Jul 022007

Project description: A New World. A daring crusade. All in the name of friendship and freedom! CAPTIVE is a fun and exciting quest based online RPG for primary school children centred around British and Australian convict heritage in the 1820’s, taking history lessons into a whole new dimension… fun!

Captive RPG

Captive RPG

Captive RPG

Captive RPG

Captive RPG

Captive RPG

Captive RPG

Team Members
Catherine Pettman, Kate Davis and Andy Wilson
Guardian Mentor: Gary Hayes
LAMP Lab: June 2007
Target media: Virtual World, Games Consoles, Video Portals

Apr 222007

We had an overwhelming response to the call for submissions driven by the various seminars and workshops we held around the country over the past months. From nearly fifty extremely strong entries the ten judges have selected the final eight for the LAMP: Story of the Future to be held in Freycinet from 20-25 May.  The eight projects are listed below with brief descriptions in no particular order…

  • Thursdays Fictions
    You’ll Never Have Another Week Like This One! In order to enter the world of Thursday’s Fictions, you must respond the following  “You have five minutes left to live.  It is always said that you can’t take it with you, but what if you could?  What would you take with you?  What is important to you?  – NSW
  • p.u.l.s.e
    Take the pulse of the city through the wrists of writers, using sms. This is an entirely new service that builds upon the strengths and flexibility of mobile, locative, and social networking technologies, applied uniquely via collaborative inputs from a network of writers. p.u.l.s.e is an innovative collaborative writing project that explores the intersections of writing and mobile technologies.  – NSW
  • Tell Tales
    You are your own adventure. A new web-based writing game in which the participants develop their own take on the mystery story that they are presented with. – NSW
  • Get Carla
    “A beautiful girl is on the run with 100 grand.  Do you help her… Or turn her in?”
    An alternate reality game driven by a “true story” of a kidnapping that is an extension of a short film scheduled for shooting June 2007 – NSW
  • The Parcel
    Everyone has something to hide! The Parcel is an interactive cross-media murder mystery series set in the virtual community of Middlemania against the backdrop of the local council elections. – Tasmania
  • Mondo Froggo
    “Fun and frolics with three feisty frogs in a swamp.” Animation, interactive TV show which is a combination of adventure, story and game. – Tasmania
  • Captive
    A New World. A daring crusade. All in the name of friendship and freedom! CAPTIVE is a fun and exciting quest based online RPG for primary school children centred around British and Australian convict heritage in the 1820’s, taking history lessons into a whole new dimension… fun!  – Tasmania
  • Killer Gene
    ‘Killer Gene – who should control the code of life itself? – Victoria

The final list of mentors for this lab will be listed on the mentors main page. The participants and associated companies will be revealed on the residential follow-up projects pages.

Sep 122006

Presented by AFTRS LAMP. How are virtual worlds developing and what are the opportunities for media creatives?

Luke Carruthers is a games developer who runs a company called Imaginary Numbers in Sydney. The company creates online games and their first title Tactica Online is a fast-moving strategy RPG set amidst conspiracy and intrigue of Da Vinci’s world.  Luke Carruthers’ first company, Magna Data, was founded in 1993, and went on to become one of Australia’s most successful early Internet service providers. Sold in 1999 for A$16 million, it was noted for its innovative services, including operating one of the country’s first DSL broadband networks. Since then he has founded three more companies, all focused on the Internet and telecommunications market, including Inter-touch, an in-hotel network operator recently acquired by NTT DoCoMo for US$70 million, and Alterna Telecom, which provided wholesale PSTN switching services and was acquired by RSLCom in 2002. Secretary of the Internet Industry Association from 1995 to 2001, and joining the board of the Game Developers Association of Australia in 2005, he has also worked with numerous government and industry bodies aiding in the development of the legislative and regulatory framework for the telecommunications, media, and entertainment industries.

Summary of the presentation

Using World of Warcraft and Second Life as examples at both ends of the spectrum of social online games Luke talks about environment design, demographics and game-play competitive structures of these services. He differentiates between role playing competitive games and sand-box environments of virtual worlds and talks in great detail about the motivations of game players and the social drivers of MMORPGs. Luke also addresses issues of self-policing and trust based social networks that spring up naturally in these environments referring to the griefers who try to upset the narrative/gameplay of other and the groups of guardians that try to reduce this irritation. In contrast he talks about the virtual world of Second Life as a game with no rules, goals or driving narrative. The economics and the fact that upto 50% of inhabitants of ‘worlds’ tend to be more socially outgoing females as opposed to the 15-30% in ‘games’ are used as part of the differentiation discussion. Luke talks about the way players communicate in worlds and how games such as Final Fantasy XI one has english and japanese speakers thrown together and how emotes and symbols are used more in those cases.

Luke then talks at length about the film/game business and production cross overs and how now films like Avatar is being created as a film and online game simultaneously. With costs of $64 mill for WoW the budgets are similar to major features with around $60mill in profit each month. He says that games took 20 years to reach a $10bill industry in the US whereas film took 90 years to get to the same level. The skills required for games creation are similar to film fx and in the US film students have a lot more game ‘education’ than in Australia. Luke sayd that this money is made mostly throught the dominant model of subscription and pays for the designers, producers, artists and programmers that form the four divisions of most games publishers. An interesting aspect of MMORPG production is the cultural differences in that Final Fantasy for example, which is predominantly and Eastern game, has around 75% passive cinematics (or linear video) and 25% actual interactive gameplay. He talks about the potential cross over in skills between traditional film and game production citing cinematographers, writers, composers, set and production designers have a role to play, whereas editors are more focused on the cinematic creation. Luke suggests it is only in the past year or so that how a scene is presented to the player is important and that is promising for traditional film creators especially lighting design which is going through enormous growth at the moment.

Luke finishes this insightful presentation by talking about the future and how AI will take a more dominant role as the next generation of SIMs type games come to the fore and emotional expression, realistic body language and character/personality will mean it becomes harder and harder to tell the difference between human or machine controlled avatars. The final element of the talk is about the ethical, control and moral dimensions of game access as well as the things Luke sees will make the difference between games and film blur to the Nth degree.

AFTRS Sydney 5 Sept 2006 – Time 57:46. Click to listen

All LAMP podcasts are also published through the iTunes store.

This presentation was highly interactive with lots of questions and has been edited to provide reasonable continuity.

Audio edited and processed by Gary Hayes.