Realtime Art Manifesto

Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn are new media artists who have embraced realtime 3D game technology as their artistic medium of choice. Realtime 3D is the most remarkable new creative technology since oil on canvas. It is much too important to be wasted on computer games alone. This manifesto is a call-to-arms for creative people (including, but not limited to, video game designers and fine artists) to embrace this new medium and start realizing its enormous potential. As well as a set of guidelines that express our own ideas and ideals about using the technology. (Tale of Tales)

Mobile Experience Lab Projects – Summer 08

Cross-media whiz Jim Monroe has recently been working as a consultant and project coordinator at OCAD’s Mobile Experience Lab, and it looks like he’s been in the groove. The Lab’s upcoming suite of projects designed for deployment on and around Queen Street in Toronto are inspiring and often quite humorous. My favorite is “Your News Box,” a newspaper box that contains a screen displaying a fictional newspaper’s front page, which passers-by can alter and customize using their cell phones.

Link: No Media Kings.


Amagatana is a mystical sword for enjoying the blithe feeling after the rain. When you swing Amagatana, you can hear the sound of swords clashing from the headphone. Amagatana seems to be just a plastic umbrella. You also seem just like a cheerful person when you are playing Amagatana. However, the umbrella exists beautifully in your hand as a “sword”. On your way home, Amagatana offers you the world of make-believe. Then, you will be able to get a feel for heroes of comics, cartoon, and video games. It’s your own pleasure, which nobody can notice. (Yuichiro Katsumoto)

Love: Procedural MMO

The idea of procedurally-generated MMOs has appealed to me for a while. I’ve tried to imagine what such a space might look like and how it might work, but a working prototype is really what’s needed to examine the concept in depth. Eskil Steenberg’s “astonishing and somewhat unsettling” procedural MMO, Love, provides a touchstone for future imaginings:

The game itself, dubbed Love (as in For The Love Of Game Development), is an exploration-based moderately-multiplayer FPS with astounding impressionistic visuals and a procedurally generated universe. Since Steenberg is a one man show, he’s relying on clever maths to build the world for him and then clever gamers to come in and help him figure out where to take it, and what to do with it.

So far he’s already populated it with weird animals and wondrous, gaseous visuals, and he intends to build the world into a kind of communal adventure, where gamers work together to furnish a central village, defend it from enemy attack, and explore the surround world and its many dungeons. Players will be able to do things like deform elements of terrain, allowing them to build tunnel networks or walls to defend their property. Items will also be intended for the good of all as Steenberg creates them and drops them into the world. You won’t be picking up rifles in your adventures, but more likely the plans for the rifle-building machine, that can then be utilised by everyone in your village. Part Zelda, part Tale In The Desert, part adventure shooter, and wholly abstract and beautiful, Love looks the kind of amalgam of art, programming and internet savvy that we’ve desired without even being able to imagine. It has the potential, and Steenberg has the huge intellect, for this to be one of the most precious events in PC gaming. (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)

C3: 10 Key Concepts

Sam Ford has helpfully put together a list of ten key concepts that have been articulated in various forms on the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium‘s blog, complete with links to the relevant posts, articles and off-site resources. Here’s the list:

1.) Immersive Story Worlds. This is a concept that I developed in conjunction with my thesis work on looking at the current state and the future of the soap opera industry. The idea was to outline a category that explains narratives which are serial by nature, which have multiple creators, a sense of long-term continuity, a character backlog, contemporary ties to a deep history, and a sense of permanence. I included portions of my thesis outlining this concept–and how it relates to the Marvel and DC Comic Universes, the world of pro wrestling, and daytime serial dramas–here and here.

2.) Transmedia Storytelling. Transmedia storytelling is meant to indicate texts in which the story develops through multiple media platforms and in which new content in another platform is not simply a redistribution of the same content that has already appeared elsewhere. We have a whole category of posts about the topic here.

3.) Cross-Platform Distribution. As opposed to transmedia storytelling, cross-platform distribution is simply the reappearance of content from one platform in another, such as making broadcast television shows available in VOD, cable shows available on YouTube, etc. We also have a whole category of posts on this topic available here.

4.) Quotability. In relation to online video, I have written several times about the importance of incorporating a way for viewers to be able to clip or quote content from copyrighted material, in trying to understand the features of YouTube which make it most compelling. In other words, content owners who distribute their content in short or long-form without any user ability to pick their own clips are just providing cross-platform distribution, not anything that allows viewer autonomy other than an increasing number of platforms to view content on. See posts here, here, and here.

5.) Grabability. In conjunction with my writing about quotability, the other feature of YouTube that has attracted viewers to the spread of copyrighted material has to do with the functionality of the site that allows viewers to take the video and embed it in their blogs or other places. In other words, content can only be spreadable if it is allowed to be. Again, this is not meant as a value judgment, as broadcasting content on new media channels certainly has its value, but it does not involve that component of interactivity that has empowered the YouTube community. For more, look here, here, and here.

6.) Pop Cosmopolitanism. Henry Jenkins’ concept of pop cosmopolitanism, in short, looks at how people are experiencing other parts of the world through popular culture and also how they are sharing and connecting to their sense of home through pop culture as well. We have several posts about this concept from the site. For more, look here.

7.) Fans of Fans. This concept, as articulated here, focuses not on companies which like their fan community but rather means fandom surrounding particular fans, visible members of the fan community. When I wrote on this concept, I focused particularly on names who become well-known in discussion boards and develop their own fan followings, fans at live sporting events or pro wrestling shows who become famous in their own right for their performances, and fan fiction writers or fan television reviewers who gain their own followings.

8.) The Branding Barrel. This concept, which I wrote about last August, focuses on the metaphor for “scraping the bottom of the barrel,” looking at what happens to brands at the end of their life. I focus on yard sales, but another great piece of academic work on this topic is Karen Tranberg Hansen’s Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia.

9.) Fan Proselytizing. I did not originate this phrase, but I have used it often in my research for C3 in the past year, as a way to look at viral marketing or fans as grassroots intermediaries. In short, fans “spread the word” about a brand quite actively, and this involves both trying to recruit new fans and “preaching to the choir,” bolstering the interest of less active fans. For more from my blog posts on the concept, look here, here, and here.

10.) Transgenerational Storytelling. In my writing about soap operas in particular, I have focused on how the target demographics of the modern television world have interfered with texts which are best served by drawing a transgenerational fan base. In particular, soap operas are best at transgenerational storytelling, utilizing characters and encouraging viewership from all age groups. For more, look here, here, here, and here. (C3 Blog)