Rise and shine campers! Oh boy, were we anxious this morning. George, Julynn, Lea, and I hopped on our bikes and pedaled over to the Picnic grounds. We met up with Casper, Gabriel, and Ronald to set up.
Lea and I ran around the area to put up the markers, while George and Julynn finalized their presentation, and the rest of the team set up the tent and AV stuff. We had some great promotional items! 7scenes had made some banners and Oren had put together a promo video that we had rolling on a flatscreen outside the tent, along with a slideshow Lea made the night before.
The oracle room came out looking amazing! For whatever reason, there was a glowing rabbit that was left in our tent, and we used it as a crystal ball. (Side note for any matrix fans: how weird is it that a white rabbit appeared in the oracle room?? oooweeeeoooo!)
We had some issues with the markers. Some of them had fallen off, some were far too difficult to find, and some were in a location that roaming men/women may not be so comfortable wandering into alone with their phone outstretched whilst taking notes (a daycare playground, whooops!) Gabriel and I ran around re-adhering things and changing locations.
While we were attending to that, the rest of the team were working with issues in getting the application installed and users being able to log-in easily. We also had members scattered through the grounds publicizing the game. Unfortunately for our first player, a lot of these issues were figured out through him. He was quite the trooper though! He was patient as we resolved the problems as they came up, and played the game to its entirety.
A really cool feature of 7scenes is that you can track the players. When players were returning to the tent, you could see their dot coming closer and closer… and everyone was in a panic when our first player returned. We opted to merge our oracle ideas. The oracle was still chained up, and still presented the words and the poem, but we took out the time limit. We allowed players to ask any questions they wanted, and we also explained our thinking behind the concept. We took pictures of their final sentences and taped their feedback for us/the game.
Overall we had about 25 people play the game, with only 5 completing it. A big reason that we couldn’t reach a larger number of people were iphones. As of right now, the application is only available on the iphone and we guesstimated that about 60% of the people that we talked to that wanted to play the game didn’t have one.
People were also having issues with the GPS functionality of the game. Free wifi was available on site, but EVERYONE was using it. In some cases, even when users were in the correct location of the marker, the application told them they were in the wrong place. This probably explains why we didn’t have as many people finish the game as we would have liked. Grrrr.
We weren’t able to attend any lectures, but we did meet many interesting people from various organizations. A few people from Layar (another GPS mobile application) were really excited to learn more about 7scenes and vice versa. Lorentz is a famed media blogger in Amsterdam and he spent a lot of time talking to each of us and truly understanding the concept; the creation, transformation, and final execution. He said he would be blogging about us soon, so we’ll be on the lookout for that!
Towards the end of the event, we took turns checking out some of the other tents in our area. One of our favorites has to be the Microsoft setup. They were advertising Kinect for Xbox. Lea put it best as “its like Wii, but better!” Everything is motion sensored so you aren’t limited to using a console to direct the game. We had waaaaaay too much fun with it, and it turned out to be quite a workout. They also had these awesome gameboard setups at the tables. We only messed around with checkers, but the entire application is touch screen within the table. You pick and choose your game, and play without the fuss of game pieces.
Exhausted, but happy, we cleaned up around 5:30pm. It’s so insane to think how much the game changed from its original conception. When the NY students met the Amsterdam students (just 2.5 days ago), we thought everything was mostly set. The Ronalds definitely pushed us to bring more depth to the application so it was more than just a locative game. As Ronald put it, “It’s the question that drives us.” And our question (“What makes a modern man or woman?”) nearly drove us to insanity. The players that completed our game seemed to really like our concept. They said they enjoyed the photo-hunt experience, but also engaged in conversation much more than we anticipated.
Our mission was to promote a game that created a fun interaction between their mobile application and physical surrounding, as well as having the player engage in a meaningful discussion with themselves (and others) about the future of new media and technology. There are definitely things that we would have done differently (“If only we had 6 more hours!” – George), but we were satisfied with the end result.
We sat around with our fellow teammates and our 7scenes/Waag Society hosts and shared our thoughts and experiences over some much needed drinks.
We cannot believe how unbelievably lucky we were to be a part of this team. This was our first experience working with locative games and it has definitely opened our eyes to the world of human interaction & game design.
Of course this experience would have been nothing without the people involved. Our Dutch cohorts and group organizers were so kind, patient, incredibly intelligent, and a dream to work with. A huge thanks to them and to Colleen for giving us this opportunity.
Thank you all so much for an amazing experience!!