Public Engagement at Bath

Supporting researchers to engage the public with their research

GameTale 2017

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Daniela De Angeli (Computer Science) was awarded £500 to deliver GameTale, a two-day game-focused event during which participants develop a game based on objects from museums.

GameTale is a free two day game-focused event held in Bath, where participants work to develop either a video game, a board game, or a card game. There are a series of objects that participants can use as a base for their game, so that a narrative will develop around the object in the game. The objects are either virtual or physical reproductions of artefacts at museums. They can include weapons, fossils, statues, furniture, etc. There are 3D models and 3D printed copies of all the objects provided during the event. So essentially, participants pick an object, design a game, and tell a story. The event is open to everyone.

The event ran for the first time last year when it was sponsored by the Centre for Digital Entertainment. It was hosted by the University of Bath and there were 9 teams made up of 30 participants who each developed a game over the two days. The schedule for the days started at 10am and went on late into the evening, with regular breaks throughout. The first day began with breakfast, followed by a short introduction to GameTale, and then the setup of the teams. After this, they began to look at the tools offered to choose the ones they wanted to use, which included Oculus Rift, Epson Moverio, Arduinos, and many more. After a lunch break, the teams began to design the games. In the evening, each team gave a short presentation about the games they had designed. Some of the ‘GameTellers’ decided to work through the entire night, and others turned up earlier in the morning than scheduled to continue working. The game development continued throughout the second day and by the evening, the teams were polishing their games and then each gave a final presentation on what they had achieved.

There were a total of five game objects and reproductions of museum artefacts offered by the National Trust (NT) and the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI). The NT offered an antique Urn from Dyrham Park. BRLSI offered a sculpture from Gahna, a Leopard and a drum; a Romano British bronze brooch; the tooth of a giant ichthyosaur; and the complete skull of Pelagosaurus typus. Following the weekend, there was a showcase held in the Elwin room at the BRLSI where the teams presented the games they had produced.

In 2017, GameTale will be running on 14-15 October. A room has been booked at the University of Bath, and the event is also being sponsored by the University this year. Registration through the website is now open and will close on 30 September. The registration includes answering questions on personal interest in video games, board games, card games, and museums. The museum objects for the event will be revealed at the beginning of October and the schedule over the two days will follow a similar pattern to last year. On 17 October, there will be a showcase of the games produced over the weekend held at the Bath Digital Festival. Daniela hopes for a bigger showcase this year with more feedback provided from the visitors who will play the games. There will also be an international speaker coming along to talk about the topics of history and games.

Daniela has sometimes found it difficult to secure objects and digital artefacts for the GameTale event, particularly with local museums due to their lack of available time. She has one object confirmed so far from the National Trust and she is awaiting confirmation for another two. However, Daniela has found that her experience from last year has helped her with the organisation this year and showed her ways she can improve her data collection, the advertisement for the showcase and the analysis of games that are produced. She wants to look deeper into the ways the objects are interpreted and how they are used in game production. Daniela is also looking to publish the games online, which she found too complicated to do last year as some games needed specific devices such as Leap Motion’s hand tracking and Google’s Tango to be played. She hopes to upload them in a way that doesn’t require any special tool to play them and to make the games more easily shared online.

Contact Daniela (d.de.angeli@bath.ac.uk) for further information about GameTale.

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