Besides BarCampBerlin last year, I’ve actually only been to BarCamps in London and Brighton. Most of the time it’s just too much of a hassle to make it to unconferences in other cities, cause it’s so expensive (wishing the train ticket prices here were like in Netherland; then again, the distances here are much further) and too difficult to get there. Thanks to some of the sponsors though at this Liverpool BarCamp, Cristiano and I got offered to get our travel expenses covered (being BarCamp veterans has it’s perks). Besides that, Alistair and Caz were so great to let us stay at the apartment they were renting. So last Friday, we caught the train up to Liverpool, visiting another part of the UK we hadn’t been to before.
This barCamp was held at the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre, a great venue with loads of rooms and space. It also had it’s own bar down stairs, so later on in the evening we all moved there for the “party”. The food wasn’t exactly fantastic (again cold pizza), but for once there were other drinks besides only fizzy stuff.
Here are a couple of the most interesting talks that I went to:
This talk from Alistair was a great introduction to everything Geocaching. Although I’ve already gotten the Geocaching bug and have found some caches myself, there were still quite some stuff I didn’t know about. For instance, I kind of knew what travel bugs and geocoins were, but hadn’t seen or dealt with any of them before. Besides that I’m hunting caches down with pen, paper and a printed out Google map, while the “proper” way is to actually use a GPS device; it was great finding out a bit more about that too. Later that afternoon we skipped two of the sessions to go geocaching in Liverpool.
Game Design – Player Motivations
This talk was about the different player archetypes within video games. There are 4 types: 1. the Achiever, who want to collect, unlock everything (totally me!), 2. the Explorer, who wants to understand the map and discover new and hidden features, 3. the Socialiser, who plays with friends and to make new friends, and 4. the Killer, who screws other people over. Basically most video games are designed while targeting one or two of these archetypes. We had to figure out from 5 games which archetypes they were targeting (Gears of War, Geometry Wars, Mirror’s Edge, Left 4 Dead, Word of Warcraft).
Because I went geocaching, I missed the first round of this game, but was still able to join Cristiano’s team, the Awkward Silences. The second round was about guessing the keyword that connected 4 other words, each word appearing after a couple of seconds. I scored some points by guessing the keyword that connects “The Lion King”, “Bernard and the Genie”, and “Love Actually” (I won’t give it away, can you figure it out?). The third round was pretty similar, but here you had to guess the 4th keyword in a sequence (I liked the George, Timothy, Pierce one). The fourth round were Google search questions and I scored some points again with the name of the wife of the 14th president of the US. Finally there was a showdown between the two highest scoring teams, one of which was our team! The team nominated me to go up and play the game, which was basically guessing a list of words based on the descriptions by my team mates (kicking myself that I didn’t get William Shatner, because I thought Cristiano said “Actress in Star Trek”).
The last session on the Saturday was a one minute pitch session. I wasn’t really planning on presenting anything; I mean, I don’t have a startup or anything actually developed, but right at the end of the session, I thought I’d go ahead and pitch the idea that’s been spinning in my head for ages (a book reading habits website). Much to my surprise, I got chosen to do a 5-minute pitch later that evening at the party, in front of a panel of judges. Eek! My presentation didn’t go that great (but then I hadn’t really thought it through yet), but a lot of people were interested in my idea. Plus I won a Bluetooth marketing dongle (I still have to figure out what this exactly does, but I think this means I can spam people) and a £50 Amazon voucher (yay!).
There were also more great sessions on the Sunday, but to be honest I was still feeling fairly hungover at the time so wasn’t participating as much as I wanted to. Again, thanks to everyone who made this trip possible; I had a fantastic time!