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  Stork Alert  
Posted 2007-07-25 by Tony Walsh
My wife and I are expecting our first baby to be born next week, and by the end of August we will have moved into our new permanent nest. The pending cradle-rat has her own web site already, so if you're looking to follow that narrative (provided I'll have the energy to tell it), click here.

In the short term (at least), you can expect a slowdown in activity at Clickable Culture as I simultaneously adjust to fatherhood while moving house. At this point, it's too early to tell exactly how often I'll be writing, so I recommend you subscribe to the blog's RSS or Atom feed for updates.

I'd like to thank my readers for their interest and support over the years, and hope you'll bear with me while my hip urban lifestyle gets blindsided by tiny pink paws and sacks full of poopy diapers.
  Thanks, ‘Broken Pencil’!  
Posted 2007-06-21 by Tony Walsh
My best Ren-Faire flourish goes to Broken Pencil, Canada's guide to underground arts and culture, for its recently-published, positive review of Clickable Culture. Reviewer James King applies my musings on digital decay to Clickable Culture's archive of blog posts (a few thousand or so since 1999)--wouldn't it be interesting to flip through past posts and see the amount of "wear" on the pages? It's actually something I could set up... definitely would add some character to a future visual update.

Interestingly, King's most negative comments pertain to a couple of commentators ruining the vibe here. Glad I cleaned that up.

Thanks for the review, Broken Pencil--it's been 10 years since you last checked in on me :)
  The Suspense is Killing Me  
Posted 2007-06-21 by Tony Walsh
I had a conversation just like this two weeks ago.
  Canada Has a Game Studies Association?  
Posted 2007-06-13 by Tony Walsh
There's so much I don't know about my own country. Today I learned that we in Canada have our very own Game Studies Association. It was formed two years ago, mostly by educators, and just launched a journal called Loading.

Why is it that I'm more aware of American events, individuals and groups than Canadian ones? We have a serious self-esteem and outreach problem in Canada, I think. The last Canadian games conference I found out about (too late to sign up for, I might add) had to ship in Americans as speakers, but I don't think it's because of a lack of domestic talent. It's a lack of awareness of domestic talent, which is really unforgivable in this age of personal home pages and Google.
  Games, Television, Dreams, and Doing Things Over  
Posted 2007-06-12 by Tony Walsh
Why would office workers watch shows like The Apprentice or Hell's Kitchen and professional soldiers play games like Full Spectrum Warrior or Battlefield 2? The first thing that comes to my mind is that certain TV shows and video games provide an opportunity for a "do-over" that real-life, high-stress jobs don't allow. Television shows give us a form of weak agency, where we can imagine what we might do in another person's shoes and potentially work through the day's problems as a result. Games give us a strong form of agency where we are largely responsible for our own path and fate--as well, we are afforded multiple attempts at solving the same problem.

According to some, dreaming is a way for us to re-envision, re-enact, or re-contextualize the day's events. Do dreams provide a similar do-over environment to digital games and so-called "reality" television shows? In the preface to the book Lucid Dreaming, author George Parish writes "Dreaming is our method of assimilating the new by either discarding it or integrating it into our world model. During dreaming we eliminate errors from and make modifications to our internal private virtual reality, our world model... The business of living does not allow sufficient on line time to even attempt to perform the process of critical assessment and integration of new information into our world model. Our waking minds are not equipped to conduct the review, analysis, and modification required. Dreaming is the process by which our brain integrates the new into our personal virtual reality."
  Clickable Culture History: Permabans (Updated)  
Posted 2007-06-02 by Tony Walsh
Not too long ago, I intended to ban two long-time commentators here at Clickable Culture. I inadvertently deleted not only their accounts, but all record of their history on this blog. I then paid to have my web host restore the Clickable Culture database to an earlier state--the same morning I left for San Francisco for a week of work. I was unable to access the database all day yesterday, but this morning regained control.

The two commentators have had their posting privileges revoked, and dozens of their recent comments have been closed from public view. However, the vast majority of their history has been preserved. This is less a favor to them, and more a favor to my more constructive readers who might have been confused by the erasure.

As a result of the database rollback, several comments made late on May 31 and early on June 1 have been erased. Anyone who registered for an account during that time will have to register again. Sorry about that. Things should be hiccup-free henceforth.
  Catch Me in San Francisco  
Posted 2007-05-30 by Tony Walsh
On Friday I'll be trekking out to San Francisco for a week to lend my mentoring skills to the BAVC Producers Institute for New Media Technologies. In addition to guiding documentary filmmakers towards digital, non-linear and/or cross-media platforms and formats, I'll be part of a panel on June 2, and will be also be presenting on June 4.

New Media/New Meaning: Multi-Platform Technology, New Media Innovation and Documentary Storytelling
10am - 11:30am, Saturday, June 2 at KQED, 2601 Mariposa Street at Bryant, San Francisco
Panelists include: Ted Cohen, TAG Strategic (moderator); Chris O'Dea, MobiTV; Tim Olson, KQED Interactive; Rahdi Taylor, Sundance Documentary Institute; Josh Felser, Sony/Grouper; Anthony Marshall, Current TV; Scott Kirsner, Cinema Tech; Tony Walsh, Clickable Culture; Meghan Cunningham, Magnet Media, zoom-in online; Ben Batstone Cunningham, alt-zoom studios.

Game Development and Marketing Tools for Producers
10:30am - 12pm, Monday, June 4, location unknown.
I'll be presenting on selected video games and game forms, virtual worlds, and alternate reality games, showing how each has been used as an outlet for non-linear storytelling and (in certain cases) for marketing a specific property. Most likely I'll be covering serious games, newsgames, Second Life, and Ocular Effect, at least.
  Game Sketching with John Buchanan  
Posted 2007-05-28 by Tony Walsh
While on a working trip to Tasmania, I had the pleasure of meeting John Buchanan, Director of Carnegie Mellon's ETC in Adelaide, Australia. I participated in Buchanan's demonstration of a "Game Sketch" system he's working on with his students. Game sketching is a method of pre-prototyping the basic interactivity for the purposes of playing with game ideas. Although technology-independent, Buchanan and his students have developed a 3D tool where simple interactive systems and play modes can be toyed with. Using this tool, any simple 3D object can be made into a controllable game piece with rudimentary functionality. The tool is destined to be distributed free, without a license, from what I hear.

As with any kind of sketch, the purpose is to boil a concept down to its essence by removing distractions. The multi-user tool actually relies on live puppeteering and moderation--not unlike tabletop or live-action roleplay. In this way, play situations can be changed on the fly without downtime resulting from having to create new assets or scripts. The demonstration in Tasmania actually involved live performance (I played a ninja!) as a substitute for the tool, which was having trouble with limited network bandwidth. The experience was a bit similar to what I know as "paper prototyping" which often involves sketched elements moderated by a human controller.

I plan to add game sketching--without any kind of computer-based tool--to the game design courses I'm teaching. I already focus on a series of basic interaction design exercises, but I think sketching would be a useful bridge between these and full-fledged game prototypes. It's important for students to understand that good games boil down to good game play, regardless of presentation. Thanks, John, for introducing me to game sketching!
  Reporting Trademark Infringement in ‘Second Life’?  
Posted 2007-05-28 by Tony Walsh
This is an open call to my readers for information on reporting trademark infringement in Second Life. My (potentially incorrect) recollection is that it was once possible to specifically report trademark infringement through the in-world Abuse Report system, but when I tried this last night, "Trademark" was not listed as a reportable offense. Following the attempt to report in-world, I searched through the official Second Life site, and couldn't find any information on how to report trademark infringement.

The short story is that I can't figure out how to report trademark infringement (it didn't seem so obscure before), and I'm left wondering if my memory is faulty or if the system has changed. If the reporting system has changed, my impression is that it has changed in the last 2 - 4 weeks. Any help, advice, or information from my readership would be appreciated, thanks.
  Home and Away: Back from Oz  
Posted 2007-05-27 by Tony Walsh
From May 16-26, I was fortunate enough to have been flown down to Australia from my home in Canada in order to share some of my new media / cross media / virtual worlds / alternate reality game learning at three separate events. I presented at the Museum of Sydney along with Gary Hayes and Guy Gadney, joined fellow instructors Hayes and Jackie Turnure at LAMP in a 1-day cross-media bootcamp for film and TV producers, and then joined Hayes, Turnure and a group of other mentors for "Story of the Future," an intensive LAMP retreat held in fabulous Freycinet, Tasmania aimed at pushing eight teams of heritage media producers towards innovative, cross-media formats and platforms.

I'd like to thank Gary Hayes, Peter Giles, and AFTRS / LAMP for arranging the junket, a highly productive working experience which reinvigorated me professionally. After 14 years in the new media business and several years in the cross-media business, I've become somewhat jaded. The LAMP residential showed me--through the eyes of the participants--that this stuff is still very new and magical. I worked closely with eight local teams, each of whom brought a high degree of enthusiasm, talent, and open-mindedness to the table. The mentors were absolutely top-notch personalities and professionals, and it was a real pleasure to be able to share mindspace with them. I learned a lot from the teams, and the mentors and am grateful to have made so many new friends. Keep your eyes on Australia, folks, there's some raging cross-media talent downunder eager to break out.
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on 4159 entries

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