Thursday, February 14, 2008

The X2 Club -- massively multiplayer science is on the way!

Next week, I'll be in Irvine presenting the beta version of the X2 Club, my first massively multiplayer science game. I've been developing it with an amazing team of researchers and designers at the Institute for the Future. The game is part of IFTF's larger collective intelligence project on the future of science and technology .

The X2 Club (you can read about the original X Club here) is an an alternate reality game, light on fiction and heavy on real-world data, that scientists will play. The game interface looks like a kind of cross between wikipedia and Bloomberg terminals. It combines collaborative forecasting (World Without Oil-style) and prediction markets with RSS feeds of scientific journals and popular science publications.

It's hard to believe that just a year ago, almost to the day, that I was first pitching the idea of MMS games at the annual AAAS meeting. Only 12 months from totally weird idea to beta version, ready to playtest with a network of scientists and graduate students from the U.S., the UK, Austria, Germany, China, Singapore, India... that was fast!

If you want to know more, an early description of the X2 Club game is in Seed Magazine this month; they asked me to write an essay about massively multiplayer science for their special issue on The Universe in 2008.*

*I'm very proud that the X2 Club shares the page with Will Wright's Spore project -- which finally has a release date for September! yay!


Mike said...

I'm really curious about this and just what it's going to address and how. Scientists are a curmudgeonly bunch - though science is about innovations and advancement of knowledge, there has been little change in the way that this is actually carried out for...a hundred years? I really hope this project makes an impact :)

Darlene Cavalier said...

THIS is brilliant. Way to really think out of the box. Is there a way to factor in 'average' citizens (like me) who are not formally trained in the sciences but are interested in participating in science? We're often labeled 'citizen scientists.' We volunteer to help researchers tag butterflies and monitor water, etc. Def would like to be part of science policy discussions in the future! Is there a way you can include us in the science game? Happy to help you reach the citizen science community if you're interested.
Keep up the enthusiasm. No doubt you will win that Nobel Prize after all!-- Darlene, The Science Cheerleader