Monthly Archives: December 2005
Off to visit family for 10 days – Yipee! So much turkey and stuffing.
Be back in the New Year – hope you get all the games you’ve asked for. I know top of our list is the new (and one year late) Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge game – a favorite movie in our household, we are looking forward to getting to play the skeletal hero Jack (no matter what the review says!).
Have a happy holiday.
Academic vs General Research
Over at my WoW guild’s message board, a member posted a link to an article done on the fly to see what type of people/players are playing MMOG’s. Their methodology?
“we decided to spend ALMOST 30 MINUTES compiling the 10 player archetypes that make up the barren husks of human matter behind the keyboard. And trust me, we covered them all. Didn’t miss one. See for yourself!”
Interesting archetypes I daresay with a touch of comedy for good measure … I responded by offering the guild some academic culture with links from terra nova, richard bartle and nick yee (forgive me, my links seem broken from this point of the post on..). I know that what separates academic research and material like this article is methodology. But I guess it kind of bothers me that someone who spends a year of their life (slight exaggeration here for effect) working towards creating a typology of player types in mmog’s only to reach the same conclusion as a bunch of guys who, in 30 minutes outline 10 player types complete with comedic anecdotes and humorous pictures.
Edible bits of WoW
Making games fun in the kitchen. hope you have maxed your cooking skills.
Check out this contest sponsored by Intel and Blizzard.
The baking hats are on as of December 2nd! Pull out the flour, bring out the mixers, and preheat the oven — now is the time for our bakers to shine! We want to see our worlds come alive… in cookie form! Any recognizable bit of the Warcraft, Starcraft, or Diablo universes will do, but the important part is its existence as a cookie. Snap a photograph of your baked goods and send it in. The five best cookies will be awarded a Nintendo DS and a copy of The Lost Vikings Game Boy Advance cartridge for their baking prowess! Get out the mixer; now’s the time to level your real life cooking skill to 300!
The Changing Face of University
Not sure how i feel about this. There has been much written in academia about the changing nature of university. What was onced deemed an elitist luxury is now considered a civil right. I guess this article points loudly in that direction.
Avatar to Avatar Communication
Always a little behind the times, for anyone who ever says there is “nothing on games” really need to spend a couple of days hyperlink-surfing (there must be a more technical term for that).. and find out just how much conversation – academic and otherwise – that is out there is quite incredible.
Avatar to Avatar communication, yes … came across this link (from Play On) over at terra nova and it made me think about some of the things I’ve written/thought about in the past. The jist of the post is that avatars dont behave, physically, as humans do in irl, and what can be implemented in terms of animation to make the avatar to avatar communication more immersive.
What I find interesting is their idea of immersion seems to be attached to realism. All of the suggestions made would make the interactions more life like, such as busy signals when a character/player is in several conversations .. like queueing up to talk to one person..yes this would make it more ‘life like’ but does this really add to immersion?
I think we need to separate the differences between RL immersion and immersion found online or in video games. The qualities and expectations are different. What makes online space more immersive for me is the very fact that I can carry on 5 simultaneous conversations and still multi-task blogging or even killing a mob or two while alt-tabbing in and out of the game. Now, this might not be the immersive experiences some scholars talk about – where you feel like you are “in the game”, rid of any interface, but it offers a different type of immersion. Immersion in my digital experience as a whole.
I think we need to understand what makes immersive experiences online … immersive. Understand that mediums are different and offer different possibilities. Not every experience has to be ‘like real life’, and often – that is the very key to their immersive success.
So .. ya. That was one bone.
I appreciate some of the other suggestions, like when an avatar is searching their backpacks, that there should be an animation to match. I agree that this would signal to other players that I am busy (and not simply standing idle), increasing the avatar to avatar communication and offer some ‘body language’ into the game. For all the visual enhancements over the genre of mmog’s, body language, short of /commands that allow you to /rude and /dance – the synchronicity of action and interaction is still off.
Child’s Play Charity
For the giving gamer in your life:
Child’s Play Charity.org
A snippet from their site:
“For the past three years, gamers and geeks around the world have raised nearly a million dollars in toys, games and cash for sick kids in Children’s Hospitals across the globe through a grassroots charity called Child’s Play.
Created by Penny Arcade, no “Administrative Fees” or other nonsense is collected; all gifts and donations go directly to the hospitals for distribution to sick kids.This year Child’s Play is expanding worldwide to help Children’s Hospitals across the globe. Below is a list of Children’s Hospitals that need your help. Selecting one will direct you to that particular hospitals Amazon wish list. Any items you purchase from that list will be delivered directly to the hospital you select. Also be sure to choose the shipping address to the hospital instead of your own!
Globalized Technology: Unity & Displacement
Much in the spirit of my earlier post on immersion, travel and day to day reality, I have been thinking about the promise of a ‘unified global community’ that technology offers, and the contradictory feelings of displacement it can produce.
I would never have met my friends in Denmark had it not been for the technological advancements of the internet and global networking. The friendships I have made online have always been ‘real’ to me as they are wrapped up in ‘real’ emotions. Although we met in the game space of EverQuest, the relationships developped ‘in’ that game were (and still are) real.
Many of these friendships have made it through the transition from online to physical space, several trips across the ocean later. I am thankful that I live in a time that allows for such geographically challenged relationships to flourish. But often, I am left with a hollowness inside reminding me that I miss these people. That no matter how many emails and in game chats we have, I cannot simply pop over to watch a movie on a quiet friday night. I know that I cannot do this with my family either, who live 10 hours away, but somehow, using the technology to maintain existing relationships is (to me somehow) different than nurturing ones born through it.
Then I start to question … as my friends have over time; do these long distance friendships inhibit the potential for friendships that are more physically attainable? I know that these questions aren’t earth shatteringly new to anyone who has done any reading surrounding the field of digital studies, but everytime I travel to see my ‘online’ friends, I am left with a sadness that we don’t share each other’s lives on a more regular or rather physical basis.
So is it a blessing or a curse? Until they get around to inventing teletransportation, am I doomed to feel torn between two kinds of friendships, longing for a physical closeness to match the emotional closeness that the internet offers?
CFP: Human Technology Special Issue: Culture, Creativity and Technology
Guest editors: Mark Blythe, University of York; Ann Light, Queen Mary, University of London; Shaleph O’Neill, University of Dundee. Deadline: February 24th 2006.
Advances in interactive computing technology have blurred the line between art, social studies and science. The age of digital reproduction is making radical changes in how art is created, distributed and perceived. Recent work from the humanities and arts has constructively critiqued traditional Interaction Design theory and practice. Studies of experience with technology can provide new insights into the potential of interactivity in contemporary arts and performance, as well as new tools for creativity.
This special issue will provide a forum for radically interdisciplinary analysis of digital technology. It will focus on the role of technology in enhancing culture and creativity. It will seek critical and reflective approaches to the design and analysis of interactive technology. Contributions will be welcomed from the Arts and Humanities as well as the Sciences.
Contributions can take the form of academic papers but also less traditional creative presentation formats such as multimedia, digital artwork and sound.
Areas of Interest
Arts and HCI
New Media and Genres
Technology and Experience
Entertainment and Leisure
Approaches of Interest
Interaction design, computer science, engineering, architecture, cultural studies, media studies, literary studies, critical theory, aesthetics, performance arts, digital art, psychology, socio-technical studies.
Please submit papers to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 24th 2006
Meta-Narratives & Monogamy
Is there a connection? I had an interesting conversation last night with a friend that started out as an evaluation of types of theory. He identifies himself as a symbolic interactionist; believes that it talks alot about the real world as it is. No gloss. I mentioned the fact that I am still apprehensive to label myself in terms of a school of theoretical thought as I was still interested in just learning what others had to say. I just want to make my brain bigger.
But then the conversation turned to a discussion on relationships. The quest for the ‘one’, and where each of us stood on the matter. He commented that he does not believe in the ‘one’ but that different people come into our lives at different times for different reasons. Would make sense to think this way from a post modern perspective. Different theories for different times. (Is this simply another form of relativism?) I, on the other hand, believe in the proverbial Mr. or Ms. Right. Doesn’t have to be a ‘perfect puzzle piece’ fit, but at least someone who connects with each other on many levels, making two whole selves a complimentary entity.
I admit to not being a religious or spiritual person, there is no overarching ruler of my being, yet I still get excited when I read a meta-narrative theory that MIGHT explain MOST elements of social life. Is this the same thing as religion? Does that make me a modernist? And is that why I still cling to the dream of a life long monogamous partner in life?
Loss of Immersion: Back to Reality
In the spirit of procrastination once again (I recall starting several posts this way), I am coming back to reality. With the end of term here, and nothing but final papers to write, I find my heads still in the clouds from my trip.
There was a presentation at the conference called the Natural Language of Immersion that proposed some ideas surrounding the notion of immersion, inherent and structured elements of immersion, the unfilled prophecy of virtual reality, and what will push for true immersive virtual reality experiences. The presentation drew more on art installations then on video games, but the arguement is the same I believe. The jist of the the reason why VR and truely immersive experiences have failed is because we already live in a tangible immersive world. The concept of displacement and vacation, the airplane as our magic carpet… these things are what inhibit immersive vr and not necessarily technological limitations. The reason we havent fulfilled the prophecy is because there is no need … yet. Although he ran out of time, his argument followed the idea that as oil prices rise, physical travel becomes more and more out of financial reach, people will search for an alternate form of embodied immersion. When that happens, people will push for the technology to allow them to experience what they have physically in the past with flight and travel experiences.
I am not waving the banner of support to the theory per se, but it made me think alot about my return from Copenhagen this week. The physical displacement allowing me to be completely immersed in something other then my usual reality. I am already eager to return but cannot afford another trip (or justify one to my partner heh). So, last night, in order to see the people I miss, I logged into EverQuest. I have not been in Norrath in quite some time, but when I logged in, I was immersed, transposed in a way back to my friend’s living room … chatting. Although we had to communicate through the game’s interface, I could see him at his desk. I was a little taken aback how, through the crude graphics of the game, I was somewhat transposed physically.
And then I thought of the presentation again. How the desire for embodied immersion through the lack of ability for physical displacement will drive the technology for true, pure vr immersion. Oh how I long for the holodeck in times like these.