“Playmakers” film screening with Ivo Gormley: Wed, 21st, 4.30pm

On Wed, 21st Nov, 4.30-5.30pm we will show:

“Playmakers” a film about Pervasive Games by Ivo Gormley (UK), who is visiting us and will be available for questions:

‘Playmakers’ – free film screening at RMIT
Design Hub, Bldg. 100, Cnr. Victoria and Swanston Sts, RMIT, 4th Floor
This is a free public screening of this 30min documentary about new forms of play in public space.About the film:
Playmakers is a groundbreaking documentary the about the emerging phenomenon of Pervasive games. Over the last 50 years play has become an increasingly private activity. Now it is bursting back onto our streets.

The film features those at the forefront of the pervasive games movement, it includes games designers such as Blast Theory’s Matt Adams, Atari’s Paulina Bozek and Claire Reddington from the Pervasive Media Studio alongside technology heavyweights such as Howard Rheingold and anthropologist Mike Wesch.

Existing on the boundaries of art, games design, theatre and technology pervasive games take many forms – creep through the streets at night tracking down your enemies, hide stashes of treasure, report on the shoddy practices of rival news teams or collapse with laughter with a surrealist version of trivial pursuit. The film explores the implications of reclaiming play into the public domain and shows the possibilities offered by new technologies.


Channel 10 filming again!

Channel 10 were in the Exertion Games Lab again, having just visited last week and filming our interactive skateboarding rig, this time they shot the LumaHelm, our illuminated helmet. The results were great shots around the Design Hub, including Chad riding his bike safely as he used the LumaHelm to indicate. The picture shows Sebastiaan explaining the technology.


Filming our interactive skateboarding with Channel 10

Today, Channel 10 was visiting again, this time to shoot our latest project, Sebastiaan’s interactive skateboarding obstacle system called “Copy, Paste, Skate“. It offers visual, audio, and haptic feedback to extend and re-live the skateboarding experience of succeeding at a trick. This research helps us understand how interactive technology can support a sense of achievement, called Fiero in games.


3-year PhD openings in the Exertion Games Lab

3-year PhD openings in the Exertion Games Lab at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Application deadline: 31 October 2012

The Exertion Games Lab (exertiongameslab.org) at RMIT University (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) in Melbourne, Australia, is seeking exceptional PhD candidates to research the future of exertion games and play.

The Exertion Games Lab is looking for exceptional candidates who value an
interdisciplinary perspective, are highly motivated, willing to learn
a variety of skills, are extremely creative as well as technical, and also have highly developed analytical and communicative skills. Prior research experience is desirable and so are programming skills (such as in Processing, etc.) and hardware prototyping abilities (Arduino, etc.). If you do not have such skills, you should be excited about learning them. In essence, we are looking at potential for creativity, excellence and drive in relation to Exertion Games.

There are three PhD positions available right now:

  1. WEARABLE EXERTION PLAY: The PhD candidate will collaborate with an industry
    partner to research how wearable digital play devices can support people to live a
    more physically active life as part of a large-scale campaign. The challenge here is to
    utilize the partner’s knowledge about health and the data about their customers to
    improve the player’s health, while at the same time ensure player’s autonomy and privacy.
  2. DESIGN OF EXERTION GAMES: The PhD candidate researches how we can
    improve the design of exertion games to enhance both engagement and physical
    health benefits.
  3. EXERTION GAMES: We also have an opening for a PhD candidate who wants to
    develop his/her own topic around the notion of play, the body and technology.
    However, this position requires a scholarship (or self-funding), which you will need to
    apply for by the same deadline. There are different options available depending on
    your circumstances, application status (e.g. domestic or international) etc., ranging
    from ticking a simple box as part of the application (for Australian nationalities), to
    completely separate applications; see www.rmit.edu.au/scholarships/research (i.e.
    International students will be mostly looking at RUIRS, and
    Australian/New Zealand citizens at APA. There is also jason.edu.au for
    more scholarships, and your home country might also offer scholarships
    to conduct PhD research overseas, for example we had great
    experiences with DAAD and Fulbright.)

Entry requirements:

You will need to have a four-year degree (Honours if you have an Australian degree) or a
three-year Bachelor and a Master’s degree. Typical backgrounds are game design,
interaction design, human-computer interaction, computer science, industrial design,
electrical engineering and arts but we are curious to hear what you can contribute. All
nationalities are encouraged to apply. The PhDs in the Exertion Games Lab take 3 years. All
applicants will need to apply for and be accepted to the PhD program in Media and
Communication at RMIT University, further details can be found at www.rmit.edu.au/mediacommunication/researchdegrees

The application deadline is 31 October 2012. Start date is early/mid 2013.

The Exertion Games Lab is a new lab that researches the future of
gaming and play in order to understand how to design better interactive
experiences, in particular games that require intense physical effort
from players. We call it the intersection between gaming and sports.
Our research is focused on the merging of play, technology and the active human
body, drawing from research streams such as interaction design, human-
computer interaction and computer games research.

The culture in the Exertion Games Lab is one of interdisciplinary
work. At the Exertion Games Lab, we do not just philosophize and write
about the future, we actively invent it. We emphasize the development
of working prototypes in order to fully understand what play is, why
we play, and how we will play in the future. We do this because we
believe playing and gaming is a fundamental part of what makes us
humans who we are, and an understanding of this brings us closer to
our vision of a better world filled with interactive technologies that
support human values.

We are offering a great open-plan lab environment in the Design Hub,
Australia’s newest interdisciplinary design research centre at RMIT University.
You will be supervised by Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, who created the lab based on his prior
experiences from MIT’s Media Lab, Media Lab Europe, Xerox Parc, Fuji Xerox, Microsoft
Research and Stanford University.

Please email your initial expression of interest ASAP to us: exertiongameslab  at rmit.edu.au

Looking forward to reading your applications!
The Exertion Games Lab

* We should also mention that you will be doing your PhD right in the
heart of the world’s most livable city, Melbourne:

* Here is what Wired said about us:


2 more awards for the Exertion Games Lab!

The Exertion Games Lab received two more awards: Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller received a Certificate of Recognition for being RMIT’s Top Media Performers for 2012, and the entire team received the Media Star of the Year award in the category Research Team.


We have moved into the Design Hub!

We have moved into our new home, the brilliant Design Hub, RMIT’s flagship building for everything about design research! It is grand, open, collaborative and perfect for our research on games. Here are some first pictures; the space looks empty here, but we are already filling almost all of it with our gaming gear. The address is RMIT Building no. 100 (!), Level 4, corner of Swanston St and Victoria St, only 40 meters from the old location. We welcome you all to have a look! Thanks to Sebastiaan for the photos and David Powell for the Design Hub picture from Swanston St.


Freeplay 2012

We’re proud to announce that the Exertion Games Lab will be at Freeplay again this year! This time we’ll be exhibiting Hanging Off A Bar to Freeplay attendees in the Arcade and Expo section of the festival! Meanwhile, Danielle will be talking about Games and Movement, Ruth will be giving a talk on Games and Theatre, and Harry will be talking in two panels and also running the Spies by Night event.

If you’re in Melbourne between the 22-23 September, be sure to drop into the State Library of Victoria and try out all the great games! Check the Freeplay 2012 Program page for a full list of games and events: http://www.freeplay.net.au/program/


Workshop: Play in Unconventional Spaces – OzCHI’12

We’re proud to announce that Chad and Floyd from the lab will be holding a workshop on Play in Unconventional Spaces in November as part of the ACM conference OzCHI 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. We are now doing a call for participation! Please feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues!

Playful activities generally occur in defined play spaces. In particular, digital play has traditionally been confined to arcades and living rooms. The advent of recent technologies such as mobile devices allows us to play anywhere. However, the spaces in which we play inform the play experience, yet the relationship between play, technology and unconventional play spaces have received little attention so far. Spaces that afford playfulness are seemingly expanding along with our understanding of play in our culture. As a result, designers are required to rethink where, when and with whom we play when designing playful interactions and experiences. We are proposing a workshop to bring researchers and industry participants together to discuss how to design playful interactions for these expanding unconventional play spaces. The workshop will aim to support the development and understanding of future research, work and collaboration in designing playful interactions for unconventional play spaces.

Recommended goals and topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

• To provide a space for an exchange of ideas about play, games, and designing interactions that revolve around unconventional play spaces
• To gain a broad understanding of the issues and potential challenges faced when considering unconventional play spaces as a design space
• To raise awareness and appreciation of digital games and playful interactions in unconventional play spaces
• The role and significance of space in regards to play in our culture and society
• How to design playful interactions that do not intrude non-players’ spaces, and if they do, how to use it as a design opportunity
• How to design playful interactions that incorporate, invite or engage non-players

Interested researchers and practitioners are invited to submit a position paper or case study paper (2-4 pages) formatted according to the OzCHI format (which can be found here: http://www.ozchi.org/submit/submit.html) and email the organisers (listed below) by October 1, 2012. The papers should focus on current research activities, opportunities and/or interesting aspects of future work. Authors of accepted workshop papers will be notified on October 26, 2012.

Submission Deadline: October 1, 2012
Notification of Acceptance: October 12, 2012
Camera-Ready Papers Due: October 26, 2012
Workshop: November 26, 2012

Cagdas ‘Chad’ Toprak, Exertion Games Lab, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia – chad@exertiongameslab.org
Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, Exertion Games Lab, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia – floyd@exertiongameslab.org

More information regarding the conference, dates and venue can be found on the website below:


Exertion Games Lab wins 2 more prizes!

The Exertion Games Lab won both the Student Games Design Competition Award as well as the Audience Award at the ACM supported research conference “Fun and Games” 2012 in France! Chad Toprak and Josh Platt won the Student Games Competition Award with Bubble Popper, and Chet De Mel, Amy Huggard and Jayden Garner won the Audience Award with Musical Embrace. The latter win is particularly remarkable as Fun and Games is a research conference and the three winners have not even started their postgraduate degree yet. Also, Chad Toprak and Josh Platt did a very engaging presentation of their paper at the conference. Congratulations, in particular to those who helped with the development of the games back in Melbourne: Alan Chatham, Wouter Walmink, Eberhard Graether, Andrew Lewis, Hsin Yang Ho, Eric Dittloff, Sevcan Ali, Daniel Beilharz, Luke Dominic-Butterworth, Paco Casares and Nicolas Hower.

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