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Put your phones away

This video came out a couple of years ago. It’s wordless, but it says a lot. Of course, its nothing we haven’t heard before: people spend a lot of time in social situations looking at their smartphones. But they don’t really want to. Lets cut to the chase. There are a LOT of companies out there selling¬†(or trying to¬†sell) smartphone based apps for visitors on site. But¬†none of them are worth it. Continue reading →

Student Research: Recording Church Graffiti

Vicky Man is currently an undergraduate Archaeology student. She dug at Basing House in 2013, and is now coming into her third year at the University of Southampton. Vicky has been working on her major project since the beginning of the summer and spent the field season this year with us at Basing House collecting data for her research and working with staff and volunteers to think about how to tackle her fascinating topic. Vicky has written a blog post introducing her research. Continue reading →

Changing direction?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking around my participation in the Portus MOOC a few weeks back. This post is an attempt to get my thoughts in order, so¬†I apologise in advance for any disjointedness. First of all, let me edit in some thoughts on locatative gaming, prompted by a Guardian article on social gaming I read today while I should have been bashing this post into shape. Continue reading →


My Gimbal beacons arrived yesterday. These are three tiny Bluetooth LE devices, not much bigger than the watch battery that powers them. They do very little more than send out a little radio signal that says “I’m me!” twice a second. There are three very different ways of using them that I can immediately think of: I’ve just tried leaving one in in each of three different rooms, then walking around the house with the the simple Gimbal manager app on my iPhone. Continue reading →

My first abstract

I’m excited because my first conference paper proposal has been accepted, and it gets financial support to help me go deliver it. So in September I’m off to the University of Rochester, NY for their Decoding the Digital conference. I thought I’d share the abstract here. Now, of course, I have to write the paper. Abstract The creators of digital narratives, in the form of computer games, are experimenting with form as they explore story telling in virtual spaces. Continue reading →

Mary Rose

I took a trip with work colleagues yesterday to check out the new Mary Rose museum. For those international readers who may be unfamiliar with “Britain’s Pompeii” Mary Rose is a Tudor warship that sank in Portsmouth Harbour during a battle with the French. Half the hull, and an amazing number of objects were preserved in the silt, and the site has been a marine archaeological “dig” for decades. Continue reading →

A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer

There are a lot of things in Neal Stephenson‘s The Diamond Age which I love. If I’m honest with myself I hope to see¬†mediatronic paper and animated digital chops, for example, ¬†become real in my lifetime. There are other aspect of the world created in that novel, for example massive inequality in a post-scarcity society, which I hope we won’t see, but I fear we are already walking down the path towards. Continue reading →

Centre for Digital Heritage #CDH2013

Last Saturday I went to the inaugural conference of the Centre for Digital Heritage at the University of York. The first speaker was Professor Andrew Prescott, who gave us a salutatory reminder that the so-called Industrial Revolution wasn’t quite as revolutionary to those living through it, and that some of what we now realize were world changing developments, were not seen as such at the time. Continue reading →

Is the narrative in the game, or in the head?

In his post,¬†The Simulation Dream¬†(which I’ll forever thank Twitter for pointing me to), Tynan Sylvester sets out the Player Model Principle, which is “The whole value of a game is in the mental model of itself it projects into the player‚Äôs mind.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, wrestling with the sometimes incredibly didactic way in which cultural heritage organisations can tell their stories. Continue reading →

Twitter is your friend

I note that one of the most popular searches driving traffic to this blog is “narratology vs ludology.” I must admit, I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve written only one post addressing that debate, and over all, I guess I’m taking quite a narratological point of view. This post however may begin to address the balance, as this is where I begin to get all “ludological. Continue reading →