Love City

Active Ingredient
Derby, Leicester, Nottingham | 14.02.07

April saw close to a hundred people sign up and attend the Love City lecture tour in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby, where web artists, Active Ingredient, talked about the evolution of a game you play by sending messages of love across cities. They were able to show phone screen mock ups, explain the idea of the game play and gave a detailed description of the technical process they were going through to make the game location dependent, a process it's hoped will benefit from the trusty foot work of students from Derby and De Montfort University later this month.

Now that the presentations are over, Active Ingredient will be keeping out of the public eye for the summer as they get down to some serious development work kicking off at the end of May with a workshop at the Mixed Reality Lab which will define the technical possibilities and financial realities of making a text based game available to everyone within the three cities of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.

At Broadway, Nottingham, Rachel Jacobs gave an insight into the origins of Love City as she talked eruditely about the nature of love notes, their use in royal courts as a conveyer of political slights hidden in an innocent seeming flirt, the 'less is more' power of 'Haiku' and the fact that people use text messaging all the time to gossip.

At Metro Cinema, Derby and Phoenix Arts, Leicester, fellow company founder Matt Watkins morphed the cities of Nottingham, Leicester and Derby on top of one another to show us the virtual Love City. This was the first time that the audience could really visualize that the virtual city had a shape, a shape not so much dictated by urban definition as by the connections that people make between the cities.

Matt and Rachel delivered a lot of information in the hour long presentations, partly about their own work but they also touched on their relationship with Nottingham University's Mixed Reality Lab, who helped with rolling out a multi player version of 'Dragons' and are now involved in certain technical aspects of Love City, especially concerning mapping techniques and tools.

While the game of Love City is difficult to describe in words, the game play is surprisingly simple, or so Rachel and Matt made it seem. To see for ourselves we'll have to wait to try it out until Valentine's Day, February '07. However, despite the thoroughness of the presentations, the audiences at all three venues didn't let the artists get off without some serious questions about game play, intellectual property, technical probabilities, game economics and interface design.

You can personally get involved in the development of this unique multi-player game by texting love to 07786 200350 to register for free updates or visiting and registering your interest here.

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