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  Canadian/Portugese Firms Co-Produce International ARG  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-29 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
A new serialized, video-based Alternate Reality Game called The GOT will be launched in January 2008 jointly by Canada's The Nightingale Company (film and TV producers) and Portugal's beActive (known in Europe for its work on Sofia's Diary). According to The Nightingale Company, the series will follow a young woman who turns to the web when she becomes convinced the planet is in "grave danger."

According to Nightingale, game play will be aimed at mainstream audiences, and will involve "'against-the clock' international competition" as well as hallmarks of ARG play such as online collaboration, in-character interaction, and clue-hunting. Judging by the info in Nightengale's news release, we'll be able to watch the video component of the game from two angles simultaneously. Hopefully this will be a feature and not a gimmick (it's hyped more like the latter than the former).

Fortunately, at least one of the Nightingale team has previous puppetmastering experience: Adam Clare, the firm's Online Properties Strategist, was one of the co-founders of TorGame, a successful urban ARG adventure launched in 2006.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘CSI:NY’ Meets ‘Second Life’  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-26 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I wasn't able to catch the recent CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, but thankfully other bloggers were on the case. Here's a link-dump from around the blogosphere about this TV / virtual-world mashup...

  • Good, short review of CSI:NY's Second Life crossover episode. Sounds like the TV episode was solid. How will the Second Life side measure up?
  • Virtually Blind reviews the recent CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, including the in-world experience: "While it has flaws, it is head and shoulders above any mainstream virtual world tie-ins we've seen so far."
  • The Second Life Herald's Pixeleen Mistral notes that some Second Life merchants attempted to game-jack incoming CSI:NY viewers by adding CSI-style search terms to their store descriptions. Clever!
  • Roundup of some mini-reviews of the CSI:NY / Second Life crossover. Mixed results, still expecting more discussion of this over the next month or so. How many people signed up to play the Second Life experience?
  • About CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, Tateru Nino says "large numbers" registered for SL, but the custom OnRez viewer download failed for many. "No flood" of newcomers to SL. "The Jury is still out as to whether the whole shebang will be a hit or or a miss.
  • Prokofy Neva muses about the aftermath, noting SL signups log-ons [thanks for the correction, Prok] actually went down from 41k to 38k during "this supposed 'rush.'" Reportedly about 700 avatars in-world on the CSI islands.
 
     
 
   
 
  3 comments  
  ‘Electric Sheep’ Improve ‘Second Life’ Interface  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Electric Sheep Company, a large third-party developer of virtual-world products and services will soon launch its own window into the world of Second Life. The pending client software (known as a "viewer") has been commercially licensed by Second Life maker/maintainer Linden Lab, according to an official press release.

Based on a limited range of screenshots and online discussion about the upcoming viewer, it appears that the Electric Sheep Company has gone a long way in addressing one of the chief problems facing new users: The interface. Historically, Second Life's viewer has been difficult to use, suffering from the classic "designed by engineers" syndrome plaguing many graphical user-interfaces and software applications.

Continue reading: ‘Electric Sheep’ Improve ‘Second Life’ Interface
 
     
 
   
 
  4 comments  
  Guy Parsons On Rock’n’Roll Storytelling  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Former Perplex City ops-team member Guy Parsons has posted a web version of a recent presentation entitled "Text, Drugs, and Rock'n'Roll," wherein he engagingly argues that stories can become more participatory by injecting rock'n'roll--loosely defined in the context of his presentation as "jumping off the author's stage and diving headlong into the crowd..." -- a crowd Parsons knows (as do others in the ARG, live-game, and participatory fiction space) from first-hand experience is capable of "waiting to catch you with open arms" and co-authoring the experience.

I'd like to see more rock'n'roll in more forms of media, but I don't think that sort of mashup is necessarily a superior form of culture. I'm a bit tired of futurists telling us how one-way media is "dead," but I think Parson's barking up the right tree in explaining why participatory culture is an attractive and satisfying option for engaging contemporary audiences.
 
     
 
   
 
  1 comments  
  links for 2007-09-28  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-28 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Fallen Alternate Reality Game’ Wins Primetime Emmy Award  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Congratulations to Xenophile Media for their Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Television" in recognition of the Fallen Alternate Reality Game. Designed and created with Matt Wolf of Double Twenty Productions, the game was an intensive promotion and tie-in to the ABC Family TV movie Fallen which aired last summer. As part of the Xenophile team, I played a critical writing and design role on the game. Because there's a press release out already, I can finally talk publicly about some participation numbers: 2.8 million visitors to the game's web site, and 250,000 players. Nice!

This is the second major award the game has received this year, and the second Emmy award for Xenophile's lauded alternate reality games. Thanks, Xenophile, for inviting me to write stories and develop game-play on these projects. I love my work.
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-09-06  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Command & Conquer’ Invades Google Earth  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-05 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Game publisher/developer Electronic Arts has unleashed hordes of war machines across Google Earth, turning a layer of the 3D planet-viewer into the violent world of Command & Conquer 3. In effect, this is an officially-sanctioned mashup between a game world and the real world: gamers were invited to showcase their talent by bringing models from the game into Google Earth through Google Sketchup, a streamlined 3D-modeling tool, and placing them on the globe.

"Tiberium Earth" can be viewed by clicking this Google Earth link [kmz file], and models from the game are available via Google's 3D Warehouse. It's encouraging to see a mega-corporation like EA facilitate loosen its grip on one of its games to allow fan input and participation.

[via SLOG.com]
 
     
 
   
 
  1 comments  
  A Few Cross-Media Pies I’ve Had A Finger In  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-25 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I'm not always able to talk about projects I've been involved with, so when I get approval from clients (which, thankfully, is most of the time), I'm not shy about highlighting some of the outstanding initiatives I've worked on:

1) The Fallen Alternate Reality Game (a.k.a. "Ocular Effect"), to which I contributed story writing and game design (for Xenophile Media with Double Twenty Productions), was nominated for an Interactive TV Emmy Award earlier this month. Earlier this year, the project won a SXSW Web Award.

2) Thursday's Fictions In Second Life launched last month, a project by The Physical TV Company I was briefly involved with earlier this year in Tasmania. Gary Hayes of the Project Factory worked with the team after Tas and co-developed quite a wild-looking environment for the virtual world, involving elements of the Thursday's Fictions book and film. Some really creative effects were used for this, and Gary's posted a meditative YouTube walkthrough for your viewing pleasure.

3) Metaversatility has launched its cross-media game for upcoming movie The Nines. The game touches the web, Second Life and will bleed over into physical space as well. I'm happy to have been involved (even if very briefly) during the conception stages as a design consultant. The game has already made a few headlines, most notably at Variety online.

Hopefully I'll get clearance in the next month or so to discuss a few other fun cross-media projects recently-concluded and ongoing.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘CSI’ Creator Plots Virtual World Extension  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
CSI creator and series executive producer Anthony Zuiker will deliver the opening keynote speech at the upcoming Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo, according to the event's organizers, who say that Zuiker "will provide insight into how the top rated CSI: NY will be utilizing virtual worlds to extend the broadcast television property and making it interactive in the virtual world."

I won't be able to attend the conference, scheduled for October 10-11 in San Jose, but I look forward to hearing the details of CSI's virtual world plot. What I'd most like to see happen with the series is one or more CSI-themed events, or a semi-permanent "crime lab" installation staged in There or vSide. What I'd least like to see is an entire virtual world revolving around CSI.
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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