Scoot took players to places that they may not have found otherwise, using a ubiquitous form of technology to help foster a sense of belonging and ownership of the venues.” Christian McCrea, Games Theorist and Lecturer, RMIT
Until Pokemon Go was released, SCOOT was the largest mixed reality event hosted in Australian cities. SCOOT demonstrated how mobile devices, augmented reality and gaming could be exploited to transform the everyday real spaces of a city into sites of wonder, fiction, play and creative expression. SCOOT started in 2004 as the creative work portion of my PhD submission that soon became a successful stand alone project attracting support from multiple museum, gallery and university organisations across Australia, exponentially increasing in complexity both conceptually and physically.
Simply, players (groups of family and friends) must seek out interactive console games that are hidden in a public place. Along the way they participate in activities and solve clues by seeking out facts about the sites. A Carnival narrative frames SCOOT, providing familiar aesthetics and mechanics for motivating and facilitating player participation and competition. This approach provided a less formal entry into cultural and institutional zones, and also provided the perfect excuse to experiment with the creation of a series of playful interventional works that pushed the boundaries of contemporary technologies while also facilitating reflective engagement in the existing works on display in the host sites.
“This work is expertly positioned as a boundary-breaking project which does more than to contribute to the current body of knowledge in game design and in practice-led research. Addressing the building of community through game-playing, and via engagement in immersive experiences, the contexts within which this thesis operates demonstrate its relevance to a broad range of discipline areas from management of volunteers through new media studies to intergenerational collaboration.” Professor Lelia Green, Edith Cowan University (Jan 24, 2013)
In funding alone, SCOOT raised over $600,000.000 while still a PhD endeavor. All organisations that were involved with a SCOOT event were very generous not only with funding, but also in granting access to facilities and providing ample in-kind staff contributions.
SCOOT events provided many opportunities for young artists, technicians, scientists, curators and curators to collaborate and learn from each other. Inspiring many more mobile games, augmented reality experiments, location-based games and mixed reality projects.
I”n 2005, Deb invited me to contribute to the SCOOT event in Melbourne. This proved to be a particularly pivotal event for me as it sowed the seed for a continuing love for creating interactive installations, and introduced me to a number of other highly creative individuals who have continued to influence and inspire me to this day. The creative network I joined as part of the SCOOT event formed an important support and professional structure that has allowed me to excel in my career in creative interactive projects.” Tom Killen, Co-Founder of Voxel Agents
– Other SCOOT videos on You Tube
– SCOOT Flickr Sets (yes… Flickr. SCOOT was a while back now!)
– A paper I wrote about some aspects of the game design. Now Everything Looks Like a Game
– Book chapter in ‘Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Games Research. Peter Lang Publishing Group, New York. Lesser-known worlds : bridging the telematic flows with located human experience through game design.
– My PhD Exegesis: Polson, Debra M. (2013) The SCOOT experience : games in place : collaborative interventions in socio-spatial practices. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.
Many thanks go to Helen Stuckey who founded the ACMI Games Lab back in 2005 and supported SCOOT by successfully arranging significant funding and partners for 2 of the largest SCOOT events hosted in Melbourne across the National Gallery of Victoria, ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne Museum, Art Centre and many more (See SCOOT 3 and 4 below)
“Scoot, produced to explore mobile phone technology as a playful way to engage with Melbourne’s key cultural institutions. Scoot was created by artist Debra Polson … and produced by ACMI in collaboration with various cultural partners. Such location-based gaming allows for the development of relationships between people and spaces. Participant awareness of Melbourne’s cultural resources increases as they feel more comfortable engaging in the history and identity of the city via its arts institutions.” Dr Helen Stuckey, former Games Lab founder, ACMI and Senior Researcher in Games, RMIT
Main SCOOT Objectives;
– Transform peoples perceived access to place in an enduring way
– Reveal the power of narrative as a device for transforming peoples identity and interactions within place
– Exploit the expectations of digital game play for the subversion of inherited practices in urban spaces
– Create opportunities for emerging artists to collaborate with peers and professionals
The SCOOT Design Strategy required that it was
– directed (project vision, needs and processes are explicitly articulated, supported and refined)
– place-based (situated in authentic settings of varying conditions, resources and stakeholders)
– interventionist (involving some sort of design)
– iterative (episodic experimentation and accumulative refinement of processes and outcomes)
– collaborative (to maximise learning opportunities)
– player focused (as motivation and for evaluation)
– narrative led (as resource, communicative device and outcome)
SCOOT Events in Australian
SCOOT 5: 2007
It is a Location-Based Game Event for family groups to discover the local sites of Brisbane during the River Festival.
- Funded by the South Bank Corporation, Brisbane City Council and the State Library of Queensland for $80 000
- Location: Hosted as part of the 2007 Brisbane River Festival in multiple sites including:
- South Bank Parklands and Markets
- State Library of Queensland
- Maritime Museum
- Hands On Art
- Grey Street Retail District
- Event Duration: 3 Days, 2 Evenings
- Player groups: Families
- Organisation Champion: Jonathan Parsons, then Festival Director
SCOOT 3 and 4 – Melbourne Museums Cultural Precincts, VIC – 2005 and 2006
Designed in support of the Victorian ‘Cultural Broadband Network’. SCOOT Mixed Reality Event was designed for family groups and installed in major cultural sites in Melbourne. Player groups join the SCOOT Mobile Agency to seek out interactive console games that are hidden in a public place. Along the way they participate in activities and solve clues by seeking out facts about the sites. A Carnival narrative frames SCOOT, providing familiar aesthetics and mechanics for motivating and facilitating player participation and competition. SCOOT was designed to create opportunities for emerging artists to collaborate with peers and professionals
- $160 000 from Victorian Government, Arts Victoria and the Community Support Fund + extensive in-kind support from multiple organisations and departments.
- Workshops with students and volunteers
- Location: Melbourne City Cultural Precincts including:
- Federation Square (FedSq)
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
- Art Play
- National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
- State Library of Victoria (SLV)
- The Arts Centre
- The Melbourne Museum (MM)
- Each Event Duration: 3 Days
- Player groups: Families
- Organisation Champion: Helen Stuckey, then Program Manager, ACMI and Jeff Jones, CEO, Australasian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID).
SCOOT 2 – SCOOT CAMP, Newcastle, NSW – 2004
SCOOT Camp was a series of workshops with various groups interested in creating mobile games. The first workshop was help in Newcastle in 2005 and another in Brisbane in 2006 and 2007. Participants were shown how to map game paths and assign nodes throughout the local area. They then formulate a narrative broken up into a series of short stories and orientation clues entered into the custom made web forms to create a unique SMS game for immediate game play.
- Partly self funded with $6 000 from dLux Media Arts, Sydney.
- Location: Electrofringe Festival, Newcastle
- Event Duration: 1 Day
- Player Groups: Emerging Artists attending the Festival
- Organisation Champion: David Cranswick, then Director dLux
SCOOT 1 – Creative Industries Precinct, QUT, QLD – 2004
The very first pilot project was designed for the launch of the Creative industries Precinct in 2004 to introduce and orientate new and continuing students to the spaces, resources and histories of their new campus. It was during this event that the potential for SCOOT to create new communities of practice was first realised.
- Partly self funded with support from QUT of $15 000 + extensive in-kind support from multiple departments.
- Location: Creative Industries Precinct (CIP), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane
- Event Duration: 3 Days
- Player groups: Commencing and continuing students (see above image)
- Organisation Champion: Peter Lavery, then Director of Precincts, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
SCOOT 8 – Creative Industries Precinct, QUT, QLD – 2009
Created for family groups to engage in the Creative Industries Open Day. SCOOT game took the groups on informative paths through the campuses, highlighting various courses, facilities and people.
- Location: Queensland University of Technology
- Kelvin Grove Campus
- Creative Industries Precinct
- Kelvin Grove Urban Village
- Event Duration: 1 Day
- Player Groups: Families and prospective students
- Funding Source: QUT + extensive in-kind support from multiple departments.
- Org Champion: Tony Wilson, Marketing director, QUT.
SCOOT 6 and 7 – Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC – 2008 and 2009
This event was designed in response to research data relating to attrition rates of first year students at Victoria University. For this particular SCOOT Event, all activities and interactions were designed to introduce commencing students to each other to collaborate to discover campus locations and services relating to their courses across two university campuses.
- Funded by the Faculty of Art, Education and Human Movements, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria of $90 000 + extensive in-kind support from multiple departments.
- Location: Victoria University, Melbourne. Hosted across two campuses:
- Footscray Park Campus
- St Albans Campus
- Event Duration: 2 Days
- Player Groups: Commencing and continuing students
- Organisation Champion: Professor Katie Hughes, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) Victoria University