April 01, 2015

Runes of the Past

How Runescape Paved the Way for 2Q

In todays world, there are few methods of entertainment that children find interesting that do not require electricity. Gone are the days of playing in the streets until the street lights beckoned the youngsters home for dinner. Kids today live in a world of constant video stimulation and a lot of the content they view is passive, meaning that they have no part to play in the absorption of information; They are not effectively doing anything when they watch television, for example. This is part of the reason video games are so enticing to young people. They can interact with a virtual world and have adventures simply by turning on a game system. More than that, kids can connect and play with their friends wirelessly.

The Rise of Runescape
This was not always so, however. The trend of online gaming started with two brothers and a dream of a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) which became known as Runescape. Andrew and Paul Gower began development of the game in the style of a Text-based Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) game. This original Runescape did not look anything like the MMORPG games that are known today, as it was simply text on a screen. However, after a year of testing, the Gower brothers formed Jagex, a company dedicated to handling the business side of the game's development. Among the accomplishments of Jagex was the development of RuneScript, a domain-specific scripting language that is used for event handling.

In 2002, a year after the original games release, a monthly membership option was introduced, allowing players to access new items, quests and characters if they so chose. With Runescape rising in popularity, Jagex put into motion plans for some major changes to the game with the most drastic being rewriting the game engine to support fully 3D graphics and released the revamped game in 2004 as Runescape 2, allowing users to keep their profile from the previous version, which was repackaged as Runescape Classic.

With MMORPG being such a popular game style, Runescape has retained its spot at the top of the mountain as the largest free MMORPG in the world as well as the most-updated game. It has even been made an official record holder in the Guinness Book of World Records1.

Runescape continues to enjoy widespread popularity, as it is a free browser-based game with no need for any type of commitment other than the time one chooses to spend playing. The allure is great to those who have played long-term due to the transferability of their characters and progress in-game. Also, since the game has no linear story, but instead allows players to go on quests at will in any order, every game experience will be unique. It is less mainstream than it was in the early 2000's, however, as it became widely played during the heyday of trading card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon. The world of MMORPG games was forever established as a superpower of the gaming world with this project ambitiously dreamed up by two brothers.

Revolution? How?
There is something to be learned from the exploits of the Gower brothers. They had a vision and they worked at it for years until it came to fruition. Such is the case with 2Q. This brainchild of T and K has become a long-standing commitment of theirs and a testament to their tenacity. Their vision will evolve much as Runescape did, with a beta test of the game being released to a chosen 144,000. While Runescape went through several iterations and therefore had a few account transferral problems, 2Q will feature a lifetime membership. One account for life, with a one-time fee. With so many games charging a monthly fee that borders on ridiculous, 2Q will become very attractive to the pocketbook, while the game's story will stimulate the mind.

How Do I Fit In?
My involvement in 2Q intrigues me because I was raised by Christian and Catholic families. I have since decided that I do not consider myself either, but I certainly know of some of the stories of the faith and was raised with morals exemplified by The Bible. 2Q tells a well-known story from a slightly altered perspective, questioning the stories we all know and dissecting them, breaking the story of Jesus into more malleable components. It will make people think and that will draw the attention of people like me; The attention of skeptics is a hot commodity in the world of religious interpretation and open-mindedness. Religion is a very hot-button topic for some and will always warrant discussion. What 2Q aims to accomplish is to challenge people to ask themselves questions and analyze the things they think they know. Curious people will be the lifeblood of this game and it will provide an excellent avenue into expanding ones mind.

Where Will 2Q Take Me?
The use of gaming to educate and indeed facilitate open-mindedness is a brilliant marketing decision and is something that will reach a great many people. Being browser-based, the game is immediately accessible and can be played from any computer, making it a fantastic way to spend some downtime. Aside from that, 2Q offers an opportunity for some insight into the central story of a faith that has been vilified and maligned over the years. With so many negative connotations surrounding Christianity and it's many branches and forms, 2Q will facilitate a re-education on the story of Christ from a more human standpoint that will feel more relatable and entirely immersive to the player.

The journey has not been easy for T and K who have spent over seven years planning, conceptualizing and refining their vision. The Agents they have met along the way have done their best to ensure that the final product is sharp, powerful and most of all, moving. Coupling the planning and vision of T and the artistic and technological know-how of K, the project known as 2Q is a labour of love that is poised to take on all open minds and above all, expand the consciousness of others.

1 For more information, visit the Guinness page for Runescape

February 18, 2015


Good morning ladies and gentlemen, Once again, thank you for your participation and talents last night, and for accommodating this exercise in your schedules at last minute. Thank you K for transportation and equipment lugging,
D for coordinating and providing accommodations, W for your expertise and multitude of gifts, C for access to the internet, G for always being a great set of eyes and ears and your attention to detail; and S for your excitement and presence. YBJ expressed concern about performing unrehearsed for an audience, anxiety your professional attitudes helped assuage. DESIGNING FOR GOOD I doubt D did this on purpose, but serendipity made it so that the room door happened to be facing a drawing depicting Christ on the cross. I'll take that as a blessing. Could one of you grab a shot of that please? Let's start counting our blessings. I'll also note that the room was no. 2, which is my lucky number. These things are useful for creating scavenger hunts throughout the game. READING NOTES Readings are normally rather dry, and as you could tell last night I was reading some long and boring screen instructions which we would have conveyed visually had we done the reading as originally planned. You may have heard me refer to the POV many times, and things like [heartbeat][blink]. In the case of the OBJECT, it is shown from one perspective. An homage to the old days when the practice was never showing Jesus' face in film out of reverence, as well as an attempt to convey the experience of walking in his footsteps. Our inspiration for this treatment came from a project we executed in 2012, a promo program for the Aids Committee Durham. 'AAA' begins with an 'experience' segment, meant to convey the experience of receiving a positive AIDS diagnosis. It illustrates to a degree what POV feels/looks like to us; although some of the effects are overpronounced for impact in this case; in the case of THE OBJECT they would be more subtle.

Though YBJ didn't contribute to the work above, we completed a few pieces together,  including one of my favorites, an impromptu thank you to our transportation sponsor made up of mostly b-roll.

As discussed yesterday, we will be taking out a cut of the Soliloquy for deployment onto 2KYU.  K is working on that now, and pending approvals, we should have it ready in time to show Friday/present Saturday at YEC15.

We will also be uploading a video copy of the session to 2KYU.com for those of you who weren't able to attend. 

We took one word impressions from the audience in attendance last night which will be smashed into a piece called SuperScribeDiatribe.  

Notes on that will be distributed to 2KYU Subscribers only!.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Do You 2Q?

February 06, 2015

The Beginning of The Story with No End

by Arielle Filipe

This story has no end - but this is where it really begins.
Heart racing, suspended in time and space.


These are the impressions left with the project team, and University of Toronto students, who had the wonderful opportunity of sitting in as the story behind KAIROS came to life in its first reading. On January 20th, 2015, the 2KYU project team met at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus to read, discuss, and form the introduction to the production that will seek to rewrite the story we know. This reading would also become the foundation for the soliloquy in the video above, and the second step in bringing KAIROS to life, introducing a new perspective to the world.

Although I was not present for this reading, and the creation of this soliloquy, in both its original story and video presentation, I grappled with these same feelings/impressions as I watched the short video on my own time.

The piece gets your heart pumping, and creates a moment of tension, as you are carried on this journey through the stars, through the life of the speaker. Although just under 2 minutes long, the video leaves a lasting impression and creates a sense of nervousness and tension. The atmosphere it creates instills a feeling as though something about the story will be life changing for not only the speaker, but also the viewer. The imagery takes us through an unravelling of space, suspending us in time as we drift aimlessly through that space, devoid of direction.

We are left alone to grapple with our own thoughts, and reflections, about the story this man introduces.

This story has no end - We have been doing this for over 2000 years but this is where it begins. This is where the viewer is opened up to a different story. It is just the beginning, the first taste that leaves you wanting to know more of this man’s story, our story.  The story of what his life truly meant to the world and a basis to question what ours may yet mean.

Although I was not present for much of the production of KAIROS, I find myself becoming more and more involved as different pieces of the story come together. It is almost as though it is a puzzle in which the blank spaces are slowly becoming filled, and the big picture, the underlying story, begins to make more sense while also bringing about new questions. I expect that many who are exposed to this story will also be moved, even if only momentarily.

This may be the story that has no end, but this is the start to questioning what it is we know.  

January 27, 2015

Leading with questions… but what is the question?

2Q=0: The results of testing your reality

An experiment presented by www.2KYU.com and IDM League at YEC15

I am  T.; Co-creator of the Alternate Reality Game called 2KYU.

2KYU, like the DEM Society and IDM League at UTM, creates opportunities for us to connect in multiple ways, and on multiple levels.  In addition to creating connections, 2KYU seeks to leverage those connections to alter perception.

2KYU has proven itself in this capacity in testing, and I’m proud to say that 2KYU has significantly altered the perception of UTM IDM and PWC students participating in an internship program launched in January called 2Q=0.   

I’m even prouder to say, these students have had a like impact on me.


2Q=0 is a program developed to provide interns with an immersive work experience, fully applying the rich and varied skills they have acquired over the course of their studies.  A fter a reading period over the Christmas holidays, in the first week of January this multi-disciplined team accepted the challenge to collaborate in the development and launch of Generation 0 of 2KYU; with the ambitious goal of acquiring and retaining 144,000 test users by the end of the 13 week program.

Our first media collateral production exercise, Kairos@UTM, took place on Tuesday January 20, where the team collaborated in a script reading and recording session, in study room no. 2 at the Hazel MacCallion Library, right here at the University of Toronto Mississauga

KAIROS@UTM… test reality.

After receiving notice of the event only four days before, and their mission brief the day of; the 2Q=0 team jumped at the opportunity to produce a reading session with a working actor, professional producers, and share their impressions with their peers by creating a plan for the distribution and promotion of the resulting product.   Excited to tackle their first real challenge, the team intrepidly gathered to execute their mission.

Then I locked them in a room for an hour and a half and made them to listen to me speak…

So…  When watching this, it appears to be a bit of a vacuum.  

To the uninformed observer what is taking place appears to be 4 people sitting in a room listening to one person(that’s me) give direction to someone else named Ryan reading over a laptop.

If you were an informed observer, you would know that there were actually 8 people in the room.   Four were physically present, and through the magic of Digital Media, four participated remotely via Skype.  

Of those four, two were located outside Canada, one in Washington, another Los Angeles.  The session was also livestreamed on www.2kyu.com.

If you were an informed observer, you would know that all 8 people were actively performing multiple functions simultaneously in harmony, on behalf of multiple interests, in pursuit of common goals.

Observing, Recording, Analysing, and Sharing.

If you were an informed observer, you would know that the soliloquy being delivered by Ryan (that’s Ryan Carnes from General Hospital) are words I wrote in September 2013, in the tone of a character born over 2000 years ago, who I’ve only ever heard speak to me in my head.

I’ve only met Ryan twice… the first time he was mowing Eva Longoria’s grass on my TV screen.

If you were an informed observer, you would know that KAIROS is more than just words spoken in the vacuum of space to an audience of 4 people… KAIROS is a greek word which is defined as the opportune moment…  More than that, in the case of Kairos@UTM, it’s about seizing it.

The result …  potential expressed.

A statement to our future… and our past.

As leader of the 2Q=0 team who executed this production; I want to take this opportunity to thank them for rising to the occasion in such a meaningful and passionate way.

I would also like to acknowledge and credit the working artists who contributed to Soliloquy:

Ryan Carnes, Reading; Tina Guo and Ray Morabito, for use of the sample of their composition Rising Force; And K. my co-creator, co-producer, and editor, who transforms my crazy visions into pretty pictures, and enhances them with sound.

Soliloquy was published on Friday January 23 in anticipation of presentation at YEC15.   Soliloquy  was scheduled for launch and delivery in mid-February according to our business plan.   Presentation at  YEC15 wasn’t even planned.

Within three weeks of beginning their internship, the UofT IDM 2Q=0 Team has put 2KYU ahead of schedule by a month, and provided us with this moment; an  opportunity to make a statement to you here, a crowd full of potential.

I can’t wait to see what other potential 2Q=0 presents.  

January 24, 2015

A Step Towards Rewriting History

Rewrite What You Know 
by Arielle Filipe

What if everything you knew was unwritten?

Imagine the flow of time has reversed, and you looked back and there was nothing there. All the stories embedded in your mind shown in a whole new perspective... a rewriting of what you once knew as truth.

What if the last 2000 years were unwritten... Would you want to explore that alternate reality? 

In December of 2014, I had my first glimpse into the creation of this alternate reality. 

Being a student in the Interactive Digital Media program at the University of Toronto, I have the privilege of engaging with a close network and, taking part in projects that change the way we think, design, and innovate. As part of my program, I was presented the opportunity to work on an internship based in a unique production known as 2KYU, or “2000 years unwritten”. 2KYU is a production, led by Tamara and Kevin LeClair, veteran entrepreneurs from Oshawa, Ontario, which aims to create an alternate reality that “unwrites” these 2000 years. 

The concept of an alternate reality, in itself, is what drew me into this project. As a student, a citizen, and a human being, I am aware that we become familiar with concepts, stories, and ideologies that are frequently presented to us. As a result, we may fail to question what it is that we know. The premise of this production challenges this mentality and encourages players to enlist in rewriting what they are familiar with. The narrative, challenges, and interaction of the alternate reality game created by 2KYU immerses the player and, encourages a new wave of thinking that can fundamentally change our perspectives of the world, ourselves, and history. Through this internship, I have the unique and exciting opportunity of taking part in leading this new wave. 

Upon joining this project, through reading material and engaging in discussion for the first time, it was evident to me that 2KYU would create a whole new experience for not only its players but also, the developers. Although my presence within the production began post creation of the initial source material, KAIROS, I found myself trying to recreate the experience of the players and, engaging with the narrative in a way that imbued a sense of reflection and thought. Although this alternate reality was already presented to me, through the narrative and production plans, I find myself also taking part in further creating this reality by questioning my current perspectives. 

This challenge of common perceptions is something I welcome and encourage, and I look forward to watching 2KYU grow into something that instills change in those who interact with the production. I extend my gratitude to the 2KYU founders for giving me the opportunity to engage in the development of this innovative production and am also excited for this opportunity to learn new skills alongside my fellow schoolmates. 

If you would like to learn more about 2KYU, and challenge your reality, I encourage you to visit www.2kyu.com and take part in unwriting history with us.