Streetwise Billboards - Interactive Play Environments

Written by Jasmijn van Weenen, CRISP member I-PE, The Patchingzone. In 2012, the Patchingzone launched Streetwise Billboards: a project in which the Patchingzone’s team, together with students of Zadkine South, a Rotterdam based vocational school, are developing an urban street game that not only aims to create playful urban environments but also tries to increase social cohesion in Rotterdam South. In order to achieve this, different combinations between public space and (new) technologies are being investigated. Displays in the public space might be used, for example, as mediums to trigger passers-by to play the game. Under the guidance of The Patching Zone’s team of young professionals, the students experiment with new technologies and different elements of game development.

So far, the students have gradually discovered different layers of game design whilst working on creative programming, story telling, game storming and ubiquitous computing. To gain information about the context of the game, the students have also worked on environmental mapping and urban exploring in order to get to know the game’s location and its players, namely Rotterdam South and its inhabitants.
In December 2012, the team started working on geo - location aspects of the game. The design and development process raised interesting questions such as: “How to discover that an object holds a certain position in the game?” or “how to deal with proximity?”. The students and young professionals will explore the possibilities of having multiple players simultaneously in the game. Additionally, the next step will be to test the game’s prototype and to collect feedback to improve the work that has been done so far. This also requires bringing the game into the streets and having people play the game on a larger scale. Furthermore, the planned activities for 2013 include research into story-telling elements that contribute to a challenging game concept, which will trigger people to play the game.
The game will be launched in the summer of 2013.

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Janneke Vervloed

As a CRISP Knowledge Transfer Officer I will work with the scientific partners and the creative industry to scan the project results and experiences and help transferring these to the desired audiences.