Chris Holden taught this course in the University Honors Program at the University of New Mexico in the Fall of 2010. We used place-based, mobile game design as a lens through which to study our city, and spent a lot of time with ARIS in this cause. He’ll be teaching this course again in 2011 with Alyssa Concha, a participant from 2010. Below are posted short synopses of the ARIS games the students in this class produced for a UNM campus public playtest at the end of the semester.
The process was just as important as the games that we ultimately produced. I felt that working through those brainstorming processes was one of the best parts of the class. It got me thinking in new ways that I had never really had the opportunity to before the class. Now that I do have those skills I realize how valuable they are, and I don’t doubt that I’ll continue to hone those skills.”
ARIS Games Produced for the Public Playtest
UNM Digital Graffiti Gallery by Ivan Kenarov
A simple but effective data-collection activity. Some see our campuses massive concrete and stucco surfaces as canvases. Almost as quickly, the powers that be paint over this work to return the space to its pristine state. Now you have to the chance to collectively map and curate this ephemeral art.
Downtown ABQ Geologic Tour by Kaylyn Peters and Erin Gallegos
Hi! I’m George the Geologist! I am the tour guide for the game, Downtown ABQ Geologic Tour. This game takes place in Downtown Albuquerque and explores various geologic materials that make up the buildings, and where these materials come from. The target audience for this game is elementary school-age children. Many children have no idea about the rich geology that surrounds them and this tour will expose the children to these features. They will learn to navigate the streets of an area that is most likely unfamiliar to them. The tour begins at Albuquerque Civic Plaza and ends at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, is about 0.3 miles long, and will take the children approximately 30 to 40 minutes to complete. This tour will be a fun and interactive experience for the children that will get them learning outside of the classroom!
Favorite Spot in the World by Jesse Darling and Marisa Rivera
We all have various spots that we experience in our day to day lives that we relate to in one way or another. Oftentimes, the way in which we perceive a spot will be drastically different than the way someone else would. And although these spots aren’t any more or less “real” than any other spot, our perception determines our view of them.
This game is a collection of various people’s “spots” and why they perceive them the way they do. In a sense, a “physical youtube” in which a player can see the world from the viewpoint of people around them, allowing the player to open up to the constant change that exists throughout the world we inhabit. Although each place may change depending on who is looking at it, the true nature of the place itself (although even this may change over time) remains solidified.
findyourself by Tyler Mound and Jaksa Osinski
The premise of this game is hard to define. It is a never ending quest filled with words of wisdom, deep questions, ridiculous commands, suggestions to interact with the people around you, hidden songs, and more. Most of the plaques and items are located on campus, but there is also a path that leads to the Bosque.
Sustainability Tour by Alyssa Concha, Page Brown, Darcey Dorman, and Tyler Mound
This tour is a partnership with the Sustainability Studies Program at UNM. Originally, the purpose of our sustainability game was to mimic the 10/10/10 sustainability tour given by the SSP on the University of New Mexico campus. However, as it evolved, the focus primarily became to inform players more generally about sustainability actions around campus. The tour is structured by the “3 pillars” of sustainability: people, profit, and planet.
In class, the UNM tour was simply a scaffolding activity, a familiar context for the technical and cognitive challenges of mobile game design. When IT coincidentally expressed interest in ARIS for developing a mobile tour, suddenly students were working for a client outside the classroom on a dynamic project that would live beyond one semester. Motivation went up; a website was designed to host the project and its data, providing access outside ARIS. Several of the students are committed to continued work with ARIS and have already introduced it to new potential designers.
Recycle Frenzy by Sandy Huynh and Tim Ngo
“UNM campus is littered with trash!!! Help us clean up campus by picking up any recyclables you run across. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find some use for the things you pick up…”
Funston Games by Jared Funston (Capture the Flag, Fugitive, Old Town Whodunit)
My goal for creating many of these games was to showcase ARIS’s functions while allowing players to interact with them. The content of these games was created to educate players about how to interact with characters, items, and quests in ARIS. This approach allows other ARIS developers the opportunity to incorporate content and features into their game without having to teach players how to utilize the features.
I chose games that are simple so individuals are focused on the games not a laundry list of rules or stories. The fugitive game is intended to teach individuals how to pick up and drop items in a strategic manner. The fugitive game should be played before capture the flag. The capture the flag game expands upon the gameplay knowledge gained in the fugitive game. The capture the flag (CTF) game was created so players will understand how to pick up, drop, and destroy items. The Old Town Whodunit game is meant to engage the player in the history of Old Town and to teach the player about quests. The Whodunit game also teaches players how to enter in codes to unlock items. The player should now be able to perform most of the simple functions in ARIS. This should allow players to engage in many of the simple games in the ARIS package.