This is the research diary of researcher Lisbeth
Klastrup, since february 2001 sharing her thoughts on life, universe, persistent online
worlds, games, interactive stories and internet oddities with you on the www.
Fellow research bloggers
Martin Sønderlev Christensen
Jonas Heide Smith
Terra Nova (misc, joint)
GrandTextAuto (US, joint)
Mirjam Paalosari-Eladhari (SE)
Jane McGonigal (US)
Patrik Svensson (SE)
Elin Sjursen (NO)
Adrian Miles' Vog blog (AUSTR.)
Other Related Blogs
Hovedet på Bloggen
Fellow Researchers, non-blog
Troels Degn Johansson
©Lisbeth Klastrup 2001-2007
Konsulat.dk is a nice site to check out, when you are looking into questions regarding travels abroad. It holds a link list with visa rules for most countries in the world! And also addressed Danish Visa rules.
A Politician on Blogging
As Jill has also noted, our ex-prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen has started to blog - and apparently he loves it. Now it furthermore seems, he might be the person to bring the concept of blogging to the wide Danish radio public. He was interviewed on the nationwide radiochannel P3 this morning - I quote from memory. "Yes, I write a weblog" says Poul. "Can you tell the people out there what it is?" says the journalist. "Oh, yes, it is a diary on the internet!" announces Poul gladly. "Why do you write a webdiary, Poul?" asks the journalist. "I really like it", says Poul. "I find it has sharpened my awareness of everyday occurrences, the way I look at things". "It is a question of putting form to emotion - like art and artists have always done - even if this is on a smaller scale".
It also turned out, that Poul also writes a more voluminous offline diary, which he intends to use for future bookprojects (confirming his rumoured workaholic habits). He also told the journalist why he likes to sing so much (Poul N R became infamous as prime minister for always asking people to sing along with old Danish soft socialist songs at the party meetings). "I love singing. People in Denmark should sing some more", he replied. Hmmh, I'm definitely like him more in the role of blogger than in his role as a somewhat publicly ackward prime minister. Judging from statements like these and the "tone" of his blog, there seems to be a life-embracing person hidden inside of him which really takes pleasure in the small things in life. Would I ever had known that without his blog - or would I have cared to find out? I doubt it.
Games-to-Film Frenzy ign article listing all those games to film projects currently in development.
Digital Genres Conference
The Digital Genres Conference in Chicago in May has a rather impressive line-up by now and lots of interesting presentations on weblogs. Wish I could stop by on my way back from Melbourne DAC.
Wireless Game Directory - all the games you can play on mobile devices.
Mapping Psychological and Virtual Spaces from MERL, A Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory, MIT.
(The Academic Essay Vault) at www. akademiskopgavebank.dk is not a bad place to go when you want to look for recent essays on all academic matters. I just found an essay on EverQuest (in Danish): Det Evige Forløb i EverQuest
Interesting things are happening in virtual world design theory. Architectural researchers are looking into the relation between spatial design and generation of content.
Drama and Context in Real-Time Virtual Environments: Use of Pre-Scripted Events as a Part of an Interactive Spatial Mediation Framework
Life of a "grown-up" academic...
Yesterday I spent "refereeing" (is that a verb at all?) a panel, an article, some applications. Throughout the day, colleagues and students popped by to ask questions, and on the side, I dealt with various administrative and strategic questions by mailing with colleagues in Australia, the US, Norway... I found out there is a deadline for an article (almost complete already as it will built on a chapter from the thesis) in mid-May. Today's mail contained queries from an English and Spanish student and two minutes ago, I had a quick chat with a guy who wants to use StoryMOO for a pedagogical experiment with some Danish school children. And I just learnt this morning that my paper for the A.o.I.R conference in Toronto had been accepted. Simultaneously, a lot of interesting organisational stuff involving the game researchers is going on in DIAC, and I now have the time to play a significant part in that, not the least right now. All in all, my agenda is already reasonably packed, while it is a hoot to be back in some form of social circulation again.
Part of me just wants to sit down and pinch my arm: it still seems slightly unreal that I am now suddenly an Assistant Professor and not longer "just" a ph.d student (or graduate student, as they call us/them in the US). I am indeed, effortlessly it seems now, reaping the results of work already done: the networks I have built, the publications made, the construction of StoryMOO, the organisational services, I have done during the last 3½ years. It feels good. I'm happy.
Today I am giving a guest lecture at Stine Gotved's course in English on "Time and Space Relations in the Media" at Department of Film & Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Looking forward to it, it gives me the chance to present some thoughts from the thesis in a new perspective.
Slides are here (nb! 7.2 MB, there are a lot of screenshots).
Somewhat drafty, work in progress, but feel free to take a look!
I like the way e-mails and blogs these days make me feel I'm part of an academic family, whose members never sleep at the same time and who are always at work somewhere in the world...
However, there are reports of spring sunshine and holiday happiness from many spots on the northern hemisphere which indicate that even academics sometimes do take time off to enjoy life (or to write about enjoying it;)). Happy holidays!
Cyberworlds Conference 2003
- they primarily focus on "information worlds", but include both education worlds and multiuser web games as topics.
Stephanie, student at Umeå University, is writing a project about blogging and of course, she blogs about it :). The Sum of My Parts. I heard about her project from Patrik Svensson when I visited Umeå in February and thought of her when I later learnt from Stine Gotved that a student at Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen was writing a master's dissertation about weblogs too. Also she is now writing a weblog: >U>post . Now today both blogs appear in my referrer list and ends might meet! And a lot of interesting thoughts to come out of it, I'm sure!
Markku Eskelinen and Ragnhild Tronstad have joined forces and written an essay on "Video Games and Configurative Performances" in the forthcoming (august 2003) The Video Game Theory Reader
Scott Adams on EverQuest and role-playing (Adams, a game programmer, from UWEC English Festival, 2001 - an oral presentation - I've cut and pasted)
Here’s an example. First day I’m playing this character, I get into the world and there I am in my loin cloth and my wooden club and I said, 'I’m going to role play.' You can role-play or you can be an avatar. Role-playing means that I am a creature that really lives in this world. I’m acting
Somebody comes up to me and says, 'Hey man, what level are you?' And I say, "Excuse me young sir, I am a new apprentice and do not know what this level is that thou talks about."
"I said what level are you!!!"
"Please do not shout at me I am just a lowly apprentice and do not understand this strange talk."
Jumping up and down, "What level are you!!!"
By this time he has attracted a crowd around us, I don’t know why. So we have other players standing around looking at this guy jumping up and down, yelling at me, "He won’t tell me what level he is!!"
(Sniveling voice) "I am a lowly apprentice. Please sir, don’t hurt me."
Interactive self-organizing narratives. You are in for a hardcore semiotic reading of The Lord of the Rings in this article by Peter Bøgh Andersen. However, in other articles I have read by him, he also presents some interesting perspectives on interactive narratives.
Brenda Danet's Studies of Cyberpl@y - Ethical and methodological aspects - good to read alongside Amy Bruckman's somewhat stricter ethical guidelines.
Another extensiveMMORPG list at RPGPlanet. (MMORPG: Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game - so no guarantee that other persistent world games are listed here).
And Jussi Holopainen on game studies as discipline:Games Without Frontiers (posted March 2003, at the Nokia site).
Game writing online - the essential links
Ever present Justin Hall: A Survey of Game Writing Online - I guess most links you need to know are here. Including Gamestudies.org and Ludology.org too :)
Showdown in cyberspace: Star Wars vs. The Sims.
Wonder why I didnt come across this article before? It has an impressive link list to all MMOGs expected to come out in late 2002-2003.
RTSs and RPGs: New Literacies and Multiplayer computer games by Catherine Beavis, Deakin University, Australia. Findings from a study of 6 teenagers playing online games, focusing on representation, identity and community.
Following some of the trails from the blog, I just posted about, I came across another blog by someone who has been writing about the role of weblogs in community building. He promises to upload his just completed dissertation later this month!
Life's a Blog and then You Die
Via the counter for this website, I came across a "new" blog: Ethno::log: cyberethnologica which looks like a potentially interesting blog for those interested in the more social and cultural aspects of online games and worlds. It is maintained by students and staff at Institut für Ethnologie and Afrikanistik in München - Germany, which indicates that here you might also find pointers to some interesting German articles on the subject. Which is not a bad thing, since there actually seem to be quite a lot of good research going on in the area of cyberculture, cybersociology, cybertext etc studies in Germany at the moment. :)
They have an interesting link to a BBC article on the use of voice in online games.
Sunday with Mozart
Today, my choir gave its annual Spring Concert, singing most of Mozart's Missa Brevis and his Ave Verum, accompagnied by organ and a string quartet. It went well, I think and it was really nice to be able to spend an afternoon singing without having a bad conscience because of a pending thesis ;).
Oh, and did you know, Mozart wrote his Missa Brevis when he was around 13? How's that for a minority complex booster?
Jill writes about what to blog and not to blog - or how you might use the blog to express personal emotions, albeit in an indirect way. Or how it is difficult to say something with the voice of your blog when your own voice suddenly sounds completely different.
I want to blog that it is exactly one year since this happened in my life. That is indeed a very personal thing, yet this event made it into my blog because I found it would have an impact on my life on all levels of it, professional as well as private. Since this painful experience was going to affect what I would be writing in the blog and how I would be performing as an academic for a significant amount of time to follow, it seemed naturally to at least "drop a hint" on what had happened.
During the past year, I have occasionally talked to colleagues (primarily male) who indicate that they read my blog and enjoy the academic bits, but they find there is a bit too much "personal stuff" in it to make it really cool or linkable all the right places etc. They never say it directly, but it is pretty obvious that they find the fact that I "express myself" emotionally a bit embarassing and profoundly uncool.
Experiences like this and the sense that perhaps sometimes I have "said too much" (even if I have erased it later), combined with the fact that I know students and future employers might be reading the blog, have made me think a lot about to what degree I would let my "private" voice mingle with the more professional one in this space. Eventually, I think I have come up with a compromise: I will write less about "personal stuff", but still let people know about significant events in my "private sphere" which might affect my academic life as well. Say (and this is just in theory!) that I was pregnant or going to get married or won the lottery; I sense it would be quite acceptable to blog this, much in the same way this would be the kind of change of the state of affairs, you would announce to your colleagues during lunch. However, death or break-ups and all the other negative aspects of life which hit you like a fist in the belly of your very being, they are somehow not as "bloggable", nor as suitable as safe discussion topics. Grief and anger are emotions much more difficult to deal with in Real Life than happiness and success, and it is no wonder that the expression of them might unsettle the voice of a blog as well. Yet, I find it is important to let students and colleagues know that I am not just a brain with clever thoughts, but a person who sometimes go to work having a really off-day because I am busy coming to terms with feelings and events happening in other parts of my life. Whereas it is difficult to announce one's state of mind on a post-it on the door, a blog is exactly, imho, a place where you can do that for those to read, who already care in the first place.
In the end, it all boils down to this: this is not always only an academic blog, but a blog about the life of an academic. Obviously, research topics are meant to take up most of the time and space here, but life itself will not go completely untold, just because it might be disadvantageous to my academic career, if I admit that I have one (a life, that is!).
Of course there is such a thing as an Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. In late February, they announced the 2002 winners of the Interactive Achievement Award.
Of special interest to me is the fact that they awarded The Sims Online for being the best "Massively Multiplayer/Persistent World Game" of the year (despite the many angry customer reviews - go check them out at Amazon.com). There seem to be a growing consensus in industry to call games like these (Massively Multiplayer Games ) "Persistent World (Games)" or "Persistent State Worlds". I usually refer to the very same games as Virtual Worlds and in my thesis, I argue why I still think "Virtual" is a defendable prefix. But in order to reach a broader public, it seems like it would be a wise move to start talking of "persistent (online) worlds" instead...
Staying in to play is an online 3D game environment which will evolve over a period of 90 days. John Paul Bichard is game designer in residence at Variablemedia.org.
Digital Aesthetics - Specific Readings
They took care of the binding and printed Tommy's cool frontpage...
It's on my desk and I'm tired as hell. But it feels like a ton of worries and guilty conscience have been lifted from my shoulders :).
Having champagne party in a hour to celebrate with colleagues and friends and ITU and _then_ I'm "working at home" for a few days.
Some embarassing 30 hours later than first ETA, thesis is now printed, sealed and pseudo-delivered at the ph.d.exam office in the next corridor. They will get last 6 copies early monday morning when the binding shop opens again. Thank god, BF stepped in and spent 7 hours at the copy machine making all the required double print versions of it or I would still be at it...
Approx. 330 pages.
And according to my ergo sensor system, I have hit the keys on my keyboard 258.223 times since monday morning.
I cannot really believe it is me who has written all that.
And btw, I am officially hired as an Assistant Professor at ITU as from this monday the 6th:)
You gotta love those people who have spent a lot of time putting perfectly ordered bibliographies on the internet for you to copy and paste from: Encyclopaedia and Hypertext - Bibliography
Raph Koster: Storytelling in the online medium
The IT University is very dark and almost scaringly quiet right now, but oh, so peaceful. The night guards have started to shake their heads, when they open the door to the office, Im borrowing, and discover that I'm still there.
- Still a few more chapters to finalise....
And before one gets too enthusiastic about the future of online gaming. The not too happy story:Electronic Arts stumbles in online world. - Mar. 4, 2003
YES! It is features like this, I need ;)
And I really want to find those hidden settings...
Another book for massive multiplayer developers (not as juicy, but lots of tech stuff):Massively Multiplayer Game Development
Via Tosca (who ordered it), this book made its way to my desk today:Developing Online Games: An Insiders Guide
- even more interesting designer stuff to lift from it - and nice tables like Jonathan Baron (X-box online producer) comparing single-user games with multi-player games.
Oh, and the book is written by two women: Jessica Mulligan and Bridgette Patrovsky.
My Other Places
Death Stories project
DK forskerblogs (DK)
klast at del.icio.us
Site feed Link (Atom)
Buy our book
Mobile Media 2007
Perth DAC 2007
My Ph.D. thesis website:
Towards a Poetics of Virtual Worlds
I also used to host & work in a world called StoryMOO.