"If you have some control over it, and it affects the player's experience, you should either design it, or think very hard about why you're not going to." This also applies to things that are Not Games, too.
Announcing “Hello, Lamp Post”
21 January 2013
News time! I’m very excited to announce that PAN Studio, in collaboration with myself and Gyorgyi Galik, have been awarded the Playable City Award from Watershed. Full details here.
Hello Lamp Post! invites you to tune in to the secret conversations of the city and communicate through lamp posts, bus stops, post boxes and other street furniture. Part game, part story, anyone will be able to play by texting in a unique code found on the city’s familiar street objects.
…except, of course, there’s a little more going on than that (although not how you might expect it).
It’s a hugely exciting opportunity. I’m particularly keen to see how the initial idea we’ve started from will develop and be honed as we design it, and work with the materials we have – which include both SMS and Bristol itself.
And, of course: it’s worth saying how flattering to be selected from such an excellent shortlist, full of peers and friends.
I’ll save writing any more about the design for the future – and, I hope, in a space with PAN and Gyorgy, where we can share our own insights into the project. Muncaster is go, then. Onwards!
21 January 2013
A slow week, that livened up towards the end.
Early on, there were some meetings and phonecalls about Muncaster, which seemed to go well. I should be able to write more about that project soon. Various evening meetings pushed a few little tickles of ideas further forward, so will keep following up on them.
Thursday and Friday were spent working on Firle: a very last-minute project, building small content-managed maps for part of the BBC. Should be able to point at this soon. Though last-minute, and very brief, we managed to get to a really nice point with this: a sane, pleasant CMS; intuitive mapping integration with Cloudmade maps through Leaflet; a codebase that’s the right balance of “done proper” and “done on time”. And I got to get my head around a few new platforms. Despite initially implementing it in Cloudmade Web Maps, I ended up porting it to Leaflet, mainly for the better touchscreen support, but the Leaflet API turned out to be very pleasant. I built the backend out of ActiveAdmin, which turned out to be great. I was worried it’d be too dogmatic and not flexible enough, but in fact, it turned out to be the opposite: appropriately customisable, not in any way dogmatic, and nice and clear to build for.
The coming week holds: more news of Muncaster, more looking for options for things up to the end of February.
What I’m learning right now: managing the pipeline – as Sales on a Beermat calls it – has not proven to be a problem: it’s useful to have one, and I keep it up to date and push through it. The tough parts are keeping enough plates spinning at once should any one of them turn into a project. Brighstone was so close to the door but didn’t quite make it in January (though still might in the future); that threw a lot of my estimates and plans, but also threw my confidence a bit. So I’m wearing what Matt calls one’s learning smile and keeping busy, keeping learning, keeping pushing things through the pipeline.