I had the distinct honor and pleasure of presenting a workshop on prototyping with Teresa Slobuski at ELD2016. Paper Prototyping Games for Engaged Investigations and Fun in any Subject was my most recent foray into the conference circuit, and I really enjoyed working with Teresa. It helped that the presentation was an abbreviation of an exercise that I do with my Art/CS 108 class but it was also useful to see how the exercise played out in a different circumstance and with different goals.
“Empower student learning thru game development!” We say in our overview. We ended up having a good crowd including the students who designed the conference game, and we made a bunch of games.
I enjoy practicing these skills partially because I think I need the practice and partially because the results always seem to surprise me. In this case we had five playable prototypes come out of the different groups.
Pretty much all of the groups held to the idea of incorporating a learning theme into the game, with the possible exception of my own group which ended up focusing more on the mechanics. It ended up being an interesting experience regardless because it was pretty easy to see how it was connected to our conversation, and the idea of gathering resources.
This first prototyping part is sometimes hard, and sometimes hard for my students. All of these games were made in the 90 minute workshop, and began surfacing a system. A few of our participants were thinking of using the prototyping strategies for themselves to develop games for students where others were thinking about using the prototyping exercise to help students collaborate and understand systems better.
In the end it was impressive to hear everyone talking about their games and what they did end up getting into them, everyone succeeded and I think everyone had fun. I plan to post the session wrapup info, perhaps as an update to this post.
If you are interested in our resources are here: http://bit.ly/paper-prototype-sjsu
and our slide deck is here: http://bit.ly/paper-prototype-slides-sjsu
Sam Liccardo visited our space at the Mini Maker Faire at History San José and was super supportive of all the projects. I managed to catch him with his game face on playing Danny Geisler & Pauline Pham’s Snake Breaker mini-arcade. I was worried at first that this might be a little embarrassing, but that is my game face too…
More images and a nice writeup coming soon, I am in Russia just hours after the show closed and that is slowing things down.
I was updating Adobe Creative Cloud apps today and got a delightful error:
this is why I shut down and block calls home, even this version of the updater doesn’t realize I am not running this logger.
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 http://ruby-yacht.github.io/afk-openings/view_statistics.html :
the spreadsheet is here: http://ruby-yacht.github.io/afk-openings/afk-open.csv
This is the cabinet shortly after installation, note the impromptu power cord.
And in context of the space, it fits nicely and looks beautiful.
This is the last play session before we moved it out, much enthusiasm!
I am looking for students for a special topics course in Fall 2014 in the Computer Science department at SJSU. The course will focus on Virtual Environments and the interconnected systems, layers, art, communication with servers, programming and dealing with players. We shall be running Minecraft both locally and on public servers. It is also my hope that we can begin to do basic research in Virtual Environments (with the possibility of a research partner).
I have been running a Minecraft server for several years and have used it to host international art exhibitions, performances and residencies. We shall work to modify the base system through programming in Java and possibly Scala. The course focus will be to understand these systems and create a project within the live environment.
(from my initial posting) CS185c section 3 – will focus on understanding and coding the complex overlapping systems that create a robust virtual environment. We shall build plugins & mods, map cultural systems, leverage emergent game properties with an eye towards player experience and system performance. This course will “eat its own dogfood” and meet on Thursdays in a live Minecraft environment.
Instructor: James Morgan is a founding member of Ars Virtua, and has taught this class twice at UCSD in their Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts program as Virtual Environments in Second Life and World of Warcraft. He also teaches the CS108/Art 108 Game Studies course at SJSU.
The course is primarily for programmers, but could easily accomodate a few artists or folks interested in the social systems within virtual environments. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly at: james -dot- morgan -at- sjsu -dot- edu
Prerequisite: Java programming or instructor consent.
I plan to sell these little liberators (models of the 3D printable gun) at the next Two Buck Tuesday. (hopefully they will be a little cleaner)
Thanks to Gavin Higham for the blender assist.
Designers speak at 1pm, I am looking forward to playing Arthur’s Pew Pew as the dev version looked amazing…