& Nomencluster
created/built/birthed by Jason Nelson and Matt Horton,, Games Designed for the world largest touch screen environment,, 12-5ft high touch screens networked into a two story art space.
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About Giant Touch Screen Games/Artworks

In Brief (see the IM/VD tab for Images/Videos)
Art game maker and digital poet Jason Nelson and newly minted games developer Matt Horton have created a new games genre, Giant Touch Screen Games.

Their creations, Cryptext (an interactive puzzle/science fiction mystery game) and Nomencluster (a generative artwork/game created by user’s hand movements using poetry and science designs) were built for one of the world’s largest, most advanced touch screen spaces, located at QUT’s The Cube (four 40ft sides, over 40 touch screens, towering over two stories).
In more detail
Take one of the world’s largest, most advanced touch screen spaces, combine it with two experimental game makers/digital artists and new games/art genre is born. Digital Poet/art game builder Jason Nelson (creator of game, game, gam, e and again game, I made this. You play this. We are enemies and other art games) received an Australia Council arts grant to create games/interactive artworks for a new giant touch screen space at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. The space is a world’s first, costing over 15 million and comprised of four sides, extending over two stories and using over 40 6 foot high touch screens each with their own computer working in conjunction with towering projection spaces.

Jason worked with newly minted games developer Matt Horton to rethink this space as a giant game environment. Working over 9 months Jason and Matt experimented with various game iterations, including cannon/catapult based games for shooting news feed headlines and a strange artistic version of the classic block breaker game. However making games for a giant touch screen space is totally different than any other platform. How do you entice people to play games on a space over 40 feet wide and 14 ft high?

They eventually perfected their methods and created two games/artworks. Cryptext, a puzzle science fiction game, where players use giant wheels, one to each touch screen, to solve a cryptic X-files style mystery surrounding a secret military technology program. And Nomencluster an interactive artwork/game where players create with science shapes and designs, and through each of the six levels poetic text is generated by the player’s movements.
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Background and More Details
Unlike other games both previously developed which could be played on nearly any device, Cryptext and Nomencluster are entirely site specific, created uniquely for QUT’s Cube Space. While it’s exciting to be part of a project building some of the world’s first games for giant touch screen spaces, it does limit your game playing audience to those willing to travel to Brisbane Australia.

Games like these have to exist over three visual dimensions: the up close player, using the touch screen to play, the step-back visual dimension where players and their friends can see the entire space to gauge their game play, and the far away dimension for those walking by or studying nearby watching the screens dominate the visual space. In addition, we noticed there were significant hurdles in developing AIs which functioned as invisible players, to have the games moving/playing when no one is touching. After all, the space is so large it’s a dominant visual feature and must be engaging even when not being played.

We had the additional hurdle of ensuring each new player could have an engaging experience without having to restart the game. So we created games that had levels, but were also playable and coherent no matter when you arrived during the game’s progress. We also had to account for both the limited time most players spent using the touch screens, so we created experiences for people playing as short as a minute or as long as an hour.
Player Experiences
I was fascinated by the combination of mysterious content and touch screen game play.
‐ QUT Student
Really beautiful usage of interactive art and game interactivity. Turns a giant tech space into a gallery for art-games.
‐ Arts Curator
An innovative spin on science fiction games through this giant, almost otherwordly space.
‐ A Professor


About Cryptext, science fiction game for a giant touch screen space.
When scientists are asked what inspired them to become experts in their fields, one of the most common answers is science fiction. Whether it’s space travel TV dramas like Star Trek, the speculative SciFi stories of Ray Bradbury or H.G. Wells or any number of comic books, movies and games, science fiction imagines future worlds and warns us of the wonders and dangers of fantastical machines.

Jason Nelson and Matt Horton, through an Australia Council Digital Writing Residency grant, extend this literary genre to the dynamic, interactive, two-story high space of QUT’s Cube, creating one of the world’s first speculative fiction games for large touchscreen displays.
Game Described
The Cryptext is part X-Files, part video game, part interactive puzzle and part electronic literature. The story is simple at first. A private investigator and amateur scientist unexpectedly receives a box of redacted government documents, video clips and patents for unusual machines and processes. And in order to uncover the details behind a secret government program exploring a range of alien, supernatural and highly advanced technologies, the player/reader must solve each of the Cryptext’s levels.
How to Play etc...
They do so by turning eight touch screen wheels, each with eight words. The reader matches a word on the wheel with a word on a redacted government document above, and once all eight wheels are solved they are rewarded with a video clip explaining the experiments and secret government science programs, and can move on to the next level.

Jason and Matt’s Cyptext combines the wonderment and intrigue of game based science fiction with the awe and interactive power of QUT’s Cube, which is, in itself, an almost science fiction like space, with its tall touch screens and large projection spaces seemingly coming from the building’s heart.

Images/Video of Cryptext and NomenCluster

Instead of the long-long journey down to Brisbane, Australia, you can explore our Giant Touch Screen Games through these grand images and curiously compelling videos.
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About the interactive art/poetry game for a giant touch screen space
Describing NomenCluster
Not only have Jason Nelson (digital poet, writer and artist) and Matthew Horton (game maker, programmer and technospecialist) created a large scale interactive work of gamefied science fiction, they also built a highly interactive digital artwork/game and poem for QUT’s Cube space.

Nomencluster explores the space as a drawing and creative play environment. But instead of drawing with lines, visitors create their own designs with insects, 19th century engineering engravings, food chemistry and a continual stream of poetic texts and interactive writing.
Jason and Matt wanted to transform QUT’s Cube into a dynamic artwork and game world, a space where the hand movements, the swipes and presses, across the screens would create truly beautiful collages of poetry, image and design. And being fascinated with the beauty of machines, the complexity of insects and the mystery of food and chemistry they expand how we understand the poetry of science.
Working in the Space
Working with the Cube’s networked computers was a big change from my previous projects. The Unity framework of the space and development wall allowed us to quickly iterate on concepts and debug in an assisted environment, but using a networked system of touch screens affected our design process considerably.

The Cube’s positioning also conveniently provided free and easy player testing with passing students and visitors. Our projects focused on ideas of generation and interaction; Jason’s textual and erratic artistic style complemented player generation in the Mouse Follower, and our perspectives on proto-pop culture and information discovery formed the basis for the corporate secrecy of the Cryptext.

Contact Jason Nelson

If you want to write an article (I would send you something curiously cool from Australia!), or just want to reach out, please do contact me!

Jason Nelson
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
heliopod -insert the at symbol- gmail -insert the dot- com

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