ReFiG: IN SITU

 

This project is a collaboration between game:play and Super Ordinary Lab.

IN SITU is a research project in partnership with Ubisoft Toronto funded by ReFiG (http://www.refig.ca/) that examines the opportunities around and impact of internal and external efforts aimed at creating a diverse and inclusive work culture in the game development industry.

The primary research goal for the project is to explore the factors that create an environment and culture of diversity, inclusivity and belonging (DIB) for game developers who identify as women at Ubisoft Toronto. This pilot stage of an ongoing research collaboration has been designed to feed into and support a diversity, inclusion and belonging initiative organized around internal task forces being rolled out at Ubisoft Toronto. 

The research insights from an environmental scan and ethnographic interviews will provide context to the primary research question and will inform the development of the task forces and programmatic initiatives at Ubisoft Toronto. A secondary phase of the project will evaluate the efficacy and impact of the task force programs through ongoing developmental evaluation. 

The collaborative nature of this research is central to it’s goals, partnerships of this nature are essential to build sustainable bottom-up DIB initiatives that are well informed, understood and embedded within existing corporate structures, practices and people. 

 

This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

SSHRC Logo

Creator: 
Advisor: 
The logo for Ubisoft Toronto
Monday, July 16, 2018 - 4:30pm
Lab Member: 
Emma Westecott
Suzanne Stein
Cheryl Hsu
Kashfia Rahman

From Within an Active PoV: Feminist VR Game Making

From Within an Active PoV: Feminist VR Game Making is a research-creation project that investigates a feminist intervention in virtual reality game-making. It aims to build a generous and inclusive coalition of feminists in games by bringing feminist VR makers together and studying how, what, and why they make VR games.

From Within an Active PoV builds on the research of ReFiG, a 5 year project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Composed of an international collective of scholars, community organizers and industry representatives, ReFiG is committed to promoting diversity and equity in the game industry and culture and effecting real change in an often myopic space that has been exclusionary to many. ReFig accomplishes this by intervening in four areas: game cultures, the games industry, informal learning environments, and formal education.

Unlike the world of commercial digital gaming, the VR ecosystem includes diverse voices: marginalized makers are visible in this emerging sector of technology (for example, CFC Open Immersion lab is open to indigenous artists and artists from the global south).  The inherent physicality of VR (which involves two audiences: the immersant and the voyeur) is also an opportunity to explore feminist approaches to game-making. From its development in the early nineties VR art has been driven by female artists, including works such as Catherine Richards’ Spectral Bodies (1991) and Char Davies' Osmose (1995). This clearly indicates a feminist interest in the ability of VR technologies to extend and reconfigure embodied experience. By featuring a living body, performance (and subsequently VR) allows women to “assert themselves as the active and self-determining agents of their own narratives” [1].

Through feminist game jams (distinguished by methods engaged and identification of participants) supported by multiple approaches to research documentation situated in OCAD University’s game:play lab, From Within an Active PoV will produce a series of VR sketches that explore, document, and instantiate a range of feminist approaches to processes of capture, design and development and interface.​ Engaging politically motivated activity in game cultures should grow from a purposeful playfulness in approach: playfulness is a much more potent force than direct conflict and offers an important means of engagement. 

​This will culminate in public exhibition and a co-Laboratory. Interested ReFiG researchers will join an open call for participation to these research jams. The jams will be documented using multiple methods (audio, video, note-taking, sketching, mapping, etc.) and the outcome shared in a range of channels including publication (academic and on the web), learning kits (for use in community and classroom) and via exhibition.

Additional Resources:
ReFig Website 
CFC Open Immersion Lab

1. Wark, Jane. 2006. Radical Gestures, Feminism, and Performance Art in North America. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

 

SSHRC Logo

 

 

Creator: 
Photographs of immersants interacting with VR technology
Photograph of girl kneeling while playing a VR game
Photograph of two people: an immersant steps forward while interacting with VR and is observed by a second person
Photograph of a person using VR. Their right arm is extended forward as they move through the game world.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 11:00am

Wednesday: LEVEL UP 2017 Showcase

Detail from poster
Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 5:00pm to 10:00pm

The 7th annual Level Up Showcase puts the spotlight on Ontario's most talented post-secondary students in game development, using the latest platforms and tech, including VR, motion sensing and more.

This year featuring over 14 institutions, the Level Up Showcase is the biggest Toronto event for players, developers and recruiters, to get the inside scoop on the future leaders of the game industry. 

Participating schools:

  • Algonquin College
  • Brock University
  • Centennial College
  • George Brown College
  • Humber 
  • Laurentian University
  • Niagara College Canada
  • OCAD University
  • UOIT
  • University of Toronto
  • York University
Venue & Address: 
Design Exchange 234 Bay St., Toronto
Cost: 
FREE

Playtesting at Ubisoft

OCAD U student Oscar Fletcher takes us to Ubisoft in Toronto to playtest video games created by game development students in advance of Level Up, the biggest showcase of student video games in Ontario. The free event is April 5 at Design Exchange.

 

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Faculty member’s game launches with new Sony Playstation VR

Logo image: Super hyper cube
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 4:00am

A video game designed by Cindy Poremba, faculty member in the Digital Futures program, is accompanying the launch of the highly anticipated Sony PlayStation VR on October 13. Superhypercube is a creation of Kokoromi Collective, made up of Poremba, Heather Kelley, Phil Fish and Damien diFede.

PlayStation VR is a new virtual reality head-mounted gaming display that works with the PlayStation 4 video game console. Reviewers who have received advance access to the game are giving it high praise. As one writer put it “when I’m not playing Superhypercube, I’m wishing I were playing Superhypercube. It’s a deep, beautiful, and superbly crafted arcade puzzle experience.”

Game description from Kokoromi:

Superhypercube is a VR "first person puzzler" with classic controls and intuitive shape-matching gameplay. You control a group of cubes and rotate it to fit through a hole in a wall that is constantly moving toward you. Each time you fit through another wall without crashing, more cubes are added to your cluster. Head tracking is critical in the game – as your cluster of cubes gets bigger, you will need to lean around it to see the hole and quickly determine what rotations to make.

 

 

 

Feminists in Games (FIG)

Feminists in Games (FiG) is a SSHRC-funded network development grant in partnership with Dr Jennifer Jenson at York University. The purpose of the project is to gather an international research association of digital media researchers to better understand the origins and consequences of the gendered digital divide and intervene in its reproduction.

OCAD University Graduate Researcher Madeline Ashby is funded to produce research for distribution by FiG. For Great Justice is a manual for feminist activism in the video game culture, community, and industry. It chronicles and examines successful strategies for activism, including examples from Occupy Wall Street, the Riot Grrls, Pussy Riot, and others. It models these movements and highlights the most effective traits of each. It then advises on strategies for activism and agency within online gaming communities and corporate video game development environments. With these strategies in place, individuals and communities can work more effectively for gender justice at work, at home, and at play.

FiG has funded 5 proposals for projects to receive incubator funding listed at http://www.ludicjunk.com/fig/ and Emma Westecott from OCADU will mentor the PsXXY¥borg (pro­nounced “cyborg”) project with game artist Hannah Epstein.

Resources:

Materials and publications reviewed and created over the course of this project will be collected in the library of a group on the academic social bookmarking service zotero.

Reflections on research will be gathered on Tumblr for easy access, populated with links of interest and lengthier reflections on the design of compelling information interfaces.

Project Deliverable Downloads:

In development.

Project blog: http://www.ludicjunk.com/fig/

Creator: 
Advisor: 
Sponsor(s): 
Poster with blue bands for the event
Monday, September 10, 2012 - 7:15pm
Lab Member: 
Madeline Ashby

Pitfall Planet makes indie game finals

Pitfall Planet video game image
Pitfall Planet video game image
Pitfall Planet video game image
Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 3:15pm

A game designed by team of OCAD University and University of Toronto students has made it to the finals at the 2016 Independent Games Festival in San Francisco. Pitfall Planet is a co-operative puzzle-solving game where players help two robot astronauts return to their home planet.

Pitfall Planet is one of five games vying for the $3000 prize for Best Student Game, which will be awarded during the festival taking place March 14 to 18. Named Best Overall Game at last year’s Level Up showcase in Toronto, Pitfall Planet is the creation of the team behind Bonfire Games:

Get lost inside these drawings

Matthew Chapman is a fourth-year drawing and painting student at OCAD University.

Among Matthew’s creations is a murder mystery game inspired by the popular board game Clue.

“The Black Manor is a plan for an ultimate dollhouse murder mystery game. It’s based on the board game Clue, which I've been an immense fan of since childhood. This game, as you can see, is intended to have a multi-roomed mansion.”

Ink Drawing of the Interior of stacked houses

 

There was a deleted chapter from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that was first published last year, and Matthew has illustrated a scene.

“There were extra children in the deleted chapter, including Miranda Mary Piker, a bratty teacher’s pet with a school headmaster as a father. I decided to illustrate in pen and Photoshop the cut chapter detailing Miranda and her father falling into the Spotty Powder Mixer; a machine that grinds powder to make children sick to evade exams. The Oompa Loompas' sing: 

Oh Miranda Mary Piker,

who could ever, ever like her,

such a nasty, disobedient kid. 

So we said, we shall fix her, 

inside the Spotty Powder Mixer

and we'll like her even more than we did. 

 

 

Family looking down spooky stair well with giant spider at the bottom

 

Matthew doesn’t just focus on ink drawings — check out the incredible detail in this Titanic image.

“This is an accurate cross section is of the RMS Titanic back when I did a theme exhibition on the ship in 2012. Made this entirely on SnagIt 8.0.” 

 

Drawing of the Titanic

Get lost inside incredibly detailed drawings by Matthew Chapman this #Inktober

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - 4:00am

 

Matthew Chapman is a fourth year drawing and painting student at OCAD U.

Among Matthew’s creations is a murder mystery game inspired by the popular board game Clue.

“The Black Manor is a plan for an ultimate dollhouse murder mystery game. It’s based on the board game Clue, which I've been an immense fan of since childhood. This game, as you can see, is intended to have a multi-roomed mansion.”

Ink Drawing of the Interior of stacked houses

 

There was a deleted chapter from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that was first published last year and Matthew has illustrated a scene.

“There were extra children in the deleted chapter, including Miranda Mary Piker, a bratty teacher’s pet with a school head-master as a father. I decided to illustrate in pen and Photoshop the cut chapter detailing Miranda and her father falling into the Spotty Powder Mixer; a machine that grinds powder to make children sick to evade exams. The Oompa Loompas' sing: 

 

Oh Miranda Mary Piker,

who could ever, ever like her,

such a nasty, disobedient kid. 

So we said, we shall fix her, 

inside the Spotty Powder Mixer

and we'll like her even more than we did. 

 

 

Family looking down spooky stair well with giant spider at the bottom

 

Matthew doesn’t just focus on ink drawings – check out the incredible detail in this Titanic image.

“This is an accurate cross section is of the RMS Titanic back when I did a theme exhibition on the ship in 2012. Made this entirely on SnagIt 8.0.” 

 

Drawing of the Titanic

 

Higher Learning

Higher learning poster
Friday, February 21, 2014 - 4:00pm to 6:30pm

Presented by the Toronto International Film Festival with OCAD University and Sheridan College

Douglas Wilson on Us and the Game Industry

Post-secondary students and faculty are invited to join game developer Douglas Wilson for a screening of Us and the Game Industry, a feature documentary from director Stephanie Beth investigating design principles with contemporary computer game developers. Those profiled in the film include: Douglas Wilson of Die Gute Fabrik (Johann Sebastian Joust, Mutazione); Jenova Chen, John Edwards and Robin Hunicke of thatgamecompany (Journey); Jason Rohrer (The Castle Doctrine); Alexander Bruce (Antichamber); and Zach Gage (SpellTower).

Douglas Wilson is co-owner of Die Gute Fabrik, a small game studio based in Copenhagen and New York City. Doug has developed a number of physical and installation games including Johann Sebastian Joust, which received the Innovation Award at the 2012 Game Developers Choice Awards. He is currently producing two commercial games projects, Sportsfriends and Mutazione.

Stephanie Beth is an independent documentary producer and director for Common Dreams Ltd. With decades of involvement with documentary production and teaching with and about media, she has sustained an ethnographic interest in the human condition in the modern and then contemporary world. Her films include Us and the Game Industry (2013), In Joy (1980), and I Want to be Joan (1977).

HOW TO OBTAIN TICKETS TO THE GUEST SPEAKER EVENTS:

University and college students
Same day ticket availability: Tickets for each event will be made available on a first-come, first- served, basis. Tickets are limited to one per person and are available one hour before the event's start time at the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office on the first floor of TIFF Bell Lightbox, located at 350 King Street West. Students must show valid college or university cards for admittance.

Faculty members and administrators
Advance bookings: Faculty members and administrators can reserve blocks of tickets for their classes, 30 tickets per professor. Please send your request to hlf@tiff.net, putting the name of the specific event in the subject heading.

Same day ticket availability: The remaining tickets for each event will be made available on a first-come, first- served basis. Tickets are limited to one per person and are available one hour before the event's start time at the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office on the first floor of TIFF Bell Lightbox, located at 350 King Street West. Faculty and administrators must show college or university faculty/staff cards for admittance.

Members of the game development community who would like to attend, but are not a faculty member or student, are encouraged to email hlf@tiff.net to inquire about booking a ticket.

Higher Learning Digital Resource Hub
The Higher Learning Digital Resource Hub complements our live events by providing satellite educational programming to academic communities and to the public at large, extending the Higher Learning experience beyond the walls of TIFF Bell Lightbox. These materials include filmographies and bibliographies generated from the resources of the TIFF Film Reference Library, as well as video footage of some of our past Higher Learning events. To learn more and access all Higher Learning resources, please visit tiff.net/higherlearning

Venue & Address: 
TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St West Toronto, Ontario
Website: 
http://tiff.net/higherlearning
Email: 
hlf@tiff.net
Cost: 
Free