On 30th July a collection of GLAM folks gathered at ACMI to talk shop, with a focus on ACMI’s Game Masters exhibition. Additional pizzaz was provided by Ed Rodley from the Boston Museum of Science and his wife Jennifer Hogue (we’ll miss you at the next one!).
Following presentations by the ACMI team, we did an exhibition walk-through (involving in no partciular order much pressing of buttons, dancing, 3D glasses-wearing and fruit slicing) and finished up chatting over food and drinks. For those of you who weren’t able to make it, here’s a quick overview of the presentations…
TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT: Sean Doyle, Macintosh Systems Administrator
USING PROTOTYPES: In planning implementation of Game Masters, ACMI drew on experience with smaller projects (particularly the Independent Games Festival exhibitions which toured to Sydney Opera House and The Edge at State Library of Queensland). Essentially the same model was used but multiplied by 10.
COLLABORATION TOOLS: Game Masters is a highly technological exhibition and collaborative management of information was required. A SharePoint project was established to manage the exhibition development cycle (concept, design, install, maintenance, touring) and various install elements such as technology & furniture. This allowed simultaneous read/write access by multiple staff, relatively easy information retrieval and report generation. Development of the SharePoint site will continue with an extranet version for access by touring partners.
COLLABORATION DURING DESIGN PROCESS: Inclusion of technical staff from the outset of the conceptual and design process assisted in creating a robust exhibition – essential for a touring exhibition. Having the various staff teams (exhibitions, collections, AV and ICT) work together from the early stages resulted in more efficient development and install, particularly important as the exhibition had complex requirements and was installed to a short time frame.
TESTING: A dedicated workshop space was provided to test the games before opening. This pre-testing resolved between 80-90% of technical issues (as one hour of testing prior to install typically saves 3-6 hours of problem solving on the floor after the installation). Pre-testing by Visitor Service staff also enabled close-to-final versions of “How to Play” documents being created, as well as familiarity with the games and technology prior to opening.
AND FINALLY… SHOW ME THE TECH: Over 125 playable games and over 1,000 ‘things’ on the exhibition floor including: PCs, PS3, PS2, iPads, LCDs, projectors, touchscreens, etc…. One of the more challenging aspects was managing the large number of software accounts.
EXHIBITION CURATION: Chris Harris, Exhibitions Manager
Chris reiterated the positive outcomes of strong collaboration between the curatorial and technical teams.
The curatorial aim of the exhibition was to introduce the public to the largely unknown great game developers – the Game Masters – and to deepen understanding of games development. Locating video games and their art and makers in a museum context is important and legitimate for ACMI. This is why ACMI’s curatorial team chose to create in depth video interviews with each designer for the exhibition.
ACMI went to the gaming community to help identify the Game Masters featured. A long list was created with the help of the gaming community and the curatorial team then settled on a short list. The great games of those makers where then chosen, with technical limitations taken into account. Getting the developers on board to contribute items demonstrating their creative process was also vital to the success of the show.
Game Masters was a complex exhibition in terms of obtaining rights, but ultimately most issues were resolved. Classification was also an issue as the introduction of the R18+ rating occurred during exhibition installation. Classification also had to be considered during design as Game Masters is a family exhibition.
BEIP COMPONENT: Jessica Beirne, Project Manager
The Game Masters Digital Program provides new ways to engage with the Game Masters exhibition using high-capacity broadband networks. Funded by the Department of Business and Innovation’s Broadband Enabled Innovation Program, the Digital Program extends the exhibition experience and enhances the appeal of the exhibition by making it available on-demand and in ways that are richly interactive and responsive to user needs and context of use.
The Digital Program is producing 4 outputs:
1) An interactive website – www.acmi.net.au/gamemasters
2) A rich media mobile game – available for download outside the gallery, and a life-size playable version in gallery
3) A multi-location video conference program aimed at primary and secondary schools and regional Victorian Universities
4) An eBook available on the iBookstore , the first ecatalogue offered by a cultural institution in Australia
The Digital Program is extensive and ACMI will report findings on the project with the GLAM sector post exhibition.
A BIG thanks to ACMI for hosting a great night. We look forward to the next one… details TBC…