Naval War: Arctic Circle

I’ve been looking forward to this game being released for a long time. And I therefore have to give a little personal rant before talking about the game:

I’m a huge fan of Turbo Tape Games. They’ve done so much excellent work in bringing the computer games industry into the spotlight in Norway and doing an excellent job in preaching the value of the industry. These guys have opened so many doors and broken down so many barriers for the future of game development in Norway – I hope that we can do it justice. I remember meeting Fredrik Sundt Breien (Managing Director) at a First Tuesday event about games (OMG! 7 years ago!). He has the charisma and enthusiasm to charm any audience into believing that games are worth investing in – which he’s done! And continues to do so as he’s speaking at (Bergen’s new innovators and The Nordic Media Festival). In many ways I guess I’m kinda jealous, cause I’d like to do the exact same thing some day.

I met the technical director, Jan Haugland, at the Industrial Gaming conference, which was also one of my first presentations of Machinima hungover – thankfully come a long way since then! We had an indept conversation about game mechanics and the genious of Tetris, the details elude me, but I remember the happy feeling of meeting a good friend that day.

As for the rest of the gang – we still haven’t reached the threshold where hugs are a natural greeting. 

So when Turbo Tape Games was established, it was only natural for me to invite myself and the cHixOrs (pre Spillpikene) to visit the headquarters at Pixel Park. My what a long way they’ve come! I remember spending a good hour in their cramped office and still having absolutely no clue what Naval War was about. All I saw was a lot of code I did not understand and a lot of indication that this game was going to be just a tad too complicated for my taste.

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But as you may have understood from the long personal rant and reminiscing – I adore them and on launch day of Naval War: Arctic Circle – I wanted to stop by and wish them good luck. I incidently had a meeting next door and thought I’d stop by with the gift of coffee and wish them good luck. They were surprisingly calm and relaxed and I felt like such a fan girl being so enthused and excited for them.

And then … I was allowed to try the game and I was scared.

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Reaching the halfway point

If you follow this blog by RSS, I may have annoyed you this last week. First let me say a huge thank you for still following me! The reason that my blogg has been Picture of "geek for life" sign on burning candleclogging your feeds is because I’m actually doing a little (!) spring clean. Years ago I transferred this blog from blogspot to WordPress and in the process lost all my tags and categories so my older posts are hard to find. At the time I didn’t think it mattered but my frustration has slowly built up with time and now that I find myself at a crossroad – desperate to impress cool people – I want to make my enthusiasm and interests more accessible.

It’s almost been fun! I’ve forgotten almost everything that I wrote so sometimes I get a little burst of pride saying “Oooh! Was I already writing about this stuff in 2006? How cool am I?!”. Other times I just cringe and may just “forget” to tag and categorise the post (still available, though).

March 2006 is coming up and I’m dead tired of all this tidying up! And I feel rather disheartened that I had been blogging for one solid year in March 2006 and that first year consists of half of all the pages I have on this blog! But I’ll get there in the end and by golly people will be impressed! And I’m certain that the offers will come rolling in after that! I’m freelance now and I desperately want to FINALLY get into the games industry!

 

The Future

So I’m sitting at my desk at university going through my thesis because I’m finally going to defend it in 2 weeks! I’m also extremely honoured and excited because I’ve been asked to be a guest lecturer for HUIN 206 & 307: Critical Approaches to Technology and Society 1&2. I’m kinda caught in the middle between scared to death with what on earth I can say of any relevance and the excited jumping up and down feeling of “YES!!!! I’ve been wanting to present this stuff for AGES!!!”. It will be fun to see which feeling wins the scale of balance when I walk in there. Either way it is a perfect opportunity for me to practice my defense by working on my presentation.

Reading through the thesis isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. It was good to take a break and read it more calmly now – I’m not 100 % pleased with it – in fact – far from it – but I’m more calm about seeing what I’ve done wrong and what needs a little bit more analysis and explaining. It’s kinda fun, you know!!!

Also, I’ve come in to university today to start working on an outline for a research fellow position that’s opened up at the department. I’m not sure I stand a chance – but I’ll hate myself if I don’t try. Department politics seems to be central on my mind. What would that professor like me to write about, what would that one – and how do I present this to convince them that they really want someone researching this stuff here – they just didn’t know it before? I think I’d love to move on to Machinima. But that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. Thought I’d read a few articles and see which angle I want to focus on. The department is really focused on democracy and media – so I’m wondering if I can lure them in somehow with ‘voices of the people’ or something. Sigh. I’ll think of something. It’s running around in my head full speed – but if you have any suggestions you’re welcome to throw them this way.

In the mean time I’ve been to a few interviews for jobs and my financial situation is making me desperate! Job hunting would be fun if I didn’t have to worry about my bills at the same time! I’ve really enjoyed all the interviews – but there’s really only been one who’s job was exciting and inspirational – and it’s in Oslo – waiting to hear from them tomorrow or Friday. It was just so extremely lovely being at an interview where I could actually talk ‘shop’ and not ‘fake’ being excited. I really genuinely was. It’s easy to put my life on pause and hold my breath till I know if the job’s mine or not – but I can’t.

I knew this would be a weird time in my life. It’s so exciting to think of the possibilities of the future – but at the same time it’s hard not to have moments of depression and self doubt. I need to feel I’m going somewhere though! So yesterday I started jogging – hehe! Didn’t get very far – but I’m hoping this will turn out to be a daily thing and notice my body getting fitter and fitter. I’ve got way too much ‘thesis’ plus ‘holiday’ fat to get rid of!!! It’s my own psychological treatment!

So we’ll see just what happens! Maybe I’ll end up with a job at my local grocery store – they’re always so friendly! Or maybe I get to work on a PhD? Or maybe I’ll move to Oslo for a great job? Or maybe I’ll move to Singapore? Or maybe I’ll have to move on to the street and be on welfare for the rest of my life?! It’s all so confusing!!! Hehe!

What I’ve learned – Part 1

I’m wrapping up my typology of TSO players and intellectual property rights chapters this weekend and I’m getting kind of sentimental and sad about ending a chapter in my life also – and all my…ehm…work being visible on paper. I could have easily finished this sucker a year ago, but then I would have missed out on a few thoughts and new insights. But I suppose that also has contributed to my low self esteem and the constant second guessing of my thoughts, memories, sentences, conclusions, understandings, sanity and intelligence. So I’m not recomending the extra year, far from it, but I’m just saying that I’m glad I took it. I’ve had such a great time, learning so incredibly much – both relevant and irrelevant.

One thing that I absolutely adore and despise about Media Studies is that it encompasses so incredibly much! Back in my bachelor days I never quite got into the spirit of ‘reading’ film – I mean, sure! I loved reaching for hidden meanings and mis-en-scene and – well, to be honest I’m getting bored just writing about it now, so maybe ‘love’ is too strong a word here. Two semesters of film classes was quite enough for me. Anyways…I was lucky and privileged to have Tiziana Terranova introduce me to…ehm…I think we called it Cyberculture, back then (1997-2000) – which blew my mind and woke my desire to learn more! I remember becoming a huge Baudrillard and Foucault fan and discussing hyperreality with passion at the local pub. Ooooh! I’m about to give you my life story here aren’t I? I suppose my point is that I come from a Media Studies background, a part of the Cultural Studies movement (?). On paper I can supposedly ‘read’ film, pictures, commercials and understand media politics (hahahahaha!) and well at least discuss the issues of identity in media and semiotics.

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Historical Simulations and AI

So…Peter S. Jenkins is alive and well…it seems…and challenging my thoughts again. Now…I’ve only skimmed through this, and I honestly can’t decide if he’s gone mad or if he’s one of the genius future thinkers of our time!

I’m gonna have to have another go at it…but let me present you with: “Historical Simulations – Motivational, Ethical and Legal Issues”.

After skimming through it – I feel like I’m still not sure what he means with historical simulations and AIs! I mean…he starts off pretty boldly:

“The notion that the perceived world is an illusion or a simulation has arisen for centuries in the works of philosophers, mathematicians, and social scientists. A recent variant on this theme, posited by Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford, is that it is possible that we are forms of artificial intelligence in an ancestor, (i.e. historical) simulation created by a future society.”

And then he gets me back to nodding – because he mentions McLuhan’s ‘rearview mirror effect’ and some of Castronova’s ideas of using ‘synthetic worlds’ but I suppose I’m just nodding from recognition – because my hair just rises up when he starts using words like apocalypse!

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Ahhh…destiny!

I’ve never ever regretted my decision to start back at university and write about virtual gaming worlds. I mean…I started my Masters degree because I wanted to study and research virtual worlds – the actual degree is just a perk! Hmmm…does that make me a nerd? Never thought it would take me this long, however!! So much information to process!! I have, however, regretted many many many times on The Sims Online! But in hindsight, I feel it’s good to have knowledge and insight on what doesn’t work! But…you know I’m babling! Oh hell! It’s my blog!

Anyways…it’s been one of the few choices in my life that’s made me truely happy! One thing that’s always annoyed me, however, is that I could never seem to find the courage and strength to write papers for conferences so I could participate! So many fabulous debates! I’ve been saying for the past year that if I won the lottery I would just travel around going to all these conferences and meeting all these super brilliant minds!!

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"Making Seeds Not Forests"

I’ve been a fan of The Long Now Foundation ever since I was introduced to it! For those who don’t know:

“The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996* to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide counterpoint to today’s “faster/cheaper” mind set and promote “slower/better” thinking. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.”

They also host a series of seminars which are now available through podcast (yay!). Today I finally got around to listening to the Brian Eno and Will Wright seminar. What an inspirational force!! The combination of Brian Eno’s generative music (he mentions Wind Chimes as an example!!) and Will Wright’s Spore was just enlightening, amusing and extremely well…cozy, actually! At the end I started daydreaming about having them both around for dinner to discuss some more!
They’re attitude about their creations is pretty much summed up with Brian Eno’s “We make the seeds not the forest” comment. They were both really charming about their fascination of what they could learn from their fans. Eno has a great story about the re-release of “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” and how the record company came up with the unoriginal idea of adding some remixes. Apparently, David Byrne came up with the idea to instead make some content available for fans to remix themselves, which proved to be a big success! Yay! Ofcourse it would have been much better to have a visual handy when Will Wright was talking about Spore, but his words and mind are intoxicating nonetheless! Interesting to hear that he actually makes’real life’ models of his worlds! I’ve always felt really bad about knocking The Sims Online, because I truely am a Will Wright fan! But where The Sims gave the ‘player’ more creative freedom, The Sims Online did not. And I’m sure that has more to do with something he talks about here – simplistic and few rules. The Sims Online has way too many rules that just leave too little freedom for ‘fun’ – whereas The Sims, does not.
There was just so much interesting going on at this seminar – and I was busy chopping up lunch for the office while listening through it – so I couldn’t take any notes. Hearing Eno and Wright’s discussion on the verb ‘play’ was a true adrenaline booster! I only wish they could’ve gone on to discuss some more! There’s loads more worth mentioning like the creation of stories and narratives – and painting!!!
Personally I’m filled with positive adrenaline juices that have eluded me for some time now. Instead of treading myself more deeply into the dark depressive cold swamp and focusing all my energy in ALL the wrong places I’m starting to glimpse a path to dry land! Yay!!!

PS
Fredrik!!! I think you’d really enjoy John Rendon’s ‘Long-term Policy to Make the War on Terror Short’ – just listened to it and I was moved! Think you’d enjoy it!

Help!!!

Urgh! I’m stuck!! What’s the name of that little keychain electronic pet thing that we carried around in the nineties?!!! The name is completely eluding me! Help!
The oracles on my messenger are offline (idiots with a real life) and I’m desperately trying to finish off a thought before I loose it!!! Argh! The frustrations of not being an encyclopedia!

Brain vacation

So, my blogging isn’t what it used to be, I think my brain’s gone on a little vacation without me (easily distracted by such events as Sting being in town and well…work). So I STILL haven’t gotten around to concluding my thoughts on narratology vs ludology!!!! It’s at the tip of my tongue (or fingertips) and I’m hoping that I’ll get most of it done at uni today after work! I am soooooooo looking forward to concluding my thoughts on the subject, which I’m sure will never ever ever be completely substantial and confident – but I need to draw the line somewhere at sometime, right?!!! But first lots of interesting tidbits to blog about – so excuse the rushed thoughts and cut’n’paste mentality! A lot I need to get off my chest and I feel like I’m about to explode!