Creative Gaming: Proceedings and Occasional Papers related to the 2015 Pigsty SymposiumNo 6 (2016)
Welcome to this special Play, Interactivity & Games edition of the The Journal of Creative Technologies (JCT). Before we launch in to the ‘guts’ of the issue it’s necessary to first talk about the context in which these papers are situated.
Game innovation labs in universities and polytechnics have been popping up all over the world and, with the re-thinking of how games effect the world— and how we can affect change through games— so follows a rethinking of just how these communities of practice explore these questions.
Game jams, maker cultures, online communities, workshops, and ‘lightning’ talks—whatever the method—it is obvious that, for the time being at least, there is a shift in perception around the place of games in research cultures towards the belief that there is value in the exploration of the language, experiences and technologies of games.
We are still however, relatively speaking, exploring uncharted methodological waters with only a few universities still employing a conference format within their toolset.
Founded in 2013, Pigsty is a virtual lab at the Auckland University of Technology that works closely with academia, industry and local community programs to connect PLAY, INTERACTIVITY & GAMES projects to resources, funding, and research across Auckland, New Zealand, and the world.
In 2015, Colab in collaboration with The School of Art & Design, The School of Computer Sciences and Pigsty, announced the inaugural Pigsty Symposium – the first in a series of annual academic symposia that will showcase creative gaming, playful interactivity, serious games, game studies, design and technology innovation.
The aim of the symposium is to be an international, national, and interdisciplinary conference for researchers and professionals across all areas of play, games, and interactivity. The goal of the first symposium is to highlight and foster discussion of current high quality research from New Zealand and it’s neighbours to set the foundation for a strong local research culture.
The four papers that make up this issue of JCT are all based on ‘creative gaming’, a broad theme that invites academics and guests to approach and posit games in new and critical ways.
Selected from the Pigsty Symposium, which included panels and presentations from both industry practitioners and academic researchers, plus a showcase of the capabilities of local university students and a keynote delivered through Second Life, these papers run the gamut of creative technologists approaches to games and exemplify an earnest attempt at forming a foundation for an incremental deepening and broadening of a truly cross disciplinary local research culture.
We start with at the crossroads of database and sketching, where there is a beautifully simplistic framing of game creation as an absurd, rebellious and deeply personal practice. We look at contemporary quest and difficulty design challenges around crime and morality in Western Roleplaying Games (WRPG). Then, we propose a framework for the design and implementation of dynamically generated video game quests connecting players to the designed game world, game state and the non-player character relationships. Lastly we look at framing the experience of in game audio rhythms through a comparative analysis of the musical aspects of the game 140.
Thanks to all applicants of this journal issue, and the Symposium, for lifting the curtain on a bright future for our neighbouring games researchers and we hope that we can work together to build on this foundation and nurture a local games research culture.
Particular thanks must go to the reviewers of the papers for this issue. Your extensive and specialist knowledge and willingness to provide critique was invaluable to the editorial board and contributors. We welcome feedback and future participation, either as contributor or as a member of our extended editorial review panel.
One more special thanks goes to Britta Pollmuller and her small crew of ambassadors for facilitating the symposium, without which, this issue of JCT would probably not have happened.
Pigsty – AUT Play, Interactivity & Games Lab
Special Issue: Expanding Publication FormatsNo 7 (2017)
Mobile Media Innovation: Proceedings and Occasional Papers related to the 2014 MINA ConferenceNo 5 (2015)
The Fourth International Mobile Creativity and Mobile Innovation Symposium (#mina2014) [Proceedings] offered a unique, national and international platform and space for creative, industrial and institutional communities relating to recent and challenging mobile developments or trends for smartphones, tablets or phablets. It was a great opportunity for “mobile people” and “people with a mobile interest” to meet and share expertise, research outcomes and new forms of creative practices. It also provided a collegial forum [Presentations] for more than forty presenters, in situ or via Hangout on Air (live video), featuring academic papers and panel discussions, a series of nearly twenty poster presentations, and two international screening events. This specific and collaborative Colab-MINA edition highlights some of the #mina2014 discussions with a deeper and more analytical creative and multidisciplinary perspective; it also encompasses further and active contributors who couldn’t be part of #mina2014.
The following papers explore Mobile Technologies through various playful, innovative and experimental lenses: from collective to individuals, from global to local, from documentary to fiction. More specifically, in this edition, Gerald discusses about animation and mobile film-making as a vehicle for youth engagement and storytelling from a documentary perspective; Caroline examines experientiality via graphical and haptical creative narrative for mobile platforms aimed at young adults; Iceberg proposes a new form of international and participatory video-collage built upon some contemporary and utopian mobile aesthetics.; Mark explores how mobile devices serve creative practices, especially Photography, as well as foster co-creation and how it can intersect with open education; Gerda focuses on the mobile aesthetic and practices revealed over time through the tourist gaze; and Laurence offers a portrait of the selfie itself, a specific approach of oneself in the world rather than just a simple digital self-portrait.
The MINA team would like to thank the authors and the MINA review committee for their tremendous contribution and dedicated time. This edition would not have been possible without support from the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies and Colab at Auckland University of Technology, and the College of Creative Arts at Massey University. A special thank you to Desna Jury, Frances Joseph, Theresa Kendrick and Jan Hamon for their considerable support. Danke Max!
Co-founder MINA – Mobile Innovation Network Aotearoa
Special Issue: Selected Proceedings from 2013 MINA ConferenceNo 4 (2014)
The Mobile Innovation Network Aotearoa [MINA] 2013 International Symposium presented a cutting-edge forum for filmmakers, artists, designers, researchers, academics, and industry professionals. The purpose was to exchange, share, and disseminate key concerns, innovations, creations, insights, expertise, and research in the fields of mobile devices, mobile social media, and ubiquitous technologies.
This MINA Special Edition for the Journal of Creative Technologies provides an overview of current developments and dynamics within multi-disciplinary contexts. Issues discussed include mobile media production; mobile pedagogy; mobile aesthetics; mobile hybrid arts; mobile interactivity; mobile space; mobile society; and mobile transmedia.
The papers in this Special Edition explore Creative Technologies including AR, Quantum Filmmaking, open-source technologies, i-book publication, mobile video applications and smartphone apps. Innovations afforded by mobile technology are manifest and demonstrated through mobile applications for site-specific installation in a post-gallery context, interdisciplinary participatory art practice, archivists and citizen documentarians, Māori screen industry, and videoloop filmmaking. Discussions integrate theoretical and conceptual frameworks of embodiment, interactivity, mobility, computer science, new media, conceptual art, narrative, participatory archiving strategies, autoethnography, visual culture, and practice-led research. Brought together in this Issue, they demonstrate the contributions that mobile media make to the Academy.
The MINA team would like to thank the many contributors to the Symposium and the MINA Committee. MINA 2013 would not have been possible without support from the School of Art & Design and Colab (the collaboratory for Design and Creative Technologies) at Auckland University of Technology, and the College of Creative Arts at Massey University.
Dr. Max Schleser
Co-founder MINA – Mobile Innovation Network Aotearoa
InteractivityNo 3 (2013)
Welcome to the third issue of Journal. Creative Technologies. The seven papers that make up this issue are all based on ‘interactivity’ – a broad notion inviting myriad interpretations and applications across an emergent field associated with creative technologies. Indeed, the fluid nature of this field has become increasingly apparent to us as we worked on this issue. It seems clear that there are some fundamental concerns – not least the epistemological, ontological or phenomenological status of such terms as play, performance or engagement. However, the specific contexts for these remain largely unmapped, as artists, academics and researchers push new technologies in innovative, often unforeseen, directions. While the call for papers was deliberately open, the selected papers connect and converse in subtle ways about theory and praxis.
A strong sub-theme in this selection is a preoccupation with mapping, in particular the mapping of player experience in gaming. Schott, van Vught and Marczak describe their early research into player experience of interactive games, motivated by a desire to better understand the relationship between this in-game experience and the engagement with life outside of the game. From this starting point, they argue that further game-specific research is necessary, at least in part, for the accurate classification of games. Sweetser, Johnson and Wyeth detail their application of a grounded theory methodology to map some fundamental criteria for the heuristic evaluation of one genre of game, and in doing so, make a valuable contribution that complements the widely used GameFlow model of player experience.
Bakkes, Tan and Pisan take a socio-psychological perspective on player experience and map, through literature, the game player’s motivation in personalised games, where the player’s gaming history, in-game behaviour and skill inform game play. Cermak-Sassenrath’s paper describes the studio-based mapping of patterns in action games and the reapplication of the resulting pattern language in the creation of a new game, successfully closing the loop and connecting theory and practice for students in the Creative Technologies programme at Auckland University of Technology.
The educational setting is a second sub-theme in the selected papers. Cermak-Sassenrath’s paper reflects on the open-ended, collaborative process of learning and development with students. Truna and Moyes describe and reflect upon their ‘performing design’ approach to teaching and learning in game design education, which has tended in the past to reinforce an art/science dichotomy. Their innovative approach aims to support students in their evolution from players to designers. Further to this theme, Citizen investigates the relationship between theory and practice, also in the tertiary education environment, in using a 360° video camera to produce work for small mobile screens, and discusses the resulting project which offered valuable insights into that relationship.
Lastly, drawing on a very strong foundation of practical experimentation and discovery, Joseph, Hugain-Lacire and Ziegler explore Simon Penny’s (2011) ‘performative aesthetic of interactivity’ as it relates to the works of the Digital Art Live (DAL) project. The artists who have contributed to this project embrace interactivity in new ways, opening up space for some critical interrogation disruption or subversion of traditional practices and assumptions about aesthetics and art.
Particular thanks must go to the reviewers of the papers for this issue. Your extensive and specialist knowledge and willingness to provide critique was invaluable to the editorial board and contributors. We welcome feedback and future participation, either as contributor or as a member of our extended editorial review panel. Please do contact me if you would like to be a part of the journal next year. In the meantime, watch for the next call for papers early in 2013.
Digital StorytellingNo 2 (2012)
Welcome to the second edition of Journal: Creative Technologies – an online, peer-reviewed journal for emerging and post-graduate researchers. The theme of this edition is digital storytelling. The papers in this edition are a pertinent reminder that communication and expression – of idea, experience, mood – is at the heart of human interaction with digital worlds, and each thing communicated is a facet of a larger narrative. In this age of convergence we have the ability to affect and change narratives, both as author and audience, and the authors of these papers discuss the numerous tensions inherent in various forms of engagement with digital narrative space.
Beyond the meta-text of digital story-telling, the papers that make up this issue are focused around concepts of collaboration and interaction between audience and author. They highlight to the reader that our engagement with digital spaces is at once central to many people’s day-to-day experience, and liminal, shifting, unchartered territory.
In addition, the papers explore the application of digital technologies in drawing together communities and giving them a voice though a new medium. This is discussed by Bronwen Gray and Alan Young in the context of marginalised communities and their project that helped to effect change for homeless communities in Melbourne, Australia by bringing their stories into the public sphere.
Helen Varley Jamieson and Vicki Smith write of their bespoke digital platform for hosting real time, mixed media performative works that acts as nexus for an evolving digital performance arts community. A tenet of their work is the participatory approach in which the traditional separation between maker and observer is disrupted. Jason Kennedy also engages with the troubling dialectic of author/audience – he coins the phrase viewer-user – in his discussion of the role of emotion as a kind of necessary adhesive in interactive narrative video games.
In the area of education, Maggie Buxton suggests that mixed-reality tools are earning a place in the New Zealand classroom, helping to support learning in an environment that is showing some stress-fractures in the wake of accelerating technological change. Nemane Bieldt reveals similar sorts of tensions in museums and galleries – memory institutions – that also must address the role that digitisation plays in preserving cultural records while at the same time encouraging access and facilitating alternative ways of understanding the stories they tell.
New to the journal website is a feedback function, and facebook and twitter links to CoLab, through which you can contact me or the authors and contribute your thoughts. We welcome your feedback and future participation – look out for the ‘Call for Papers’ for the next edition of the journal early in 2012.
Enjoy this second edition of Journal: Creative Technologies.
Transmedia / TransmodalityNo 1 (2011)
This issue is the journal’s first step into the daylight, emerging from the low-lit video screening rooms, out of the workshop and the digital ether to drive a metaphorical stake into the ground; to arrive. It is a welcome addition to the Academy because, despite convergence in creativity and technology since, well… forever, the theorising about it by the people who do it has traditionally (and uncomfortably) sat within distinctly separate disciplines: art, film, robotics, programming, media, etc. Defining these ‘creative technologies’ succinctly can be difficult because their reach is so extensive. Therefore, Journal: Creative Technologies serves a rather special purpose: providing inclusive space for the expression of new ideas or developments in this literally ultra-modal work.
It is also a kind of emergence for the contributors; their long hours spent turning over concepts in the relative safety of the workshop or supervisor’s office, of composition or experimentation, have been temporarily suspended and now their work is laid bare for all to see; in some cases for the first time. The papers that comprise this first issue, while diverse, share at least one thing in common: they all make an attempt to begin a critical dialogue on issues of technology in some way. Lyle Reilly and Alysha Gover do this by demonstrating the very practical use of technological innovation in the context of fashion. Lyle’s paper reports on the research and development of a ‘smart’ cycling jacket and reveals important new knowledge about the integration of electrical devices in clothing. Alysha describes the potential of new ways of manufacturing knitted clothing and questions why the local fashion industry has been slow to experiment with the innovative techniques.
Moata McNamara dives into the very fabric of film, interpreting it through language and body. Her sensitive reading and translation of Dreyer’s La passion de Jeanne d’Arc – reconstructed and digitised after the original was lost in a fire – encourages a new perspective with a distinctly local flavour. In a similar vein, Suzie Gorodi reveals her unique and intensely physical encounter with a video work by artist Gary Hill, while critically engaging with contemporary film theory and Heideggerian philosophy.
Body and screen are key components in Becca Wood’s paper too, but in her case, Becca is the creator of the performance in which she conjures a dialogue about digital technology, space, and the body.
As themes go, this one was deliberately loose. The papers we have published in this issue are therefore diverse and multi-stranded. Their coherence hinges around the notion ofTransmedia/Transmodality and particularly the dialectic interface between creation and production, performance and experience, internal and external mediated space. I hope you enjoy this first issue of Journal: Creative Technologies and welcome your feedback and future participation.