This is the schedule of events for the weekend of ARGFest-o-Con 2013. This section will update as new information is released, so check back often. All times listed are preliminary and subject to change.

Thursday, July 25, 2012

Social Events

6:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Kick-Off Party
The official start to ARGFest-o-Con 2013 Seattle, this “meet and greet” will be held in the Olympic Room at the Seattle Center. H’ors d’oeuvres are included and a cash bar will be available. This is where attendees get to mingle, catch up, or meet for the very first time.

Friday, July 26, 2012

Conference Sessions – 9:15 am to 5:00 pm

Our conference sessions this year include a variety of fantastic speakers and presenters, hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Michael Andersen. As in previous years, most sessions will include Q&A time, which will be started by our Grand Inquisitor, Jonathan Waite.

Below you will find some of the discussions and presentations confirmed for ARGFest-o-Con 2013. Check back here for topic and time updates as we finalize the conference schedule.

9:30 am – 9:55 am
Jeremy Irish

Jeremy Irish

Geocaching Beyond the Box

When geocaching began in 2000, it was all about finding physical geocaches hidden in the woods. As geocaching grew, so did the community’s creativity. Now, you can immerse yourself in a storyline as you find epic multi-caches, attend community-driven Mega-events and, with the release of a new Geocaching platform, create your own local adventures. In short, geocaching has moved beyond just a box in the woods.

10:00 am – 10:25 am
Haley Moore

Haley Moore

Tangible Stories: Prototype to Production

Everyone likes to get stuff in the mail, but what separates promotional trash from storytelling treasure? In this session, designer Haley Moore explores the ways that tangible objects can enrich a campaign and bring the audience closer to a world and its characters. We’ll also look at common pitfalls in tangible storytelling, and go through the nuts and bolts of producing a fully tangible piece of literature, from an indie perspective.

10:30 am – 11:20 am
Adam Russell, D.Phil.
Yu-Han Chang, Ph.D.
Alice Leung, Ph.D.
Maneesh Yadav, Ph.D.

Adam Russell, D.Phil. Yu-Han Chang, Ph.D. Alice Leung, Ph.D. Maneesh Yadav, Ph.D.


A brief introduction to IARPA and background on the recent UAREHERE RFI will be followed by the panelists’ thoughts on the six RFI questions found on the website, inviting a discussion about those questions and the promises as well as challenges that may be faced in using Alternate Reality Environments – such as Alternate Reality Games – to facilitate high-quality, externally valid behavioral and social science research in near-real world contexts.

11:20 am – 11:35 am
To Be Announced

To Be Announced
Don’t pack up early or you might miss it! This surprise session will be announced at the event.

1:00 pm – 1:55 pm
Lucas J.W. Johnson
J.C. Hutchins
Rob Jagnow
Dana Luery Shaw
Andrew Grant Wilson

Lucas J.W. Johnson J.C. Hutchins Rob Jagnow
Dana Luery Shaw Andrew Grant Wilson

Ludonarrative Harmony:
How Design and Narrative Should Play Together

Too often, story is slapped onto game mechanics or platforms chosen solely due to popularity. Given the near-limitless options in crafting a game or transmedia experience, how do we ensure that our projects are designed as carefully as possible so the audience doesn’t experience ludonarrative dissonance? For instance, rather than throwing in “interactivity” because we’re told it’s a good thing, how does the interactivity actually help tell the story? This panel will delve into that relationship between story and design: how should an experience be created such that the narrative and the design of the experience/game/story are working together towards one purpose?

2:00 pm – 2:50 pm
Jordan Weisman
Special Guest
Steve Peters

Jordan Weisman Steve Peters

A Conversation with Jordan Weisman

Widely known as the creator of The Beast, the game which germinated an entire genre now known as Alternate Reality Gaming, Jordan will share with Steve Peters and the audience his views on his recent Kickstarter success, the impending release of his re-imagined Shadowrun tabletop RPG now ported to PC as Shadowrun Returns, and his history and future in gaming and transmedia.

3:00 pm – 3:50 pm
Dana Luery Shaw
Connor Fallon
Eric Kays
Tom Pike

Dana Luery Shaw Connor Fallon Eric Kays Tom Pike

KILLING ADELL: Tailoring Your Game to the People Playing It

No matter how long you spend creating your world, and no matter how much you plan, your players will come along and do things you won’t expect. Your game takes place in a complex moral landscape where you won’t have much time to react when the players take a hard left. But no pressure.

The creators of the TV Tropes ARG The Wall Will Fall discuss the (many) times that they found themselves surprised by player choices, and how they adapted based on the way their players were playing their game.

After all, it’s not every day a player volunteers to die.

4:00 pm – 4:50 pm
Mike Selinker

Puzzlecraft: How to Design Every Puzzle Type Ever

Mike Selinker of Lone Shark Games discusses the placement and purpose of puzzles in ARGs and other games, the effects they have on players’ psyche, and the process of creating elegant and creative challenges.

Social Events

6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Steve Peters

Steve Peters

Keynote Dinner
Each year, attendees enjoy a sumptuous repast followed by a personal presentation by respected luminaries from the ARG and Transmedia industry. Notable past speakers have included Jane McGonigal, Jordan Weisman, and Emmy® award-winning Evan Jones from Stitch Media.

This year, we are thrilled to welcome another Emmy® award-winner, Steve Peters of No Mimes Media for our 2013 Keynote.

Are We There, Yet?
In this very special keynote prepared exclusively for ARGFest, Steve shares from the heart about his personal journey over the last decade, and how becoming a professional “puppet master” has turned out to be so very different than he ever expected. The good and the bad; the wonder and the sadness; the rewards…and the costs. He’ll take stock of where we have come, where we find ourselves, and where we might be going. And whether it’s all worth the trip.

Saturday, July 27, 2012

Festival Sessions – 9:15 am – 5:00 pm

Festival sessions can include workshops, craft sessions, film screenings, the annual FestQuest puzzle trail, and more! Contact us if you would like to pitch an idea or run an event or break-out session.

9:25 am – 10:10 am
Rick Healey

Remaking the Wheel:
Building the Audience for Interactive Fiction

When a new book is made, nobody has to teach the consumer how to read that book. The same goes with new video games, new movies, or new television shows. But implicitly, every single ARG needs to be ready to teach new players how to participate. My discussion is why that necessity is good, and ways to incorporate such techniques into your ARG. Examples from The Wall Will Fall will be included, both in terms of showing what to do and who to not do.

10:15 am – 10:40 am
Mike Minadeo

Mike Minadeo

Games in the Classroom:
A Case Study of the United Colonies ARG

GameDesk’s sixth grade PlayMaker School cohort at New Roads School in Santa Monica was not expecting to be a case study for one of the first ARGs run in a middle school. However, over the course of the 2012-13 school year, their classroom and campus environment, lockers and class website, soon ignited with new meaning and compelling mysteries. It was a secret and wholly elective experience seemingly outside of the bounds of the school day.

This presentation will center on a case study of the United Colonies educational ARG and discuss new frontiers in education – specifically, how intrinsic motivation, knowledge transfer, and self-driven inquiry can be fostered in middle school students through alternative reality gaming.

Please join us for a lively discussion about the lessons learned and opportunities for future application of this exciting new educational architecture.

10:45 am – 11:00 am
Ken Morris

Ken Morris

Happy Accidents:
Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Glitch

A glitch, by definition, is a mistake. An irregularity. Yet some of the most profound moments in human history (and the history of our universe) could be considered glitches. In this talk, artist Ken Morris explores how simply changing perspectives can turn a mistake into something beautiful.

11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Synth-Bio Productions - Silver+ In-Kind Sponsor

FestQuest is an annual tradition generally consisting of a real-world puzzle trail, which teams of Questers follow throughout the surrounding host city. This year, we are fortunate to have Synth-Bio Productions sponsoring and producing this cherished event. You won’t want to miss it!