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Social Media and Games | Home

Last Class

May 5, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

Step One: Grades and Rewards

Participation on the class website will be rewarded as extra credit bonus points: your total point score divided by 1000 + any achievement bonuses. This will be added to the final grade reports you’ll receive by email after sending in your projects.

Gradesheets will be distributed in class. These reflect all the work you’ve completed to date. If you see any omissions, please send me a site message including a link to the work in question. Any such oversights will be corrected before final grades are posted.

Step Two: Continuing Debates..

Read and discuss:

Step Three: Student Evaluations

We will complete class evaluation forms today.

Step Four: Final Project Presentations

As a group or individual, share your final work and any exciting discoveries or progress you’ve made so far. Share with us:

  • Your thesis or claim
  • Connection or use of social media
  • The motivation for your project
  • Next steps

You can also take the chance to pose any questions you have for the class and crowdsource resources or solutions. After each presentation, there will be an opportunity for feedback and suggestions.

Step Four: Last Steps

Final Projects are due at 11:59PM on May 12th. Small files can be mailed directly to asalter (at) ubalt.edu — no .zip files please! If your project is online, email a working link directly to the space or blog. If your projects takes place over a number of sites, make sure to include an introduction or aggregate that clearly links all elements of the project.

If you have a large game file, you can email a .zip to anastasia.salter (at) gmail.com, but a hosted link (such as the public DropBox folder) is preferred. Make sure you receive a confirmation email from me. Grades will be posted the weekend following turn-in, and an evaluation of your final project along with an updated gradesheet will be sent through the class site.

Thank you all, and have a great summer!

Final Stages: Looking to the Future

April 28, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

Step One: Reflective Writing

In lieu of a reading quiz, there is a reflective writing prompt posted. This is not the formal evaluation for this course, but it is a series of five questions that act as an end of semester survey. You will be graded on participation alone, but your reflective answers will help improve this course in the future.

Step Two: Stepping Back – Class as Metagame

Revisiting our mission objectives:

  • Use social media to react to, challenge and recontextualize games
  • Design and workshop elements of social games
  • Analyze and critique existing social games
  • Examine the social structures surrounding game spaces and their implications
  • Participate in the debates surrounding “gamification” and “gamefulness”

Step Three: Evolving Games

  • The Social World’s A Stage
  • Five years out: “Are games better than life?” (David Perry)
  • Learning from the past: “We should expect the social game to evolve and seek for such an evolution.” (Gareth Mensah)
  • Something missing from games: “How can we change their perspective on life? By making more cows?” (David Calvo)

Step Four: Final Project Rubic

Step Five: Weekly Progress Reports

Every week, you are expected to report back on some element of your final project. This could take the form of showing pictures or a playable prototype, crowdsourcing ideas for gameplay or technical solutions to problems, sharing new discoveries from research or offering your contemplations on an interesting challenge.

Participation in the weekly progress reports requires at least ONE post as an individual, each week, and at least TWO comments on other people’s final project progress or ideas. This assignment will repeat until the week of our last class meeting.

Remember to work collaboratively–even if you choose to pursue the final project as an individual, you can benefit from the conversation.

Step Six: Looking Ahead…

Remember, next week is our final class meeting. Please come prepared as a group or individual to present the progress you’ve made on your final project. Procedures for final project turn-in will be covered next week. We’ll also be filling out class evaluation forms and celebrating the end of the class mission: small prizes will be given for various semester achievements.

Sign up to bring food and drink in the Metagame forum.

Final Stage: Augmented Realities

April 14, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

There is no reading quiz today. Remember that there is no class meeting next week, the 21st: instead, use the time to work on your final project. You should have received comments on the midterm raid through the message system. An updated gradesheet with all final mission grades (and bonuses for achievements and site contributions above and beyond expectations included) will be available next week.

Step One: Augmented Reality Concepts

Share your game pitch with the class. Remember to reference any other augmented reality games you examined while creating your concept.

Answer the following questions about your game concept:

  • How is your game a lens that changes your viewer’s perception of their environment?
  • How does it make use of existing and new social connections?
  • What technology would be required to successfully implement this concept?

Step Two: Augmenting Your Reality

Discussion: Consequences of Augmented Reality

Social Models:

Step Three: Final Project Planning

You have three options for final project meetings:

Option One: Virtual

If you have a good sense of the direction for your final project, you can email me a one-page description of your project plan. This should include the exact scope and scale of your intended project. I will offer comments and approve it virtually unless their are major concerns. In rare cases, an in-person meeting might still be required.

Option Two: In-Person

If you have an idea but need to flesh it out or want guidance on defining the scope of the project, you should set up a meeting with me in-person. There’s an in-person meeting sign up sheet available: times are open on Friday the 15th, Monday the 18th, Monday the 25th and Thursday the 28th. Plan on a 20 minute session and be prompt, as there may be other meetings scheduled before or after yours.

Option Three: Today

A portion of today’s class is set aside for group discussion of project ideas. During that time, if your group would like to propose an idea, you can meet with me once you have a solid grasp on your proposed concept. If I sign off on your idea during class, you are responsible for emailing me a quick reminder of the terms of your project as you understand them so I can confirm. Groups with ranked members on the leader board have first priority.

Step Four: Weekly Progress Reports

Every week, you are expected to report back on some element of your final project. This could take the form of showing pictures or a playable prototype, crowdsourcing ideas for gameplay or technical solutions to problems, sharing new discoveries from research or offering your contemplations on an interesting challenge.

Participation in the weekly progress reports requires at least ONE post as an individual, each week, and at least TWO comments on other people’s final project progress or ideas. This assignment will repeat until the week of our last class meeting.

Remember to work collaboratively–even if you choose to pursue the final project as an individual, you can benefit from the conversation.

Mission Eight: Gameful Realities

April 7, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

This week is the last general mission: after this week, you will be engaging in specialized tasks related to your final project. Guidelines will be set generally for the final project, but contracts will be agreed to on either an individual or team level. You will be given mandatory check-ins to share you final project progressions in this space.

Step One: Reading Quiz

There is a reading quiz today at: Reading Quiz Five. Please make sure you are logged in before completing the quiz. As always, the quiz will be available for the first 15 minutes of class. (Due to the confusion with the McGonigal PDF link, this reading quiz will only address the Clay Shirky reading).

Step Two: Midterm Grades Distributed

You will be receiving printed gradesheets with up to date information on all your assignment grades. Midterm feedback will be sent to each group through the message system. Any questions about grades can be resolved through email or during office hours.

Step Three: Final Project Options

All projects can be either group or individual

Some suggested paths:

  • The Gamemaker: Build out (as a group or individual) a playable prototype for a social game. You might extend an idea from the midterm raid or another assignment and build greater functionality into an already-started concept, or you can pursue a new game.
  • The Toolmaker: Build out (as a group or individual) a prototype for a tool that allows users to make productive social use of their cognitive surplus with greater ease for creative purposes. You might extend the idea from an earlier assignment.
  • Social Media Master: one (or several) social media for gaming purposes. This can include developing a presence, designing a social game or capitalizing on an existing network in a new or original way.

In all cases, your proposal must:

  • Demonstrate your engagement with social media
  • Respond to the ideas and challenges raised in course readings
  • Contribute an original piece of work or content into a larger context

Contracts must be agreed to in consultation with the professor: no final project will be accepted without an agreement in place.

Step Four: Using Your Cognitive Surplus

Watch: Clay Shirky: How Social Media can Make History

In-class brainstorming: The next social game

Step Five: Take Home Work – Augmented Reality Games

This final mission is team-based and will be started in class. Propose an idea for an augmented reality game. Consider the examples in this week’s reading and others from around the web.

This task has three parts:

  • Contribute a link (to our links hub) to an interested Augmented Reality Project, with a description of its unique character
  • Find a group and collaborate on a one-page game design document describing your proposed augmented reality game
  • Post images of objects or settings re-imagined through the lens of your augmented reality games (your home attacked by aliens, etc.)

Remember, an augmented reality game should provide a “lens” for viewing the world in a new or unusual way. It may require advanced technology, but it is always spatially anchored.

Mission Seven: Midterm Debriefing

March 31, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

All Midterm Raid materials are due at the start of class TODAY and should be posted in your group’s topic in the provided space. You will receive your midterm grades next week along with an updated status report reflecting all work done to date. Remember, the remaining work of the semester consists of Mission Seven and Eight and the final project. In lieu of class on April 21st, you are required to schedule a meeting (as an individual or as a team) to agree on the contract for your final project. These meetings can be arranged as soon as you are confident in your proposed topic.

Step One: Reflective Essay

There is no reading quiz today. Instead, reflect on your participation in your team throughout the midterm raid. What did you accomplish personally? What value did you add to the collaborative work? Were there any surprises or obstacles along the way? Think honestly about your role and what you have produced, and write the narrative of your experience. You are responsible for assigning rankings to yourself and your teammates and explaining your reasons.

The rankings:

  • Concept Leader: Assign this ranking to someone who contributed substantially to all elements of the project.
  • Mission Specialist: Assign this ranking to someone who did not necessarily engage with all aspects of the raid, but did complete their assigned portion.
  • Valued Collaborator: Assign this ranking to someone who was involved in all aspects, but never took a strong role in anything.
  • Silent Partner: Assign this ranking to someone who was minimally involved in your team and did not contribute substantially.

You have 30 minutes for this task. Essays should NOT be posted publicly but instead should be sent to anastasia.salter@gmail.com with the email heading “Mission Reflection.” Make sure to include your name at the top.

Step Two: Mission Reports

Present your final game to the class. We should hear from each member of the team on their contributions.

Make sure to address how you answered each aspect of the design challenge and listen attentively to other teams presentations: you should also actively visit their site and provide feedback after the presentation.

Step Three: Badges and Accolades

Vote for your favorite game in three categories:

  • Best Overall
  • Designer Space
  • Creative Concept

Badges (and bonus points) will be awarded to teams who win each achievement. Also, the Class Artist achievement is again open to anyone who designs original art for all three of these badges.

Step Four: Class Discussion – Motivation, Gamification, and Next Steps

Watch: The Escapist – Gamification

Step Five: At-Home Tasks

Open Forum Week: After the structured mission last week, it’s time to prepare to pursue your own projects. This week, you should be finishing with Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus. As you read, consider both your opinions on his concepts and your own ideas for a final project. Your project must involve building, manipulating, evaluating, interpreting, playing and otherwise prodding at social media networks, games and tools.  Post at least 5 thoughtful messages throughout the week that relate to either Shirky, your final project ideas, or current news and ideas you’ve observed that relate to class discussions. Conversations should take place in the COSC 407 forum.

Midterm Mission

March 10, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

Step One: Choose Your Team

There are 24 enrolled members, so raid teams *must* include four people. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE! Ideally, your team will include one member of every suggested class. In lieu of a reading quiz, you will have the first 15 minutes of class to find and declare your team.

Already declared for instance:

Team One

Team Two

Team Three

  • Raid Leader: @Phermeus
  • Builder: @TigerFantom
  • Designer: @CrazedGhoul1704
  • Writer: @mswd

Team Four

  • Raid Leader: @endorox
  • Builder: @Luna
  • Designer: @arm17kent
  • Writer: @Draenix389

Team Five

  • Raid Leader: @well6
  • Writer: @reigun
  • Designer: @labyrinth
  • Builder: @nephilim

Team Sheen

  • Builder: @rickikicks
  • Leader: @exiledskies
  • Designer: @kevinflynn
  • Writer: @defendor1374
You’ll need to create a forum topic in the Midterm Raid group for completed documents from your team. You can collaborate anywhere on the site you want throughout your process, but all final documents MUST go to your team’s forum.

Step Two: Team Building – Practice Round

With your team, you will be participating in a practice mission to get used to your roles and collaboration.

Roll a random set of cards from the Grow-A-Game website. Using these ideas as a guide, design an original game concept. Remember:

  • The green card suggests an action to be embedded in gameplay
  • The blue card is a social value your game should be promoting or exploring
  • The pink card is an existing game whose rules and system you should modify
  • The orange card is a social issue around which your game should increase awareness or understanding

You have 45 minutes to go as a team from brainstorming an idea to presenting a one-page game design document describing your game and its social value. Address how you’ve incorporated each aspect and remember to include the “words list” that inspired your process. Be prepared to report back to the class on your game idea and the influence the Grow-A-Game cards had on your thinking.

The Raid Leader is responsible for posting the completed document and the handles of all team members participating on the Practice Round forum.

Step Three: Surveying the Field

Midterm Raid: The Design Challenge

Your team is charged with designing a social game based on the same systems as the course website. Your task is to design a game space that encourages creative social production with the cognitive surplus engaged.

Your game should:

  • Teach or encourage creative production
  • Reward social relations and independent action
  • Use a clear narrative or metaphor to add engagement
  • Require “folk art” style creativity and collaborative growth

Remember the models you’ve seen: you will need to write a game design document, explain your intentional engagement with potential players motivation and cognitive surplus, design a prototype space, and reflect on the results of your own collaboration.

Midterm Raid Task One: The Game Design Document

DUE MARCH 17TH AT MIDNIGHT

As a team produce a 1 page (single-spaced) document explaining your plan for meeting the raid objectives. The team Designer should take point on this task.

Make sure to include all the basic information about your game, including:

  • Game Title
  • Short game description
  • Structure
  • Creative Action
  • Narrative
  • Rewards
  • Social Intention

The Raid Leader is responsible for notifying me through direct message when the design document is available. When the design document is approved, you will receive the administrator passcodes to your hosted prototype space. Submit your design document early for approval to gain access to your prototype space sooner!

Midterm Raid Task Two: Cognitive Surplus Analysis

As a team produce a 2-3 page document engaging with Clay Shirky’s work. How does your design relate to the motive, means, and opportunity for creative work that Shirky described? Use specific example from the reading to support your claims. You can also draw on other readings from the semester thus far to explain how you are encouraging social creative work. The team Writer should take point on this task.

The raid leader is responsible for notifying me through direct message when this document has been agreed upon by all members.

This document is due at the end of the raid: March 31st at 5:30 pm, before the start of class.

Midterm Raid Task Three: Prototype Space

As a team you are responsible for building a working prototype of your game space. You must build enough material to demonstrate how your system would work and include: rules and reward, narrative, examples of production, and appropriate design choices. The team Builder should take point on this task. Your game space will be judged at the end of the raid: March 31st at 5:30 pm.

The space has been pre-set with a working installation of BuddyPress and the plug-ins necessary to provide a rewards structure. There are a number of other plug-ins available: your team builder can install them at will or contact me if you have a specific function in mind and need help implementing it. I will respond to all queries within 24 hours prior to the final day of the mission. There are some resources in the Builders’ Guild.

Midterm Raid Task Four: Reflection and Playtesting

A debriefing will take place in class on March 31st at 5:30 pm. There will be opportunities to playtest all completed raid games and a short-in class essay reflecting on your individual contributions: this is your opportunity to explain to me the role you played in the collaboration and any additional obstacles encountered by your raid team. (This will take the place of a reading quiz for the week.)

Mission Six: Cow-Clicking Fans

March 3, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

A few site notes: remember, the “Tim Taylor” challenge achievement is still open for any group that builds a functional prototype of their envisioned content tool. You can also nominate a helpful classmate for “The Ambassador” achievement. Luna has been awarded “Non-stop action” for the consistently interesting “The Directions Games Should be Taking” group, if you haven’t been over to check out the conversation it’s highly recommended. This week’s mission achievement will be given to members of the group judged to have the most creative “gamification” pitch.

Step One: Reading Quiz

There is a one-question reading quiz today at: Reading Quiz Four. Please make sure you are logged in before completing the quiz. As always, the quiz will be available for the first 15 minutes of class.

Step Two: Pitch Your “Game”

Be prepared to share the rules and results of the “gamified” experience you collaborated on this week. Remember to include:

  • A discussion of how you’ve enhanced the task
  • A clear description of how to implement your “gamification”
  • The feedback system and rewards structure

Step Three: Debating Gamification (seriously)

Step Four: Scavenger Hunt

For this week’s at home task, find unusual and interesting examples of at least two of the following forms that Shirky discusses in this week’s readings:

  • Digital Folk Art
  • Fan Fiction
  • Write-in “Activism” (ala Hank for People.com’s Most Beautiful Person)
  • Remixed Video
  • Social Production
  • Wikis

Share your find with a detailed analysis considering the motivation, feedback, content and intertextuality of the object in question. Imagine that you are looking at it like an anthropologist of internet culture might if visiting from the future: why does this object exist? What does it say about its creators? Its audience? Include your observations in the “Scavenger Hunt” topic on the COSC 407 group forum.

Step Five: Choose Your Class

During next week’s meeting we will be forming teams for the Midterm Raid. The midterm raid is an extended collaborative challenge that draws upon a range of skills and is best completed by a balanced team. On the “Midterm Class Roles” forum in the Metagame group, indicate which role(s) you are best suited to take from the possible classes below.

Each group must have one Raid Leader.

Raid Leader: To be eligible for this role, you must have achieved the minimum rank of “Hardcore Gamer” (1200 points) by the start of class on March 10th. The Raid Leader is responsible for keeping the group organized and making sure all mission objectives are met. The Raid Leader will also be in charge of contacting me if any group member fails to complete their assigned responsibilities. The  best Raid Leaders are also comfortable taking a support position for any of the other classes.

Builder: The Builder is comfortable picking up new tools and interfaces quickly. While the Midterm Raid is not programming intensive, a Builder who can take responsibility for working with a content management system within set boundaries is essential to successfully completing the challenges.

Designer: The Designer ideally has an artistic background or comfort with user interface designs and needs. The Designer should work closely with the Builder to prototype their way through Midterm Raid hurdles.

Writer: The Writer is responsible for taking content brainstormed collectively and bringing the textual elements of the group together. The writer should be confident in their mastery of the powers of spelling and grammar check.

If you cannot attend next week’s class, it is your responsibility to make plans and join a team for the midterm!

Mission Five: Gaming Spaces, Playful Work

February 24, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

Progress reports have been sent to all participants. A few things to keep in mind:
  • Consistent qualitative participation is the best way to succeed in this class
  • Collaborative missions will increase in difficulty as the semester progresses: get in good habits now to succeed later
  • Achievements and participation beyond required missions will be factored in as a bonus for final grades
With that said, I read everything in individual activity streams and try to find contributions in all private groups–if I miss something you’ve submitted, be sure to let me know so I can take a look at it. There’s a lot of activity on the site, and it can be hard to find everything.

The next progress report will be given after midterms and include results from the Midterm “Raid” Mission.

Step One: Reading Quiz

There is a one-question reading quiz today at: Reading Quiz Three. Please make sure you are logged in before completing the quiz. As always, the quiz will be available for the first 15 minutes of class.

Step Two: Tweets and Feeds

Discuss our experiences with Twitter
Consider:
Step Three: Twitter Games

Play and consider:
Step Four: Design a Twitter Game

As a group, pitch an idea for a novel game using the Twitter API. Explain your game concept on the Twitter Group Forums. Think about the game ideas encountered in Feed and imagine how the next level of interactive gaming could be reached in Twitter’s space without fundamentally rewriting the system. Be prepared to pitch your idea in class and explain how you make use of the characteristics unique to the Twitter ecosystem: for instance, hashtags, the text-based exchanges, following, etc.

Step Five: Mission Gamification

This week’s mission is team-based. You will need to complete the first tasks individually and later as a group: all tasks are mandatory. This is a practice run for the Midterm Raid.

At-Home Task One: Observation

Read the assigned reading on Gamification: Turning Work into Play and watch Jesse Schell’s DICE 2010 presentation and consider the model of gamification he presents. Observe “gamification” in the wild and report back on your findings in the Metagames forum. Think about Gamification as it exists in both “good” and “bad” implementations–and in the contexts we’re exploring through this course.

At-Home Task Two: Research and Report

The latest issue of the Game Studies journal is on Game Reward Systems. Pick an article to read and report back in the Gamification group, considering:
  • The article’s thesis
  • Key points on which you agree / disagree
  • The centrality of the rewards system to the game experience under examination
  • The relationship argued between rewards and player motivations
  • The connection from this article to one of the assigned readings for this week. Make your connection explicit in the discussion.
If there is already a forum topic for the article you’re reading, join that discussion and continue the article analysis.

At-Home Task Three: Gamify Your World

Consider a task you engage in that is productive but not engaging on rewarding. Examples include routines, like the toothbrushing example from Schell’s video, or process like getting a licence renewed at the MVA. Pick something small enough that you can feasibly make a plan for every stage and context. Pitch the task you think is worth gamifying in the Gamification group. Don’t have an idea? Go find and comment on others’ pitches.

Find a group of three to four people to support your idea and make a plan for the process. This plan should include the rewards system, meaningful engagement, and deployment system for your game model–and should be doable without specialized technology or equipment. The entire plan must be agreed upon as a group and posted as a detailed rules set for “playing” the game of your task. Make sure your rules are clear to others and could be potentially picked up, in context, and “played.”

For the best score: either “show” us the play context of your game in a creative way (video, art, photography, Prezi…) or take someone else’s rules set and try playing their game, with documentation. (Groups who inspire the most “players” to try and document their challenge through narrative or pictures of game scorecards, etc. will win an achievement).

Note: The challenge mission from last week is still ongoing: prototype your imagined social productivity tool. Remember, completion of challenge missions awards bonus points in site rankings and on final grades.

Mission Four: Angry Birds and Tweeters

February 17, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

All contributions up to the close of Mission Three (2/17) will be grades for the first participation report. Watch your on-site messages for feedback.

“The Amateur” has been awarded to two xtranormal creators, and we will be viewing their work in class today. The new challenge is the “Tim Taylor” award, which will be given to the group who builds a working prototype of their tool. This prototype can be built in any way and should include a limited version of the imagined functionality. (Also note that completion of challenge missions is taken into consideration as extra credit at the end of the semester)

There is no reading quiz today, as participation in the Feed forum has been active. This will be evaluated again for next week’s class.

Step One: Tool Time

Present the ideas behind your tool concept and explain how it stands apart from others on the market. This is a chance to show off your graphics and pitch your project to others. If you want to pursue the prototype achievement, this is also an opportunity to ask for additional help and bring in more team members to build your idea.

  • YouGame – http://selfloud.net/cosc407/groups/yougame/
  • Reality TV Generator – http://selfloud.net/cosc407/groups/reality-tv-generator/
  • QuoteSpace – http://selfloud.net/cosc407/groups/quotespace/
  • Conspiracy – http://selfloud.net/cosc407/groups/conspiracy/
  • DoNation – http://selfloud.net/cosc407/groups/asdf-placeholder/
  • Mod Database – http://selfloud.net/cosc407/groups/the-mod-database-2329633/
  • Conventure – http://selfloud.net/cosc407/groups/conventure/
  • Simplicity Gaming Engine – http://selfloud.net/cosc407/groups/simplicity-gaming-engine/
Step Two: In Class Discussion

Consider: The death of metaphor and Watson on Jeopardy

Step Three: Build a Better Farmville

In teams, discuss the concept of pervasive gaming experiences that exploit your social network and make use of micropayments. Pitch an idea for creating a game that follows these models, using what we’ve discussed of social media theory. Your game idea should be situated on the foundation of an existing social network and consider innovative ways for using the connections and data that network makes available to you. (You can create your idea within any existing social group on the site).

Step Four: At Home Tasks

This week, there is one mandatory task: experience Twitter. There are three options for taking on this task:

Option One: Join as Yourself
If you have never used Twitter, but want to try using it for game industry related content, try joining the network as yourself. You can set your updates to private if you are concerned about adjusting to the environment.

Option Two: Join as a Fictional Character
If you would prefer to experience Twitter as a space for play, join as a fictional character. You could consider creating a Hulk or another persona based on the topics of this class. This is also a good option for experienced Tweeps–see if you can establish a presence with this account.

Option Three: Extend Your Network
If you are already on Twitter, suggest important industry figures for others to follow and mentor others in the etiquette of Twitter. You can share your username and find one another on Twitter using the Tweeps group on the site (it is set to private to protect usernames shared in this way).

You should also complete at least two of these tasks:
  • Play Echo Bazaar – form a group, find classmates on Twitter playing, and report back on your experiences. Is this more or less invasive than the Facebook API for gaming?
  • Share your “Twitter-sized” thoughts on Feed parts three and four on the Feed forums
  • Play Twitapocalypse and report back – does this change the way you think about Twitter? Is this a social or antisocial game?
  • Join a hashtag chat and share your experiences

Mission Three: From LOLCats to Angry Birds

February 10, 2011 in Missionsby Anastasia

Several new achievements are in play, including:

  • “The Amateur” for creating an xtranormal video to address social games–if no one claims the achievement this week, it will still be open for next week and comes with a 100 point bump in the rankings
  • “The Clique” will be awarded at mid-semester to the members of the most influential and collaborative hidden group.
  • “Non-stop action” will be awarded to the creator of a group that shows continual activity and productive conversation over at least three weeks
  • “First to Five Thousand” which will be given to the first person to reach 5000 points–it comes with special abilities if reached before the midterm exam
  • “Class Artist” which will be awarded to the first person to submit at least three original and appropriate designs for achievement images

This week’s mission marks the end of the first evaluation period: after Mission Three’s close, your contributions to date will be reviewed and you will receive a progress report.

Step One: Reading Quiz

The second Reading Quiz will be open for the first fifteen minutes of class. You can complete it online: make sure to sign in first so that your responses will be associated with your identity. There are three questions this week, so use your time well.

Step Two: In Class Discussion

Watch and Discuss:

Step Three: Tool Time (or, Amateur Hour)

Consider a social tool you could create to make a type of amateur production easier and more accessible. Try not to duplicate any existing tools, but instead look for an original niche (consider the LOLCat builder as an example). With your group of AT MOST four members, create a group on the site advertising your planned tool and the ways it will improve people’s social production. Brand your space with an original image as a group logo and make sure to include:

  • A description of what the tool does and what social role it fills
  • An explanation of the procedural literacy necessary to use the tool
  • Mock-ups and examples of the interface or outcomes of the tool
  • An argument for the value of the tool for social media and games

Step Four: At Home Tasks

This week, there is one mandatory task: participate on the discussion forum for Feed by “live-blogging” your reading. As you read through parts one and two, make a comment in the new group “Feed” whenever you notice something unusual, confusing, or enlightening. You should post at least ten short reactions through the course of the week and respond to others as you go (a good short reaction is usually around the length of one or two tweets). There are separate forum topics for Part I and Part II to help you avoid spoilers, and you can create your own forum topics as you notice themes or parallels you want to discuss further.

And choose at least two of these options:

  • Play and review one of the best Facebook games from the readings. (You may want to create an alternate Facebook account if you are concerned about the game’s privacy settings). Find other players by creating a group around the game, sharing your reviews and experiences, and discussing how the game capitalizes on your social network.
  • Compare your experiences with a social network (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace) to the experiences of the characters in Feed. Share your thoughts on the COSC 407 forum.
  • Be a fan: Create a work of fan-production around one of your favorite social games. Consider using one of the tools discussed during Mission Two. Share your work in whatever group fits your game.
  • Consider the act of creating and sharing work in social media spaces, or of participating in social media games. How does this relate to questions of introversion and extroversion? Are you more extroverted online, or more willing to share your work and ideas, than you might be in person? Share your thoughts in the Introverts in Social Games group.
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