Andy Broomfield’s photos of Drift

I love finding other people’s photos of my projects, because I only ever see the action from a limited viewpoint (on this occasion I hardly saw any of it at all!).

Really nice then to see Andy Broomfield‘s spottings of interactions happening between Drifters, players and bystanders at the Sandpit last weekend.


(Click through and zoom in to the largest size for best location-and-spectacle results!)



Documentation of Drift at Holland Park

We spent yesterday afternoon moving around Holland Park in a Leisurely manner. Well, I didn’t, I was busy telling people about odd characters and how to attach vibrating sashes to their arms, but these guys did:

Drift at Holland Park

Drift at Holland Park

Thanks to everyone who took part in the playtesting and to Ant, Lucy and Emily for being the Drifters. Thanks too for all the great feedback – lots of very useful comments and I particularly liked that one person said that Drift had prompted him to explore unfamiliar parts of the park.

My photos are in this Flickr set:

Unfortunately I don’t really have any record of the interactions between players and Drifters, so if anyone has photos of any of those I’d be really grateful if you could email them to me or share a link or something…

Since the Sandpit was themed around movement and spectacle, I’ve also run the data collected during the game through Howard Rickett’s code (from the Ikon Postmarks group) to get a visualisation of how it took shape over time. The resolution isn’t great by the time it’s been through screen capture and Movie Maker, but it gives a sense of the drift unfolded…

Drift at the Holland Park Sandpit

Holland Park

Holland Park by HerryLawford on Flickr

There are unusual characters drifting around Holland Park. A person of your skills will have no trouble identifying the three in question.

A person of your skills who is also wearing a sash will be able to feel the messages one of the drifters is broadcasting…

bzzzzz, bzzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzzz ~ I’m in the open

bzzz, bzzz ~ I’ve sought somewhere more sheltered

bzzzzz, bzzzzzz, bzzzzz ~ I’m somewhere in between

Observe the drifters as they move and try and deduce which one is broadcasting about the space they are in. Don’t hang around too long though, because the one broadcasting will change!

These three are all about the drift. They will be watching for the sash-wearers who can hear them – they have something for you – but if you move too fast they will scatter. Likewise, if too many sashes close in on them at once they will make their escape.

Move slowly and smoothly; approach the drifter you think is broadcasting and gracefully offer them a gift. If they approve, and are the broadcaster, they may offer you something in return.

If they disapprove of your non-driftyness, or you have guessed incorrectly, you will not receive anything back.

You have two chances. Good looking and good luck.

This Sunday we’ll be playing Drift in Holland Park as part of the Hide&Seek Sandpit event being run for the InTRANSIT Festival of Arts

The event is free and takes place between 2 and 5:30pm. Come and join us on the Orangery Lawn (near the café) for an afternoon of fun linked to the theme of movement and spectacle: “processions down pathways, walking tours, memories, hiding, scurrying, running, pondering and much more.”

There’s more information on the Hide&Seek website and there’s also a Facebook event doodad.

Interview for Using Games to Enhance Learning and Teaching

A while ago I was asked a few questions by Nicola Whitton as part of her research for her upcoming book about games in education.

Well the book has now been published and there’s an accompanying website that presents longer versions of the interviews with the various contributors.

My interview is here.



Tilt Factor’s The Twelve Propositions

Twelve Propositions from a Critical Play Perspective:

  1. Values are everywhere, designed into play and into games
  2. The history of computed games has created certain types of interactions.
  3. These technical constraints have limited what we think we can do today.
  4. Innovation can come from prioritizing the human.
  5. Unorthodox methods spur change.
  6. Meaning in a game comes from the feeling of responsibility.
  7. A good game will teach you one thing, so you can learn another. In educational circles, ’far transfer’ is the holy grail of learning technologies
  8. Producing challenging work as an artist means that you are willing to break the rules.
  9. Games help those in a polarized world take a position and play out the consequences.
  10. Small change is good; Grandiose promises do a lot of damage.
  11. A lot of game design is about producing motivation: proceed with caution.
  12. Big shifts come from small incremental actions. That’s systems thinking.

Games. Art. 2 podcasts.

Two pertinent podcasts that nudged their way into my awareness within the last 24 hours…

The first is Minkette talking on Shift Run Stop talking about adventures, real people, trains and better ways of augmenting reality.

Shift Run Stop, Episode 55: Minkette (source.)

The second is artist and Tilt Factor director Mary Flanagan talking on furtherfield on Resonance FM.

I particularly like the phrase “system designs that ask different questions”.

Below is an mp3 of the relevant excerpts, you can listen to the complete broadcast here.


Curby opportunity

Having grown up in an area slightly lacking in the way of side streets, when Mark used a description of Curby as a teaching aid I was pretty much baffled. What was this strange game?

Having come across Curby/Kerby/Kirby a few times since then, I’m now prepared to concede that it is an actual real life childhood past time.

In fact, I quite fancy trying it.

Banbury Street

Banbury Street

Bartholomew Street

Bartholomew Street

For the last three days I’ve been walking around the grid of streets around the Curzon Street area collecting data for a new piece of work. This walk took me along Banbury and Bartholomew Streets (pictured above).

As you can see, both are currently closed to traffic.

As I was walking past yesterday morning, a crane was lifting yet more of the concrete blocks into position at the lower end of Banbury Street. I’ve no idea what the plans are for these two roads or the grassland next to them, but I’ve felt a fondness for them since w i d e o p e n s p a c e [video] and would like to gather people there at least one more time before the diggers move in and we lose this little oasis.

Would anyone care to join me for a game of Curby?

Cast list for Milton

Milton – the pathogen-introducing game I’m making for a Coventry school – gets its first playing on Friday, so I’m in full-on production mode making the cards that determine the players’ roles.

Here’s a quick peek at the bacteria who will be trying to infect as many pathologists as possible:

List of bacteria from the game Milton

List of bacteria from the game Milton

Can the pathologists fight back?

Making Milton

I’ve been working with a school in Coventry to help them develop activities for their Year 8 Flexible Learning Day focusing on science and creative writing.

As a result of this I’ve been commissioned to design a game to teach and reinforce concepts and vocabulary relating to pathogens: how they spread and how we can protect ourselves against the nasty ones.

Game flow and card design

Game flow and card design

I’ve had the school’s permission to release the game’s rules under a creative commons license, and the basic description and mechanics are now up on the Ludocity website:

I’m currently working on designing the cards that will be used in the game and making sure they also double up as instructional prompts for the players – expect that ruleset to develop! In the meantime, I’m also soliciting feedback in advance of the game’s first plays on April 30th.

Maths, but not as we know it…

I was shocked when this lady ran into the room & said COME INTO THE HALL NOW- THIS IS TOP SECRET. We suddenly found out that our teachers were all agents named Agent squirrel, Agent pants, Agent ants & Agent elliephants. I enjoyed learning this misson it was interesting to see all our teachers undercover. I learnt how to break codes in the afternoon & we got two clues that tell us what is the answer to this mission & it carries on going and going until we find the last clue. I am excited but i am little bit nervous because we only have 3 days.

Agent CB

In the morning when Miss Yates had just taken the register agent N came in and she said EMERGENCY!!! COME TO THE HALL QUICK I was really excited but when we were walking in the corridors we had to make sure that we were undercover so we had to act normal and when we had got to the hall agent N told us that we were on a mission to find some clues to solve the mission.Then we had to go back to are classrooms and we had to solve some clues and we got some clues just in the time of 15 minutes and the first clue was , near a mans whos’s insides you could clearly see and we had to find a map and each class had part of the map and if we put it together it would make the whole map. Today I have learned that if we all work together as a team the mission would be done quicker because we only have 2 days left.

Agent AW

I have realy enjoyed day 1 of (Sssshhhhhh) code breaking I can not I repeat (can not) wait until tomorrow.
And I cant wait to see the map again because it realy I repeat (realy) looks like fun also I thought what we might have to do with the map cause it looks allot like a treasure map.So we might have to find another clue or something.

cant wait for tomorrow
see you, yours greatfully
L (byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee)

Agent LJ

(All these examples were added to a forum on the school’s Virtual Learning Environment after school had finished.)

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