A few months back, I got to aprticipate in a very very cool conference called “Ludium I,” organized by Ted Castronova. And today comes word that the Arden Institute webpage is now live, with the resulting conference report, institute whitepaper, and a 22 minute documentary on the conference.
Ludium I was organized as a game, not just a conference. The goal was to arrive at viable research proposals for the study of, and with, synthetic worlds. As we arrived, we were broken into teams, and a variety of games were played involving puzzles, tarot cards, impromptu presentations, and scavenger hunts — but all the games earned you was essentially tools in order to present your final research proposal more effectively.
The competitive spirit pushed the teams to get pretty creative, and the final presentations ranged from the controversial to the hilarious (definitely watch the video to see Julian Dibbell race his teammates to see who can unroll a roll of toilet paper the fastest). And yet the final results were completely viable projects; by the end of the weekend, there was one prototype in code in A Tale in the Desert, a paper game prototype, a area, and even a rough prospectus for a Virtual Research Foundation.
Both the documentary and the conference report are worth reading, if only to help expand one’s mind about what can be accomplished in online worlds.
In other news, Ted also tells us that
The New York Times carried a story about the economies of
synthetic worlds on December 9. ABC World News Tonight will air a story
in “mid-december”, and 60 Minutes in “early January”. Synthetic Worlds
will be reviewed “soon” in the New York Times Book Review.
This is all good news for the continued growth and acceptance of the medium.