Last Class

8:08 pm in Uncategorized by Anastasia Salter

Discussion: A few parting myths…

We’re becoming inhuman:

We’re becoming posthuman:

You are what you play:

(Consider submitting to the Innovation Awards)

Class Evaluations

Final Project Check-in

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!

Mimetic Play, Virtual Reality, and Future Worlds

8:40 pm in Class Material by Anastasia Salter

“Mixed Reality”

Discuss: The future worlds we want to play in…

Final Project Rubrics

For Next Week: Remember, your final projects are due May 12th! Next week, we will wrap up the semester and complete class evaluations. Procedures for final project submission will also be reviewed.

Live Action Gaming

8:41 pm in Class Material by Anastasia Salter

Remember, class does not meet next week: April 21st.

Game Concept Presentations

There will be no reading quiz today. Instead, each group will present their concept for a location-based game.

Remember to include:

  • Your concept and its relationship to its environment
  • Key moments of gameplay
  • Role of technology (if any)

Live Action Gaming

Old or New?

Final Project Guidelines

The final project should be a substantial work that shows a progression from the readings and concepts of the class to your own application, regardless of the form that project takes.

A few possible forms include:

  • A traditional or digital research paper, 10 to 12 pages long (Times 12 New Roman double spaced), involving further research and thought on a concept from class. This research paper should include at least 8 sources from outside of the class texts. You should address a narrow thesis: make sure that your topic is not too broad to be expanded upon within the space of a paper! If you choose to do a research paper, consider creating it in a form where it is designed for web access and uses linking and imagery to expand upon your topic. In either case make sure to follow your argument through to a developed conclusion.
  • A game design document, approximately 10 pages long (single spaced with images and diagrams — industry format), with an informed “future games” idea. As this is not a a game design class but a conceptual class, don’t think about creating the guidelines for a game you would be building now. Instead, consider one of the areas we’ve looked at where you can see industry changes on the horizon. This might mean looking at mimetic interfaces, augmented reality, casual games, tablets, player-generated content, artificial intelligence and meaningful interactions, or another area of interest to you. Your game design document should focus on an informed movement from your chosen aspect: research the current state of the art and construct a game concept that extends it in a way that makes sense for the future. You do not need to include a formal works cited but should list at least 8 “inspirations” that guided you in constructing the concept. Your document might also include illustrations or diagrams to explain your concept.
  • A blog, kept over the course of the rest of the semester, further investigating an issue from class. If you decide to blog, you should be pursuing a topic of substance and keeping up with the current news and discussion surrounding that area. There must be an overall theme that unifies your content! Your posts, when complete, should have substance equivalent to a research paper–to accomplish this, you should be blogging at least twice a week. Each blog post should include at least 1 or 2 sources from current news, related research, or class texts. Your final post should reflect on what you’ve learned over the course of the blog and include your conclusions about the topic you have chosen to address. Your blog should not be on the class site: use wordpress.com. Even if you are not creating a blog yourself, please visit the blogs of other students to comment.

You can also propose your own form or project that will further both your work in this class and your own goals for your portfolio. In all cases, the project must show how you have moved from the readings in forming your ideas and include further research outside of our assigned texts. If you choose to do a project that does not fit a standard form, you must schedule an individual meeting with me or send me a one-page outline of your planned project for approval.

Forum Discussion Ten

For this week’s forum discussion, share your final project idea with your group. Crowdsource ideas for research sources, interesting questions, possible creative elements or other parts of the project. Make sure to both contribute your own idea and respond to the rest of your group’s intended plans. Contribute at least five times before the April 28th deadline. This is your final forum requirement.

Halting State

8:47 pm in Class Material by Anastasia Salter

Reading Quiz

Reading Quiz Six will be available for the first fifteen minutes of class. As always, make sure you are logged in before attempting the reading quiz.

Share your Writing

As groups: describe your experience as story collaborators and share an excerpt of your group’s narrative.

Positioning Halting State

(Sidenote: PSN Hacks)
Opportunity to see We Live in Public

Forum Discussion Nine

After reading McGonigal’s This is Not a Game, propose a location-based game design. As a group, you should agree on a concept, consider the use of technology, and map out a few key moments in gameplay. Be prepared to share your game concept with the class next week: your presentation will be graded for credit for this week’s forum discussion. For this assignment, early and consistent communication is crucial to developing a strong idea.

Simulated Societies

9:17 pm in Uncategorized by Anastasia Salter

No Reading Quiz Today!

Midterm Grade reports will be handed out next week.

Looking Back to Look Forward

BBS: The Documentary — Introduction

(If you’d like to see more as a potential resource for the final project, arrangements can be made. We’ll be watching a limited excerpt in-class.)

Games as Social Worlds

Truth in Cyberspace (“A Crime of Shadows”, Mark Bowden)

Halting State Revisited

Forum Discussion: Collaborative Writing

As a group, “write” a story that engages with future technology and science fiction themes. You should show your awareness of Charles Stross’s novel, but you need not borrow directly: your vision of the future of gaming and simulation might be radically different from his. Use a topic in your group’s forum as a space and write round table style, picking up where the last contributor has left off. Each person should contribute a paragraph at least five times, and you should advance the plot together. Reflect on the process and be prepared to discuss in class next week.

Being Orcs: Halting State and World of Warcraft

11:24 pm in Class Material by Anastasia Salter

Reading Quiz

Reading Quiz Five will be available for the first fifteen minutes of class. As always, make sure you are logged in before attempting the reading quiz.

In Class: Being Virtual

Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam consists of five short answer questions and two essays. The questions ask for your educated opinion: you don’t have to repeat the views of the critics we’ve read, but you should show me you’ve thought through your own stance and cite ideas appropriately. A good short answer response should be a weighty paragraph, or half a page, while a good essay response is approximately 2-3 pages in length. Your final document should be Times 12 New Roman, double-spaced, in .doc format. Return your midterms to asalter (at) ubalt.edu by Sunday, March 20th at midnight.

Remember we will not be meeting in person on March 17th: this is a take-home exam!

Forum Discussion Seven

Due: March 31st at the start of class

With your conversation group, reflect on the technologies and ideas presented in the “near-future” post-cyberpunk novel Halting State. For this week, consider the juxtaposition of Halting State with other science fiction you are familiar with (The Matrix, Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner, etc.) You are encouraged to bring in outside fictions that relate to ideas within the novel. (For this week, you are responsible for the *second third* of the book!)

Remember, a conversation requires:

  • At least five meaningful posts from each group member over the course of the week and in dialog with other group members
  • References to specific readings and outside texts, experiences and examples
  • Respectful disagreement and constructive collaboration

Virtual Worlds – Some Assembly Required

7:51 pm in Class Material by Anastasia Salter

Group Reports: User Generated Content

As a group, present on the examples of user-generated content born from the environment or tool you chose to research. Use appropriate videos to explain both the creative process and the outcomes. As you present, consider the question: is user-generated content a pathway towards innovation in gaming? How do your examples support or refute that claim? How reliant is this world on user-generated material?

Class Discussion: Player-Citizen-Builder

  • Redefining “Indie” (again!)
  • The appeal of Lego
  • Second Life’s fall from grace

Forum Discussion Six: Halting State

With your conversation group, reflect on the technologies and ideas presented in the “near-future” post-cyberpunk novel Halting State. What ideas in this world seem far-fetched? Which are familiar or already present in our simulation landscape? Consider the existing state of networks, literature and games we’ve analyzed so far this semester and look for profitable juxtapositions between the real world and Charles Stross’s imagined future. You are encouraged to bring in outside articles that relate to ideas within the novel. (For this week, you are responsible for the *first third* of the book!)

Remember, a conversation requires:

  • At least five meaningful posts from each group member over the course of the week and in dialog with other group members
  • References to specific readings and outside texts, experiences and examples
  • Respectful disagreement and constructive collaboration

Indie 2.0

9:46 pm in Class Material by Anastasia Salter

Reading Quiz

Reading Quiz Four will be available for the first fifteen minutes of class. As always, make sure you are logged in before attempting the reading quiz.

Group Reports: Indie Games

As a group, present on the indie game you chose to research. Use appropriate videos (a gameplay video might help) to explain the experience and discuss the unusual characteristics of the game you examined. Be sure to make a claim for its significance in the larger evolution of the genre. How, if at all, did your experience of this game differ from a traditional game?

Class Discussion: The Meaning of Indie

  • Digital Distribution and the Evolution of the Market
  • Adventure Games and AGS
  • Indie across production genres – Zine Culture

Conversation Group: Forum Discussion

With your conversation group: choose a game reliant upon user-generated content and report back on the most interesting experiments you’ve seen within this world. You should find and dissect several examples of user content and consider their relationship to both mainstream and indie texts. Look at the intertextuality of the production, expressed fandom, and novelty of game mechanics. You must have your choice of game world approved before leaving class. Be prepared to present the results of your conversation next week with specific examples.

Remember, a conversation requires:

  • At least five meaningful posts from each group member over the course of the week and in dialog with other group members
  • References to specific readings and outside texts, experiences and examples
  • Respectful disagreement and constructive collaboration

The DIY Revolution

9:40 pm in Uncategorized by Anastasia Salter

Reading Quiz Three

The 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. Future reading quizzes will be available in this same space every week at the opening of class meetings.

Group Reports: Weekend Conversations

Class Discussions

  • Maker Culture
  • Modding + Gaming
  • Copyright, Net Neutrality and the Future of Games

Forum Assignment Four

With your conversation group: choose an “Indie” game to play and report back on. A few options you might consider:

Use the group space you have already established to discuss your chosen game and consider: what “tells” you that this is an Indie game, aside from the marketing? What are the defining qualities of independent games? As you read the essay from Joshua Bearman, do you agree or disagree with his arguments? Have a conversation throughout the week.

Remember, a conversation requires:

  • At least five meaningful posts from each group member over the course of the week and in dialog with other group members
  • References to specific readings and outside texts, experiences and examples
  • Respectful disagreement and constructive collaboration

Forum discussions for week two are due at the beginning of class today. Overall participation will be reviewed after assignment three is turned in, so make sure you’ve contributed to every topic.

Mobile Cities

10:28 pm in Class Material by Anastasia Salter

Reading Quiz Two

The 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. Future reading quizzes will be available in this same space every week at the opening of class meetings.

Class Discussions

Mobile Cities, or, how we’re closer together but more apart

The death of handwriting / the death of attention

Sherry Turkle

Alone Together

Clay Shirky

Group Discussion

Form a group of three to four members. This will be your conversation group for the next several weeks.

As a group: choose an example of how a mobile technology has transformed an urban environment. Document the influence and explain how this technology has made an urban environment more (or less?) playful, productive, accessible or social. Be prepared to share your discovery with the class.

Create and name your group on the class site. Choose an appropriate image and make sure everyone in your group has joined as a member: you will need to continue to interact in this space to complete the forum assignment this week.

Forum Assignment Three

For this week, you are responsible for having a conversation on “Maker Culture.” As you read this week’s assignments, consider the relationship of video games and new media to the DIY movement. What do you think of the future imagined in “Our Future Remade by ‘Maker’ Culture”?

Remember, a conversation requires:

  • At least five meaningful posts from each group member over the course of the week and in dialog with other group members
  • References to specific readings and outside texts, experiences and examples
  • Respectful disagreement and constructive collaboration

Forum discussions for week two are due at the beginning of class today. Overall participation will be reviewed after assignment three is turned in, so make sure you’ve contributed to every topic.