Zombie Apocalypse, Location gaming…

September 17 2010, 7pm:  Zombies are running amok in Bristol at the Igfest (http://igfest.org/). 200 players run around Bristol to 5 staged zombie areas, avoiding the Zombies. Caution these Zombies don’t just lumber around but run bloody fast at you.

It was a great night, though I moaned (continually) about being exhausted, the staged areas had actors in them to pass on the next safe location that you had to reach. 1st up was an abondoned convenience store, then a multi storey car park, freekily scary as we run round in loops before finding a safe stairwell. We then had a quick break in a sports bar, my friend Jon wisely had an energy drink, i had beer.

In the, usually closed, victorian public toilets at the end of Lower Park Row, the actors clad in medical gowns, blood splatter and a mental shouty nature. The next location was an unused police station, where in the cells down in the basement there was a zombie cop chained up and a map on the wall showing the next location.  As more baffled players turned up and didn’t get the clue, the zombie was bashing the map and groaning, kinda like when you’re suggesting a friend is stupid. (note; gameplayers are, occasionally thick)

Winning at 2.8 Hours later, 17/9/10

After a lung collapsing sprint up Unity Street with a 20 year old (?) nurse zombie chasing me and Jon, we found the safety of the winning line, were cleared as not being touched by zombies and had our win shot taken. The actors were great and realy helped with the immersion into the game.

Jon & I did a location based spy-game at university in Caerleon in 2009,  “Secret Agent Man” (see Jon’s write up of it at http://kablamo.co.uk/sam/ and there’s even a 20 minute documentary) using the bluetooth proximity recognition and clues. It also had 3 possible endings, when you get past the puzzles you are given the question that will decide if you kill the computer, the mad scientist Mada Nitram, or yourself if you are a fool.

Costumes were central to immersion into the game, the tux jacket, the coat of code and even t-shirts all helped, a bit, to suspend disbelief and make the game experience good.

So possible Final Major Project idea: Location game around the new City Centre campus in Newport, at the Nexus conference it was compared to a medieval castle with its tiers of access, ground floor for everyone, 1st floor for staff and students with the top floor being staff only. Would be able to include the riverfront probably which would extend the game space.  Could use more bits of Newport but would need to careful with players safety.

Igfest used maps, bits of paper, the poster etc to pass on instructions/clues. In SAM we used clues on the game phone and paper stashed in a book in the library. Moo.com have the ability to print 100 minicards with different backs, could use these as clues? maybe get 6 cards together to form a treasure map, or completion of a narrative, etc.




A ratio is the way that something relates to something else, but i’ll bet a £ to a pile of shit that you already knew that.

The ratio that i like to use in a completely incorrect sense is “Signal to Noise”, it’s correct sense is in electronics and if you wanna know more about that please see here but the way that i mean it is the way that we get flooded by information from all directions but so little of it has any relevance. Back when I blogged on myspace I was amazed with other users that had so many ‘friends’ that they would be utterly swamped by random dross.

Of course I try to be more circumspect, my limit for friends on facebook and those i follow on twitter is currently around the hundred mark or i just can’t keep up with the shenanigans of folk. But those on twitter that follow a thousand or tens of thousands can’t really be following them all can they? their updates must blur. There’s only 1,440 minutes in a day for goodness sake. All noise and no signal surely?

Some Ratios that seem to be ingrained in me, currently, are:

80/20 – This is a common business ratio, 80% of your income as a business is likely to come from 20% of your clients, conversely 80% of the trouble comes from 20% of the clients, they are very rarely the same 20% so a good business practice is to change the ratios, get rid of the trouble makers and try to increase the good fee paying customers. This ratio even has a name: “Pareto Principal” and spans peas in pods to land ownership in Italy and many more things, try to apply it to something in your life soon and see if it fits, i’d be delighted to hear.

70/30 – the funny ratio, so if you try to be funny its likely to work 3 times out of 10, obviously this is an average, some people fail 10 times out of 10 and some succeed at a much higher rate, make sure you don’t get stuck in a lift with the former… although perhaps avoiding getting  stuck in a lift is a better aim than worrying who else is in there. This ratio seems to have no support from the little googling i’ve done, maybe the person that told me it was just trying to get me to shut up 70% of the time.

90/9/1 – This is a ratio that is most relevant to this virtual space, 90% are viewers/consumers/lurkers that bring nothing to any content that is created, they don’t comment or interact, happy to just see what is going on while retaining anonymity. 9% of content consumers will add comments and interact and 1% actually create the content. This ratio came to my attention last year and I was hoping to find something on youtube that fitted it perfectly but unfortunately life aint so predictable or accommodating so this whole blog  has been holed below the waterline.

Here’s a tune to deflect attention from that failure:

Was this blog ‘signal’ or ‘noise’, it depends on what you wanted i suppose.

thanks for reading, laters, me


by which i mean to introduce myself and why this particular blog exists.

Hi, how ya doing? I’m gary smith, just turned 40, father of 3, about to begin my final year of my degree in Interactive Media and obviously many more things but that’ll do for now, apparently brevity is the soul of wit.

The final year of my degree course, mostly, consists of a Final Major Project, which will be exhibited at The Waterfront (Newport), by April/May 2011 and a critical paper (ie dissertation, 5k ish words, own question essay) that is due in January 2011. These blogs will document the journey to those deadlines and also hopefully support them too. Apparently I will be able to publish a book straight from these blogs which would be a handsome way to hand in.

The essay will be about the nature of beauty (perhaps)and how it relates to art, science and maths. My literature review in the second year considered whether science and art are separate in the way that seems to be accepted by society. Though the head of pollsters Ipso Morret (?) says that his job is “more of an art than a science” I reckon that differentation is a falsehood. I would like to look more into the ‘creative’ underpinnings to both disciplines.

I got to decide what my FMP will be, last years third years had to whittle down from 10 ideas so i’ll be blogging here ideas, so far we have:

Chaos Engine, wave particle demo,Time lapsish garden shots (control by dance mat is a plus!), GPS Augmented Reality, Exploded keyboard, interactive world model or other educational tools, location gaming, alternate reality, oversize techArt…

Along the way I will hopefully going to Igfest 2010 to try to stay ahead of 200 Zombies on the Bristol streets on 17/18 September and for 26 – 29 September I’ll be at the Flash on the Beach in Brighton looking at gaming on non Apple formats, as of writing…

Along with my twitter existence, (twitter.com/gsmokeyjoe) facebook, myspace, this, delicious, evernote, mind42 and many more i’ll be looking at how to join together the different social networks to become a bit viral, be a small node… Also got to look at signal to noise ratio, truth of the crowd, economic benefits to developing nations of IT and the whole bruhaha of this modern existence. Radio 4 just had a great show, In Business,  aboutweb 4.0, i was only just getting use to web 2.0! why do they never have version numbers that use the decimals, I wanna see web 2.5 before i commit to the full 3.0.

Yep that’ll do for now, gonna be here a couple of times a week, be great to hear any comments, suggestions, howdies along the way, it should be fun.

laters, g

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