Wohoo! It is here! The International Game Developers Association Alternate Reality Game Special Interest Group Whitepaper ( * whew * ) has been released! Here is Adam Martin’s announcement from the ARG SIG listserv:

After eight months of hard work and hundreds of revisions I’m delighted to announce that the 2006 ARG SIG Whitepaper is now available for download from the ARG SIG website ().

A huge thank-you to all the poeple who’ve helped make this happen. I’m very proud of the final paper, and even more so for the fact that everyone’s time and expertise was freely given. This is a great achievement, and since we came up with the idea at the 2006 GDC Group Gathering our volunteers have: had a new baby, been hospitalized, and created and edited literally hundreds of different revisions. It’s a tremendous achievement.

There’s a contributors list at the start of the paper, but once again here’s the people you should thank:

- Bryan Alexander, Director of research, National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE)
- Nova Barlow, Research Manager, Themis Group / Playerbase Solutions
- Tom Chatfield, Editorial Assistant, Prospect Magazine
- Christy Dena, Cross-Media Entertainment Researcher, School of Letters, Arts and Media; University of Sydney
- Andrea Phillips, ARG Writer, Mind Candy
- Brooke Thompson, Cross Media Entertainment Consultant

Here it is: http://igda.org/arg/whitepaper.html


[Late Note: I’ve just been flicking through the whitepaper and there are some errors in there that somehow made it to the final draft. That happens. But one of note is that ‘Cross Media Entertainment’ is credited with creating Jamie Kane. BBCi did Jamie Kane.]

One Response to “IGDA ARG SIG Whitepaper Released!!”

  1. Daphne Dijkerman Says:

    Hi Christy!

    I’ve downloaded the whitepaper to read it in the train. I’m curious!

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Yep, they are all the topics I’ll be presenting on over the next few weeks in three states across Australia. But what is even more interesting, are the co-presenters. Check out this yummy bunch of seminars:

  • Film Australia’s “Evan Jones Masterclass: Extending Doco in the Time of Digital”

Monday 20th November, 1.30-4.30pm, Film Australia’s Roxy Theatre, Sydney
Tuesday 21st November, 1.30-4.30pm, AFTRS Melbourne, Docklands Theatrette, Digital Harbour, Melbourne
Free Masterclass with the Creative Director of Xenophile Media, creator of amazing ERGs (’ARGs‘) such as ReGenesis I & II and beautiful doco projects like Beethoven’s Hair and Quebec 1749). SEE INVITE [pdf]

  • AFTRS’ “Extended Entertainment Experiences”

Friday 24th November, 10-4.30pm, Chauvel Theatre, Paddington
A day discussing real world cross-media projects: ‘alternate reality games’, experiential marketing and interactive drama. Evan Jones of Xenophile Media and Chris Avellone of Obsidian Entertainment will the international guests. The Marketing Director of Yahoo!7, Cricket Wardein, and Integrated Marketing Director of Yahoo!7, Kristin Carlos, will be speaking about the Australian leg of the international ARG of the Lost TV series The Lost Experience and interactive drama PSTrixi. Glen Condie of Maverick Marketing and Communications will talk about the experiential campaigns created by his agency and Deb Polson of QUT will share techniques she uses in Scoot. Excellent line-up!! Oh, I’ll be giving a presentation about the evolution of these forms of entertainment and MCing the day. Some (old) info and registration details ONLINE

  • Australian Literature Board’s “Story of the Future”

Monday 27th November, 9am-4.30pm, Innovation Centre, AFTRS, Docklands, Melbourne
Wednesday 29th November, 9am-4.30pm, Room B1.11, Building 5, Quay St, University of Technology, Sydney
Chris Avellone of Obsidian Entertainment will talk about RPG design, Simon Hopkinson the President of the Australian Writers’ Guild, Marissa Cooke, the writer for Fat Cow Motel, Jim Shobos of multi-platform drama Forget the Rules fame, Jackie Turnure and I will also be presenting. I’ll be talking about cross-media approaches to writing, distribution and marketing; interviewing Chris Avellone and MCing the day. Registration Form and more details ONLINE.

The following four events I’m running for the Australian Film, Television and Radio School; Australian Writers’ Guild and Dept of Industry & Resources:

  • Serious Games Workshop

Thurs Nov 30th, 6.30-9pm
WestOne Theatrette, Leederville, Perth

  • Everything You Wanted to Know about Blogging

Fri Dec 1st, 6.30-8pm
Australian Writer’s Guild, Perth

  • Alternate Reality Game Design Workshop

Sat Dec 2, 9.30am-1pm
Innovation Centre, Bentley, Perth

  • Cross-Media Entertainment Design Workshop

Sat Dec 2, 2pm-5.30pm
Innovation Centre, Bentley, Perth
Details about these workshops in this [pdf]

  • ‘A Case-Study of miniARGs: Design Issues for Creating Alternate Reality Games for Professional Training and Education’ Paper

This is a paper I’m presenting at the Joint CyberGames & Interactive Entertainment 2006 Conference
Weds 6th Dec, 10am, Perth

  • Alternate Reality Games and Cross-Media Entertainment: Low-tech, high-impact immersive experiences Workshop

A workshop I’m running at CyberGames & IE.
Weds 6th Dec, 1.30-3.30pm, Perth
Full details ONLINE

So, I hope to see you at one of these events. Or, if you email me during this time and I don’t respond, this is why. Or, if I babble incessantly at you, you know why.

9 Responses to “ARGs, RPGs, Interactive Drama, Cross-Media, Serious Games, Film, Doco, Literature, Blogs and Marketing”

  1. Steve Springall a.k.a Cybster DJ Says:

    You’d better get some Energiser batteries. Your going to need them I think.

    With all this talk of Cross-Media Entertainment… do you ever get to relax and enjoy it? :)

  2. christy Says:

    Hey Steve! Re: all this talk. Yeah, I’ve been thinking that the thing I really crave right now is to do more of the creation side of things, with people who already know alot about these areas. I’m working with some people who are like that and it is a delight. But for now, these seminars will help others either discover this area or hone their skills in it. Which means more practitioners! Yay!

  3. Kim FLINTOFF Says:

    Hiya Christy,

    I look forward to catching at least one of your sessions in Perth. Just waiting on my work roster to see if there are any clashes. The CGIE2006 looks to offer a broad overview of some interesting work - I hope I can organise to attend. Have the local chapter of the IGDA been in touch? I’m still bumbling along with my creative development cycles - feeling fairly isolated academically at the moment - your visit should inject some desperately needed alternative perspectives.



  4. christy Says:

    I look forward to (hopefully) seeing you Kim and having some good conversations and laughs. :)

  5. Sharn Says:

    Hi Christy,

    I’m Sharn from the UK. I’m absolutely loving your work - currently trying to persuade my company (educational communications) to embrace the creativity in cross-media environments to no avail. Anyhow…
    Are you planning on posting your ARG for training and education paper on your site at all. I would very much like to read it.


  6. christy Says:

    Good to hear you champion cross-media! As for some helpful resources, as soon as the ARG SIG Whitepaper comes out that will be a help (inform you of other things happening)…etc…I’ll keep you posted, more detail to come! gotta run now!

  7. luca tenaglia Says:

    hi, i’ve been lurking your blog for a while..:)
    there will be any report, podcast, drawings, smoke signal of these events? sadly i live in the other side of the world (italy) and i’m very interested in the subject..
    i’m involved in immersive entertainment in the form of live action roleplay…working on some experimental format



  8. christy Says:

    Hello Luca, welcome! Yes, there will be some podcasts of some of the events. I’ll keep you posted. :)

  9. genevieve Says:

    Really glad you are doing that blogging seminar with the AWG. It’s very timely. I forgot to tell you on Monday that I have an article coming out next Wednesday (first wed in December) on book blogging, in the Australian’s new Literary Review.
    If you don’t catch up with it I will send you a copy. I sent a survey around all the writers’ centres about Internet training, blogging, etc. and the replies were quite interesting.

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Mixed Bag o’ Goodies

Here is a round up of some interesting links (the first 3 I gathered from Henry Jenkins’ blog):

  • Accomplished film academics Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell have a blog;
  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Avi Santo have started MediaCommons:

MediaCommons, a project-in-development with support from the Institute for the Future of the Book (part of the Annenberg Center for Communication at USC) and the MacArthur Foundation, will be a network in which scholars, students, and other interested members of the public can help to shift the focus of scholarship back to the circulation of discourse. This network will be community-driven, responding flexibly to the needs and desires of its users. It will also be multi-nodal, providing access to a wide range of intellectual writing and media production, including forms such as blogs, wikis, and journals, as well as digitally networked scholarly monographs. Larger-scale publishing projects will be developed with an editorial board that will also function as stewards of the larger network.

On the site you’ll also find a great idea: In Media Res. Academics provide astute and compressed commentary over footage.

Scott Donaton, associate publisher and editorial director of the Ad Age Group and author of Madison & Vine talked about why user-empowerment is the key trend in business, and the ways marketers are adapting to it, including the rise of branded entertainment.

  • There is a podcast interview with fellow cross-media researcher Andrew McKenzie on his mobile movie business at Idealog.
  • If you haven’t already heard, Big Brother is in Second Life. They’re doing a SL-specific show that will be broadcast in the Netherlands. I have checked out the set inworld and look forward to ‘watching’ it inworld. Here is some info from the press release:

Endemol is the first television producer in the world to establish a branch in Second Life. Managing
Director Paul Romer: “The role of online communities is becoming increasingly important. As a
producer of cross-media content, Big Brother Second Life represents a fantastic opportunity to amass
knowledge of the virtual world. In the future we will use this experience to develop specific content for
online communities. Big Brother is the perfect format. Now that it’s been seen by 2 billion viewers all
over the world, it is now time to conquer the virtual world.”

I’ll be adding this to my listing of cross-media strategies with virtual worlds.

  • Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere is out.
  • And last but not least, The Electronic Literature Organisation has published the Electronic Literature Collection. It is available in CD-Rom format and there are additional pieces on the web. There are many classics and new gems there to delve into. Enjoy!

One Response to “Mixed Bag o’ Goodies”

  1. Paul Says:

    Hi Christy,

    Apologies for commenting off topic, but one of my supervisors has been blogging about a multi-user interactive narrative tool. Might be something you’re interested in, if you haven’t heard of it already. http://hypertext.rmit.edu.au/vlog/archives/2006/11/19/korsakow-interactive-narrative-tool/

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The 2007 BBC Innovation Labs are now seeking ‘indies’ to get involved.

The Innovation Labs are a series of creative workshops for interdisciplinary teams of professional creative technologists, application designers, software developers and interactive media designers. We are inviting independent new media companies from across England and Scotland to pitch ideas in response to a briefs set by New Media commissioners across the BBC. Up to 10 projects in each of four regions - Scotland, N England, London and S England - will then be selected to attend a 5-day long Lab. During the Lab, they will work with BBC commissioners and other mentors to develop the idea and prepare a final pitch. On the last day of the Lab, the ideas are pitched to the BBC commissioners for further development funding.

Here are some of the projects they want pitches on:

News Interactive
News services for young people – BBC News currently has a declining reach amongst 14-24 year olds, and we want to grow this reach via innovative new products. How could we deliver BBC News in an engaging and interactive way to this audience via the BBC News website and platforms like mobiles, online games, public screens or social networking sites?

BBC Sport is looking to increase its interactivity around the major events in the sports calendar (eg Wimbledon, Rugby World Cup, Euro 2008, Olympics, etc). In particular we are looking to provide innovative services to enhance our coverage of the live action, in real time. We are keen to increase our reach among younger (15-24) audiences and are exploring opportunities on the BBC Sport website, but also on mobile platforms and on the wider internet beyond bbc.co.uk.

Internet Team – search/navigation
Cross platform/location navigation – The BBC is looking for more ways to move users between interactive platforms where there is complementary content and experiences available. How can we move users between various media platforms and physical locations to increase the quality of their BBC experience by delivering them relevant content? How can we do this in ways that will excite and surprise them? Proposals need not be limited to the traditional platforms of “web”, “TV” and “mobile” but could also include use of other IP based media (ie. Instant messaging, email, images) and may want to include location-based or situation-based aspects. They may work across all of the BBC or only a small section and be based on navigation generated by the BBC or by users.

Interactive Drama & Entertainment
The BBC is looking for new ways to tell stories online. We’re looking for ideas aimed at young audiences who are familiar with the web (13-19 year olds) and at older, more mainstream audiences who are becoming more comfortable with the technology. Successful proposals will have an understanding

* how new web technologies can add depth to the storytelling process
* how gaming elements can be incorporated
* how social networking elements could be incorporated

Check out the ppt intro by Matt Locke and the website for more info.

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I forgot to post about my latest SlateNight article. I review the Second Life artwork by academic and artist John Craig Freeman: Imaging Place. Here is a snippet from the article:

JC Fremont, a new resident to SL, aims to discover just how art in SL can disrupt. His flesh counterpart, John Craig Freeman  is Associate Professor of New Media at Emerson College, Department of Visual and Media Arts in Boston. […] JC and I met up recently to discuss his artwork, Imaging Place SL. It is a SL implementation of a real life artwork, Imaging Place  and contrary to the assumption you may have in light of the misleading introduction to this article, Fremont and I had actually met in SL through another common interest: the theories of Gregory Ulmer. Imaging Place is a project JC Fremont/John Craig Freeman has been “developing for over a decade, often in collaboration with Greg Ulmer who provides the theory for the work. It is an attempt to develop a form of place based virtual reality.” The work, he explains on his website:

“combines panoramic photography, digital video, and three-dimensional technologies to investigate and document situations where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. The goal of the project is to develop the technologies, the methodology and the content for truly immersive and navigable narrative, based in real places.”

Check out my article here.

BTW: apologies for this blog becoming a personal announcement site. I’m spending more time actually writing up my theories and doing lots of industry work — which is good, but i don’t have as much time to blog everything at present!

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A few months ago David Silver asked me to review a book called Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, put together by Stephanie McLuhan and David Staines. My review, ‘From X-Ray Units as Space Heaters to iPods as Storage Devices‘, is now online.

Colleague Tama Leaver also has a review in the same issue. There is also a review of Edward Castronova’s Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games.


One Response to “My Review of McLuhan’s Understanding Me”

  1. Tama Says:

    We do seem to be travelling in very similar circles of late! :)

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ARGN Netcast

The Alternate Reality Gaming Network has started a podcast, well, netcast. It looks like they will be delivering ARG commentary every week, which is great news. Although the style of the show is casual, subjective chat, there are some gems for would-be ARG designers, researchers and marketers out there. So far there are two episodes up. Good luck ARGN! I should get off my butt and publish my podcast which is just waiting to be released. News very soon. I promise.

Check out the ARGN Netcast.

4 Responses to “ARGN Netcast”

  1. John Atkins Says:

    Whether tragic events touch your family personally or are brought into your home via newspapers and television, you can help children cope with the anxiety that violence, death, and disasters can cause.

    Listening and talking to children about their concerns can reassure them that they will be safe. Start by encouraging them to discuss how they have been affected by what is happening around them. Even young children may have specific questions about tragedies. Children react to stress at their own developmental level.

    The Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health Campaign offers these pointers for parents and other caregivers:

    * Encourage children to ask questions. Listen to what they say. Provide comfort and assurance that address their specific fears. It’s okay to admit you can’t answer all of their questions.
    * Talk on their level. Communicate with your children in a way they can understand. Don’t get too technical or complicated.
    * Find out what frightens them. Encourage your children to talk about fears they may have. They may worry that someone will harm them at school or that someone will try to hurt you.
    * Focus on the positive. Reinforce the fact that most people are kind and caring. Remind your child of the heroic actions taken by ordinary people to help victims of tragedy.
    * Pay attention. Your children’s play and drawings may give you a glimpse into their questions or concerns. Ask them to tell you what is going on in the game or the picture. It’s an opportunity to clarify any misconceptions, answer questions, and give reassurance.
    * Develop a plan. Establish a family emergency plan for the future, such as a meeting place where everyone should gather if something unexpected happens in your family or neighborhood. It can help you and your children feel safer.

    If you are concerned about your child’s reaction to stress or trauma, call your physician or a community mental health center.

  2. christy Says:

    I let former comment through because it is nice spam.

  3. Steve Springall a.k.a Cybster DJ Says:

    They’re calling it a netcast… I think netcasts would refer to live streaming. It’s really a “Podcast” (which you correctly named) and can be subscribed to and downloaded. I have subscribed to it. It should be interesting.

  4. christy Says:

    I know, they explain (sort of) in the first episode why they call it a netcast. I’m not convinced. Terms are there to communicate. Podcast communicates quickly what they’re doing. Netcast just adds confusion and misunderstanding.

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When I started in the digital effects industry as a producer I noticed that the best people in the business were distributed across companies, states and the world. You never had more a couple in the one company. I remember working discussing with AIMIA back then in the early 90s about how they can group these talented people together. This sort of concern persists, in many sectors. Well, just recently, one of the most high-profile people in new marketing, Joseph Jaffe, decided to gather up all the experts he knew to form a company (or uncompany as Jaffe likes to say). Here is the team: Michael Denton; Neville Hobson, Shel Holtz, Gary Cohen, Joseph Jaffe, Aaron Greenberger, C.C. Chapman and Chris Trela. Now, to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t of blogged about this company if it wasn’t for C.C. Chapman. He is new to the area but has a good mind. I respect his views and will continue to show support of his ventures even though I didn’t receive an invite to their Second Life launch. * sniffle *
The company should do some interesting things. Good luck guys. (Guys, no girls? Hmmm.)

Check out Crayon now, keep on eye on their blog, and if you’re in Second Life, their island.

4 Responses to “The Ultimate New Marketing Company: Crayon”

  1. C.C. Chapman Says:

    Thanks for the support and kind words. I actually didn’t send out an invite to anyone I knew because I had a feeling we were going to hit the maximum allowed rather quickly and I was right. I apologize for that and of course will be more then happy to give you a personal tour anytime you want. Looking forward to catching up. We’ve both been rather busy from the sounds of it.

  2. christy Says:

    Oh you’re so kind CC. I completely understand about the invite thing. That is one of the cross-media techniques to be developed with SL: having an event spill over to other sims and out-of-world sites so people can enjoy it from alot of different locations. I’ll take you up on the personal tour. And once again, a big congratulations. :) You’re ace.

  3. Chris Thomas Says:

    I wish them well also - but I don’t think they are the ultimate new marketing company. At least I hope not! I only know Joseph from seeing him speak once. Great speaker but no new “ideas” … just new “adjectives”

  4. christy Says:

    Hello Chris.

    Yeah, I realised I was a bit too generous with my adjectives too! They are good mediators for those who are unawre of what is going on. I wish them well in doing that. Thanks for stopping by Chris.

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I found out about an ARG that had been created by some educators in Queensland and covered their research in the forthcoming (I hope it comes out soon) IGDA ARG SIG Whitepaper. Well, just yesterday I flew down to Melbourne to be the external assessor for a class that had the project of creating an ARG (well, “CROSS-MEDIA FICTIONAL WORLDS”, but they could choose ARGs and they did). They were seperated into two 20-person teams and had 5 weeks to conceive and design and implement an ARG. They are 3rd year students for a MultiMedia and Digital Arts design course run by Troy Innocent at Monash University. I was so delighted to see what they had done. It was really interesting to see the difficulties they had with managing the magic-circle (the game-play space) because they designed it so the general public could find out about their ARGs. So, they had people ‘play’ the game without knowing it was real. The designers had real problems then, managing posts from people who were genuinely involved. This is a problem for games that recruit participators through public spaces and not through ARG gateways such as ARGN. I had a similiar problem with the mini ARG I created for an industry residential. SMS and other emails were so real the participators didn’t realise it wasn’t. Now, this is fun when you want to be immersed, when you opt-in, but for those people who are unaware of the fictional status and who are not aware of ‘alternate reality’ techniques, it can be quite disconcerting (until they find out it is not real, and then they love it). There is a big difference between employing alternate reality aesthetics and having a constructed world operate as if it is real.

It was so exciting to see alternate reality games being created as class projects, hopefully this is a sign of many more to come.

4 Responses to “ARGs in Education”

  1. Steve Springall a.k.a Cybster DJ Says:

    >> hopefully this is a sign of many more to come.
    I hope so too.

  2. Sofie Runnquist Says:


    I am from the University of the West of England (www.uwe.ac.uk) doing a course called Media Practice. We are currently producing an online multimedia documentary project for part of our second year, and have been trying to incorporate some of the arg gaming structure into our narrative. Obviously we will not be able to use the same level of communicative interaction as a proffessionally produced arg would, but the concepts of what this new genre is trying to do excites us.
    What we want to do is a game where the user will be set to do different tasks based on skills which they will be learning and having to remember and refer back to throughout. If they do not involve themselves with little clues and detailes of the information they’re given they will not be able to complete the game.
    It holds a very simple structure at the moment, and we are still in the research and planning stage. Any ideas or feedback on how to incorporate more of the themes for arg’s? Any comments will be greatly appreciated

  3. christy Says:

    Hello Sofie, apologies for the late response. It sounds great what you’re doing and I’m happy to chat further with you. I think an ARG and Educators listserv and wiki would be good so a range of educators can share each others’ insights. I’ve started a wiki and am hoping to get the email list going soon too.

  4. Kim FLINTOFF Says:

    Hi Christy, Who are the educators in QLD? I spent most of 2005 living in Brisbane and am still doing my research under the watchful eye of QUT Creative Industries faculty, despite working back here in Perth.



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Cross-Media and Animation

A colleague of mine, Peter Giles, Head of Digital Media at AFTRS, has written an interesting post on how animation lends itself to cross-media strategies.

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