Recap of Lift seminar @ Imaginove
Yesterday evening, I co-organized a Lift seminar in Lyon, in partnership with Imaginove, a cluster of digital content companies. Located in a an old flour mill, the seminar was about new forms of video game play with a specific focus on Transmedia and Location-Based Games.
To deal with this, I invited two bright contributors: David Calvo who is Creative Director from French video game studio Ankama (as well as a fine writer, comic-book author) and Mathieu Castelli from C4M, who was also the founder of Newt Games, the now defunct company which was a pioneer in location-based games in Japan.
David started with a presentation in which he descried in personal vision of what the "Transmedia" domain consists in. He basically debunked the fuss around this term by showing how this term is now used as a buzzword. According to him, adopting a "transmedia" perspective corresponds to the following approach:
- Building a "world model" with its own background and constraints (because design emerges out of constraints)
- Nurture this world model by elements coming from users, but not in an explicit "user-generated content way" in which you would ask people to contribute: it's rather about having ears on the ground and observing Anakama players in game conventions, looking at forums, comments on websites, the way people name objects and gods in the game, etc....
- Instantiate these insights into characters, book chapters, magazine articles, game mechanics, background changes...
In the second presentation, Mathieu told us the story of Mogi, a mobile service in which which the game play somehow evolves and progresses via a player's location. Developed 7 years ago for the japanese market by a French company, Mogi was one the few commercial products that reach the market. Mathieu highlighted the difficult evolution of such games and recapped some issues they encountered such as: the fairly low number of phone with GPS (at the time and now), the difficulty to test game mechanics (because you need to go on the field), the need to have a critical mass of players, etc. which are very close to what I described in my book about locative media.
Mathieu concluded his presentation by showing Playground, a new initiative that aims at providing LBS designers with a point and click platforms to implement and test their own games. This "playground" system would be tool set for the creation of what they can "Real World games" and grow the community of developers.