DIY User feedback kit for the Indie games licensing for libraries project

Aussi en français: http://www.culturelibre.ca/tag/knight/
Follow the evolution of this project here: http://outfind.ca/tag/knight/

Last year’s Arcade 11 brought an interesting mix of librarians, indie games developers as well as games scholars. Through conversations and exchanges of views, it quickly emerged that libraries required alternative models to make independent games available through their digital collections.

Purchasing born-digital copyrighted materials is a strong and emerging trend in libraries worldwide, but “general public” methods of dissemination do not offer the licensing and technological terms libraries require (Libraries cannot acquire born-digital materials from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon as it contradicts the licensing terms of these systems).

In that sense, the TAG team have set out to devise various prototyping models for the licensing and circulation of independent video games at libraries. The Knight Foundation (thank you so much!!!) has funded the creation of a video game console, which the prototype will be devised using over-the-counter inexpensive micro-computer components (with assistance from District 3). We will tap into the pool of graduate studens to build a seed collection of games for libraries as well as articulate some key knowledge points all librarians should know about digital games. Finally, we expect to test whether libraries are open to the idea of having these consoles circulate to users of their library system.

One of our team members thought of getting on-the-fly feedback from parents & kids visiting Arcade 11, our TAG (games) research center open house today & tomorrow… This week is reading week in the Province of Québec, and most k-12 kids are on vacation, so parents scramble to find cool activities to do with their kids. This is the perfect opportunity to great feedback from people visiting our space at Concordia Univerisity in Montréal!

Here is the kit I scrambled together by raiding the supply cabinet…
DIY user feedback kit
Also a pic of our concept prototype (version 0.1 or pre-pre-pre alpha) …
(Indie games licensing for libraries project)
Prototype o.1 or version pre-pre-pre alpha
… some folks playing at Concordia U’s Arcade 11
Folks playing a great game at Arcade 11 at Concordia University

Aussi en français: http://www.culturelibre.ca/tag/knight/
Follow the evolution of this project here: http://outfind.ca/tag/knight/

Indie Games Licensing: first progress report

Aussi en français: http://www.culturelibre.ca/tag/knight/
Follow the evolution of this project here: http://outfind.ca/tag/knight/

I am very pleased to announce that our project, called Indie Games Licensing, was awarded a Prototype Grant as per the most recent Knight News Challenge. I am absolutely thrilled and thankful towards the Knight Foundation and all my partners for this incredible opportunity to “leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities.”

Without further ado, here is a short video presenting the initial prototype we will be delivering at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco:

Syllabus Journal on games

The latest issue of the peer-reviewed Syllabus Journal just came out, with a special issue on teaching with videogames:

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new special issue of Syllabus Journal (4.1) on “Teaching with and about Video Games.” Syllabus Journal is a peer reviewed venue through which academics can publish syllabi, toolbox assignments (shorter, modular assignments that can be imported into any course), and articles on teaching.

The “Teaching with and about Video Games” offers 15 articles from international authors in three categories, and can be found here: http://syllabusjournal.org/

Table of Contents
Introduction by Jennifer deWinter and Carly A. Kocurek

Teaching about Games are syllabi for courses that teach game studies, game design, serious game design, and novel interface design (think new controllers), and include:

* Video Game Studies by Judd Ethan Ruggill
* How to Play Games of Truth: An Introduction to Video Game Studies by Bryan Geoffrey Behrenshausen
* Novel Interfaces for Interactive Environments by Robert W. Lindeman
* Educational and Serious Game Design: Case Study in Collaboration by Jon A. Preston
* Introduction to Game Design by Nia Wearn

Teaching with Games are syllabi that teach disciplinary content in multiple fields using games as a text, such as creative writing, history, rhetoric, composition, and literature. These include:

* Representing the Past: Video Games Challenge to the Historical Narrative by Stephen Ortega
* Learning Through Making: Notes on Teaching Interactive Narrative by Anastasia Salter
* Video Games as a New Form of Interactive Literature by Anne Winchell
* Writing in and around Games by Wendi Sierra
* Hints, Advice, and Maybe Cheat Codes: An English Topics Course About Computer Games by Kevin Moberly

And finally, we have collected together five toolbox entries that act as short modules (1-day to 2-week assignments) to be incorporated into classes and workshops.

* Teaching Network Game Programming with the Dragonfly Game Engine by Mark Claypool
* Root of Play: Game Design for Digital Humanists by Andy Keenan and Matt Bouchard
* Alternative Reality Games to Teach Game-Based Storytelling by Dean O’Donnell and Jennifer deWinter
* “Continue West and Ascend the Stairs”: Game Walkthroughs in Professional and Technical Communication by Stephanie Vie
* Annotated Bibliography for Game Studies: Modeling Scholarly Research in a Popular Culture Field by Cathlena Martin

This collection, we believe, represents the depth and breadth of video games in academic discourse. Not only do they add to the literature and pedagogical approaches in game studies, but these contributions highlight the interdisciplinary nature of game studies in history, computer science, literature, social science, and so forth.

Very best,

Jennifer and Carly

Trends in technology in 2015

Two recent reports highlights some of the technological trends to expect in 2015. First off, Deloitte offers its Canaidan Technology, Media and Telecommunications predictions for the year. The press release offers a summary of the 10 trends, here they are:

10 TMT Predictions most relevant in Canada (All dollar amounts are USD):

1. In-store mobile payments will (finally) gain momentum

2. For the first time, the smartphone upgrade market will exceed one billion.

3. Print is not dead, at least for print books

4. The ‘generation that won’t spend’ is spending on TMT – Millennials who are 18-34 years old in Canada will spend an average of $750 for content, both traditional and digital.

5. Click and collect booms: a boon for the consumer, a challenge for retailers.

6. The connectivity chasm deepens as gigabit Internet adoption rockets

7. The end of the consumerization of IT?

8. The Internet of things really is things, not people – In 2015, over 60 percent of the one billion global wireless IoT devices will be bought, paid for and used by enterprises – despite media focus on consumers controlling their thermostats, lights, and appliances (ranging from washing machines to tea kettles). The IoT-specific hardware will be worth $10 billion, but the services enabled by the devices will be worth about $70 billion.

9. 3D printing is a revolution: Just not the revolution you think

10. Short form video: a future, but not the future, of television

Also of interest, the Keytrends report from the Canada Media Fund, a funding agency for television production. Here are the top 6 trends:

There are fewer entry points for a growing number of overwhelmed users;

The blending of TV and online consumption continues;

Game watching and e-sports hold a growing place in the entertainment industry;

YouTube is becoming more professional, with some user-generated content achieving pro standards;

There are fewer and fewer intermediaries in revenue generation, and fan labour is becoming a major promotion source;

Worldwide, a few giants hold a growing share of the media properties and competition is intensifying.

Hat tip to the good work of Catherine Mathis from Radio Canada’s excellent Triplex blog.