From the Urblove project: The first Urblove – Creating routes workshop was held at Lilla Växthuset in Hermodsdal on the first day of winter vacation week. On site, there were six participants from RGRA, and eight workshop leaders / researchers.
The purpose of the workshop was for participants to create routes to Urblove, based on the locations of Hermodsdal, by using pre-designed materials. The goal was to get at least one complete route to transfer into the game engine. We were unsure if the goal was set too high, but instead we got two completed routes!
Collecting locations and outlining a game
Karin did a quick presentation of what a Urblove-game consists of; components such as locations, clues, story and target group. Participants were divided into two groups that were sent out to collect locations in the neighborhood. To support the task, they had a book that contained a map of Hermodsdal, fill-in pages for sites, and game drafts. When the teams came back both had an idea of what their games should be about, what locations would be included and which riddles and questions that were to be asked. The game drafts were used to support the teams in coming up with a story and a theme. The groups then presented their game ideas to each other.
Finishing a game
The teams were then to piece together their own game flow based on the sites they wanted to use. There were no problems for the groups using the provided materials to create a game flow. A little harder was to convey a story using only short text messages. They had an idea about what they wanted to obtain, but it was a bit difficult to get sufficient detail in such a short amount of time.
Eight workshop leaders / researchers and six participants
There were perhaps a bit too many spectators in relation to the quantity of participants. Maybe the best prerequisite for creativity isn’t having someone hanging over your shoulder, observing everything you do!? :)
In this workshop the game creation was mainly based upon locations and clues / riddles. To get more focus on storytelling, we might need to put more emphasis on this component, both in the introduction and in the materials that support the process of creating a game. One notion is for participants to have an idea of the story before they venture out to collect locations. Additional resources can also be developed to support narration, for example, the game drafts could be more focused on the game’s drama. Participants might also benefit from getting examples on how a story can be integrated into a game, by being able to access already created games.
Participants’ commitment and the outcome of the workshop
The involvement of the groups exceeded our expectations. To create an entire game route during one workshop is a voluminous task, and we thought that some resistance could occur, but that didn’t really happen. A bit into the detailing of the games, it was noticeable that the participants’ concentration faded somewhat, but they were still motivated enough to complete the task.
Two game routes were completed during the workshop, it was also a result that exceeded our expectations. Without much editing on our part, these game routes can now be transferred into the game engine. The notion that creating Urblove routes might be a fun thing to do was well supported by the feedback we received during the workshop, we think. :)