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Watch the Award Ceremony!

Threadsteading, a strategy game that is the product of a collaboration between Gillian Smith, Assistant Professor in Game Design and Computer Science, and the textiles lab at Disney Research Pittsburgh, has been announced as one of the IndieCade nominees for this year’s festival. IndieCade is the premier international festival of independent games, designed to bring visibility to and facilitate the production of new works within the emerging independent game community. A phenomenal number of games were submitted this year, and only a handful of the most innovative, thought-provoking ones were chosen to be showcased as official nominees. Congratulations to Professor Smith and the team behind Threadsteading for having their game selected and representing CAMD at IndieCade!

“It is a huge honor to be one of the nominated games, especially since over 1,000 games are submitted every year and only 36 were chosen as nominees,” explained Professor Smith. “I am really excited to be showing our game alongside so many other great games this year. Some compare IndieCade to the Sundance Film Festival – the games that are shown there are all doing something really different and interesting with the medium.”

Threadsteading is a two-player game designed for a long-arm quilting machine. Players act as competing commanders of a team of royal scouts tasked with exploring a hex-gridded domain of varying terrain difficulty. Players must strategize to find the best path to take over the terrain and maximize the territory they control, while making sure to explore as much of the map as possible. As players explore, a physical map is sewn showing the paths taken by the commanders, who each have their own symbol embroidered atop the territory they are exploring. At the end, the winning commander takes home the map. The version of the game Professor Sthreadsteading-image2mith and the team will show at IndieCade is played entirely on a consumer-grade embroidery machine.

“Our goals with Threadsteading are to showcase the capability of these fabrication machines, to investigate what it means to have a game that offers an actual physical artifact at the end of play, and to play with gendered assumptions,” said Professor Smith. “During its creation, we had a technical mission of reverse-engineering the quilting machine so that it could be controlled in real-time, and we wanted to design a unique interactive experience that would really push the boundaries of what the machine could do and to get people thinking about computerized fabrication technologies in different ways.”

Even before this IndieCade nomination, the word about Threadsteading was getting out – Professor Smith and the team have already shown the game at Alt.Ctrl.GDC, a special exhibit at the Game Developers Conference devoted to games with alternative control schemes, and at the ACM Conference on Human Computer Interaction!

The festival took place October 14-16, 2016 in Los Angeles.  We are very pleased to announce that Threadsteading won the Technology Award. Congratulations!