Welcome to our weekend of events running 6-7 April, for people with a particular interest in the processes and practice of making games.
A Makers’ Corner ticket is £25, and includes unlimited access to the Now Play This exhibition across 6-7 April; access to the Makers’ Corner dedicated space, with a selection of books and board games; plus workshops throughout the weekend, and our new conference, “A Series of Interesting Decisions”, in which our speakers will discuss one of their projects in depth, and look at the different decisions that went into creating it. A timetable for the weekend is available here.
A Series Of Interesting Decisions
Talk: Macho Cam – Robert Yang |
The first conference session of the day
Sun, Apr 7 at 11:00am
Robert Yang on the making of his upcoming game "Macho Cam", a webcam male stripper dance game.
Robert Yang makes surprisingly popular games about gay culture and intimacy -- he is most known for his historical bathroom sex simulator The Tearoom and his male shower simulator Rinse and Repeat, and his gay sex triptych Radiator 2 has over 150,000 users on Steam. He is currently an Assistant Arts Professor at NYU Game Center.
Panel: Making Physical Things – Amy Godliman | We Throw Switches | Raphael Kim
Three artists discuss their physical game projects
Sun, Apr 7 at 11:45am
Three short talks about experimental physical game projects, followed by a discussion between the speakers moderated by Hilary O'Shaugnessy. Amy Godliman on "Doggerland Radio", in which listeners can tune into a real-radio using the central dial to find the different fictional stations broadcasting from the ghostly nation of Doggerland; We Throw Switches on the custom game cabinets they made for the recent "Videogames: Design/Disrupt/Play" exhibition at the V&A; and Raphael Kim on his practice in biotic game design, making games to play with actual mould.
Panel: Doing Things with Board Games – Hwa Young Jung | Kenechukwu Ogbuagu | Sindi Breshani
Three different artists considering their design process
Sun, Apr 7 at 1:00pm
Three short talks on the decisions behind different board games, followed by a short discussion moderated by James Wallis. Kenechukwu Ogbuagu on "Safe Journi", about travel on Nigerian roads; Hwa Young Jung's "Probationary", about life on probation; and Sindi Breshani's "Propaganda". Following the discussion, join the designers to try out their games!
Talk: AFFIX – Sabrina Shirazi |
A talk on making AFFIX
Sun, Apr 7 at 2:45pm
Sabrina Shirazi discusses how she went about making AFFIX, an invitation to build and play with 3D affix-able shapes (also showing at Now Play This).
Sabrina Shirazi is a designer and resident of Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio. Sabrina produces visual art, textile installations and dining events inspired by colour, unconventional behaviour and play.
Panel: Games as Creative Tools – bleeptrack | sokpop | Tomo Kihara
The third panel of the day
Sun, Apr 7 at 3:15pm
Short talks from three artists whose work invites players to act creatively, followed by a short discussion moderated by George Buckenham. Tomo Kihara on "Is This Violence? Am I Too Sexy?", a game in which an algorithm judges the violence or sexiness of the images shown it; Rubna of sokpop on their new game-making tool "sok-stories"; and bleeptrack (Sabine Wieluch) on her collaboration with Harry Josephine Giles, "Glyphsprache".
Talk: Frog Detective 2 – Grace Bruxner |
An in-depth look at some of the decisions behind a new game
Sun, Apr 7 at 4:30pm
Grace Bruxner talks about some of the decision-making processes behind her upcoming game "Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard", created with Thomas Bowker and Dan Golding, and the sequel to the IGF-nominated "The Haunted Island: A Frog Detective Game".
WORM CLUB is a studio comprised of Grace Bruxner, Thomas Bowker and Dan Golding. They made the smash hit (kinda) "The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game" and have teamed up again to bring some more mystery and silliness to the medium of games.
Panel: Playing in Public Space – Kristi Minchin | Nikki Pugh | Zach Gage
Three makers of outdoor games talk about their work
Sun, Apr 7 at 5:00pm
Short talks from three game designers and artists whose work is showing at Somerset House as part of Now Play This, then a short discussion moderated by Holly Gramazio. Kristi Minchin on "Making Faces", an interactive installation on River Terrace; Nikki Pugh on "Colony", a group walking experience; and Zach Gage on "Transit Meditation", the labyrinth in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court.
Playing with Artificial Eyes – Tomo Kihara
Experimenting with AI and computer vision
Sat, Apr 6 at 2:00pm
In this workshop, Tomo Kihara will introduce his game design experiments using computer vision and machine learning.
The experimental games that the participants will play involve activities like fooling sexiness classification algorithms and exploiting ways to trick emotion detection systems. The latest techniques and game design ideas using AI will be shared through the interactive presentation.
Shitpost Tarot: Session 1 – Dámhín Mckeown
A collaborative generative deck-building DIY divination game
Sat, Apr 6 at 1:00pm
Shitpost Tarot is a collaborative generative deck building game where players work together creatively to produce their a unique tarot deck for DIY divination.
Dámhín Mckeown is an artist, curator, and gender killer based in Dublin, Ireland. Gaby Aveiro-Ojeda is an artist, speaker, and game designer. They are currently working on their spooky, witchy game, Don't Wake the Night, while also creating art based around expressions of Paraguayan identity and ancestral traditions.
MouldCraft – Raphael Kim
A workshop on building alternative worlds using blocks of micro-organisms.
Sat, Apr 6 at 4:00pm
MouldCraft is a game that allows you to design and modify alternative worlds dominated by micro-organisms. Using different blocks containing a variety of species, the players connect, stack, and destroy blocks to create an imaginary world. In this workshop, we invite you to design your own MouldCraft blocks, which you can use them to build your custom world.
Raphael Kim is a researcher interested in hybrid games involving micro-organisms and computers. Currently, he is undertaking a PhD at Media and Arts Technology (MAT) programme, at Queen Mary, University of London.
Memphis Jam – Heterocosmica
Play together to solve random puzzles
Sat, Apr 6 at 10:00am
DROP-IN THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND
A team-based puzzle game where each player has a single button to solve randomly-generated levels of increasing difficulty, against a backdrop inspired by the Italian architectural group the Memphis Group. Running on a drop-in basis throughout the weekend.
Heterocosmica consists of Simon Johnson, a data scientist and Shruti Grover, a design researcher. They are based at Makerversity in Somerset House. Memphis Jam is a development of a prototype that Johnson made after visiting Now Play This in 2018, and feeling inspired to experiment with making games.
Working with Unity ECS – Terry Yu/Yu Tian
A workshop introducing the new Unity3D Entity Component System
Sat, Apr 6 at 11:00am
The core of Unity3D is changing to a new data-driven system, which offers huge performance gains and automatic parallelism. In this two hour workshop Terry Yu will introduce the fundamentals of this new approach. He is the creator of Beat&Nest, a game in the festival which uses this technology to let you control tens of thousands of entities at once.
Participants will need to bring their own laptop to take part.
Terry Yu/Yu Tian is a game producer, programmer, and game jammer, working on a mobile roguelite mini-sandbox game, and making indie games in private.
Is This Violence? Am I Too Sexy? – Tomo Kihara
What is violence and sexiness in the eye of an AI?
Sun, Apr 7 at 10:00am
DROP-IN THROUGHOUT SUNDAY
This game uses the algorithm behind Google’s safe search filter to return the rate of violence or sexiness on the incoming webcam footage. Player must trick the AI into thinking extreme violence or sexiness is in the picture. The game questions the implications of autonomous biased systems quantifying subjective notions such as violence.
Board Game Selection –
Play board games with some of the artists who made them
Sun, Apr 7 at 2:00pm
Following a discussion panel around board games, artists who worked on some of the games playable in Makers' Corner will run those games for visitors. Come along on a drop-in basis to play between 2-4pm.
The games will also be playable on a drop-in basis throughout the weekend.
A Series of Unexpected Constraints – Abi Palmer
A workshop about inventing absurd rules and playful solutions to real-life dilemmas
Sun, Apr 7 at 1:00pm
Spend an hour exploring classic games from Oulipian, interventionist and Fluxus movements. Absurd games! Sensible games! Games which fall apart the moment you start playing them! Games which make falling apart part of the game...
We’ll be talking creativity and constraint, and designing a series of quick, absurd interventions to help you maintain creativity through adult life. At the end of the session, you’ll have the opportunity to add your work to a collaborative zine: “A Series of Unexpected Constraints”
Suitable for makers and doers, new and experienced. This workshop is especially ideal for anyone who feels their creativity is marginalised due to the limits of time, their bodies, or Being An Adult(TM).
If you have access requirements you would like to discuss, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abi Palmer is an experimental artist and writer. In 2018 she designed ‘Crip Casino’ - an interactive gambling arcade exploring the disabled body in institutionalised spaces. Her forthcoming book ‘Sanatorium’ navigates a luxury rehabilitation space in Budapest and an £80 inflatable blue Korean bathtub (Penned in the Margins, 2020).
The Mission: Occupy Mars – Exit Productions
Members of the first colony on Mars have to not only survive but desperately try to thrive...
Sun, Apr 7 at 4:30pm
“Human beings wanted for hazardous Journey. Low Wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.You answered in your thousands. Perhaps it was testament to how bad things have gotten on Earth. Perhaps you have always been like this. Drawn to the horizon.”
The Mission: Occupy Mars is a live game for up to 50 people as they try, simply, to survive on Mars. But what is survival? Do we need more than just to breathe and eat? What would you fight for if you could start everything over again on a brand new planet?
Exit Productions are a games-based theatre company, trying to find the meeting points between those two things. Their previous work has seen audience-led factions in a revolution and king-makers of a boxing match at Fight Night.
Colony: meet the critters – Nikki Pugh
Meet some of the landscape-reactive critters from the group walking experience Colony.
Sun, Apr 7 at 10:00am
DROP-IN THROUGHOUT SUNDAY
Colony is a group walking experience exploring what happens when navigational choices are influenced by a combination of self-preservation, swarming, spectacle, dual path error and legless wooden robots.
Colony aims to explore stranger-stranger interactions and to promote critical discussion of the urban spaces we live, work and play in ...but first we need to talk about empathy and connection.
Nikki Pugh explores questions relating to how we perceive, move through and interact with our surroundings. She instigates enquiry-led processes that are often participatory in nature, designing mechanisms to support exploration, discussion and criticism.
Colony is made in collaboration with Tarim (Media Playgrounds) and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.