Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MozFest: not the typical conference

As I'm reeling from a combination of jetlag and mental exhaustion, I've been trying to figure out what made Mozfest so special of a conference. I've been to many conferences at this point, but my experience this past weekend was different, and I think I've been able to pinpoint 5 reasons why.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Introducing Movable Game Jams

This article is cross-posted on the Iridescent blog by Maggie Jaris.

When you hear the phrase “game jam” likely you’re picturing a room full of adults working, hacking, playing through the night to push forward the latest version of a game. A Movable Game Jam is not that.

For starters, a Movable Game Jam is designed for youth, not adults. It’s designed to foster deep learning in design thinking over a short period of time, and to do so by using games. Each Movable Game Jam has (you guessed it) many moving parts--multiple educators, organizations, and individuals coming together to put on an event to introduce youth to game design. The “Initiative” part is these same organizers--and new ones!--coming together multiple times to host different events, in different places (there’s that movability again) with different content (and one more time). Organizers of MGJs also come together virtually, adding the lessons they’ve learned and the modifications they’ve made to the overall Game Jam Model to a living document, the Movable Game Jam Guide. This document serves as a guide to anyone interested in running a Movable Game Jam, and as the movement grows, it will too.

The idea for the Movable Game Jam Initiative emerged out of Hive network pop-up events, a game jam held at the Museum of the Moving Image run for youth by youth, and Iridescent’s experiences running collaborative game jams. It was clear in all these experiences that a collaborative element added an extra spark to events, making them more valuable not only for the attendees, but for the organizers.

Making Simulation Games for Education: Emergent Systems

 This article is cross-posted on the Iridescent blog.

What makes an educational game work? What keeps the wheels spinning in a player's head, keeps them engaged and learning? Well, if you've read my other musings, you'd probably be quick to suggest it's the same principles that make commercial games successful. While this is certainly true, it's not the most informative advice. I thought it would be useful to get a little more specific and concrete by reflecting on my experience designing Iridescent's newest physics simulation game, The Gravity Ether.

So we'll talk about simulation games, the genre which seems to have the most educational promise.  And we'll talk about the principle key to making a simulation game work: emergent complexity.