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Two summer schools on digital games at Utrecht University

Between August 12th and 23rd 2019, Utrecht University is organizing two separate, but consecutive and interrelated summer schools on digital games and play in contemporary society and culture, supported by the Center for Game Research, and conducted by senior staff members from the Department of Information and Computing Sciences and the Department of Media & Culture Studies, the University of Arts, as well as affiliated institutions.

The first summer course “Game Design and Development” (August 12-16) provides a step-by-step introduction to making games in the industry-standard game engine Unity, accompanied by workshops and lectures on topics like entrepreneurship as well as (serious) game design. Students will form teams and create a game of their own on a “games for good” topic, tying into the ongoing public and academic debate about the benefits of games in promoting e.g. wellbeing and a sustainable lifestyle. Expert feedback on the content as well as the design process will be  provided by experienced game designers.


For more information, including a day-to-day program, and to apply online, visit
https://www.utrechtsummerschool.nl/courses/science/game-design-and-development.


The second summer course “Applied Games – A Multidisciplinary Research Perspective” (August 19-23) offers an overview of current research perspectives on the complex phenomenon of Applied Games, which range from (digital) serious games over interactive digital narratives (e.g. in journalism or activism) to playful interventions and pedagogies. Each day is dedicated to a different angle, starting with applied game analysis, moving on to games for learning, games in environmental communication and policy-making (Eco games), narrative aspects of Applied Games, and finally games and play experiences that involve the whole body. Apart from the interactive workshops, joint social activities with the UDS summer school ‘Exploring Culture Through Data’ and a tour of the Mo-Cap Lab at Utrecht University round off the program.


For more information, including a day-to-day program, and to apply online, visit
https://www.utrechtsummerschool.nl/courses/science/applied_games_a_multidisciplinary_research_perspective.

While the summer courses can be followed individually, they are designed to be complementary, and together provide a holistic perspective on the creation, interpretation and deployment of (applied) games in contemporary society and culture.

Applying constrained virtual environments to serious games for heritage

Virtual environments are an important aspect of serious games for heritage. However navigable three-dimensional (3D) environments can be costly and resource-intensive to create and for users to run.

In this paper, we propose an alternative approach using “constrained virtual environments”, which present an environment through a series of reduced fidelity two-dimensional (2D) scenes without exhaustive detail.

We describe the development of a constrained virtual environment to replicate a 3D environment from a serious game concerning ancient Mesopotamian history. An exploratory experiment discovered that participants experienced a similar sense of presence in the constrained environment to that of the 3D environment and rated the two games to be of similar quality. Participants were equally likely to pursue further information on the subject matter afterwards and collected more information tokens from within the constrained environment.

A subsequent interview with a museum expert explored opportunities for such games to be implemented in museum displays, and based on the experiences and issues encountered, a preliminary set of guidelines was compiled for implementing future constrained virtual environments within serious games for heritage.

http://journal.seriousgamessociety.org/index.php/IJSG/article/view/294/320

Lessons learned from implementing project management games

The purpose of this paper is to identify the principles governing successful project management serious (educational) game design and implementation by identifying lessons learned from implementing such games.

This paper applied a triangulation method that qualitatively blends the perspectives of project management practitioners, game designers, and learners. The findings of this paper suggest principles of game realism, context, display, gameplay clarity, target audience, feedback, setting, debriefing, communication mode, and personalization.

The main potential beneficiaries of this research include project management educators, trainers, students, training participants, and game designers. The study provides a comprehensive project management game design and implementation guideline that could help improve the quality of project management serious games.

This paper is the first exploratory study to blend the perspectives of learners (students), serious game experts, and experienced project management practitioners in order to identify the key principles of delivering successful project management educational or serious games.

http://journal.seriousgamessociety.org/index.php/IJSG/article/view/130/321

The Play Your Process Method for Business Process-Based Digital Game Design

This paper presents a game design method for the development of serious games which aims to provide business process understanding to players, as well as to allow them to reflect on process challenges and difficulties.

The design of serious business process games requires game designers to have business process modeling skills and instructions on how to represent business process elements in the game context. This research was conducted using the Design Science Research Methodology, and addresses the challenge of providing a method for the design of serious business process games.

The method receives business process models as input and comprises steps to (i) map business process elements into game design elements, game design and development, and (ii) evaluate games with game designers, process actors, and game players. In order to validate the method, a set of games was built and evaluated with players.

The designed games were evaluated as to adequate quality, although fun and entertainment can still be improved, and players´ understanding regarding process increase after games are played

http://journal.seriousgamessociety.org/index.php/IJSG/article/view/269/323

An interdisciplinary perspective on gamification: Mechanics, psychological mediators and outcomes

Three concepts are identified as being central for how a gamificator, the one responsible for gamifying, gamifies a process. These are mechanics, mental mediators and desired outcomes. Following this logic, a review was conducted using 77 (n) articles across seven disciplines, namely health and wellness, crowdsourcing, sustainability, computer science, software development, business, and tourism.

The findings highlighted potentially causal and correlational relationships between several concepts when gamifying a situation, context, service or/and process. This research presents an alternative and uniform perspective on the broad gamification research to better understand how gamification functions and can be employed to impact various outcomes.

Furthermore, this research contributes to this rather eclectic domain, presenting a more categorized view in showing domain-specific mechanics and how these can be employed for empirical testing. Lastly, the conceptual model can be modified, employed and adjusted to investigate various effects of gamification on outcomes.

http://journal.seriousgamessociety.org/index.php/IJSG/article/view/262/324