The Story part 3

I’m determined to get my thoughts from The Story documented somehow, although a week has passed, I shall continue on.

7) I was late coming back after lunch and missed the introduction of Paul Bennun & Nick Ryan. This is a session I would have loved to be more prepared for. I didn’t know who they were and wish I’d looked them up and played their games before attending, because their story was astounding!

Their story was sound. Together they have created a game based entirely on sound called Papa Sangre (downloading now).

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Do you or have you played MUDs?

Maren and I are giving a presentation on computer games for librarians next week “Bibliotekdagene i Bergen”.

LambdaMOO mapWe’re both super honored to be asked – as we both consider librarians to be the coolest professionals around. We worked on our outline last weekend and I’m very excited. I think we’ve come up with a presentation recipe that’s going to be a big success. I’m worried that we’re cramming too much in, but I have faith that our structure will allow for it. So we’ll be talking a little about the history of computer games from hacker culture to consumer culture. We both felt it was important for us to focus a bit on computer game genre and all that it entails. And the icing will be a bit of fan culture. I’ll translate and share here later.

But for now I’m in need of some help. I want to at least briefly touch on the subject of MUDs to MMORPGs – text based worlds to graphical worlds. And I want some good text avatars. I thought I had several but after tearing my bookshelf apart (yes – I have no order) I can only find one, which is that of Mr. Bungle in LambdaMOO: ” a fat, oleaginous, Bisquick-faced clown dressed in cum – stained harlequin garb and girdled with a mistletoe-and-hemlock belt whose buckle bore the quaint inscription “KISS ME UNDER THIS, BITCH”. And I’m thinking …. nawww … there must be something a little nicer. I want colorful definitely, but not this grim and dirty. So I’m asking – do you know of any text avatars I can use? Do you have a favorite? I would also love some good room descriptions and any fond memories you have!

And while we’re on the subject. Do you know of any MUDs/MOOs still alive? I ask because I have a sneaky feeling that text based games are on their way back. Just looking at Causal Gameplay Design Competition.

My Machinima presentation

I was honored to be asked to give a little presentation on Machinima at Scott Rettberg’s “The Network as a Space and Medium for Collaborative Interdisciplinary Art Practice”. I had a great time and met some truly fantastic and inspirational people! I was squeezed in to the topic of Anthropophagy, which I’m still trying to figure out – but will write more about in another blogpost. My initial thought is Machinima is anthropophagic (not sure I can say that – but what the hell – I’ll give it a go) of game narrative – which opens up a whole box of interest worms. But … it’s not a cannibalistic media in itself. But…yeah… we’ll leave room for that somewhere else.

My presentation is available on Google Docs but I’ll cut and paste it here – as the notes are more important than the actual slides (although you can find them by opening the speaker notes).

GAMEPLAYING FOR THE ARTS

When gaming avatars perform for the camera, not for the game

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Machinima Night III program part 1

Phew – took some time, ey?

So the whole point with organising these Machinima evenings is to create a space for people to relax, share a beer and be introduced to what’s going on in the world of Machinima. There’s people who know what we’re on about and there’s people who are just fascinated by the medium and of course, those who are interested in New Media. I try to give an overview of what machinima is, but the more I learn about it – the more I realise that I’m just barely scratching the surface. So this year I decided to toss out objectivity and completely focus on what I wanted to focus on. I completely choked up, though. Suddenly I realised I had a microphone in my hand and people were listening to what I had to say – I haven’t talked publicly in a long long time! Definitely needed the practice. Luckily I’ve been giving a few lectures and presentations with work lately – so I’m starting to get it down again. So anyways – I’m going to squeeze in what I meant to say inbetween talking about the program of the evening. If you don’t recognise some of it – this is why.
So nuff said!
Machinima stands for machine + cinema + animation. If you think it doesn’t add up with the spelling, blame Hugh Hancock who created http://www.machinima.com. There’s also a story about a pub, a few beers and a cocktail napkin. But in essence it’s machinima stands for machine + cinema + animation. It was the intention to focus the evening on the “machine”-part. What fascinates me with machinima is how the artists are communicating with a machine or an artificial intelligence to create their own narrative or story. The machine I’m talking about is the computer game where the film is made. If a machinima film is made in World of Warcraft, the artist will have to communicate with the game and understand the game mechanics in order to tell their story.

Machinima Night III

I’ve promised to do a write-up of MachinimaNight III to all who attended – share the links to the films and artists. I’m going to do this back to front and start off at the last part. Mostly this is for Scott and Jill who had to leave early. I appreciate your interest and support! Thanks!

So in the course of the night I had introduced the audience to different genres and types of machinima, mostly concentrating on form and not about the creative communities within machinima making communities.
This is the ingredient of machinima that fascinates me the most and there’s one group that I’ve been paying attention to and just downright adore. So first – let me introduce you to Olibith.

Roo Reynolds – a must!


I’ve just watched Roo Reynold’s closing keynote at the ReLIVE08 (Researching Learning in Virtual Environments) conference and I’m just so smitten!

Firstly – you just have to be impressed that he came with nothing and worked through the entire conference by taking notes so he could sum up the whole conference as a closing keynote. That’s ballsy! What a gift for a conference!

Roo Reynolds is in charge of social media at the BBC (I think that’s a good way to sum it up), but he himself says: “I look after social media for BBC Vision, which is the TV bit (e.g. there are people with similar roles to mine in news, radio and the central ‘future media & technology’ teams, and I work closely with them)”. If you’re working with social media in any shape or form you have to follow Roo Reynold’s blog. He’s smart, reflective and a whole lot of fun!

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New Machinima Night at Landmark

Yup! We’ll be going at it again. I was so pleased with the turn-out last year and I hope it will be just as succesful this year!

On the 13th of November, Tracy Harwood, the manager of the European Machinima Festival 2007 will be visiting us here in Bergen to talk about machinima. There’s still some organising left. But she definitely is coming and we’re really pleased about that! It will be great to have an expert to listen to!

There will of course be viewings of films. If anyone has anything new they want to show – please let me know!

Anyways…November 13th! We look forward to seeing you there!

I’ve been so back and forth about how to organise this event that I’ve completely lost track! Time to bunker down, I think. I was fiddling with the idea of creating a work shop type event – but I think I’ve let that idea go into the “when I have the energy to be overly ambitious” file.

I leave you now with some documentary footage of the machinamite! Enjoy!

Cory Ondrejka’s fabulous slideshow

Cory Ondrejka explains the complexities of Virtual Worlds so wonderfully in this slideshow. It’s selfexplanatory – simple – informative – and extremely tidy.This is the third slideshare I’ve seen today – and they’re all great. I sometimes wonder if I have it in me to focus entirely on someone speaking without a beautiful slideshow. Can I learn without visual stimulation anymore?

Media Coverage


Marianne Westerlund wrote a great piece for Bergens Tidende, the Thursday paper – unfortunately I can’t find it anywhere online – which is a real bummer really. I asked most of the people who had showed up if they’d read it, but most shook their head and told me they never read the paper version anymore. Well – there’s some food for thought! But she wrote a great article where she had interviewed quite a few machinima artists about their art, which was just really really interesting. There’s also an interview with me – hehe – it was weird seeing the words “Says Linn Søvig while shaking her head”. But really cool as well – she’s a great journalist and I hope to read much much more of her stuff in the future!

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