Science entertainment in Hopefield

‘Adventure Sport and Science Tourism’ was a point on my very first business card. I think I had something like the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory in mind, coupled with orienteering and adventure racing. Now I am thinking to have a ‘Science Barn’ where one can have Virtual or Augmented Reality events, and, you know, entertaining events that educate in the fields of STEM, with the Social Science angle ala STEMS2 . My problem is that although I can rationally assert that these are all very important, I get bored with these. They are not fun or extreme enough and actually, I don’t need to conform to a curriculum or whatnot. I also don’t want to invest in things that stand there gathering dust. Better to invest in things I’d use, but that can also be opened up to the public. So this post is a reminder of the stuff I’ve come across that I’d like to try out, and maybe it can generate excitement and income on the side.

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Indequus*

* just toying with words, indie equus, indiebio + equus … this post is about horsey games.

I’m doing this serious game thing, but I also have to confess my love of match 3, especially PlayRix‘s games. And merge games (Merge Dragons!) and 2048 games that are pretty, like NLabSoft’s Age of 2048. And clicker games, like Abyssrium Tap Tap Fish. I particularly like the low poly designs. I also love horses, and have played many of the horsey games but they get a bit annoying. I would like a horsey game that’s like an aquarium game, or a kitten game. You don’t expect fishes or kittens to do stuff, you can just watch and enjoy them. So I want to make my own horsey games, starting with a reimagining of PlayRix’s Wildscapes game, with horses.

This post is supposed to track my progress, and throw it out to the interwebs in case people can help. Things I think I need to master to get there:

  • Graphics – background and moveable items
  • Short animations on home screen
  • Match 3 dynamics
  • How to get an app into the Android store (I’m only interested in mobile, on Android.)
  • Payment options? (I’m not bothered about payment, but if the effort to get the payment options in there is low, then why not)
  • Is it possible to hack / reverse engineer a game like Wildscapes and then put one’s own graphics in? Would that be a bad thing?

Art-Science Initiatives in Scandinavia

I’m planning a three month (give or take) residency in Scandinavia – Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. It needs to be in winter because I’m still obsessed with the northern lights and other phenomena (check it out: http://spaceweather.com/). And yes, also, because maybe I want to leave SA. Who doesn’t, at this point? And if I go, I need to know I can survive the winter. I’m also seriously considering buying a place in Hopefield, because, animals, space… so not that serious about leaving SA. Maybe a halfies halfies thing, at best.

While there I have to make myself useful, and because I’m on this game thing at the moment, connecting with art-science initiatives like geospatial art is a great way to make networks, get inspired and maybe start a North-South collaboration that could result in something like the Eden Project in SA, or ‘Skills on a Train‘ vocational training or … in short, have fun. This page is researching what is out there – including funding to get me there.

To do: ask Thomas Niederoest and Hadley Arnold. And keep an eye on the DIYBio stuff. urban interventions – natalie jeremijenko?

While open-ended, I’m particularly interested in information design, biotechnology (in the DIYBio sense), geospatial, urban interventions and urban resource flows. Lower priority areas include animatronics, biomimicry, entertainment. I would prefer working with independent organisations rather than academic institutions, and open-source mindsets.

I guess I could just go to a well functioning hacker space with my own projects and then just see what emerges. I just realised though, that I want to be beyond the arctic circle (latitude 66.5), and the stuff seems to happen on the 60th latitude (Oslo 59.95, Helsinki 60.17, Stockholm 59.32, and Copenhagen 55.67, by the way, via Wiki). (ha! I thought, why not do a symmetrical collaboration, but Cape Town is a measly -34 degrees latitude. So not an easy marketing move)

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DIYbio – fringe biotech

synonyms (but not quite): biohacking, hobbyist biotech, garage biology, kitchen biology, citizen science, peer production, bioart, and biopunk.

Post-PhD I’m keen to get back into biotech, but frustrated that most links I find doesn’t reflect what I want to do. Turns out this is a area of study; this post is a reflection on a recent article by Nora S. Vaage (Fringe Biotechnology, March 2017, open access). Like the art-science post, I’m so haggard from the ideologies, the ‘radical <insert word here>. I want to work with people who quietly just get on with it. The quiet bit, of course, makes it hard to find out about them.

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Refining the game idea at DebConf19

The slide presentation using reveal.js for my talk is here: http://indiebio.co.za/slides/DebConf19_Bernelle_Verster_20jul19.html#
The video recording of the talk (30 minutes) is available on the DebConf website: https://debconf19.debconf.org/talks/111-the-metaverse-gaming-and-the-metabolism-of-cities/

After the talk I thought more about the privacy issue, and remembered a slightly different version of what I planned to do, that I revisit here. I think this is more achievable to start with, and possibly more elegant.

The complete setup of the game is like a macaron.

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SAGTA presentation: The metaverse, gaming and the metabolism of cities; Building connection across boundaries

IN DRAFT

This talk was given at the South African Geography Teachers Conference (SAGTA) in Pretoria on 21 June 2019. The talk was well received and I found useful resources related to GIS. I hope to pilot a version of the game, or at least the data gathering and interpretation in a school project which would help update the geography curriculum too.

The presentation is in html and can be found here (link to follow) or downloaded in pdf here (link to follow).

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Events: The metaverse, gaming and the metabolism of cities

The recent drought in Cape Town taught me that as experts, we are terrible at making complex things understandable to the public. We are terrible at giving good advice; simple, quick actions to take in a crisis, that we feel also helps with the big picture.

Worst of all we don’t contribute to the conversation that builds the trust that we need to draw from in times of crisis.

In an effort to find a way to do exactly that, I am trying to combine the joy of gaming, the beauty of information visualisation and the rigour of urban metabolism studies. Continue reading “Events: The metaverse, gaming and the metabolism of cities”

Braindump: Metaverse, gaming and metabolism of cities talk

As soon as my talk appointments solidified I froze up with writer’s block, and the, to me, massive challenge of learning all the stuff just to tell the story of what I want to do, nevermind doing it! For a start, I would like to give the talk in Javascript to make it interactive and allow better transfer between platforms (I think … html and all that??), which is enough of a challenge already. So, to help myself unclog, a dump of the rough notes I’ve been accumulating. This post will probably change often, but stay messy, and each talk will get its own dedicated post as the focus will be unique for each.

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