we have a new artist in residence re. our open call:
HEATHER KELLEY of kokoromi fame !
Heather Kelley is moboid, a computer and video game designer and interactive artist. Her twelve-year career in the games industry has included AAA next-gen console games, smart toys, handheld games, serious games for behavioral change, and web communities for girls. Heather co-founded the experimental game collective Kokomori in 2006 to champion games as an art form, and produces and curates the yearly GAMMA events to promote original indie games as creative expression in a social context. For seven years, Heather served as co-chair of the IGDA’s Women in Game Development Special Interest Group. Her sex game concepts Lapis and Our First Times won the 2006 MIGS Game Design Challenge and 2009 GDC Game Design Challenge, respectively.
As moboid, she has created interactive video installations using game engines such as Quake and Unreal. She holds an MA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she is an alumna of the Advanced Communications Technologies Laboratory.
check her impressive CV
Heather won the game design callenge @ this years game developers conference with just 36 hours of preparation, while their competitors had weeks to come up with concepts for a game about “your first time” !
The development of new tools and processes is profoundly changing the way computer games are made, and who makes them. The game creation process, including the software tools themselves, is becoming more playful, personal, and open. Many efforts are underway to attract new creators to games, adding diverse voices to the discussion of goal-driven interactivity.
Simultaneously, new visualization tools are making it simpler and more gratifying to examine and understand the data produced by information-rich systems.
Creative game designers without a background in computer science struggle to learn specific tools and techniques — namely, programming — which would enable them to create game systems from scratch. My intention for this residency is to make transparent my own attempts at learning intermediate coding techniques needed to write games, revealing the unique emotional and intellectual effort needed to create these complex expressive systems.
In Live Game Code, I will simultaneously demonstrate and illustrate my attempt to create a playful goal-driven system from scratch. Equally importantly, the final content of the game I create will address subjects of personal relevance, such as interpersonal connection, experimental aesthetics, and meaning through interaction. In other words, the final game will not exist comfortably within a standard game genre such as space shooter or platformer – my personal fight is to create a game with meaning.
The piece takes the form of a multi-day “live coding” event, where visitors to the Subotron Shop can watch my working process: both by my physical activity on site, as well as the software activity being analyzed, visualized and projected. Live coding, as it has existed thus far, is usually done with specific flow-based tools like Max/MSP, within a performative context — a musical/visual presentation of a few hours at most. The Live Game Code event, on the other hand, will focus on the longer-term and continuous design and coding of a game, using game-friendly development tools like Python, Processing, Unity, or the LOVE engine. In addition, I will display visualizations and audio interpretations of the code created throughout the process, exposing the normally private game development process for public observation.
The data visualization framework of Live Game Code will gather interesting information from the code-writing and game-making process, and interpret it visually and audibly, much like the code_swarm project, but will focus on code details. For instance, a graph could plot “lines of code written per hour” or “number and type of crashes” (complete with algorithmicallygenerated sounds for each failure). Visualizations could even poke fun at the procrastination process by comparing those numbers with “number of times Facebook is checked.” This framework will be built in such a way that new variables can be added and tracked over the course of the residency.
The physical and public manifestation of Live Game Code is a configuration of hardware, furniture, performance, software, display screens, and floor space, all in an accessible location such as the Subotron Shop. In addition to a work desk, chair, computer, and projector, the configuration could include beanbag chairs or other casual seating arrangement, to add interest and accurately recreate a real-world coding environment. Human abjection in response to the demands and seductions of technological work is not the main theme of the piece, but the longterm effects of the human-computer relationship might be observed in the form of dishevelment,
exhaustion, and error (as visualized).
In essence, this work makes visible the learning and coding process, but does not render it virtuosic. Live Game Code will instead reveal, with humility and humor, the struggle to learn and the mistakes that lead to real change and growth. My hope in so doing is to encourage a new chapter in the history of game culture.