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Among many other attendees stalking the halls of Wyrd Con this year was Carnegie Mellon researcher Whitney “Strix” Beltrán. A consummate gamer, she has been attending Wyrd Con for the last three years, as well as publishing academic articles in the Wyrd Con Companion Book, and giving panels on topics such as myth and media and minority issues within the gaming community. This year, however, she’s on a very specific mission to connect with players, organizers, and designers to find out how they are using technology in and around larp.

Headed up by the Carnegie Mellon Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Beltrán is working with assistant professor Jessica Hammer out of the HCII’s new game lab on an exploratory study of the larp community. They’d like to understand better how the larp community uses such technologies as email, social media, mobile technology, collaboration and organizational tools to communicate, run
larps, and problem solve, among whatever else the data might show. They’re betting on the fact that there’s going to be some surprises!

Both Beltrán and Hammer are long time larpers themselves, with an eye towards helping improve the community with their own unique skill sets (in this case, SCIENCE!). You can do your part by spreading the word that they are looking for community members to interview, or signing up yourself. They are looking for players, designers, game masters, crafters, and others within the United States larp community who participate in a variety of different kinds of larps, including but not limited to: theater, boffer, parlor, freeform, Nordic, and others. Even kinds they haven’t heard of before!

Interviews will be held on-line, and can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how much you have to say on the subject. There is no compensation except for sincere thanks, and all information is kept anonymous. For additional information or to schedule and interview email larp@cs.cmu.edu