‘Bubble Sculpture Game’ for Derry

Elaine Walsh and David Drystan blowing bubbles at the anouncement that their app was selected as part of the Culture Tech project.  (DEr3713JB032)
Elaine Walsh and David Drystan blowing bubbles at the anouncement that their app was selected as part of the Culture Tech project. (DEr3713JB032)

Two Derry creatives are celebrating this week after discovering that an interactive computer game they created has been picked up for BBC Big Screens.

Eileen Walsh and David Dryden will now launch their inventive ‘Bubble Sculpture Game’ this coming Sunday - on the big screen - in Waterloo Place as part of the Derry CultureTECH Festival. The ‘Journal’ caught up with Eileen Walsh to find out more.

The local writer, broadcaster and producer from Lawrence Hill is perhaps best known for her children’s radio shows and hosting the Arts Show on Drive 105 every Wednesday, but this latest project is beyond anything Eileen had ever imagined.

Teaming up with fellow artist and filmmaker David Dryden, from Westland Avenue, they embarked on this ambitious project under the moniker ‘Fox on the Walls’. David has already made his mark on 2013 as a digital trainer in Derry’s Nerve Centre and as editor of the Digital Book of Kells, and both he and Eileen are also valuable members of the Derry Writers’ Group.

“I heard they were looking for concepts and ideas for games,” Eileen explains. “Mark Nagurski and Martin Melarkey of the Culture Company gave a talk at the Verbal Arts Centre and it was just so inspirational, they were brilliant. We had thought of designing games before, but, until then, it had never occurred to us that you could create anything like this - that creative people can work alongside the developers and programmers of this world and get some really interesting results.”

In trying to explain exactly what the Bubble Sculpture Game is, Eileen enthuses: “We thought it would be good to have an art-related game in the city in 2013, what with the Turner Prize coming and everything. Basically what happens is that the Big Screen turns into a giant interactive camera, and everything in the square below gets reflected on the screen. A plinth appears on the screen and then lots of bubbles appear, and people playing the game on the square below then have to move the bubbles and attach them to the plinth, against a time limit, thus creating a bubble sculpture!

“It’s a bit mad really and we have tested it loads in Derry and in Belfast on the big screens. Young kids in particular liked it so much that they still kept waving their arms about trying to play it when it was actually finished. So it is really good craic! People who walk past seem to be just naturally drawn to it. That’s the kind of game it is. It could bring people together in an urban space in a free, fun and safe, way.”

Both inventors are thrilled that their concept has become a reality. “We can’t wait for the launch on Sunday now. It will be great to see all sorts of people joining in and playing. We’re really excited!”

All welcome to the launch of Bubble Sculpture Game this Sunday at Waterloo Place.