Erik Champion

Interactive History & Digital Culture

CAA 2017 Other session “Mechanics, Mods and Mashups” ACCEPTED!

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My proposal to the 2017 Computer Applications and Quantitive Methods in Archaeology (CAA) international conference, March 14th and 16th, 2017 at Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA) has been accepted.The below will be updated when I speak to the co-organisers but we are thinking of a morning presentation and (possible) game pitch, and an aftertoon work on key ideas..

CAA2017 Atlanta: Other Session

Mechanics, Mods and Mashups: Games of the Past for the Future Designed by Archaeologists
Organizers: Erik Champion, Michael Nitsche, Natalie Underberg-Goode

Are you a fan of Assassin’s Creed but upset over how it could have made history exciting without having to employ and manipulate central historical characters? Love Lara Croft: Tomb Raider if only the tomb-raiding (stealing) mechanics could be replaced by something more meaningful? Wish that the Total War Series allowed you to employ agent modeling to test competing archaeological theories of migration, colonization and invasion or just to improve its historical accuracy? Dream you could use the language, graphic vision and immersion of Far Cry Primal in the classroom to explain (through engaging interaction) the Mesolithic rather than primarily use it as a backstage to fight semi- believable creatures? Then this workshop is for you. Correction. This workshop is BY you.

Archaeologists and people of a historical persuasion:

  • Either take a game with an inspiring concept, technique or mechanic..
  • OR extrapolate a current or past game to a game or simulation of the future
  • OR they share their vision of a game or simulation that reveals, expresses or augments their own research.At the workshop the writers will either:
  • Bring their own designs, video cut-scenes, and illustrations and media depicting what this new vision would look like
  • OR have some form of play-testing demonstration, cards, or illustrations or physical play-throughs (preferably involving the CAA workshop audience) revealing how this new level, mod or gameplay episode COULD be experienced or how it could be revealed.The writers will:
    Ask the audience to play through or role-play the actions that would be in the creative piece.

    The audience will:
    Give the writers feedback ideas and nominate the best presentation in terms of fun and engagement, imaginative ideas, and archaeological relevance (in promoting archaeology, teaching archaeology or extending archaeological scholarship).

    Potential tools:
    Gameplay cards, game prototyping tools, scenes or videos from a 3D editor or game editor (Unity, Unreal, Blender), board games as prototypes, playing cards, physical artifacts that are role-played by the presenter, illustrations, slideshows, game editors (like the SIMS: https://www.thesims.com/en_GB) used to make films (Machinima), roleplaying videos, flowcharts, interactive fiction (like https://twinery.org/). We will provide a fuller list of tools and examples to potential attendees before the workshop.

    Equipment:
    PC with sound and display, some floor space to move around in for physical re-enactments. Tables or some form of desk to provide written or graphical feedback.

    Length:
    Participants: 26 maximum (ideally) where 6 present. We require half an hour a presenter so three hours for 6 presenters, 6 hours a whole day if we want to go to 12 presenters.
    Ideally the non-presenting audience is not too large, preferably up to 20.

    Outcome:
    We will approach a creative publisher (Liquid Books, University of Michigan Press or other) to provide an online or printable output of the demonstrations and the audience feedback.
    We would also like to invite presenters – if they can make it – to a workshop at DIGRA2017 Melbourne Australia to test out their demonstrations and play-throughs to game academics.

    References
    Champion, E. (2012) Game Mods: Design, Theory and Criticism. Entertainment Technology Centre Press.

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