is set in some far off future place where Laser Cat and Laser Dog have to clear the living room of invasive robots and vacuum cleaners to proceed thru the house. This team did a great job during GGJ but added a bunch of levels (a total of 10!) for Rockage. “What do we do meow?” asks Laser Cat.

Both of these games are available on the Global Game Jam site and will be making appearances on the arcade cabinets as we continue to do shows this spring.


We had originally planned to have a table with arcades set up around it, but when we got there our table was on one side and the plan was to put the cabinets on the other.  As it turns out this worked amazingly well, except we had not planned to be out in the open as a vendor. Thankfully our friends came thru with a little distraction.  Danny Geisler brought out the Teeny-Tiny arcade cabinet with a brand new game on it. This thing was super fun, and the game really tight for such limited hardware.
DSCF7188Girls Make Games were amazing neighbors and I managed to play the prototype for the Hole story. I have to say I love the humor, the art and the story and am eagerly waiting for the release.  We were also able to host Super-Duper Garrett Cooper and Black Ice on Saturday. So many cool things to play and such deals he offered for people on site ($5 for a key).  Ben Prunty also stopped by and we talked about having a music jam session with Game Dev.
DSCF7176Tiny cabinet vs big cabinets in the background! I have to say that I also love the lips on Funk’d up in the background…DSCF7133

Okay, one last comment on learning, because that is what I do. Our developers had an amazing series of days.  Cameron Sands looks on while someone plays his team‘s brand new Recycle Game. For us Rockage and the arcade cabinet are an extension of the game lab, and though the lessons can be hard they are genuine. Cam’s team got most of the game functioning during the club meetings in Fall 2015, then demoed early this spring. The game is so beautiful it would have been a shame to not showcase it so they updated for the cabinets.  There were of course issues and team member Mitchell ended up recoding the timing in my office the day of move-out because it ran differently (read broken) on the PC vs the Mac. Finally there was watching and working with folks as they figured out how to play on the cabinets. It is amazing to see someone playing your game, better yet really enjoying it and figuring out what needs to be updated to make it easier.DSCF7155Oh yah, and there was music: MegaRan kicked butt on stage, and the stage layout was off the hook amazing with one stage out in the open on the second floor so we got some great musical infusion.  Still waiting on the Ghosts n Goblins marathon video (ahem).DSCF7143DSCF7211

Finally the Thermals played! It was sweet seeing them in such an intimate space and they totally rocked.  But guess what, they also made a video game which you can play:

Now to start getting ready for the next show…