(Wow, I havn’t been blogging for months…)
Last week I attended really fun and interesting games research workshop at HUMLab, Umeå University in Sweden. Originally, this workshop started out as a get-together of the Truants World of Warcraft guild, but then quickly turned into an actual workshop, with presenters coming from all over Europe and even the US. Since everybody except me came from an arts and social sciences background – games and media researchers, sociologists, history, ethnology – this was an experience which was rather different from the IT conferences I usually attend.
The schedule was a good mix of lectures and hands-on activities, ranging from Games as Social Systems, Gaming and the Gender Gap, Leadership to a Machinima Workshop. The highlight was probably the presentation of star guest Mia Consalvo, who talked about The Cultural Practices of Cheating in Digital Games. I found all of the lectures really interesting and engaging (a welcome change from some of the dry and boring technical talks I’ve seen elsewhere), even though I must admit that I probably lack a lot of the background knowledge. In revenge, I was able to torture an audience of arts researchers with a really technical talk about a World of Warcraft Mashup, including topics such as the internals of WoW addons and Semantic Web and other Web<->Game mashups, such as an Ultima Online Hack or RDFRoom. Actually, this mashup is something I will also present at the upcoming Semantic Web Scripting Workshop at ESWC2008. More about this soon, stay tuned…
I just have to add that, going very well with the topic of the workshop, the social event was a match of laser tag to the death! Basically a three team Warsong Gulch with laser weapons (And a dinner, of course…)