an #archaeogaming unconference

Update: Mark June 1st on your calendars folks! https://unhangout.media.mit.edu/event/archaeogaming This is probably madness, but what the hell. Given the interest this past week in the intersection(s) of archaeology and gaming that seemed to be happening across various blogs & across the twittersphere, it occurred to me that this was a really good opportunity for me to learn how to throw a virtual unconference. (Wasn’t that everyone’s first thought?) So, in order to get a sense of what people might be interested in talking about, I cooked up an ‘all our ideas’ voting page which can be found here. It presents you … Continue reading an #archaeogaming unconference

Calling for #archaeogames – some thoughts on potential processes

Some months ago, I was talking with a colleague about the changing landscape of academic publishing. I was encouraging her to try some of these various open access and/or post-publication peer review and/or open peer review experiments that I’ve published in. Like any true believer, I was a bit annoying. A lot annoying. To which she sensibly responded: “But you were hired here to do that sort of thing. I was not. My goal right now is to secure tenure. I can’t have a bunch of ‘failed’ experiments or things that are too out-there on my cv when I go … Continue reading Calling for #archaeogames – some thoughts on potential processes

ludi incipiant! a call for #archaeogames?

Let’s play a game. In the wake of the #saa2015 #archaeogaming hashtag (as well as #ctp2015, ‘challenge the past’), and indeed Heritage Jam, I’ve been thinking about how awesome it would be to have a collection of papers dealing with archaeogaming (as Andrew defines it). Such things exist (although, as I tap this out, I can’t link to anything in particular) though they are more ‘reception studies’ than what I think we’ve been seeing lately. And then as I sat in traffic, imagining what a ‘call for papers’ might say, the penny dropped. Why call for papers at all? Why not … Continue reading ludi incipiant! a call for #archaeogames?

Play along at home with #hist3812a

In my video games and history class, I assign each week one or two major pieces that I want everyone to read. Each week, a subset of the class has to attempt a ‘challenge’, which involves reading a bit more, reflecting, and devising a way of making their argument – a procedural rhetoric – via a game engine (in this case, Twine). Later on, they’ll be building in Minecraft. Right now, we have nearly 50 students enrolled. If you’re interested in following along at home, here are the first few challenges. These are the actual prompts cut-n-pasted out of our … Continue reading Play along at home with #hist3812a

Historical Maps into Minecraft: My Workflow

The folks at the New York Public Library have a workflow and python script for translating historical maps into Minecraft. It’s a three-step (quite big steps) process. First, they generate a DEM (digital elevation model) from the historical map, using QGIS. This is saved as ‘elevation.tiff’. Then, using Inkscape, they trace over the features from the historical map that they want to translate into Minecraft. Different colours equal different kinds of blocks. This is saved as ‘features.tiff’. Then, using a custom python script, the two layers are combined to create a minecraft map, which can either be in ‘creative’ mode … Continue reading Historical Maps into Minecraft: My Workflow

Historical Maps into Minecraft

The folks over at the New York Public Library published an excellent & comprehensive tutorial for digitizing historical maps, and then importing them into Minecraft. First: thank you! Unfortunately, for me, it’s not working. I document here what I’ve been doing and ideally someone far more clever than me will figure out what needs to happen… The first parts of the tutorial – working with QGIS & Inkscape – go very well (although there might be a problem with colours, but more on that anon). Let’s look at the python script for combining the elevation map (generated from QGIS) with … Continue reading Historical Maps into Minecraft

Interview by Ben Meredith, for his article on procedurally generated archaeology sims

I was interviewed by Ben Meredith on procedurally generated game worlds and their affinities with archaeology, for Kill Screen Magazine. The piece was published this morning. It’s a good read, and an interesting take on one of the more interesting recent developments in gaming. I asked Ben if I could post the unedited communication we had, from which he drew on for his article. He said ‘yes!’, so here it is. Hi Ben,It seems to me that archaeology and video games share a number of affinities, not least of which because they are both procedurally generated. There is a method … Continue reading Interview by Ben Meredith, for his article on procedurally generated archaeology sims

Why I Play Games

(originally posted at #HIST3812, my course blog for this term’s History3812: Gaming and Simulations for Historians, at Carleton University). I play because I enjoy video games, obviously, but I also get something else out of it.  Games are a ‘lively art’; they are an expressive art, and the artistry lies in encoding rules (descriptions) about how the world works at some microlevel: and then watching how this artistry is further expressed in the unintended consequences of those rules, their intersections, their cancellations, causing new phenomena to emerge. This strikes me as the most profound use of humanities computation out there. … Continue reading Why I Play Games