ETC Press is excited to announce the release of "Missions for Thoughtful Gamers" by Andrew Cutting.
ETC Press is excited to announce the release of the inaugural issue of
Well Played: a journal on video games, value and meaning
Minecraft, Beyond Construction and Survival Sean C. Duncan
Architecture as teambuilding in Left 4 Dead 2 Matt Haselton
Afterland – From well theorized to well learned? Konstantin Mitgutsch, Matthew Weise
Little Big Planet and Metal Gear Solid 4: Being Old Sack Snake Caroline C. Williams
*These essays were part of the Well Played Sessions at GLS 7.0, the 2011 Games+Learning+Society Conference in Madison, WI.
The Well Played Journal is a forum for in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. It is a reviewed journal open to submissions that will be released on a regular basis.
Contributors are encouraged to analyze sequences in a game in detail in order to illustrate and interpret how the various components of a game can come together to create a fulfilling playing experience unique to this medium. Through contributors, the journal will provide a variety of perspectives on the value of games.
The goal of the journal is to continue developing and defining a literacy of games as well as a sense of their value as an experience. Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis. By inviting contributors to look closely at video games and the experience of playing them, we hope to expand the discussion, and show how games are well played in a variety of ways.
For more information, and to purchase or download a copy, visit:
The ETC Press is an academic and open-source publishing imprint that distributes its work in print, electronic and digital form. Inviting readers to contribute to and create versions of each publication, ETC Press fosters a community of collaborative authorship and dialogue across media. ETC Press represents an experiment and an evolution in publishing, bridging virtual and physical media to redefine the future of publication.
All submissions and questions should be sent to:
etcpress-info ( at ) lists ( dot ) andrew ( dot ) cmu ( dot ) edu
For formatting guidelines, see:
Thanks to ETC Ambassador Michelle Macau for the story about the semester in Portugal Photos by Antonio Pedro Dias Gomes
Barely had all the students arrived to begin their first MET semester at MiTi (Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute) Universidad da Madeira in Funchal, that they received an Intro to Projects assignment: build 8 rehearsal cubes for Improvisational Acting.
Less than a week later, the 6 MET’ers, L-R: Alexander Goldman (USA), Duarte Teixeira (Portugal), Mara Dionisio (Portugal), Kushal Ponnam (India), Poan Shen (Taiwan/China), and Wein Chang (Taiwan/Canada), had successfully completed the task.
K.I.C.K. and Electric Owl Studios
Two K.I.C.K.’s, donated by the Entertainment Technology Center, arrived at UMa/MiTi mid-summer. One is to remain at the university and serve as a developing platform for MET’ers to create new and innovative content. The second K.I.C.K. is for the hospital in Funchal.
K.I.C.K. stands for Kids Interactive Creation Kiosks. Originally designed by a team of ETC students working with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2006, Team ER designed an original touchscreen and software suite to engage the children and their parents in a creative way that would alleviate the stress and anxiety that children and their parents feel when visiting the emergency room. The project outcome proved so successful that upon graduation, the team created Electric Owl Studios, one of ETC’s spin-off companies.
Patrick Mittereder and Phil Light of Electric Owl Studios (ETC alum and creators of K.I.C.K.), arrived in Madeira on October 4. They gave several workshops to the MET’ers on the inner workings of K.I.C.K. and gave a presentation about their company and process to the MiTi community.
During their stay they were invited to join the MET’ers in the first Adventure Module - Swimming with Dolphins. The dolphins, whales and turtles proved elusive; yet many had the opportunity to swim in ocean waters 6000 feet deep!
Second year students returned to Madeira quickly morphing into Team weTheme and began working with Parque Tematico da Madeira’s (Madeira Theme Park) creating content for the Future of the Earth exhibit, a CAVE environment presently themed as a space ship. New students included 2nd semester Min-Jung (Monique) Park, who transferred to Madeira and HyunJoo Oh from the ETC. http://www.etc.cmu.edu/projects/wetheme/
Patrick and Phil’s visit timed perfectly with weTheme’s ¼ presentation and the team benefitted from their and other MiTi faculty feedback.
K.I.C.K. Hospital Dedication Ceremony:
An official dedication ceremony to acknowledge the donation and installation of the K.I.C.K. by the ETC was conducted on October 12 at the Hospital Distrital Dr. Cruz de Carvalho in Funchal.
Even before the ceremony began, a child and his mother who were waiting in the children’s emergency room, began playing with K.I.C.K.
Honored guests included Dr. Francisco Jardim Ramos, Regional Minister for Social Services, Professor José Manuel Castanheira da Costa; Rector of University of Madeira; Dr. Miguel Ferreira, Hospital's Clinical Director; Dr. Pedro Ramos, Director of the Emergency Services.
Michelle Macau, ETC Visiting Faculty, gave a demonstration of the various games on the K.I.C.K. and expressed the ETC’s intention of the donation: to share the interactive kiosk with the hospital and thereby establishing links between the ETC/MET/MiTi/UMa, and the community in Madeira. She also played a short video sent by EOS’ Phil Light, thanking the hospital for placing the K.I.C.K. in the waiting room and expressing regret for not being able to be on-hand for the ceremony.
Other guests included several doctors and nurses of the Pediatric Services, Professor Pedro Campos, Vice-President of M-ITI's Board, Professor Monchu Chen, Director of MET at MiTi, and Dulce Pacheco, Project Manager, MiTi as well as various members of the local press.
L-R: Professor Monchu Chen, MET Director at MiTi; Dr. Francisco Jardim Ramos, Regional Minister for Social Services, Professor José Manuel Castanheira da Costa; Rector of University of Madeira; Dr. Pedro Ramos, Director of the Emergency Services and Michelle Macau, ETC Faculty.
Dr. Francisco Jardim Ramos, Regional Minister for Social Services and Professor José Manuel Castanheira da Costa; Rector of University of Madeira;
Finalists for the RoboBowl competition gathered last Thursday at the Posner Center before a panel of judges to determine whose robot would be the winner of a $20,000 first-place prize. For someone unfamiliar with the competition, “RoboBowl” may conjure up images of robotic fighting matches a la BattleBots. Think again.
RoboBowl is a series of robotics venture competitions meant to “find and foster start-up and early-stage companies seeking to develop ‘big idea’ products and services” that meet new needs, according to a Carnegie Mellon press release — very different from BattleBots indeed. The focus of RoboBowl Pittsburgh, the first in the RoboBowl competition series, was on robots designed for health care and quality of life.
As a result of the local hosting, both Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon were well represented in the competition: Three of the five finalists were startup companies hailing from Pittsburgh, while the other two teams were from Highland Park, N.J., and Mountain View, Calif. Additionally, one of the members of RescueBotics, the Mountain View team, is a Carnegie Mellon graduate student in robotics.
The winner of the competition was Interbots, a company made up almost entirely of Carnegie Mellon graduates from the entertainment technology and human-computer interaction programs. The team’s winning design, “Popchilla,” was a toy robot designed to help children with autism.
“We hope to leverage the connection children with [autism] have with robots,” Interbots CEO Seema Patel said during her presentation at RoboBowl.
According to Patel, recent research shows that autistic children have an easier time interacting with robots than with humans. Think of Popchilla as a technologically sophisticated puppet: Parents and therapists can speak through Popchilla remotely, allowing them to interact and guide children through activities.
Autism treatment with Popchilla can evolve over time through software that allows users to update Popchilla’s expressions and character, which can also be tailored to the personality and age of the child. Interbots plans to develop robots for educational and toy applications in the future, Patel said.
The other Pittsburgh-based finalists were TactSense Technologies and Origami Robotics. TactSense is a surgical robotics company whose instruments relay tactile information to a surgeon’s hands during remote-controlled surgery. The company, a spin-off from research at the University of Pittsburgh, was the competition runner-up. Origami Robotics submitted “MeMote” for the competition, a robot designed for autism therapy like Interbots’ Popchilla.
“Therapeutic robots right now exist almost solely in academic labs,” said Aubrey Schick of Origami, who is a Carnegie Mellon alumna. These existing therapeutic robots are well out of the price range for home use. However, MeMote, priced at $500, would be affordable for many families. “[Autistic children’s] parents historically are first adopters of new technologies and therapies,” Schick said.
All teams reaching the final round received $5,000, with the winner receiving an additional $20,000. For small start-up companies, small cash prizes can be crucial for the first stages of turning grand ideas into reality.
RoboBowl is organized by the Innovation Accelerator (IA) and the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC), two organizations attempting to promote American technological innovation. IA provides funding assistance for start-up and mid-stage technology ventures across many disciplines and applications. RTC is an industry group that advocates for robotics development for use by the Department of Defense and other government agencies.
ETC Press is excited to announce the release of "Transmedia Storytelling: Imagery, Shapes and Techniques" by Mac Giovagnoli.