Publishing & Play!
Where we finish our creation, and send it off for everyone to play!
In this stage you will:
Get your creation ready to share with the world!
Share it through a variety of channels!
Reflect on what you’ve achieved and do it again!
Welcome to the sixth and final stage, where we conclude our course and set our creations free for everyone to play! We realise it might be hard to stop working on your creation, as we discussed in stage five. You might never feel like you have playtested enough, and there will always be that nagging feeling of “I can make it better”…
Still, here’s a good criterion: remember a few stages ago when we asked ourselves what story do we want to tell, and what do we intend to make happen with our creation?
Well, let’s say that, throughout your playtest, the narrative you have in mind actually happened, and it involved at least three members of your target audience who were happy, or satisfied, or engrossed with how they were involved in your story. If this happens, well, consider yourself ready to get out there!
And anyway, what better way of getting more feedback than hearing it from the world at large?
- First and most important, we do not want to limit ourselves to digital games. Yes, they are quite the rage nowadays, but there’s so much more.
- (As game scholar Jesper Juul wrote) games and play are not so much a single medium as a collection of media with different strengths.
- We want to reflect on what each of those media can bring to and/or take away from your intended experience.
In our last two missions, we are going to take a subtractive approach to find out what might be the best medium for the game/playful experience you have created, trying to find the simplest way to convey everything that constitutes the core of it. ‘Cause, as Einstein used to say, “everything should be made as simple as possible (echoing the First Principle of design; Keep It Simple, Stupid) but not simpler” (that is, don’t lose the core of your creation just for the sake of simplicity).
Now, how to best share it out there? We need to “package” your creation to make it ready for the whole world to see, but also easy to disseminate, especially through digital channels that will give it a lot of reach.
If your creation is itself digital, this is of course quite straightforward: a simple zipped folder shared through any cloud service could suffice, though the nature of the “packaging” might change depending on how you want to share it (see the next Mission).
If you have created some kind of board game, try to create a “Print and Play” version, that is, something that people anywhere might be able to easily build in their own houses, libraries and workplaces using everyday materials.
If your creation is a toy, of course, it’s a bit more complicated. Still, if at all possible, provide any schematics for 3D printing, if you used such technology or at least a thorough explanation of the materials used, and the process of building it. Collecting your posts throughout this Course might be a good way of doing this.
If your creation is some other kind of playful experience, you should at least circulate the handbook that you created previously, together with enough documentation (written or multimedia) that complete strangers would be confident in adapting and running the experience themselves. Again, collating the posts where you describe its creation will go a long way toward this.
Whatever form your creation takes, we also need to touch on matters of rights and ownership. You don’t want to hog all the playfulness for yourself, do you?
The quickest, easiest way to truly and properly share your creation is to have a look at Creative Commons Licenses, a set of public copyright licenses that enable free distribution, protecting your work from unintended uses and exploitation. Of course, you are free to choose whatever license you deem most appropriate, however, in line with the ethos of this course, which is strongly built on remixing and adapting existing games and ways of playing we suggest that you adopt a license that, while guaranteeing that you will be recognised as the original creator, will also enable other playful creators to remix and mod it to their needs. I am sure you’d be happy to see your work further remixed and adapted for new contexts and audiences!
If you accept this suggestion, just have the line “This work is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License” and this image somewhere on your creation. You might want to add a Non-Commercial (NC) clause if you don’t want other people to build something that can be sold using your creation, but again this is for you to choose.
Once you have finished packaging it and attributing it a proper license, share your “packaged” creation through #gchangers, we’ll do our best to make it known and loved! Speaking of which…
The very last Mission of this course is at the same time the easiest and the most difficult: bring your creation in the world, and have it played everywhere! Of course, the quickest way of reaching out is through online communities, and you now should have a “web-friendly” package to enable this. There are online spaces such as Itch.io and Good Little Games that can provide visibility and a huge outreach to your creation. Depending on the specific tool that you used, all the communities I pointed you at in stage five can also provide a suitable home for it.
However, we must never discount the power and the possibilities that lie in acting locally, especially since we have been trying to create something that can make a difference in the real world, and by now you should have established a good relationship with your intended audience on a local level. So try and find ways for your creation to be played where you live, and use it to re-shape the perception of the local community around the issues that you tackled in your creation. It’s also a good way to involve new people in the #gchangers community!
Here are just a few suggestions about how to do this:
Organise a showcase or a public engagement event for your creation through local associations (especially those that are linked with your intended audience). It can be for them an opportunity to raise awareness of their core issues in a completely innovative manner!
If you can’t find any, set up a game club of your own! People interested in play are plenty, but often still feel a bit marginalised. Build a safe space for them, and they will come!
Donate your creation (or a copy of it, or the documentation needed to play it) to your city’s Friendly Local Game Shops. This a great way to get further, “game literate” feedback and refine your creation into something that could be a worldwide hit!
Link with public libraries, which very often are also local community hubs, including local game communities. Since your creation is designed to address a real-world issue, they might add it to the library resources related to that theme, making it possible for other people to “stumble” into your creation.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, play with your creation in public spaces. This is not something that happens too often, given the still strong stigma on adult play. Just seeing a group of people playing something in public will raise attention. And isn’t it what we want, both for the specific themes we have tackled and playfulness in general?
Whatever you choose to, document your effort in using your creation locally on #GChangers, and we’ll be sure to amplify them as much as we can!
So we have reached the end of our course, and we do hope you enjoyed it throughout, that you are happy with what you created, and that, maybe most importantly, you made a few new playful friends along the way. That includes us, so don’t be a stranger; get in touch through our website, or via #GChangers!
We will link together all the playful creators, and change the world through play!
What you’ll need:
A more or less finalised version of your creation.
A lot of guts to put it out there!
Good connectivity to sift through a ton of resources, and to share your creation with the #GChangers community!