There’s a vast team that have contributed hugely to The Building Is… So many, in fact, that we needed to go alphabetical order to fit them all in. Huge thanks from all of us at H&S to all those listed below.
It’s the opening day of the exhibition in Paris! And the Hide&Seek team, along with all our collaborators, having been working very hard indeed. This is a very ambitious project to pull off…
We’ve had two Sandpits so far this year, and we have two more coming up in the next couple of months – so if you want to get involved in making a game, now’s the time! The two upcoming Sandpits are: Holland Park, in the afternoon of Sunday 15 July, themed around movement and spectacle [...]
Maybe the best place to start explaining how narrative and game design weave together in The Building Is… is to talk about interfaces. If you’re reading this, you’re a human, mostly (hello bots!), and so the idea of getting to know a sentient building presents some challenges.
Today’s blog post – and tomorrow’s, and probably the day after’s – are about narrative frameworks. One of the many things that frustrates me about the ‘games v story’ debate is that it’s presented as a binary – narratologists over here, ludologists over here – with debate revolving around ‘action’ vs ‘cut scenes’. It’s absurdly reductive. A good narrative envelops and intertwines the game design, kindling moments of meaning throughout the system. And that’s what we’re making.
We’re very excited to be announcing a new project: a collection of site-specific games spread all across London.
Yes, “all across”: three in each borough, for a total of ninety-nine. 99 Tiny Games. Each one a unique ruleset just a few sentences long, printed on a vinyl and stuck onto the ground or a wall somewhere in London, sitting there, waiting to be played by passers-by.
Summary for the easily-bored: we have a Sandpit on Monday the 18th which is all drop-in games – no booking at all, no stickers and tickets. (It’s mostly indoors, don’t panic about the weather). Weird, huh?
The long version: In a week, it’s time for our second Sandpit of the year: a night of games themed around performance and performers.
I have to explain the Sandpit quite often. “It’s a night for game designers and artists to try out new ideas, and everyone else to come along and play,” I say. “There’s a core of scheduled games, where you can book places book, and then there are games you can drop in on, and pick-up-and-play games you can run on your own if you like, a bit like parlour games.”
This is how it’s always been, right from Sandpit 2 back in 2008, when we added parlour games and Trap Street to the core of scheduled games. People turn up from 6:30; they book places; games begin at 7; the scheduled games are the heart of it, and other stuff happens around them. Forty Sandpits later, that’s still how it works.
Something that’s important when creating games for buildings is the question of identity. Identity – registering a person, linking the state of a game to a person, tracking essential data – is fundamental to a satisfying game experience. Imagine if Blizzard’s World of Warcraft servers just forgot you, and your Level 57 Death Knight disappeared… We expect that a game will remember where we were up to, and pick up exactly where we left off, and we expect that to be seamless and instantaneous.
Coming to the end of week 1 of our install and we’re in reasonable shape – we completed our first playtest yesterday, of the Building Sees, and it was mostly fun! Mostly fun is a pretty great state to be in at this stage…
Things I didn’t realise would turn out to be a massive design constraint #7432 – it’s complex to drive two different screens, displaying different information, from the same programme. This runs counter to two things: