All The World’s A Stage: Applying Live Action Roleplaying Design Principals to Augmented Reality Games

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At 10:15am on 4/19/2017, I attended All The World’s A Stage: Applying Live Action Roleplaying Design Principals to Augmented Reality Games, presented by Heather Albano, at the 2017 East Coast Gaming conference in Raleigh, NC

Augmented Reality Business Card

All The World’s A Stage: Applying Live Action Roleplaying (Larp) Design Principals to Augmented Reality Games

She does most work as a freelance writer for choice of games in text-based choose your own adventrure game, only better. She had a great history with LARP in college and from then on its been a game design paradise.

Live Action Roleplaying

LARP is an enactment experience where players enact characters in an alternate setting. Rotating GMs help to keep the story rolling, and while each event is a story in itself, all games follow along in the same vein. Heather has run 5 interlinked LARP games, and then branched out to several other gaming sessions.

Within the 20 years she came to one conclusion: LARPS are the most frustrating medium ever. Rather than being constrained by the system and rules, LARPs are often stopped by conflicts, personality conflicts, venue closings, sickness, lack of bathrooms, etc.

So why would anyone tell stories this way? Larping gives people a more deeply experienced event than something which is merely imaginative or shown to the viewer.
They experience BLEED- the border between player and character become more transparent, and they seem to identify with both at the same time.

Game immersion types:

  • Tactical: feeling in the zone, sensory-motor
  • Strategic: Mental challenge
  • Narrative
    • Emotional- investment in the story
    • Spatial- being in the story

In gaming, you need to make the player overcome the illusion and actually believe it. Actually living the adventure makes it real. LARPs have been the quickest way to achieve this in the past, but with AR, things are different now.

Augmented reality

AR is anything technological or otherwise which adds a layer of anything over the reality of the world. GPS or GEOCACHING can all be parts of Augmented reality. While virtual reality creates a totally artificial environment, Augmented reality is the overlay of anything within reality. Many VR and AR groups used to be a single group, but they’ve split off into their own groups.

Mixed Reality seems to be a subset of Augmented Reality. It is discussed as an augmented experience in which items can be treated like real ones. So how can we combine these items together?

Combining in 5 steps

  1. Work with the environment
  2. Work with the tech
  3. Use kinesthetic gameplay
  4. Give NPC roles that play to their strengths
  5. Learn to let go

Work with the environment

Don’t use a forest to be an office. Find an actual office. if you have a spooky house, use an actual house.

When you have to work with the imagination, people suspend their disbelief all the time. Consider the AR Application: Coderunner. You take to the street with real GPS, go to actual locations. Uses Foursquare and other materials to adjust your materials to be like your location.

Work with the tech

Don’t work against the technology. In a LARP it is easy to simulate some things, and difficult to simulate others- like flight. Rules to simulate this are unnatural and hugely unfair. Similarly, AR has problems.

GPS might work in some spaces, but not others. YOu can guarantee a bank, but not a door. A specific thing (qr code or illustration) can be done. General objects (scan a vase, place a chest at a “tree”) will not work well. SOme items will not work well in bright light. While you’re waiting for tech to catch up, work with it. Consider ghost stories.

Use kinesthetic gameplay

Also called full-body gameplay. It is easier to understand in devices. To run from monster, run. To swing sword, swing the device. To simulate doing the thing, do the thing. Extract the gameplay. Rather than tokens for a missing clock, consider a jigsaw or plastic gear to as pieces to create the item. How do you know how to get to the place? Surprise: Go to the place. Kinesthetic really covers the brain as well as the body.

Give NPC roles that play to their strengths

Don’t give your friends roles they cannot do. while its easy to keep your friends close, it may not be prudent. Don’t cast leaders who don’t like to speak in public. Don’t cast wizard roles with someone who doesn’t know about the spells. Cast people who know what to do. Make it easy to keep people on track.

In AR, its easy at rules, not easy with improv. While getting better, its not close to human level. This seems like a variant of rule #2. Rather than trying to stop a player from conversing with a character, make them not WANT to discuss it. You’ll need to build in a way for this to stop or by giving penalties for missing. Just act normal.

learn to let go

VR is very philosophical. Augmented builds on things which are already there. Heather is a narrative designer. If you’re following the guidance, you’ll have a great time. If you don’t you’ll end up elsewhere and off-point. In VR, its all illusion. In AR, you are part of the story without being Captain Kirk. You’re not in control, so go ahead and embrace that.

Rather than railroad them and force them into your own plot, let them experience the fun they want. Ambiguity is part of the immersion. Let them connect the dots. The human brain is good at that.


Speaker was knowledgeable, but read off of her notes for most of the this. It was a bit difficult to hear, and most of the info was already on the screen. Would’ve liked to see more personality in there, but it was a good talk.


GRD & WEB Department Meeting

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At 12:30am on 4/13/2017, I attended the GRD/WEB, presented by Alison Consol, at the 2017 Spring Faculty Professional Development conference in Raleigh, NC.

GRD & WEB Department Meeting

Attended by Gregg Wallace, Michael Schore, George Tsai, Alison Consol, Carla Osborne, Julie Evans, Marsha Mills, and Tyler Dockery. ( will open in a new window )
THere may be some great material in here or older projects to zoom through. Some of these may be canvas packs, but there could also be BB materials.

MERLOT.ORG ( will open in a new window )
Slightly less about what we do, but it is a repository for multimedia.

Course >> Tools >> NCLOR object
These are some great resources, but they may be old.

Some of these sources can help us so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Google academy, hubspot, codeschool, are great places we can also grab materials from. If this introduces something we don’t have time to working with, or something which may inspire a different kind of learner. If you see anything out there which has some relevance, grab it and see what you can bring to the table.

If you find little snippets created that cannot be covered in the class, but the materials already exist, run those as small, one-shot deals

Brackets in the lab

Brackets will be put in the lab. Brackets runs for free. Sublime is roughly $50 per license. We cannot use a cost program when we could also have a free resource. Our hope is to have a cradle-to-grave system of consistent program usage in WEB technologies.

Class Upgrades

GRD142 seems to miss its pace and GRD241 finds many students falling flat.
GRD110 seems to have lots of issues with retention.
WEB140 seem to run into the perrenial problem with retention. Design students seem to split- both top and bottom tier students are graphic design students

Summer schedules

Summer faculty will need to have a single day of the week. Any issues needed by Alison can be fixed by Cindy if needed


Julie’s secret sauce may stop working. Datatel may be able to be updated in a few extra months. Datatel does not like edge

Design is Not Art

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At 3:40pm On 11/16/16 I attended Design is Not Art presented by Austin Knight | Lead UX Designer, Hubspot at the 2016 Internet Summit located at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC.

Design Is Not Art

austin-knightThis talk was not about design or art; it was about designers. It was about the things that we create and the ways in which we create them. It included extended discussion about the processes that we use and how those processes define us. It’s these qualities that set artists and designers apart (and why they matter). What are the differences between design and art? What is the most important quality that a designer can possess? And how are the two so closely related?

In this talk, we examined the ways in which design and art are fundamentally different, and how through those differences, we can extract the qualities that comprise great designers and leaders. In a roundtable atmosphere, we discussed the contrasting purposes, data sources, and creative processes that design and art hold. He hoped that his insights might add a new perspective on what it means to be a designer, and how designers that possess one particular quality are prone to better feedback, accountability, innovation, collaboration, and outcomes. Unfortunately, this seemed to deal more with software development designers and game artists, and had little to bear on art and design in specific. Finally, we heard personal accounts from designers at companies like Google and Apple, sharing their approaches to design and the qualities that they value.

In Austin’s words: “You may or may not leave this talk convinced that design is not art, but no matter what, you will leave with a better understanding for what it means to be a designer.” Instead, I left with a bit more disappointment than normal. The Internet summit was originally about the internet, innovations, and new technology. As time has gone on, it has become more and more about marketing to an online community, selling to people, and ways in which the general sellers market can grab for just a bit more attention. I think this will likely be my last internet summit.

NDLW Closing Keynote: Planning Course Modules: Integrating Backwards Design

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At 12:00pm On 11/11/16 I attended the NDLW Closing Keynote: Planning Course Modules: Integrating Backwards Design presented by Dr. Ryan Rucker at the 2016 USCA NDLW Virtual Conference.

NDLW Closing Keynote: Planning Course Modules: Integrating Backwards Design




In the closing keynote to this successful online conference, Dr. Ryan Rucker returned with another fine presentation. In his discussion he outlined a path to planning your course modules using a reversed series of approaches in order to ensure that all materials and methods would meet the needs of your school as well as those of your team. The slides here were a little hard to follow, but the presentation itself was very good.


Devising a plan to build a quality driven course can be a daunting task. Should you as a teacher begin with learning objectives, lectures, readings, assignments, assessments, etc.? Its a difficult question, and everyone has their own preferred methods. Dr. Rucker went on to explain that one of the best resources to help aid in this process is the use of an instructional designer. Some issues arise when the instructional designer tries to re-integrate the curriculum without being an expert. This causes friction, and it is not normally expressed until the pressure cooker is ready to explode or already has.


Many instructional designers choose to implement a model called backwards design. This model was explained and iterated upon in the Keynote. For some teachers, I could see how this could help them to properly plan each course module/week in your online course. As our courses are already built and updated regularly, this material is somewhat old hat.

Marsha Mills and Tyler Dockery already covered this extensively when building out the new portfolio class. Beginning with the end goal in mind, we simply worked backwards. I thought this was a good resource for some teachers, but I think in terms of necessities, I guess we’re already ahead of the curve on this.

Completed UDEMY Certification Course for “How To Design Professional Infographics : Beginners Course”

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I have received numerous requests from UDEMY to come to their website and purchase some of their training. While this hadn’t always appealed to me (seemed like perhaps they might be trying a bit too hard), I decided I’d give it a try. While the training course I felt might be most worth my while was still selling for roughly $45, I was able to purchase this second piece of training a few weeks ago at the same time I purchased: Logo Design Fundamentals by Andrew Boehm of Growing Business Online.

Certified in How to Design Professional Infographics: Beginners Course from UDEMY
Certified in How to Design Professional Infographics: Beginners Course from UDEMY

This course was much more extensive than the first, with 89 lectures encompassing software, research, slides, and an additional 4.5 hours of video content. Materials came with downloadable materials which were required for the final assessment. The downloading of materials for the final assessment seemed to be met with displeasure, although moderators noted that might change to an elected component. I was pleased with the course and could see how beginners might really sink their teeth into this.

You can check out my fancy certificate here

GDA Lecture: The Resume Workshop

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On March 20th, Tyler Dockery spoke to the GDA on Wake Tech’s Main Campus in the Engineering and Technology Building (ETB).


GDA Lecture: The Resume Workshop

The resume workshop began quickly, because we planned to view over 160 resumes in the short time we had.

Beginning with IIT’s 100 master candidate resumes, we glanced over the resumes of 100 individuals with design experience cover 1-2 decades in the field. We found them to be informative, but sedate, and not at all exciting. We found them to contain lots of information, but very, very little in the way of information that would tell us about the individual. Most students actually agreed we should skim through them faster, and that it would be easy to get lost in this shuffle of papers.

Next, we focused on 60 designs I pulled from my own sources. These gave an individual grasp quickly and easily, telling us about the individual even before we could focus on the writing involved. Students overwhelmingly decided what they liked about these designs quickly and easily. Not all were winners, and it was easy to see why or why not.

Students found that flashier resumes could quickly give the intent of the designer to the individual who would be hiring them. They agreed that one of these resumes would quickly and easily stand out in a stack of the other resumes.

We finished the discussion by talking about what careers the students wanted to pursue and how they might go about showing that thorough their resumes. Marsha Mills discussed the importance of what you say and how you say it, and the double importance of having a separate resume for web design work and graphic design work, and possible photographic or illustrative jobs. Students left with the clear understanding of how a resume is really a typographic problem, but also how it can affect their overall perception.