Thursday, November 30, 2006

Second Life weapons sandbox battle

Here are pictures from the weapons sandbox in Second Life . People were working on Giant Robot skins when a group of Pac-Man heads showed up (2-d of course) and rumble ensued. The little white figure is Cute Robot avatar, designed by myself and Yi-Chen Mu for the Machinima project I am working on. The last picture is when I went to visit the Land of Furries.

Red Roadblock and Integrated-Media Strategy

Gareth Kay, head planner of Modernista!, came by my Intro to Media Studies class. Some of the students has been talking about the cross-media aspect of the Red campaign, and after the Thanksgiving MTV/VH1 Red “roadblock” (at 9pm that night, the Red Manifesto played across all the Viacom broadcast platforms), it was very nice to get the skinny from the horse’s mouth. Not that Gareth is horsy. He’s a very nice young English man in fact. Anyway. Here are the boldface points from Mr. Kay.

Interestingness beats simple…as in the formerly inviolable “keep it simple, stupid.”

Give people something worth thinking about. Stimulate the desire to communicate.

Value complexity.

Communication is not a single channel.

Subtlety should not be forgotten or undervalued

Advertising has been much slower than popular culture has been to work with complexity.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Futures of Entertainment Conference

CMS/C3 MIT Nov 17, 2006

Lots of acronyms here, but the bottom line was pretty sweet. Our fearless leader Henry Jenkins + a talented team of C3 researchers put together a conference Nov 17-18 on the Futures of Entertainment Some high points:

User Generated Content panel generated three principles for fostering a UGC friendly ecosystem.

1. Be really cautions about limiting user choice. Limiting choice (shot selection, audio clips, etc.) creates a backlash. The company running the platform should not limit the creator (user).
2. Be honest with your users. Let them know if you’ve screwed up.
3. It does not matter if UGC is “bad” or negative. At this point in time, the excellence is in creating, not looking at end product.

Ok, maybe two more

4. You can’t be more clever than the Internet. Architectures that invite participation are more likely to be successful than those that do not.
5. Participatory culture elicits emergent behavior. And emergent behavior is…unpredictable.

Now, there was plenty of debate within the panel about the status of professional producers and their fate in relation to the exponential growth of a user’s Web. Everyone agreed that participatory culture is a strong part of the future of entertainment culture, and, as William Gibson has quipped, it’s a future that has already arrived, just in mixed proportions.

Paul Levitz, President of DC Comics, who presented on the Transmedia Properties panel, gave me this back channel directive on gauging UGS or, actually, content in general. “Forget good and bad,” Levitz advised. “The equation exposure/sustainability is a more helpful measure.” In this case exposure includes issues of distribution and sustainability speaks to cultural value and stickiness. As DC is bringing under its own imprimatur indie (truly indie) online comics such as MegaTokyo, Levitz is certainly walking the walk.

Ok, so all of this might be helpful for Web 2.0 rules of success. But frankly, we’re already at a maximum capacity in networked-ness, connectivity, and uh, “friends.” So the beginnings of a conversation amongst this conference participants had to do with what kind of viable filtrations systems can be put in place for Web 3.0. More on that later.

Real-Time PGL stream

Here is a new stream for the blog: real-time. Diverse things “real-time,” such as mobile communications, machinima production, ubiquitous or big games, and virtual-world play all fall under this rubric. The purpose is to balance the specifics of “global” media investigations (where global means emergent nation) with the applications, objects, and people closer to home––my own local of the U.S. and neighborly vicinities. As we ease our way toward the horizon of first-world ubiquitous computing, it seemed to me that posting between different worlds can help move toward a better bigger picture. The streams influence each other so quickly, whether it is media artists in Tehran talking back to the assembled art world in Berlin or Chinese players on WoW…I reckon feedback is another category I’d add to Real-time.

If you, dear reader and correspondent, sign on for the basic tenet that the IT revolution has a greatly increased the streams of connection and fostered an explosion in means of communication, then I believe that you’re down for the ride of connecting the dots in real-time.

Update and projections: The second field trip to Chine is being planned. The next level research team is coming together. Pieces of the Research Report on Preliminarily Field Trip, Global China, 2006 will be uploaded here. AND site is being redesigned so search tools can work in a more accurate and flexible manner. Good archive for better future.