Resonance: Sound, music and emotion in historic house interpretation

Just drafted an abstract for my Sound Heritage presentation:

This presentation explores what computer games can teach us about emotional engagement in cultural heritage interpretation. Beginning with a model of emotional affect drawn from the work of Panksepp and Biven (Panksepp, 2012), Lazarro (Lazarro, 2009), Sylvester (Sylvester, 2013)and Hamari et al (Hamari et al., 2014), it reveals how music especially has become a versatile emotional trigger in game design.

Drawing on the work of Cohen (Cohen, 1998)and Collins (Collins, 2008)eight functions that music has in games:

Masking – Just as music was played in the first movie theaters, partly to mask the sound of the projector, so music in new media can be used to mask the whir of the console’s or PC’s fan.

Provision of continuity – A break in the music can signal a change in the narrative, or continuous music signals the continuation of the current theme.”

Direction of attention – patterns in the music can correlate to patterns in the visuals, directing the attention of the user.

Mood induction; and,
Communication of Meaning- the nice distinction here is between music that makes the user sad, and music that tells the user “this is a sad event” without necessarily changing the user’s mood.

A cue for memory – The power of the music to invoke memories or prepare the mind for a type of cognitive activity is well recognized in advertising and sonic brands such as those created for Intel and Nokia.

Arousal and focal attention – With the user’s brain stimulated by music s/he is more able to concentrate on the diagesis of the presentation.

Aesthetics – The presentation argues that all too often music is used for aesthetic value only in museums and heritage sites, even if the pieces of music used are connected historically with the site or collection.

As an example, the presentation describes a project to improve the way music is used in the chapel at the Vyne, near Basingstoke. Currently, a portable CD player is used to fill the silence with a recording of a cathedral choir, pretty, but inappropriate for the space and for it’s story. A new recording is being made to recreate about half an hour of a pre-reformation Lady Mass, with choisters, organ and officers of the church, to be delivered via multiple speakers, which will be even more pretty but also a better tool for telling the place’s story.

With a proposed experiment at Chawton House as an example, we briefly explore narrative structure, extending the concept of story  Kernels and Satellites described by Shires and Cohan (Shires and Cohan, 1988)to imagine the cultural heritage site as a collection of narrative atoms, or Natoms (Hargood, 2012), both physical (spaces, collection) and ephemeral (text, video, music etc.). Music, the presentation concludes is often considered as a “mere” satellite, but with thought and careful design there is no reason why music can not also become the narrative kernals of interpretation.

 

COHEN, A. J. 1998. The Functions of Music in Multimedia: A Cognitive Approach. Fifth International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. Seoul, Korea: Western Music Research Institute, Seoul National University.

COLLINS, K. 2008. An Introduction to the Participatory and Non-Linear Aspects of Video Games Audio. In: RICHARDSON, J. A. H., S. (ed.) Essays on Sound and Vision. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press.

HAMARI, J., KOIVISTO, J. & SARSA, H. Does Gamification Work? — A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification.  System Sciences (HICSS), 2014 47th Hawaii International Conference on, 6-9 Jan. 2014 2014. 3025-3034.

HARGOOD, C., JEWELL, M.O. AND MILLARD, D.E. 2012. The Narrative Braid: A Model for Tackling The Narrative Paradox in Adaptive Documentaries. NHT12@HT12. Milwaukee.

LAZARRO, N. 2009. Understand Emotions. In: BATEMAN, C. (ed.) Beyond Game Design: Nine Steps Towards Creating Better Videogames. Boston MA: Course Technology / Cangage Learning.

PANKSEPP, J. A. B., L. 2012. The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary origins of human emotions, New York, W. W. Norton & Company.

SHIRES, L. M. & COHAN, S. 1988. Telling Stories : A Theoretical Analysis of Narrative Fiction, Florence, KY, USA, Routledge.

SYLVESTER, T. 2013. Designing Games – A Guide to Engineering Experiences, Sebastolpol, CA, O’Reilly Media.

What I meant to say was…

Back at the University for the second day of PGRAS, the post-graduate archaeology symposium which I spoke at yesterday. My talk didn’t go brilliantly well. Despite my preparation last weekend, producing a script as well as my slide deck, I went off-script about a third of the way through, and didn’t get back on it, so I feel a lot of what I had meant to say went unsaid. I often find this when I a script myself, it’s seems I stick more to what I plan to say when I only use bullet points and ad-lib around those. When it’s a full script something in my mind rebels and I end up saying nothing in the script.

So, here’s what I meant to say:

  1. This is a session about storytelling. So I’m going to tell you a story, and like all good stories, its going to have a beginning, middle and an end. Given the audience I feel I must warn you – I can’t promise that this will have much archaeology in it. But I have included one piece, so keep an eye out for it
  2. Last time I was speaking in front of this forum, I explained that I was researching what cultural heritage interpretation might learn from digital games. Those of you that were here may remember that I’d was interested in eight “emotional triggers” (adapted from (Sylvester, 2013)) that engage players in games. You can ask me about these four afterwards. Right now I’m interested in these four, where I think cultural heritage may have more to learn from games.
    1. Generally we don’t like people Acquiring stuff from cultural heritage sites. But actually the “Can you spot ?” type sheets that heritage sites have for decades given to bored children, are using the acquisition trigger.
    2. Challenge is an interesting one, many games are at the best when the degree of challenge matches the player’s ability and they get into “flow”, but seriously how much challenge are cultural heritage visitors looking for, on a day out? We’ll briefly return to this in a while.
    3. Here’s a tip from me, of you have any musically minded mates looking for a PhD subject, then the world of music and cultural heritage interpretation is an open field. There is nothing published. Zero, Nada. Having done my literature review, its what I’d be studying, if I could play, or … er … tell the difference between notes, or even keep a rythym.
    4. But I can’t, so storytelling is the focus of my study.
  3. Before me move on to that, I’d like to pause for a small digression. Those of you who are still listening to me – take a moment to look around the audience. No I don’t want you to point anybody out. I don’t want to shame anybody. But just put your hand up if you can see anyone who isn’t looking at me, but rather looking at their mobile device.
    That’s OK. I know I can be boring. But it’s a demonstration of the secret power of mobile devices. They are teleportation machines, which can transport you away from the place you are physically in.
    And most cultural heritage visitors don’t want that. They have come to our places (they may even have used their phones to help transport them to this place – with on-line bookings or GPS route-finding) to be in the place.
    Of course, that doesn’t stop all sorts of people using mobile devices to “gamify” cultural heritage interpretation. This game at the National Maritime museum, is an example of one that adds new technology to the classic acquisition trigger. You co round the world, collecting crew and cargo from various ports. It adds the challenge trigger to the mix, because you can only SEE the ports if you look at the giant map through the screen’s interface.
  4. There’s a lot of research currently looking at interfaces for cultural heritage (Reunanen et al., 2015) considered for example, getting visitors to make swimming motions in front of a Kinect to navigate a simulated wreck site. But the more I read, and the longer I considered it, I’m more and more of the opinion that there is an interface for cultural heritage that technologists are ignoring: (click) Walking around, looking at stuff.
  5. Now, when it comes to storytelling, “walking around looking at stuff” is not without its problems. People like to choose their own routes around cultural heritage venues, avoid crowds, and look only at some of the objects.
  6. What that means, is that sites often tell their most emotionally engaging story, the beginning, (click)middle (click) and end ( click) towards the beginning of the visit, with a multimedia experience in the visitor centre, or if they can’t afford that, an introductory talk. Then, everything else (click). Which is what game designers call a branching narrative. And what Aylett (Aylett, 2000, Louchart, 2003) calls the “Narrative Paradox … how to reconcile the needs of the user who is now potentially a participant rather than a spectator with the idea of narrative coherence — that for an experience to count as a story it must have some kind of satisfying structure.” (Aylett, 2000). We can learn from our games address with paradox.
  7. Imagine then, a site where the visitor’s movements will be tracked around the site, and the interpretation will adapt to what they have experienced already. Museum and heritage sites consist of both physical and ephemeral narrative atoms (“natoms” after (Hargood, 2011)). Persistent natoms include the objects and the collection but also the spaces themselves, either because of their historic nature, or their configuration in relation to other spaces (Hillier, 1996). Ephemeral natoms are media that can be delivered to the visitor responsively including, but not exclusive to, lighting effects, sound and music, audiovisual material, and text.
    All of these natoms comprise the “curated content” of any exhibition or presentation. The physical natoms are “always on,” but the others need not be (hence the “ephemeral” designation). The idea of the responsive environment would be to eventually replace text panels and labels with e-Ink panels which can deliver text natoms specific to needs of the visitor. Similarly, loudspeakers need not play music or sound effects on a loop, but rather deliver the most appropriate piece of music for the majority of visitors within range.
    To reduce the impact of the narrative paradox (Louchart, 2003), the natoms will be tagged as either Satellites (which can be accessed in any order) or Kernels, which must be presented in a particular order (Shires and Cohan, 1988). Defining which natoms are satellites or kernels becomes the authorial role of the curator.
    Here’s comes the gratuitous piece of archaeology – does this diagram remind you of anything? (click) But in fact it seems somehow appropriate. Because, this is the Apotheosis moment. I want to make the visitor the “God” of his or her own story. Not quite putting them in the place of the protagonist, whose choices were made years ago, but both watching and controlling the story as it develops.
  8. I’m no technologist, so my plan is to “wizard of Oz” a trail run, using people following visitor groups around, rather than a fancy computer program. My intention is to test how people respond to being followed, and how such a responsive environment would negotiate the conflicting story needs of different visitor groups sharing the same space. I have a venue, the Director Chawton House has promised me a couple of weeks worth of visitors to play with, next year. This is where I am at so far, having spent a couple of weeks breaking down the place’s stories into Natoms.
    There’s a lot more to do, but next year I hope to tell you how Chawton’s visitors were able to explore the place entirely freely, (click) and still manage to be told an engaging story from (click) beginning, though (click click) middle (click) and end.

Attingham 2016 Conference

I’m speaking at the Attingham 2016 Conference, organised by the University of Nottingham. It clashes with the recently announced referendum, so its a postal ballot for me!

Anyway, I thought I might share my abstract:

Is there a place in heritage spaces for the gamification of adult learning?

 

Today’s fifty year olds were at school in 1980’s, when the ZX80, then the ZX81, the Spectrum, the BBC micro, and host of other cheap and accessible computing devices popularised digital gaming. How do the expectations of this first “Gamer Generation” differ from the adult learners that cultural heritage sites have welcomed in the past?

Gamification (Hamari et al., 2014, Kapp, 2012, Marczewski), the application of game mechanics in non-game contexts, has been a feature of learning since before the word was coined in 2002. Non-digital games have been used in the classroom and in less formal environments, for many years, to encourage people to learn about their world. Generally though, such games have been aimed at non-adult audiences. The term gamification has come to prominence in recent years mostly in reference to digital games, and an adult audience.

Heritage organisations have been using digital game technology to interpret cultural heritage since at least 1996, but it’s only since the creation of mobile digital devices that museums and other heritage sites have tried to harness game technology on-site to help interpret their stories (Fosh et al., 2015, Ioannidis et al., 2014, Roussou et al., 2013, Salomonsson, 2015, Treharne et al., 2013).

Digital games, especially immersive story-games, and cultural heritage sites share a multimodality (Champion, 2015, Roppola, 2013) that suggests games may work very well for adult learning in heritage spaces. However, heritage sites that have invested in projects involving gamification have often been disappointed in the numbers of visitors participating in such efforts.

This paper will chart the brief history of digital games in heritage learning, and share research into gamers’ attitudes to play in cultural heritage spaces. Exploring the opportunities and challenges that game mechanics offer heritage spaces, I will argue that some elements could be used to make cultural heritage sites more responsive environments, without turning adult learning into a game.


 

So, that’s the abstract, I better get on with the paper. I might need to find some more up-to-date texts as well, as some of these come from when I first started my studies. If anybody has published anything recently that touches on the above, give me a shout.

 

Hmm, given I’ve left citations in the text above I better do the decent thing and include the references:

CHAMPION, E. 2015. Critical Gaming: Interactive History and Virtual Heritage, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

FOSH, L., LORENZ, K., BENFORD, S. & KOLEVA, B. 2015. Personal and social? Designing personalised experiences for groups in museums. 19th Annual Museums and the Web Conference (MW2015). Chicago, IL.

HAMARI, J., KOIVISTO, J. & SARSA, H. Does Gamification Work? — A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification.  System Sciences (HICSS), 2014 47th Hawaii International Conference on, 6-9 Jan. 2014 2014. 3025-3034.

IOANNIDIS, Y., BALET, O. & PANDERMALIS, D. 2014. Tell me a story: augmented reality technology in museums. The Guardian, April 4.

KAPP, K. M. 2012. The gamification of learning and instruction: game-based methods and strategies for training and education, John Wiley & Sons.

MARCZEWSKI, A. Gamification: A Simple Introduction and a Bit More, (self-published on Amazon Digital Services, 2013). Kindle edition, Loc, 1405.

ROPPOLA, T. 2013. Designing for the museum visitor experience, Routledge.

ROUSSOU, M., VAUANOU, M., KATIFORI, A., RENNICK-EGGLESTONE, S. & PUJOL, L. 2013. A Life of Their Own: Museum Visitor Personas Penetrating the Design Lifecycle of a Mobile Experience. CHI 2013 Extended Abstracts. Paris: ACM.

SALOMONSSON, L. 2015. Leveling-Up With Cultural Heritage: Aspects from Gamification and Alternate Reality Games.

TREHARNE, H. E., TROMANS, N., SCARLES, C., SCOTT, M., CASEY, M. C. & CULNANE, C. 2013. Transforming the Visitor Experience with Augmented Reality.

 

I promise, this is the last time I bang on about @HeritageJam – until next year

The only thing I haven’t covered, since last month’s Heritage Jam event, is the on-line entries, which were more numerous. You can read about them all here (scroll down), but I want to use this last (I promise) Heritage Jam 2015 post to pick out just a few of my favorites.

First up is my award for Most Fun, which goes to Howard WilliamsHeritage Jam: Conserving the Past, an investigation of the actual jams available for sale at heritage sites on his family holiday in Wales. But its not all fruit-spread based humour, he also manages to fit in this specialist subject: the heritage of death, and even the death of heritage.

Howard also contributes to the winning team entry for the on-line competition. This is a shoe-in on my own favorites list because of it’s medium. The Volund Stories: Weyland the Smith is a comic, created by Hannah Kate Sackett. I love comics, and it inspires me to pick up my pencil again and practice drawing. (My problem is that I use a tablet for everything nowadays, and my fingers have forgotten how to control things like pens and pencils.) Only the first few pages were submitted for Heritage Jam, and I eagerly await the completed work, which will be published (free) on both Kate and Howard’s blogs.

The individual winner was also another of my favorites, Cryptoporticus by Anthony Masinton. This is a “first-person walking simulator” (in the style of one of my favorite games Dear Esther) around a mysterious imaginary museum.  To tell the truth, when I saw this (and another which I’ll mention later) appear in the Heritage Jam gallery in the last few hours of wrestling with my own entry, I almost gave up. This looked so brilliant, I thought mine and Cat’s work could not possibly compete.

I only managed to get a few minutes with the actual game during the event itself, but I liked it very much. Sadly the link to download the game on the Heritage Jam page no-longer works. I hope this is only because Anthony is dealing with a couple of bugs he couldn’t manage to fix before the deadline, and the links will eventually work again, because I for one want to have a go playing it right through.

The other entry which almost made me give up my own efforts was the excellent website Epi.Curio, by the appropriately named Katherine Cook. This encourages visitors to interact with the past, and with museum collections, in the multi-sensory sphere of cooking and eating. It’s just such a brilliant idea, presented in a beautiful responsive website. I am overwhelmed and insanely jealous of Katherine’s imagination. (And yes, before you ask, there is a recipe for an actual Heritage Jam.) I haven’t actually tried any of the recipes yet, but I’m thinking about making Pan de Muertos for the end of the month.

Spooky Pan de Muertos from the Epi.Curio website

So that’s a quick whizz through my personal favorites, though there’s plenty more quality stuff in the gallery though, check out Shawn Graham’s Listening to Watling Street, for example. Indeed, there was so much high quality work on show, that wen I submitted mine and Cat’s piece, I was feeling quite subdued, depressed even, despite the amazing etheral quality of Cat’s auralisation. I felt we had worked really hard, but hadn’t come close to some of the showstoppers that were already entered.

So imagine my surprise, and absolute joy, when on my way home from the event, I saw the tweet from Heritage Jam that our piece had been Highly Commended in the judging of the on-line entries. Despite being on the winning team at the in-person event, I was even more excited by this “second place” than that victory. The judges comments were so kind, so I’ll finish with them (and the electronic versions of our certificates).

The breath-taking audio reconstructions included within this complex project captured our judges imaginations and hearts whilst the intricate layering of narrative and interpretive contexts left them wanting more. They were hugely complimentary of the way in which the duo had structured the piece to meaningfully showcase and integrate narrative, reconstruction and data into the piece. The interactive nature of the project promoted significant discussion on the topic of agency, control and interpretation in museums and collections, making it not only a thought provoking piece in its own right, but also in relation to wider heritage themes and issues. The technicality, scale and artful nature of the project, as well as the thoughtful, comprehensive paradata far exceeded the expectations of our judges for a short-term “jam” project, leading them to crown “Among the Ruins” as the highly commended team entry for the 2015 Heritage Jam

HighlyCommended - Online Team

Winner - In-Person Team

 

Heritage Jam 2015 – sign up soon!

Heritage Jam at York University – registration opens on 20th August

I had a great Skype chat today with Neil and Paul from Info-Point. I’d first met them a couple of years back, and wrote about their product here. In fact, I’d put them in touch with one of my client properties at the time, Saddlescombe Farm, that had a problem which I thought Info-point might be the perfect solution for. It was – and Info-point have now supplied solutions to a number of out-of-the-way (and out of signal) National Trust sites across the country.

Their challenge is that they are technologists, not storytellers, but sometimes places come to them hoping they can supply the content, not just the platform. To this end, they are working hard at building a network of interpretation designers and content providers, who they hope will use their technology when heritage sites come calling.

We were chatting idly about setting up a two-day “hacking” event, to bring together heritage custodians, storytellers and technologists. While we were talking I thought “we could call it something like Heritage Jam!”

Afterwards I thought – “Heritage Jam… that too good an idea to be mine. Where have I heard it before?” and a quick Google later, I knew where. York University will be hosting Heritage Jam towards the end of September. I missed it last year, and made a mental not not to miss it this year. OK, so that mental note came back a bit garbled, but it came back in time for me to get myself on the mailing list. Registration opens and closes on the 20th August. So if you want to go, set a reminder in your diary! If you can’t get to York, there’s and on-line participation month kicking on the 20th of August too, so check that out.

PGRAS Southampton – Day 2 (there is no Day 1)

On Thursday, I attended the second day of the Archaeology department’s Postgraduate  symposium, at which every PhD student is expected to deliver an annual presentation on their research. Part timers like me are required to only present every other year, so this time I was an audience member only, and Chair for one session. I hadn’t managed to go to the first day, because I was at work. Here are some selected personal highlights of the day.

Eleonora Gandolfini kicked the day off introducing her work on MOOCs, local communities and cultural heritage. She’s looking at how the global might become local to engage communities in the archaeology of what is close to them – for a start, she’s been creating text translations of our Portus MOOC into Italian. Here presentation included a couple of pleasant surprises for me: the first mention I’d heard that Portus has a past life as a safari park (which I’m sure wasn’t news to most of my peers), and a reference to, and display of, my virtual Lego model of Building 5!

Dan Joyce followed with a review at all the low-cost technology that can be used in archaeology, then Danielle Newman looked at using ethnographic techniques to interview archaeologists on public engagement. Her mention of the difficulties of how different professional communities using terminology differently struck a chord with me, interpretation, for example, is word that I and my archaeologist peers use very differently I think.

For example, Trevor Rowe talked about how Augmented Reality, which most people only think of as an not-quite-there-yet technology for interpreting the past to visitors, might be used to help archaeological interpretation of data while on site. Later in the day, when Elizabeth Richley was talking about her work combining different data sources in 3D, I wondered when her work would be combined with Trevor’s to create “Archaeologist Goggles.”

In the following session, the presentation that stood out for me and, it seemed, excited the room was Leah Holguin’s talk on Disappearing Landscapes of the Gobi Desert. It seemed a lot of people wanted to share her adventures, and I must admit, with all that sand and isolation, it felt like “real” Indiana Jones style, archaeology.

I chaired a session on walls, with Nicholas Dugdale skyping in to present his analysis of Roman marble shipping, Katherine Crawford and Isobel Pinder with two different takes on Roman religious processionals, and James Miles updating us on his structural analysis of Winchester Cathedral.

The final session ended with a really tough question for Peter Brugger who is researching the use of 3D printed versions of artefacts in museums. He was challenged with a question that amounted to “what’s the point?” After all, it doesn’t weight the same, or even feel the same, its by no means a replica – what is the learning outcome of a visitor interacting with it? But something he had said in his presentation made me think he already had the answer, that fiddling with the plastic version drew visitors’ attention to the real thing. So I wonder if its not an interpretive medium as such, but should be considered rather more like museum lighting, an atmospheric, sensory effect that help people understand where to look.

Well that’s a whistlestop tour of my notes from the day, there were plenty of other presentations as well, but I’m off to Italy shortly, so that’s all you get from me.

Museums and Heritage Show 2015

I spent most of yesterday volunteering at Clandon so, in a middle of catching up on writing my literature review, just a short post today.

The Museums and Heritage show seemed more exciting this year than last, with a healthier buzz among both participants and exhibitors. Last year I left the show after only a couple of hours. This year I stayed all day, and was so engaged in conversations with stall-holders and with old and current colleagues that I’d happened to meet, that I missed out on a couple of seminars that I wanted to attend.

Apart from the free seminars, the show floor itself was alive with master classes run from the stands themselves. Like these two:

 on being a better guide;

 and, on writing for interpretation.

It was refreshing to see that the show wasn’t infested with companies offering “apps” as it had been for the last two years. And I spoke to most if not all those companies that remained and came away feeling confident that most of these “get it” and, to varying degree, are willing to push at the technology to better serve the visitor.

I really wish I’d gone to @ctp2015 :(

It sounds like I missed a blinder, but I didn’t even hear about it until it was on. Roll on the publication of any proceedings or papers. In the meantime, here’s a quote from @gamingarcheo Tara Copplestone’s blog, which just hints at the myriad reasons I wish I was there:

Dr. Tobias Winnerling – who artfully compared and contrasted the differential treatment and reception of historic remediation through Lego and Video-game. A key theme within this panel was the concept of ‘normalization’ – that the greater the agency or self-determination there was in constructing aesthetic and narrative, the easier it was to normalize the symbolic system for wide-spread consumption – hence why Lego, perhaps, was seen as more socially acceptable for engaging with the past than its video-game counterparts. This observation was used as a basis for arguing that perhaps with more sandbox style video-games the media form, in the future, will become increasingly normalized and accepted as a way for exploring the past.

😦

The Invisible Hand Revealed!

Back in the days of yore (last year) I attended a workshop run by the digital art collective, Blast Theory. This week they released their report, which fills in all the gaps from my two posts worth of notes taken at the event. Seriously, they took better notes that I did – the document even reminds me of stuff I said. (Playing devils advocate, I’d asked why profiling should be considered a bad thing, if it meant people get better service from corporations – and I get the sort of jeans that make me look good. And its all in the report, though some of the typos suggest they used some sort of on-line transcription service.)

Of course, over the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been further developing the responsive interpretation experiment I’d like to do, I’ve realized that it is in its own small way, all about visitor profiling. And surveillance of course. When the National Trust were thinking of funding the experiment, I was considering trying it out at Grey’s Court, which as the childhood home of Ian Fleming, seems particularly appropriate for exploring the the idea of spying. I hadn’t got so far then as to explore what the story might be, but as I’ve developed the idea for other funding proposals I’ve thought more and more about making the surveillance aspect of the experiment central to the story too.

Part of the reason I want to run the experiment is to test how visitors feel about having their movements around the site monitored. I’ve been thinking how the revelation of that monitoring packs quite an emotional punch, and suggests a story, or at least a “B-plot” around a mystery wherein the players are cast as spies, or spycatchers, investigating the site, and where the final kernel is the revelation that as the watchmen, they are actually the watched. This has been a necessity of trying to create a generic experiment, which can run at any site that the funding requires, but I like the idea of using it to create a James Bond theme at Greys Court, or finding the spy stories in other cultural heritage sites… like Sutton House’s Wolf Hall connections.

The infuriating thing about this search for funding, is the amount I need isn’t actually that much. Well, its more than a little of course, otherwise I’d fund it myself. But at about £14,000 it’s a bit-player in the world of funding. I can scale it up of course, to get closer the sort of money being offered by many funders, but that seems disingenuous in a way.

The Invisible Hand workshop was inspired by Blast Theory’s research for Karen, “the app that psychologically profiles you as you play.” They went to Kickstarter to bring in the last £15k they’d needed. But that was for an already prototyped concept, and they only just hot their target so, what with Kickstarter’s take, the need for rewards for backers, and the reputation which I haven’t got, I don’t think that’s a method I could use…

Playable Cities videos

I wasn’t able to get to the Playable Cities conference (for the second year running – next year, I must try harder), but handily they put a number of the sessions online at http://www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity/conference14/watch-talks/

They are quite quiet for my deaf old ears, I needed to turn them up to full both in the player and on my computer to get them above a whisper. Though they are all of interest, I’ve embedded linked to (the embedding doesn’t work) a couple of my favorites here. Holly Gramazio offers us a history of public play:

http://apps.watershed.co.uk/mediaembedder?id=456&store=wvs&theme=default&autoplay=false&autobuffer=false

Tom Armitage plays with his cities:

http://apps.watershed.co.uk/mediaembedder?id=459&store=wvs&theme=default&autoplay=false&autobuffer=false

Sam Hill uses SMS for his game, to make it as accessible as possible. (Its good to here the same thought we’d had  on making SMS part of our sadly unfunded Eastleigh project). Great stuff with user generated content too:

http://apps.watershed.co.uk/mediaembedder?id=465&store=wvs&theme=default&autoplay=false&autobuffer=false

And finally Simon Johnson talks pervasive games, including Zombie Chase:

http://apps.watershed.co.uk/mediaembedder?id=469&store=wvs&theme=default&autoplay=false&autobuffer=false