Bluebird AR

Dena, Christy (2010) Bluebird AR. [Other]

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"What is Bluebird AR?

Bluebird AR was the ABC's alternate reality drama set around the leak of Bluebird, a clandestine geoengineering initiative created by eco-billionaire Harrison Wyld.

Proposing a fictional scenario set against a backdrop of real world possibilities, Bluebird AR took some of the conventions of the well-established alternate reality game (ARG) genre and pulled them into the relatively new area of online drama, to create a hybrid entertainment form best described as 'participatory drama'.

With Bluebird AR's interactive narrative centred on the experimental science of geoengineering, the deliberate manipulation of the Earth's atmosphere to counteract global warming, the events and characters in the Bluebird story were entirely fictional but fused with reality online. Inhabiting a mixture of third party social media spaces and websites created by the ABC, the story incorporated real online articles, scientific journals, media and debate around geoengineering.

In an Australian first, ABC Innovation launched Bluebird AR on 27 April 2010, with a 6 week live phase. Audience members were invited to play collectively to help 'unlock the drama' and push forward the emerging narrative, or passively watch the story unfold in real-time across the internet.

Bluebird AR subverted ARG conventions with the high quality of its production and assets, and raised the stakes for online drama with its level of audience participation."

© 2014 ABC


One of the most exciting creative challenges of producing Bluebird AR was formulating the broad array of visual styles and treatments required for the project's diverse range of content.

Many assets also needed to translate well not only online but across other media, including television and print.

With the project's producers keen to create a visually rich narrative with high production values from the outset, inspiration for the production design for various aspects of the Bluebird story began in the earliest pitching phase in September 2008.

Particular visual treatments and styles for Bluebird's characters, their web spaces and real world possessions were formulated concurrently with the creation of their profiles. Ideas around how various clues and gameplay spaces might look and feel were also explored at this early stage.

Bluebird AR's small but tight creative team produced 7 website designs and brands, motion graphics for title sequences and logo animations, rotoscope animation, 3D compositing and animation, 3D wireframes and schematics, countless Photoshop composites, and a vast array of character assets for the DC (including Kyle's Bluebird Labs security pass and resignation letter, Kruger's American and Russia passports and birth certificate, Harrison's divorce papers, and more)…"

© 2014 ABC

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 77374
Item Type: Creative Work (Other)
Refereed: No
Other Contributors:
Role Contributors
Cross-media specialist/AR Consultant
  • Christy Dena
  • Travis Nippard, Michael Cormick, Gil Balfas, Lisbeth Kennelly, Susie Rugg, Susie Collins, Cinzia Lee
Executive Producer/Creative Director
  • Sam Doust
Senior Producer/Project Manager
  • Amy Nelson
Producer/Project Manager
  • Astrid Scott
Story Development
  • Sam Doust and Amy Nelson
Interaction design
  • Sam Doust, Amy Nelson, Charlie Szasz, Astrid Scott, Lin Jie Kong
  • Sam Doust, Amy Nelson, Astrid Scott
Lead Developer
  • Charlie Szasz
HTML/Google Earth/Web 2.0 Developer
  • Tristan Gross
Lead Graphic Designer
  • Georgie Ibarra
Production Design
  • Sam Doust, Amy Nelson, Reuben Hill
Graphic Designers
  • Sarah Fawcett, Sam Doust, Amy Nelson
Video Editors
  • Mark Taylor, Sam Doust
Motion graphics design
  • Sam Doust, Dale Smart
3D design and motion graphics artist and compositor
  • Reuben Hill
Photoshop finished art
  • Reuben Hill, Todd Sotheren, Sam Doust, Georgie Ibarra
Information Architecture
  • Lin Jie Kong, Jennifer Wilson (The Project Factory), Amy Nelson
  • Sam Doust, Amy Nelson, Astrid Scott, Tristan Gross
Social media specialists
  • Ping Lo, Melissa Cooper
  • Sam Doust
Co-Director and Producer
  • Amy Nelson
  • Marissa Cooke, Sam Doust, Amy Nelson, Jamais Cascio, Kirstin Murray
Associate Producer/Production Manager (Video)
  • Stamatia Maroupas
Camera Operators
  • Peter Sinclair, Stamatia Maroupas
Sound recordists
  • Grant Roberts, Stamatia Maroupas
Make Up
  • Clark Sheedy
  • Amanda Craze, Lorraine Verheyen
Set Photographer
  • Ludwik Dabrowski
Sound Designer/Composer/Sound Mix
  • Roberto Salvatore
Story Editor
  • Tony Barrell
  • AnoushaZarkesh, Susie McLean
Writer and consultant
  • Jamais Cascio
Additional Development
  • The Project Factory
  • Mark Taylor, with Davor Opacak
RAS Flash game development
  • Rob Stewart
AR and Moderation Consultant
  • Hugh Davies
Content Producer at
  • Mario Anima
  • Avocado Consulting
  • Tequila
Early prototype designs
  • Design Royale
Video interview for Now I Can Change The World
  • Matthew Bishop and Michael Green
Now I Can Change The World Writters and Producers
  • Kirstin Murray, Sam Doust, Amy Nelson
Archives Researcher for Now I Can Change The World
  • Rod O'Hara
Now I Can Change The World Editor
  • Mark Taylor
Now I Can Change The World Rotoscoping
  • Reuben Hill
Marketing and Publicity
  • Carolyn Macdonald, Victoria Till, Gemma Gray
  • Bruce Belsham, Stephen Rapley, Michelle Fisher
Production Assistant
  • Karen Palenzuela
  • Hugh Bennett, Emily Martin
ABC Innovation Unit Managers
  • Wendy Blanche, Kirsty Duque
Special Thanks
  • Mark Scott, Ian Carroll, Bruce Belsham, Abigail Thomas, Chris Winter, Trevor Gillespie, Matt Eckhaus, Glen MacNab, Jennifer Collins, Alan Sunderland, Janet Carr, Robyn Williams, Lynne Malcolm, Natasha Mitchell, Bernie Hobbs, Wendy Carlisle, Nick Lee, Antony Funnell, Andrew Davies, Peter Giles, JamaisCascio, Ken Caldeira, David Keith, Matthew Bishop, Michael Green, Ruth Fogarty, Nigel Mallet, The Chinese Garden of Friendship, UNSW, Friends and Family.
Funders: ABC (Australia)
Material: Alternate reality drama (online, mobile, live events, TV, radio, billboards)
Measurements or Duration: 6 weeks
Publisher: Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Location: From date: To date:
ABC 2010 2010
Keywords: alternate reality drama, alternate reality game, subverted ARG conventions
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Deposited On: 08 Oct 2014 23:37
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2014 01:40

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