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FP Tables of Contents: 0708

Proceedings of the 2008 Conference on Future Play

Fullname:Proceedings of the 2008 conference on Future Play
Note:Research, Play, Share
Editors:Bill Kapralos; Mike Katchabaw; Jay Rajnovich
Location:Toronto, Canada
Dates:2008-Nov-03 to 2008-Nov-05
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISBN 1-60558-218-2, 978-1-60558-218-4; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: FP08
Papers:53
Pages:297
Links:Conference Series Home Page
  1. Artificial intelligence
  2. Educational games, game-based learning
  3. Psychology and sociology in games
  4. Games and society
  5. Game design
  6. Graphics, visual techniques, sound in games, and hardware
  7. Artificial intelligence
  8. Educational games, game-based learning
  9. Psychology and sociology in games
  10. Game design
  11. Graphics, visual techniques, sound in games, and hardware
  12. Posters: Artificial intelligence
  13. Posters: Educational games, game-based learning
  14. Posters: Game design
  15. Posters: Graphics, visual techniques, sound in games, and hardware

Artificial intelligence

Good moods: outlook, affect and mood in dynemotion and the mind module BIBAKFull-Text 1-8
  Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari; Michael Sellers
In this paper we describe two systems for autonomous characters intended to simulate the minds of characters in virtual game worlds. These systems, the Dynemotion People Engine (DPE) and the Mind Module (MM), are here presented with special focus placed on the design and implementation of the parts of the architecture that simulate what is colloquially called mood. The mood feature is presented to the user in both applications as a fine-grained matrix that summarizes the character's state of mind, typically a complex state. Thus in both systems the mood feature functions as a qualitative guide describing the affordances for the interaction with one's own avatar or another character at a given moment. This simplifies the design and balancing of game design in terms of authorial affordances and provides a more familiar context for user-character interactions.
Keywords: affect, character, mood, multiplayer, personality, trait
Combining heuristic and landmark search for path planning BIBAKFull-Text 9-16
  Kevin Grant; David Mould
We propose a hybridization of heuristic search and the LPI algorithm. Our approach uses heuristic search to find paths to landmarks, and employs a small amount of landmark information to correct itself when the heuristic search deviates from the shortest path. The use of the heuristic allows lower memory usage than LPI, while the use of the landmarks permits the algorithm to operate effectively even with a poor heuristic. When the heuristic accuracy is very high, the algorithm tends towards greedy search; when the heuristic accuracy is low, the algorithm tends towards LPI. Experiments show that the memory usage of LPI can be reduced by more than half while preserving the accuracy of the solutions.
Keywords: LPI, Path planning, heuristics, precomputation
An emergent framework for realistic psychosocial behaviour in non player characters BIBAKFull-Text 17-24
  Christine Bailey; Michael Katchabaw
This paper introduces a framework for emergent psychosocial behaviour in non player characters in video games. This framework uses concepts behind emergent gameplay to support the mechanics of designer-defined psychological and social concepts, undefined circumstances, and emergence. Based on this framework, a prototype system has been developed. This prototype has been evaluated for realistic emergent behaviour, and has been shown through experimentation to succeed in supporting emergent psychosocial behaviour. The work to date on the framework is encouraging and quite promising for continued work in this area in the future.
Keywords: emergent gameplay, non player character behaviour, psychosocial behaviour, realistic behaviour, stimulus-response systems

Educational games, game-based learning

The game studies practicum: applying situated learning to teach professional practices BIBAKFull-Text 25-32
  Clara Fernández-Vara; Philip Tan
The inclusion of a practicum is one of the main challenges in the game studies curriculum, especially when it comes to teaching professional practices to students. This paper presents how professional management methodologies (Scrum, in this case) can be related to models of Situated Learning, as we demonstrate through our case study, the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Being aware of the connections and the pedagogical potential of professional practices can improve both how we teach and how our students learn how game development works. In our case study we also propose ways in which the practicum can be related to research in videogames.
Keywords: Scrum, cognitive apprenticeship, curriculum, education, game studies, learning, legitimate peripheral participation, practicum, situated learning, teaching, videogames
A framework for games literacy and understanding games BIBAKFull-Text 33-40
  José P. Zagal
Based on research that studied the challenges and difficulties faced by students taking games studies and game design courses, we propose that, while many students enrolled in games education programs are adept at playing games, they are usually neither games literate nor do they have a deep understanding of games. In this article we provide a framework that can be used to evaluate and assess games literacy. Using Gee's notion of literacy, we propose that a deep understanding of games involves having the ability to explain, discuss, describe, frame, situate, interpret, and/or position games (1) in the context of human culture (games as a cultural artifacts), (2) in the context of other games, (3) in the context of the technological platform on which they are executed, (4) and by deconstructing them and understanding their components, how they interact, and how they facilitate certain experiences in players. We describe each of these aspects and also discuss two educational lenses that can be used to help contextualize what it means to understand and learn about games as well as support games literacy in students.
Keywords: games education, games literacy, understanding games
Understanding game design for affective learning BIBAKFull-Text 41-48
  Claire Dormann; Robert Biddle
Affective learning is an important aspect of education that can be supported through games. This paper focuses on how games can and do address affective learning, especially in light of the growing trend of educational and serious games aiming at changing behavior and attitudes. To support affective learning though games, player emotions need to be recognized and interpreted, and an emotional experience needs to be created that motivates players and deepens learning. Moreover, there is also a need to understand affective representations and mechanisms that games support. The paper begins with a presentation of the different perspectives on affective learning, and then takes a focus on the socio-emotional component of the affective domain. An "affective walkthrough" technique is then introduced to understand and analyze affective strategies in games. This technique is then applied to the game Ico, showing its affective strategies and how these strategies can be leveraged for designing socio-emotional learning. The paper is concluded with an outline of an approach to designing games especially for affective learning, by identifying the key principles, creating a repertory of affective learning game patterns, and using methods to contextualize gameplay and facilitate learning.
Keywords: affective development, game design
Collaboration in serious game development: a case study BIBAKFull-Text 49-56
  Minh Quang Tran; Robert Biddle
This paper presents an ethnographic study of the development practices at a small but successful company that develops serious games for industry training. We concentrated on the day-to-day collaboration of the studio team responsible for the game content and software, and used qualitative research methods, including field observations, contextual interviews and conversation analysis. This paper reports our findings, emphasizing a holistic perspective encompassing social and technical factors influencing collaboration in serious game development. In particular, we report on how co-location and a positive social environment work together with the technical tools and infrastructure to provide an environment that facilitates full participation of professionals with differing disciplinary perspectives, and contributes to iterative development and refinement of the game.
Keywords: collaboration, ethnography, grounded theory, serious games development

Psychology and sociology in games

Motivations for play in computer role-playing games BIBAFull-Text 57-64
  Anders Tychsen; Michael Hitchens; Thea Brolund
In this paper the motivations for play in the context of single- and multi-player digital Role-Playing Games (RPGs) are examined. Survey data were drawn from respondents online and participants in a related experimental study. The results indicate that motivations for play are not simple constructs, but rather composed of multiple motivational drivers that are heavily interrelated and act in concert. Character uniqueness and Discovery & Immersion were the highest ranked motivational categories. Different levels of detail in motivations for playing single-/multi-Player RPGs were located, with mechanistic/tactical play and character-based/social play being the two overall motivational factors.
Using conflict theory to model complex societal interactions BIBAKFull-Text 65-72
  Ben Medler; Joe Fitzgerald; Brian Magerko
Conflict theory can be used to explain the interactions between societies during times of turmoil and change (i.e. revolutions, strikes or everyday debates). Games have been produced that make use of different aspects of conflict theory; however a common framework for organizing a system to produce realistic conflicts has not been created. This paper presents one such framework, based upon principles of conflict theory, which describe a generalized way of organizing a system to produce realistic conflict situations among societies. With our framework, we present how current commercial games represent conflict and how our framework can be implemented by these games in order to increase the system's flexibility and accuracy in representing conflict.
Keywords: conflict theory, digital games, social modeling
Defining personas in games using metrics BIBAKFull-Text 73-80
  Anders Tychsen; Alessandro Canossa
Game metrical data are increasingly being used to enhance game testing and to inform game design. There are different approaches and techniques to gather the metrics data; however there seems to be a lack of frameworks to read and make sense of it. In this paper, the concept of play-persona is applied to game metrics, in the specific case of character-based computer games, where the player controls a single protagonist, around whom the gameplay and -- story evolves. A case is presented for Hitman: Blood Money (IO Interactive, 2007). Player-controlled game characters can be deconstructed into a range of components and these expressed as monitored game metrics. These metrics can subsequently be utilized to discover patterns of play by building play-personas: Modeled representations of how players interact with the game. This process can also be useful to assist game design, by informing whether the game facilitates the specific play patterns implied by theoretical play-personas.
Keywords: character, game design, instrumentation, metrics, persona
Flow and immersion in first-person shooters: measuring the player's gameplay experience BIBAKFull-Text 81-88
  Lennart Nacke; Craig A. Lindley
Researching experiential phenomena is a challenging undertaking, given the sheer variety of experiences that are described by gamers and missing a formal taxonomy: flow, immersion, boredom, excitement, challenge, and fun. These informal terms require scientific explanation, which amounts to providing measurable criteria for different experiential states. This paper reports the results of an experimental psychophysiological study investigating different traits of gameplay experience using subjective and objective measures. Participants played three Half-Life 2 game modifications while being measured with electroencephalography, electrocardiography, electromyography, galvanic skin response and eye tracking equipment. In addition, questionnaire responses were collected after each play session. A level designed for combat-oriented flow experience demonstrated measurable high-arousal positive affect emotions. The positive correlation between subjective and objective indicators of gameplay experience shows the great potential of the method presented here for providing real-time emotional profiles of gameplay that may be correlated with self-reported subjective descriptions.
Keywords: flow, game design, gameplay experience, immersion, psychophysiology

Games and society

Critical skills for game developers: an analysis of skills sought by industry BIBAKFull-Text 89-96
  Monica McGill
With electronic gaming on the rise, several major universities involved in game development research have implemented curricula specifically for future game developers. Gaming curricula are now being offered in smaller universities, colleges, and other educational institutions, with other departments wondering if they should follow suit and what content should be covered. For this quantitative research, the author performed a content analysis on posted job advertisements for game developer positions, to determine qualities the gaming industry desires when seeking game developer employees. A categorization of qualities was performed after reviewing each job ad and five categories for qualifications were developed: Experience, Education, Interpersonal & Personal Abilities, Technical Skills, and Supporting Knowledge and a frequency distribution of the qualities in each ad was performed. The results show that there are education and experience levels, skills, abilities, and knowledge that are clearly sought by industry and certain qualities are sought with more frequency than others.
Keywords: game concentration, game curriculum, game developer, game education, game industry, required skills, skills, software developer
It's all Greek to me: a case for the classics in game development education BIBAKFull-Text 97-104
  Fred Sebastian; Anthony Whitehead
This article provides an overview of Classical Greek literature as a parallel for the game development industry: we outline how the historical developments of Greek storytelling and literature inform the developmental history of video games. As the Greek storytelling medium evolved, the sense of the tragic hero and narrative complexity evolved. Similarly, as generations of video game players evolve, their demand for more complex characters and more fully developed storylines will also evolve. We attempt to provide a vantage point that future game designers may consider during the design of future game-based story elements. While we epitomize our case using Greek Literature, the same elements and structure are found throughout the evolution of story telling in many ancient civilizations. It is our assertion that good education in game design and development requires a good technical background and a solid foundation in narrative storytelling. As such, it is recommended that game-oriented curriculum include the study of the Classics.
Keywords: Aristotle, Greek literature, Homer, game curriculum, game design, game design theory, game development, game-based education, philosophy, story, storytelling
Baroque Baroque revolution: high culture gets game BIBAKFull-Text 105-112
  Jennifer Jenson; Suzanne de Castell; Nicholas Taylor; Milena Droumeva
This paper documents the design and development of a Flashbased Baroque music game, "Tafelkids: The Quest for Arundo Donax", focusing on the tension between constructing an online resource that an audience aged 8-14 would find fun and engaging, and the directive to include historical information and facts, as well as convey some of the sounds, musical structures and conventions of Baroque music, history and culture through play. We begin by contextualizing the game as a collaboration between our team of university-based researchers and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, two groups with quite different histories -- and understandings -- of educational media design. We introduce the problem of how to go about creating a media artifact that would "make public", in a compelling and playable way, key features of Baroque music. We then describe a design process in which we tried to bridge the representation of "expert knowledge" about Baroque music with some of the mechanics used in popular music-based games. A discussion of these particular challenges in designing a bridge from propositions to play, in effect digitally remediating, Baroque music education, concludes by addressing the broader epistemological question of what and how we may best learn, and learn best, from games and play.
Keywords: Baroque music, design-based research, educational/serious games, flash, play and learning
Game format effects on communication in multi-player games BIBAKFull-Text 113-120
  Anders Tychsen; Jonas Heide Smith
Communication is a vital component of multi-player game play, constituting a large part of the player interaction in most game formats. In this article, the structure and intensity of the verbal communication between players in three different types of multiplayer role-playing games are analyzed. Data is drawn from a series of empirical experiments covering: A) Console gaming; B) Multiple players in a conventional LAN-setup, and: C) non-digital tabletop gaming. The results indicate that there are distinct differences in the overall communication pattern between the three game setups. When players share a single screen they communicate more than when each person has their own monitor, indicating a direct effect of the representation of the game medium on player communication. Additionally, in the digital games, speech intensity varies as a function of the game content: Players communicate the most during non-stressful game segments, and the least during intensive combat scenes, although the latter does require extensive coordination. The implication of this result is that analysis of player communication has the potential to be used as symptoms of boredom or excitement.
Keywords: characters, communication, experimentation, human factors, interaction, online communication, personality, player behavior, role playing games

Game design

Crafting game-models using reactive system design BIBAKFull-Text 121-128
  David Harel; Itai Segall; Hillel Kugler; Yaki Setty
This paper presents a game-model of a gym training system, where the behavior of the system is specified using languages developed originally for reactive system design, which drive a game engine. The approach makes it possible to describe behaviors of different parts of the system using different reactive system design languages and tools. It thus provides a framework for integrating the model behavior to obtain an executable game-model of the entire system. Among the advantages of this approach is the ability to use existing analysis tools to understand the game behavior at design time and run time, the ability to easily modify the behavior, and the use of visual languages to allow various stakeholders to be involved in early stages of building the game. Finally, we suggest integrating future games and game design methods into the emerging field of biological modeling, to which reactive system design has recently been successfully applied.
Keywords: game design, live sequence charts, simulators, statecharts, systems biology
Using genres to customize usability evaluations of video games BIBAKFull-Text 129-136
  David Pinelle; Nelson Wong; Tadeusz Stach
Video games are varied, with vastly different visual layouts and interaction styles; however, most games that share a common genre still have many user interface similarities. These similarities suggest that genres can be used as a conceptual framework for examining design issues in video games, and for developing a deeper understanding of how the design process can be specialized for specific types of games. In this paper, we consider how genre relates to one aspect of design -- the usability of games, which deals with players' ability to learn, control, and understand a game interface. We report results from a study where we coded usability problems in reviews of 108 commercial video games. The review set included 18 games from each of six major game genres. We statistically analyzed the problems from each genre, and found significant differences between many of the genres. We present usability profiles for each genre based on the problem distributions that we found. The profiles describe both common and infrequent problems in each genre and provide details on how they commonly occur in games. The profiles can be used to specialize usability evaluations by helping designers focus on common problems seen in games from each genre.
Keywords: game genres, heuristic evaluation, usability evaluation, video games
Designing game idea generation games BIBAKFull-Text 137-144
  Annakaisa Kultima; Johannes Niemelä; Janne Paavilainen; Hannamari Saarenpää
This paper introduces idea generation games designed for the use of game designers. Three games designed especially for generating new game ideas were developed in the GameSpace project that studies methods for design and evaluation of casual mobile multiplayer games. GameSpace idea generation games have been developed through an iterative process and in close cooperation with the end users, game industry professionals. According to our workshop experiences and tentative results from a pilot study, idea generation games can be successful devices for creative work of game designers. Game-based idea generation techniques provide an easily facilitated, focused but playful setting for coming up with new ideas. However, our experiences indicate that idea generation games feature special challenges which must be taken into consideration when designing such games.
Keywords: brainstorming, creativity, design games, game design, games for production, idea generation, idea generation games, serious games
A low-cost infrastructure for tabletop games BIBAKFull-Text 145-151
  Christopher Wolfe; J. David Smith; T. C. Nicholas Graham
Tabletop games provide an intimate gaming experience where groups of friends can interact in a shared space using shared physical props. Digital tabletop games show great promise in bringing this experience to video game players. However the cost of developing tabletop games is high due to the need for expensive hardware and complex software. In this paper, we introduce EquisFTIR, a low-cost hardware and software infrastructure for digital tabletop gaming. We illustrate the infrastructure through Asterocks, a novel tabletop game.
Keywords: FTIR, computer games, frustrated total internal reflection, tabletop games

Graphics, visual techniques, sound in games, and hardware

Content scheduling in multimedia interactive mobile games BIBAKFull-Text 152-159
  M. Mohsin Saleemi; Kristian Nybom; Johan Lilius; Jerker Björkqvist
In this paper, we study how to implement interactive multimedia services using a DVB-H broadcast channel combined with a point-to-point channel, such as 3G or GPRS. We study the problem in the context of a location-based interactive mobile game. The technical challenge is to schedule the sending of data over the broadcast channel while maintaining Quality-of-Service, that is, sending the right data to the right user at the right time to provide a seamless interactive experience. We explore design issues and problems related to the scheduling of content in the game, present a usecase study to describe scheduling problems and propose a content scheduling algorithm to solve these problems. Moreover, we provide a simulation of the system and the experimental results to show how different game parameters influence the in-time delivery of the multimedia content to the players. We conclude that most of the problems involved with our approach can be expressed as the problem of defining delivery deadlines for a scheduling algorithm.
Keywords: algorithm, content scheduling, interactive applications, location-based game, multimedia
Experiments in the use of game technology for pre-visualization BIBAKFull-Text 160-165
  Michael Nitsche
This overview paper outlines the value of real-time 3D engines for pre-visualization. Pre-visualization is a standard tool during pre-production of many modern film productions. First, the parallels between the two increasingly digitized technologies are discussed. Second, the paper outlines the special needs and problems posed by pre-visualization. It argues that animation control and camera control are the two main areas that need to be addressed. Finally, it presents a range of experiments that provide different practical approaches to these two core questions and utilize available game technology. The approach of these tests was to keep the rendering real-time -- "liquid" -- as long as possible. This follows original machinima-like production pipelines. Ultimately, the here presented prototypes illustrate the value of real-time game engines for pre-visualization as well as still prevailing limitations.
Keywords: film, game, machinima, pre-visualization, real-time 3D
Spatial sound for video games and virtual environments utilizing real-time GPU-based convolution BIBAKFull-Text 166-172
  Brent Cowan; Bill Kapralos
The generation of spatial audio is computationally very demanding and therefore, accurate spatial audio is typically overlooked in games and virtual environments applications thus leading to a decrease in both performance and the user's sense of presence or immersion. Driven by the gaming industry and the great emphasis placed on the visual sense, consumer computer graphics hardware (and the graphics processing unit in particular), has greatly advanced in recent years, even outperforming the computational capacity of CPUs. This has allowed for real-time, interactive realistic graphics-based applications on typical consumer-level PCs. Despite the many similarities between the fields of spatial audio and computer graphics, computer graphics and image synthesis in particular, has advanced far beyond spatial audio given the emphasis placed on the generation of believable visual cues over other perceptual cues including auditory. Given the widespread use and availability of computer graphics hardware as well as the similarities that exist between the fields of spatial audio and image synthesis, this work investigates the application of graphics processing units for the computationally efficient generation of spatial audio for dynamic and interactive games and virtual environments. Here we present a real-time GPU-based convolution method and illustrate its superior efficiency to conventional, software-based, time-domain convolution.
Keywords: 3D sound, GPU, convolution, game audio, real-time
Guidelines for designing augmented reality games BIBAKFull-Text 173-180
  Richard Wetzel; Rod McCall; Anne-Kathrin Braun; Wolfgang Broll
The growing popularity of augmented reality (AR) games in both a research and more recently commercial context has led for a need to take a closer look at design related issues which impact on player experience. While issues relating to this area have been considered, to date most of the emphasis has been on the technology aspects. Furthermore it is almost always assumed that the augmented reality element in itself will provide a sufficient experience for the player. This has led to a need to evaluate what makes a successful augmented reality game.
   In this paper we present a set of design guidelines which are drawn from experiences of three mixed reality games. The guidelines provide specific guidance on relationships between real and virtual space, social interaction, use of AR technologies, maintaining consistent themes and implicitly address higher level aspects such as presence within a particular augmented reality place.
Keywords: augmented reality, augmented reality games, game design, game design guidelines

Artificial intelligence

Urban traffic simulation for games: a general approach for simulation of urban actors BIBAKFull-Text 181-184
  Michael Kutz; Rainer Herpers
Many modern computer games take place in urban environments. One important fact about such environments is that there are plenty of other people around who might react to whatever the user does. For example in the "FIVIS" project a bicycle simulator is developed that will serve (beside other applications) as an instrument for traffic education which strongly requires other traffic participants reacting to the users actions (see http://www.fivis.eu and [7]).
   This contribution describes our current work on a general approach for an interactive agent system for urban environments.
Keywords: agent-based simulation, interactive simulation, microscopic traffic simulation, urban traffic simulation
Scripted smarts in an intelligent virtual environment: behaviour definition using a simple entity annotation language BIBAKFull-Text 185-188
  Eike Falk Anderson
We present a Simple Entity Annotation Language (SEAL) for the definition of believably intelligent game character behaviour. The SEAL system provides mechanisms that allow entity behaviour definition through the creation of an annotated world. Thus, by combining rule-based systems with affordance theory, this C-like scripting language provides a unified approach to the definition of virtual entities as well as the "smart" objects that the entities can interact with in the virtual game world within one behaviour definition language for virtual entities.
Keywords: behaviour definition (programming) language, game AI, smart terrain
Synthesizing neural networks for learning in games BIBAKFull-Text 189-191
  Robert G. Price; Scott D. Goodwin
Many games have started to employ learning techniques to make them more realistic or interesting. Usually though, this learning is done before the game ships, and it cannot compensate for any exploits a character discovers. One reason for this is that game publishers do not want to risk having the non-player characters making odd decisions in games that learn. In this paper we propose an approach that can be used to quickly jump-start the learning process in a game that uses a neural network to learn. We create different environments that might occur in a game, analyse them and come up with a starting point that allows the agents to quickly be able to accomplish their goals, which in our case is navigating through a random board.
Keywords: games, learning, neural networks, rtNEAT

Educational games, game-based learning

How to embed a game engineering course into a computer science curriculum BIBAKFull-Text 192-195
  Daniel Volk
In recent years computer games have grown to the size of multimillion dollar projects that are driven by a creative vision of game design and include a vast spectrum of different fields of application. Due to these characteristics, a software engineering approach on game development is absolutely critical for project success nowadays. This consequently renders software engineering an integral part of any forward-looking game development curriculum. The paper at hand covers a kind of game engineering course that has been integrated into an existing computer science curriculum. In this paper, the course's concept and setting are discussed and the lessons learned are presented.
Keywords: computer science education, curriculum, game development education, game engineering, software engineering
Using video games to enhance learning in digital systems BIBAKFull-Text 196-199
  Vinod Srinivasan; Karen Butler-Purry; Susan Pedersen
Recent studies indicate that traditional instructional methods may not be as effective for the current and future generation of learners. Given the increasing amounts of time that students spend playing video games, educators have been looking at using games to enhance teaching and learning. Research indicates that games have the potential to improve learning. However there is lack of empirical data on their effectiveness, particularly in a formal educational setting at the college level. In this paper we present preliminary results from a pilot project to develop an educational game prototype on the subject of basic digital design, to be used in various digital systems courses at the undergraduate level. Our findings indicate that the game has the potential to improve student learning in and attitude toward digital design and electrical engineering. Further development of the game and additional studies are planned to obtain more conclusive results.
Keywords: digital systems, educational games, serious games
Intelligent adaptation of digital game-based learning BIBAKFull-Text 200-203
  Brian Magerko; Carrie Heeter; Joe Fitzgerald; Ben Medler
Games for learning cannot take the same design approach as games when targeting audiences. While players of entertainment games have the luxury of choosing games that suit them, students using digital games for learning typically have a single game for them to learn from, regardless of whether or not it fits their playing style or learning needs. We contend that this problem can be addressed by creating games that identify the kind of player-learner using the game and adapts itself to best fit that individual. These adaptive games can specialize themselves according to a student's learning needs, gameplay preferences, and learning style. We present a prototype mini-game, called S.C.R.U.B., which employs this method for teaching microbiology concepts.
Keywords: adaptive games, player types, user modeling
A secure digital asset managment network for game development and education BIBAKFull-Text 204-207
  Mike Pattrick; Andrew Hogue; Khalil El-Khatib
The lack of freely available high-quality game development assets is an issue that affects instructors of courses in game development. When purchasing commercial assets for use in independent games, restrictive license agreements must be agreed to which prohibit the re-distribution of the model data and typically limiting the number of uses to a single project or developer -- licensing the models on a per student basis can become prohibitively expensive. Re-distribution of the asset data is however possible as long as the data is compiled into the executable providing a security through obscurity copy protection scheme. This paper focuses on developing a secure method for distribution of digital assets suitable for educational models of development, i.e. classroom or lab settings. We propose the development of a Secure Digital Rights Management Network that enables flexibility in the use of secured assets while maintaining security and limiting their re-distribution. The application of such a system is to be incorporated into an educational setting where students can use the secure assets during the development of class projects while preventing the re-distribution of the copyrighted data.
Keywords: 3D model, DRM, digital rights management, education, games, security

Psychology and sociology in games

Examining the relationship between game type, player disposition and aggression BIBAKFull-Text 208-211
  Robert W. A. Rawn; David R. Brodbeck
As technology advances the need for more comprehensive analyses of the relationship between human aggression and gaming increases. First Person Shooter gaming environments provide realistic opportunities for many interactions between players. Violent and aggressive video games have been blamed for many aggressive acts. Early meta-analyses of gaming and aggression concluded that gaming does increase aggression, although at levels lower than that of television and other media. More recent meta-analyses claim that there is no correlation between gaming and aggression. However, previous studies do not consider the possible effect of a live opponent on player aggression and therefore the current study includes this as a putative factor in gaming and aggression. Results indicate that neither the disposition of the opponent (confederate) nor the aggressive level of the game type affected participant aggression.
Keywords: gaming and aggression, violent video games

Game design

What you can't see is what you don't get: paradigms of game world visualization BIBAKFull-Text 212-215
  Jaroslav Svelch
This paper tries to analyze the modes of visual representation in digital games and introduces the idea of illusionism, a rhetorical position in a game text that asserts that there is nothing more to the fictional game world than a player can see. This is contrasted by illustrationism, an approach that lays bare the fact that the game world is not shown in its entirety. Based on this distinction, I present ways of partial and multi-modal representation of game worlds that have been and can be used to bypass the urge for unconditional illusionism. The article also makes point about the power of written or spoken language as a code underutilized in contemporary digital games.
Keywords: game design, game world, graphics, illusion, illustration, realism, representation
A semantic model for reactive entities to support collaborative game design BIBAKFull-Text 216-219
  Alejandro Catalá; Javier Jaen
Commercial games for learning purposes have been widely used with relative success. However, very often game content hardly fits to the curriculum content, players lack direct communication, and the focus is only on learning by playing. In this paper we argue that a more interesting approach for learning is to involve players in the design process of the game in a way in which the rules governing the game, the participating virtual entities and the design of the game environment are defined and created by the players themselves. In this respect, keeping in mind that learning environments need to be spaces for discussion, experimentation and reflection, we discuss in this paper one of the many issues that have to be addressed to provide tools for learners to create in a collaborative way their own games. Particularly, we discuss how reactive entities that respond to events that are defined during the creation process can be modeled in a collaborative way. We propose a conceptual model for supporting such a tool for the creation of interactive and reactive environments.
Keywords: education, learning, semantic events, serious games design
Neo-immersion: awareness and engagement in gameplay BIBAKFull-Text 220-223
  Jennifer Whitson; Chris Eaket; Brian Greenspan; Minh Quang Tran; Natalie King
This paper provides a conceptual framework that explains how people's engagement with games is changing as a result of new types of interfaces, hardware, and games. Neo-immersive games move gaming out of the box and into the real world by creating engaging new interfaces and controllers, while at the same time creating games well suited to the casual user. It expands what it means to "play the game" or "be in the game." This subtle shift of perspective allows us to explain the success of recent game titles such as Guitar Hero and the Wii platform.
Keywords: awareness, immersion, video games
Facilitating language-oriented game development by the help of language workbenches BIBAKFull-Text 224-227
  Sonja Maier; Daniel Volk
In recent years, a strong tendency towards language-oriented engineering became visible within game development projects. This approach is typically based on data-driven game engines and scripting languages resp. editing tools alike and already provided a great deal of overall productivity improvements. However, in its current form, potential benefits are not able to fully unfold yet. This is due to a mostly manual tool development process, which provokes substantial costs and lacks flexibility -- especially during prototyping phases of development. Language workbenches seem to be a viable solution to this problem as they promise the ability of (visual) language (re-)generation by introducing a meta-level of development. This paper picks up that idea and evaluates its application in the area of game development. In this particular case, we discuss first findings of an ongoing case study, covering the development of level editors for several classic games, which have been built by the help of a language workbench.
Keywords: (visual) domain-specific languages, game development, game prototyping, language workbenches, model-driven development, software factories

Graphics, visual techniques, sound in games, and hardware

The case for research in game engine architecture BIBAKFull-Text 228-231
  Eike Falk Anderson; Steffen Engel; Peter Comninos; Leigh McLoughlin
This paper is a call for research in the field of game engine architecture and design, a more comprehensive and thorough understanding of which we consider to be essential for its development. We present a number of key aspects that may help to define the problem space and provide a catalogue of questions that we believe identify areas of interest for future investigation.
Keywords: entertainment systems, game engine, game engine architecture
Towards 3D model interoperability in games BIBAKFull-Text 232-235
  Jia Sing Chen; Andrew Hogue
This paper presents an automatic method for enabling the interoperability of 3D models within different types of games. Character customization is an increasingly popular ability in modern video games. For example, games built for the Nintendo Wii™ may take advantage of the built-in avatar customization (e.g. Mii avatars) yet few games to date have actually utilized this ability. Game designers are hesitant to allow players total creative freedom when customizing their avatars for fear of invalidating the intended aesthetic gameplay experience. In this paper, we present a step forward in character customization allowing the player creative freedom while not sacrificing the intended aesthetics. This paper focuses on developing an automatic method to blend multiple animated 3D meshes.
Keywords: 3D model, distance field, graph embedding, interoperability, mesh blending
Experience in the design and development of a game based on head-tracking input BIBAKFull-Text 236-239
  Jeffrey Yim; Eric Qiu; T. C. Nicholas Graham
Tracking technologies, such as eye and head-tracking, provide novel techniques for interacting with video games. For instance, players can shoot with their eyes in a first person shooter using gaze-based input. Head-tracking systems allow players to look around a virtual cockpit by simply moving their head.
   However, tracking systems are typically based on expensive specialized equipment. The prohibitive costs of such systems have motivated the creation of low-cost head-tracking solutions using simple web cameras and infrared light detection. In this paper, we describe our experience developing a simple shooting game which incorporates such low-cost head-tracking technology.
Keywords: game design, head tracking input
Exaggerated head motions for game viewpoint control BIBAKFull-Text 240-243
  Robert J. Teather; Wolfgang Stuerzlinger
In this paper, we present an evaluation of exaggerated head-coupled camera motions in a game-like 3D object movement. Three exaggeration levels were compared to determine if the exaggeration was more beneficial than a realistic 1:1 mapping.
   The results suggest that there is some user preference for this type of exaggeration; however, no significant differences by the experimental conditions were found, other than a learning effect.
Keywords: head-coupled perspective, head-tracking amplification, motion exaggeration
FIVIS bicycle simulator: an immersive game platform for physical activities BIBAKFull-Text 244-247
  R. Herpers; W. Heiden; M. Kutz; D. Scherfgen; U. Hartmann; J. Bongartz; O. Schulzyk
The objective of the FIVIS project is to develop a bicycle simulator which is able to simulate real life bicycle ride situations as a virtual scenario within an immersive environment. A sample test bicycle is mounted on a motion platform to enable a close to reality simulation of turns and balance situations. The visual field of the bike rider is enveloped within a multi-screen visualization environment which provides visual data relative to the motion and activity of the test bicycle. This implies the bike rider has to pedal and steer the bicycle as they would a traditional bicycle, while forward motion is recorded and processed to control the visualization. Furthermore, the platform is fed with real forces and accelerations that have been logged by a mobile data acquisition system during real bicycle test drives. Thus, using a feedback system makes the movements of the platform reflect the virtual environment and the reaction of the driver (e.g. steering angle, step rate).
Keywords: bicycle simulator, game platform, immersive visualization environment, virtual reality
Integrating cumulative context into computer games BIBAKFull-Text 248-251
  Kevin G. Stanley; David Pinelle; Alan Bandurka; David McDine; Regan L. Mandryk
In this paper, we describe a cumulative context computer game, where accumulated contextual information of the players' activity levels, obtained through mobile sensors, is used to modify game state. Our implementation used a statistic-based, real-time version of the classic game of chess, where the statistics of the pieces depended on the activity of the users and the environment in which they performed the activity. Users found the game engaging and fun, and almost all of the participants altered their behaviors to enhance their performance in the game. This work provides a platform for further research into meaningful integration of cumulative context in games.
Keywords: chess, exertion interfaces, persuasive games, sensors, ubiquitous games

Posters: Artificial intelligence

Camera selection using SCSPs BIBAKFull-Text 252-253
  Michael Janzen; Michael Horsch; Eric Neufeld
An automated director is needed for sports video games to select between multiple camera views. An SCSP approach enables setting preferences for views that depend on the current situation. This approach is better than using a classical CSP, or a finite state machine.
Keywords: SCSP, camera
To grab or not to grab: a viable framework for physically based hand animation in game characters BIBAKFull-Text 254-255
  Arun Somasekharan
In games, grasping or haptic interaction with game world objects is underplayed and still relies on stored animation. With the advent of powerful Graphics Processing Units (GPU) and physics middleware, it is possible to explore the dynamic aspects of grasping. In the real-time scenario of games, scope exists for procedural controller systems, which when coupled with AI and physics simulation, would allow the birth of not only autonomous game characters with the ability to interact with the game world realistically, but also to bring about new types of game play. This paper is a brief look into an ongoing research, proposing to conceptualize and create a new AI augmented real-time physically based controller system for hand animation.
Keywords: character animation, game characters, games, physically based animation controllers, physics engines, real-time animation
The procedural planning system used in the agent architecture of games BIBAKFull-Text 256-257
  Yingying She; Peter Grogono
We discuss a procedural planning approach that automatically and dynamically generates plans for game agents in real-time. This approach is applied to the design of an agent architecture in our current research project, Gameme, a game design application. This planning depends on offline goal design, the structure of the agent architecture, and real-time planning mechanisms. The Procedural Planning System (PPS) is capable of improving agents' control for real-time goal processing in games.
Keywords: agent, agent architecture, game, goal oriented design, planning, procedural planning system

Posters: Educational games, game-based learning

Interactive accounting simulation environment for accounting education and training BIBAKFull-Text 258-259
  Andrew Milner; Andrew Hogue; Bill Kapralos; John Friedlan
In contrast to traditional teaching-and-learning environments whereby the teacher controls the learning (e.g., teacher-centered), video games present a learner-centered approach to learning whereby the student controls their learning experience through interactivity. Despite the many benefits of a learner-centered approach, the use of video game technology in business-related curriculums and accounting in particular, has been sparse. By and large accounting education has remained based on "paper and pen learning". This paper describes an ongoing project that will see the development and evaluation of a strategy-based, learner-centered, interactive accounting simulation environment for undergraduate accounting curriculums. The interactive simulation is meant to place accounting education in a "game" environment.
Keywords: accounting, game-based learning, interactive learning environment, serious games
Interprofessional care simulator for critical care education BIBAKFull-Text 260-261
  Brent Cowan; Matthew Shelley; Hamed Sabri; Bill Kapralos; Andrew Hogue; Michelle Hogan; Michael Jenkin; Sandra Goldsworthy; Louise Rose; Adam Dubrowski
Interprofessional education is a pedagogical approach which allows health care practitioners to develop a clear understanding and appreciation of the roles, expertise, and unique contributions of their disciplines as well as those of the other participating health care providers. It also helps build effective team relationships which is essential for optimal health care delivery. Interactive virtual simulation environments, such as serious games, can be used to augment traditional classroom-based interprofessional teaching methods as multiple team members may participate in the simulation simultaneously regardless of their physical location or time of day. Here we describe the Interprofessional Care Simulator for interprofessional education.
Keywords: active learning, interprofessional education, serious games
Lessons from Brain Age on password memorability BIBAKFull-Text 262-263
  Alain Forget; Sonia Chiasson; Robert Biddle
User authentication involves establishing a user's right to access a system. Most user authentication is done with text passwords, which have advantages over other approaches, but more secure passwords are often difficult to remember. Nintendo's Brain Age games involve cognitive training which can improve memory. We examined Brain Age in search of insights towards helping users create and remember more secure passwords. Although Brain Age offers no techniques for memorising specific information, we discovered ideas for a new type of serious game that may help with password memorisation: Password Rehearsal Games.
Keywords: memory, passwords, serious games, usable security

Posters: Game design

World of Warcraft as a ludic cyborg BIBAKFull-Text 264-265
  Victoria McArthur
This paper describes World of Warcraft as a ludic cyborg -- an entity that exists for play and depends on both artificial and organic components to survive. We argue that the popularity of the game arose due to the balance between the types of socialization it promotes and in-game literacies acquired by players on PvP servers.
Keywords: MMORPG, ludic cyborg, social computing, social interaction
Construction of cybertypes in Lineage II: an analysis of game interfaces and support documentation BIBAKFull-Text 266-267
  Victoria McArthur; Tyler M. Pace; Aaron R. Houssian
This paper discusses social exclusion by analyzing the avatar creation interface of the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) Lineage II. We use a previously developed syntagmatic-paradigmatic structure analysis for analyzing MMORPG interfaces and extend that method to include textual analysis of support documentation. This study concludes that virtual world designers must be more critical in their choices for representing sex and race.
Keywords: MMORPG, avatar, cybertype, virtual world

Posters: Graphics, visual techniques, sound in games, and hardware

Game 2.0 and beyond: an interaction design approach to digital game evolution BIBAKFull-Text 268-269
  Michiaki Yasumura; Keita Watanabe; Mark Chignell
In this research, the authors discuss the evolution of video games from the viewpoint of interaction design. It is argued that recent video games are qualitatively different from earlier video games in their use of multiple user layers and novel domains. These qualitatively different newer games are referred to as Game 2.0, with older games being referred to as Game1.0. Appropriate design of interactions is presented as a key issue in Game 2.0 development. The relationship between game interfaces and computer interfaces is also considered.
Keywords: game 2.0, interaction design, video games
Towards an AJAX-based game engine BIBAKFull-Text 270-271
  Christian Kletsch; Daniel Volk
In recent years, browser games have considerably improved so that regarding the number of players they nowadays can compete with MMOGs. At the same time, they have abandoned their own principles by increasingly relying on proprietary technology.
   In this paper, we propose the concept of a 2D single player game engine that is based on new Web 2.0 standards (especially AJAX) which promise to alleviate some of the problems that caused the mentioned technological shift. No additional platform besides a standard browser will be needed to run instantiated games, since the engine will be based on JavaScript. Game content will be loaded on-demand using an AJAX-compliant update mechanism.
Keywords: AJAX, game engine, web 2.0
Kickback: turning game history students into pinball designers BIBAKFull-Text 272-273
  Stephen Jacobs; Christopher A. Egert
The pinball machine is an endangered species. Often cited as a historical touchstone for video game levels, their pedagogical value is clear. Yet it is becoming difficult to find operational machines for students to play and analyze. However, by using Internet-based pinball design and history resources, and a shareware package called Future Pinball, the authors have been able to surpass the original pedagogic goals of a pinball analysis assignment. A new approach has been developed to convert a merely observational process into a constrained early design project; blending thematic and functional analysis, design and the benefits and challenges of constraints into a successful active learning experience. This paper will discuss the design and benefits of the experience and highlight examples of exemplary student work at both the graduate and undergraduate level.
Keywords: game design history, pedagogy
Canvas 3D JS library BIBAKFull-Text 274-275
  Catherine Leung; Andor Salga; Andrew Smith
Web browsers do not have a standard method of creating/delivering 3D content. The Canvas 3D add-on for Firefox 3, which will become part of the browser in a future release, allows the delivery of 3D content via the canvas element. However, 3D is a complex problem. This paper proposes a library built on top of the Canvas 3D that will help simplify the creation of 3D content within the browser.
Keywords: 3D, JavaScript, browser, canvas, library