There it was at last: the official release of the Product Machine game on April 10 . After an exciting period, the serious game development process has come to an end. The last couple of days were still pretty intense, because we had only 3 days to move our system to another server. Although this may seem straightforward, depending on another party to give you certain admin rights and to adjust your host architecture… turned out to be quite stressfull. Until late mondaynight (release was tuesday morning), we tried to make the system work. With a stroke of luck, we just barely made it. The game worked and could be played at the official release. The release party stimulated the integration of the game into the work environment of the CKC. We not only played the game, but also discussed ways to incorporate the system into the daily practices of the involved CKC employees (i.e., should there be an offline filtering system? who decides who gets a new account? how do we create a self sustainable community within the game?). Our conclusion was: only by playing the game for a longer period of time, will we know how to approach these and similar issues. The CKC (and the Digital Art Lab specifically) will use the game for 2 months and then reflect on the process. The experiences will be used to devise an adjusted plan to integrate (and potentially upscale) the game more seamlessly into the CKC.
In all, the game development process was quite a ride. It had its ups (i.e., how the game transformed from a basic text-based canvas to a fun-to-play social media platform) and downs (i.e., continually changing requirements and functionalities), but in the end we created something we are proud of. Let’s see what happens the next couple of months. And who knows… maybe a Product Machine 2.0 will someday be developed.