Planet Iron Blogger SF

July 16, 2018

Doctor Popular

“Sorry To Bother You” Fan Art

We saw Sorry To Bother You, the new film by Boots Riley, at the Alamo last night and loved it! It’s really original, but fans of Michel Gondry and Terry Gilliam will probably enjoy love it this too.

I enjoyed the film so much that I made some quick fan art using my new iPad Pro. I’m new to the world of digital art, but I’m really digging it.


The post “Sorry To Bother You” Fan Art appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at July 16, 2018 05:33 AM

Certainly Strange

The Newest Lopapeysa!

Welllp, I’ve finished another lopapeysa… just in time for summer, alas.  I’ve still been wearing it out of obstinance because I don’t want to wait until next winter to wear it. I followed Jenn Steingass’ “Dreyma” pattern and it is … Continue reading

by Steen at July 16, 2018 04:48 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

Big Sur: Edgy International Theater

Big Sur: Edgy International Theater

July 16, 2018 12:02 AM

July 13, 2018

a digital life

July 12, 2018

I Like Turtles

Pearl Jam in Barcelona


July 12, 2018 04:00 AM

July 11, 2018

a digital life

July 09, 2018

a digital life

Certainly Strange

Sailing the Dalmatian Coast

Here we are, on a sailing trip on the Dalmatian Coast, back from our Balkans vacation.

by Steen at July 09, 2018 06:37 AM

Doctor Popular

Mission Mini-Parklet Video

I recently posted about the Mission Mini-Parklet on Mission and 19th St. Since then, I’ve had a chance to chat with the parklet’s creator to learn more about it for this short video.

The post Mission Mini-Parklet Video appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at July 09, 2018 05:33 AM

I before E except Gleitzman


Smangtasia is a place on earth. A psychedelic experience in the mountains surrounded by nature, specifically tailored for the pansexual rave warrior.

The fun starts July 20-23 on the farm in Roxbury, NY. Find out more at

July 09, 2018 03:08 AM

July 08, 2018

a digital life

I Like Turtles

Week with Grammy


July 08, 2018 04:00 AM

July 07, 2018

a digital life

July 06, 2018

a digital life

July 03, 2018

a digital life

July 02, 2018

Doctor Popular

My Dorkbot SF talk about “God Hates Dinosaurs”

Here’s a recent talk I gave about my God Hates Dinosaurs project. This was at Dorkbot #99 at The DNA Lounge in San Francisco. I hope you like it.

Doc Pop – God Hates Dinosaurs, Dorkbot-SF at DNA Lounge, 2018-03-28 from pronoiac on Vimeo.

The post My Dorkbot SF talk about “God Hates Dinosaurs” appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at July 02, 2018 03:56 PM

Certainly Strange

Weeeee’re Baaaa-aaack!

Welp, we made it back home to San Francisco, safe and sound. The trip to the Balkans was great, and I have so much I would like to write about it. Every city was so different and unique in amazing … Continue reading

by Steen at July 02, 2018 05:44 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

July 01, 2018

Diegetic Games

Machine Learning President

It’s been a very strange week: a game I co-designed with Scout AI made national news in the most bizarre way.

On Monday, a friend sent me a link to a New Yorker article about how Rebekah Mercer (the pro-Trump mega-donor) has a parlor game that simulates elections. As I started reading the article, I noticed that the game shared a name with a game I co-designed last winter: Machine Learning President. At first I thought it might be an odd coincidence but as I read on it became increasingly clear that it was OUR game, but with many of the details wrong.

I immediately reached out to the rest of the team – Berit and Brett from Scout, and Eliot Peper and Mike Masnick who also helped design the game. We were completely beguiled – how did Rebekah get our game and then how did it leak to the New Yorker?

We quickly reached out to one of Mike’s friends at Gizmodo and she wrote up a great article giving some context to our game and why we designed it. Mike and also wrote a detailed post covering the background of the event. You can read all about it in their posts but some quick bullets:

  • Berit and Brit wanted to run an event that helped pro-democracy forces think abou the intersection of technology and politics
  • They pulled me in to lead the game design and development late last fall
  • We created a game that simulates the 2020 US Presidential Election
  • The game covered the primary and general election with two candidates per party and 12 other factions vying for power
  • We ran the game in February for ~40 tech policy workers and investors and it was a huge hit

We’re still not sure how the game files made their way to Rebekah. My guess is that one the attendees took a few handouts and passed them on. However, Buzzfeed interviewed her and she has a few very strange quotes. It’s worth reading the whole article.

The articles ended up getting a lot of shares on social media and our team received serious interest in running the game around the country. Hopefully we’ll take it to a few cities later this year!

become a backer on Patreon

If you want to get updates about new games and drafts, sign up for the Diegetic Games Newsletter

July 01, 2018 08:46 PM

I Like Turtles

Abel and Emily's wedding


July 01, 2018 04:00 AM

a digital life

June 27, 2018

a digital life

June 25, 2018

Doctor Popular

Avala TV Tower in Belgrade, Serbia

Christine and I are traveling through Serbia and Croatia on a two week vacation. It’s really amazing here and I hope to write up a longer description of our experiences, but I only have time for just one of the rad things we saw.

This is the Avala TV Tower, the tallest structure in the Balkans. The original was built in the 60s, but destroyed during NATO bombings in the 90s. The tower has since been rebuilt and is only a 20 minute drive from Belgrade, so I suggest doing it if you are ever in town.

The post Avala TV Tower in Belgrade, Serbia appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at June 25, 2018 03:45 PM

June 24, 2018

I before E except Gleitzman

Certainly Strange

Made it to Croatia!

Well, we made it to Croatia! It is also really interesting here, and it is really fun to learn about the history of why it has those weird borders, and getting another aspect of the Balkans and how they relate … Continue reading

by Steen at June 24, 2018 09:25 PM

Diegetic Games

Buy a Copy of Honor Bound

Last month, Jason Morningstar and I released Honor Bound to our Patreon and Drip backers. It’s now available for purchase by the general public. Buy the PDF today on!.

Here’s the quick pitch:

Honor Bound explores honor culture and masculinity through the lens of an old fashioned duel. Play starts just after a challenge is issued and follows the duelists, seconds, doctor, and judge as they struggle to de-escalate a fraught situation in a society that values reputation above all else.

The game takes roughly two hours to play. It starts with a workshop that will get you up to speed on the setting and themes of the game; you’ll also establish the incident that triggered the duel. Once play begins, you’ll be struggling to de-escalate the situation even as the characters negotiate the final details of weapons, ground, and range.

We’re donating all the profits to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which works to protect civil liberties in the digital world.

If you have a chance to play it, let me know!

become a backer on Patreon

If you want to get updates about new games and drafts, sign up for the Diegetic Games Newsletter

June 24, 2018 08:46 PM

June 23, 2018

a digital life

June 20, 2018

a digital life

June 18, 2018

I Like Turtles

Summer days


June 18, 2018 04:00 AM

a digital life

June 17, 2018

Certainly Strange

Serbia Trip

Well we’re here in Serbia for our Balkans trip, and it’s been really nice lately. Belgrade is an amazing town, and there’s a lot of history here. So far we’ve done a lot of eating, drinking, and walking. I’ve walked … Continue reading

by Steen at June 17, 2018 08:17 PM

I before E except Gleitzman

Doctor Popular

PopCast Episode #12: Curling and Hand Grenades

The newest episode of PopCast, my yo-yo vlog, is online now! I share a few tricks like Curling and Bermuda Triangle, unbox a new yo-yo from Big Bang Bandalores, and talk about one of the strangest yo-yo holsters I own; a carrying case for hand grenades. The video was edited on a flight to Belgrade and I think turned out great.

The post PopCast Episode #12: Curling and Hand Grenades appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at June 17, 2018 06:40 AM

June 16, 2018

I before E except Gleitzman

a digital life

June 15, 2018

I Like Turtles

Old City Hall


June 15, 2018 04:00 AM

June 14, 2018

a digital life

June 11, 2018

Randy Lubin

Types of Audience Agency in Interactive Theater

I’m fascinated with interactive theater and have been noodling on different ways to categorize audience agency. The following is organized by type of agency and roughly sorted by low-impact to high-impact.


A simple form of audience agency is the ability to choose where to focus one’s attention. Depending on the show, this might involve choosing which actors to follow or examining the environment for clues about the world (e.g. rifling through drawers or reading letters.

By choosing where to focus their attention, audience members can focus on the parts of the show which appeal to them the most. If there’s a lot of content happening at once, an audience member might feel FOMO (fear of missing out) which could negatively affect their experience but also encourage repeat attendance or fuel good discussion afterward as friends share their unique experiences.


A more sophisticated form of agency is casting an audience member in the role of a character in the fictional world. Casting the audience can immediately change their experience of a show, even if the audience has little other agency.

Giving the audience a specific role will change how they contextualize the plot and the setting. It encourages them to think about how plot developments might personally affect them, even if they never see those consequences during the performance. Having a specific role in the world can also lead to audience members identifying with specific actor’s roles and feeling deeper empathy for those characters.

Depending on the other types of agency present, casting audience members can provide them with clear norms for interacting with the actors (or the rest of the audience). This could include signaling when it’s appropriate to talk, what to discuss, or how to influence the plot.

A show can amplify an audience member’s agency by giving them freedom to shape their character. By taking an active role in defining their character, an audience member is likely to feel more attached to that character, embody that character more thoroughly, and potentially enjoy the character more than they might otherwise. This type of agency exists on a spectrum, ranging from allowing an audience member to select a character from a set of options, making choices that complete a partially created character, to creating a new character from scratch.

Limited Participation

The above types of agency could exist without the actors every acknowledging the audience or without the audience having any ability to shape the performance. The remaining types of agency all involve audience members taking a more active role in the show.

A limited form of participation could have the audience being directly addressed by the actors and given tasks (hold my drink, deliver a letter, watch my back). These tasks can pull audience members more deeply into the performance, even if they don’t present the audience member with meaningful decisions or  a way to affect the plot.

Another form of potentially limited participation could involve audience members engaging in dialogue with the actors. Through conversation with the actors, the audience can uncover details about the setting, the characters’ backstories, or the characters’ current state of mind. If the audience is driving the conversation, they can focus on the aspects of the show that most interest them. Actors can also use these conversations to help audience members flesh out their own characters.

Narrative Participation

A show can grant audience members a more powerful form of agency by allowing them to influence the broader narrative or plot. As with previous types of agency, narrative participation exists on a wide spectrum. The examples below assume that the audience is engaging with the actors while in character, though it’s possible that they are just affecting the plot through voting at key moments.

Simple types of narrative participation enable audience members to shape the specific content they encounter without altering the overall plot, character arcs, or conclusion. For instance, an audience member’s actions might prompt an actor to deliver a specific monologue, give the audience member a gift, or take them to different part of the set; these actions might not have any bearing on the rest of the show.

Another form of light narrative participation could have an audience member providing advice to a character or otherwise helping them reach a decision in which the consequences won’t be felt before the end of the show. For example, an audience member might convince a character to quit their job but the show might end before that character has a chance to follow through on that decision. This type of agency can enable powerful character scenes and leave the audience feeling empowered, without needing to develop a wide array of possible endings for the show.

A deeper form of agency is if the audience’s advice results in consequences within the scope of the show. Audience members can see the effects of their actions and feel as though they made a meaningful impact on the plot. The decision might ultimately have limited impact on the plot (i.e. not affect the rest of the show) or it could affect later scenes, character arcs, and the ending. Depending on the show, these decisions might lead to one of a limited number of endings or a unique conclusion as the actors improvise a resolution.

The above options have audience members shaping the narrative by influencing the characters; a more direct form of agency has the audience taking direct actions that affect the plot. This could take many forms such as stealing or uncovering a critical item (prop), rendering a verdict (in character), or revealing secret information at a crucial moment. With this type of agency, a show must be prepared for a wide variety of audience actions and be able to finesse them into a satisfying experience.

Final Thoughts

I hope the above breakdown is helpful for understanding the different types of agency that audience members can have in interactive works. If I missed something, or if you have suggestions for reorganizing it, I’d love to hear from you.

I only barely mentioned the tradeoffs of different types of agency – I’d like to discuss them more deeply in another post. For now, here are some things to consider:

  • Agency can lead to emergent stories that the authors never would have considered
  • Agency can add high variability to the quality of the experience
  • Agency can result in greater immersion, engagement, empathy, or catharsis for audience members
  • Making shows robust to agency can take a lot of extra work, both in script writing and actor training
  • Agency can allow some audience members to make the experience worse for other audience members, through their creative decisions or disruptive behaviors
  • Not all audience members are comfortable with or interested in having agency
  • Shows can support the audience by having an on-boarding process that clearly articulates the permitted / desired forms of agency

Let me know your thoughts!

June 11, 2018 05:47 AM

June 10, 2018

Doctor Popular

Ro Sham Bot: My first Twitterbot!

I attended a great little Twitterbot workshop taught by Lil PDF and Yiying Lu at the Codame Art Festival this week. After about 20 minutes of hacking around in, I built @Ro_Sham_Bot!

Ro_Sham_Bot is built using Tracery, a tool for writing generative grammars developed by Kate Compton. To get started making your own bot, simply create a new Twitter account, connect it to CBDQ, and follow some of the examples. 

My source code is available in the bot’s description on Twitter, please feel free to share your ideas and suggestions for how to make it better.

My next steps are:

  • clean up the adjective array (leaving just the good ones for the context provided)
  • Generate a tweet everyday with a randomly selected picture of a rock fist, scissor fist, or paper fist
  • Challenge followers once a week to play a game (ie “Hey @randomfollower, want to play again? Choose ?, ?, or ?”)
  • Generate a list of numbers that can correctly be used as a “best 2 out of 3?” scenario (ie best “53 out of 105?” or “best 256 out of 561?”

The post Ro Sham Bot: My first Twitterbot! appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at June 10, 2018 06:11 PM

I Like Turtles

Leonard's first rock concert


June 10, 2018 04:00 AM