My first day

In the words of WordPress, “Hello World”! I’m about to start reading for a PhD at Southampton University. (You can read my proposal on the linked page.) I’m going to use this blog to capture and share what I discover along the way.

For example, earlier this week I met Prof. Steve Poole who was involved in exactly the sort of project I’d like to experiment with as part of this PhD. Ghosts in the Garden was a project that allowed the Holburne Museum to “discover” a cache of clockpunk devices that visitors could use to listen in on conversations from the heyday of the Pleasure Gardens behind the museum. Steve Poole did the research, so each of the characters was drawn from the historic record, but what they did and said was scripted in conjunction with Splash and Ripple, a company that creates real-world games, so that the participant enjoys a “choose-your-own-adventure” style game while exploring the gardens.

I want to know how sophisticated the game script was. For example, I’m assuming that the order in which you visit each location will determine what you hear at that location, but was there also a more sophisticated time based variable, that meant some things might happen only after you’ve been playing a certain length of time? I’ve got a bunch of questions for Splash and Ripple…

Family use an archaic "Special Listening Device"
This image from the REACT website “Rediscover the Georgian Pleasure Gardens of Bath via game, soundscape and ‘Georgian Listening Device’.”

6 thoughts on “My first day

  1. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for being the first person to comment on this blog! As to questions, I have so many, but I’ll drop you a line. The first is a request to see any evaluation you might have completed on the project, which might answer a bunch. But I’m particularly interested in how the game-play was “scripted,” Steve showed us a slide of you surround a flow chart, and I’d love to see the final one and discuss how you arrived at it.

  2. […] The meet-up was at The Point, an arts centre in Eastleigh, and Alister mentioned that he was working with the council on the idea of creating a digital creativity hub there. That excited me because of the work I’ve already seen coming out of Watershed, in Bristol. That Cultural cinema and digital creativity centre is home to companies like Splash and Ripple, and a key player in the REACT hub that funded projects like Ghost in the Gardens. […]

  3. […] Even though Jenkins makes a case for story and narrative in (some) games he warns against “something on the order of a choose-your-own adventure book, a form noted for its lifelessness and mechanical exposition rather than enthralling entertainment, thematic sophistication, or character complexity.” And with some shame I realise I’ve already used the words “choose-your-own adventure” in this very blog. […]

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