Game Research

Blog by the game research group

2018 DiGRA Distinguished Scholars

Petri Lankoski has been selected as one of 2018 DiGRA Distinguished Scholars.

In 2016 DiGRA established the Distinguished Scholars program to recognize senior scholars in the field of game studies who have been at the forefront of the development of rigorous scholarship, the establishment of game studies and game development programs, and who have made significant contributions to DiGRA itself as an organization.
The complete list of DiGRA Distinguished Scholars: http://www.digra.org/the-association/distinguished-scholars/

Game Design Research: An Introduction to Theory & Practice

A book edited by Petri Lankoski and Jussi Holopainen.

The design has been a study topic in various fields where design methods have been the focus of inquiry.

Design research, or design studies as it is also called, has been gaining momentum as a field of academic inquiry since the beginning of 20th century. Originally, design research focused on design methods and processes but it has moved to cover more varied research questions related to design. Current research topics include, for example, how to study design and what methods can be used to study design along with the more fundamental questions such as what is design in the first place and what kinds of knowledge design research produces. The topics of design research have also become more wide and varied with active research on architecture, information systems, product, service, graphic, and interaction design to name a few. Game design research, however, has received surprisingly little attention regardless of the large body of work in the more general design research.

The main aim of this book is to situate game design research within and alongside general design research. The more specific aims of the book are to:

  1. Demonstrate the value of game design research from both academic knowledge creation and design practice point of views.
  2. Provide methodologies for conducting game design research and present detailed case studies as examples.
  3. Claim that game design can be studied like any other field of design, while at the same time highlighting and exploring its unique characteristics.

The chapters in this collection cover various perspectives to game design research from conceptual and comparative approaches through design and evaluation methodologies to studio and developers at work studies, making it a suitable textbook for game development and game studies courses.

Table of contents:

  • Game design research: An overview / Petri Lankoski and Jussi Holopainen
  1. Epistemological underpinnings of game design research / Laureline Chiapello
  2. Multidisciplinary game design research: Ontologies and other remarks / Annakaisa Kultima
  3. De-coding games through historical research in art and design / Christopher W. Totten
  4. Investigating game design methods and models / Joris Dormans and Jussi Holopainen
  5. Games design research through game design practice / Paul Coulton and Alan Hook
  6. Game design mise-en-scène practice: Intention and means in JEU SERAI / Emmanuel Guardiola and Stéphane Natkin
  7. Gaps of uncertainty: A case for experimentation in serious game design frameworks / Niels Quinten, Steven Malliet and Karin Coninx
  8. Experimental game design / Annika Waern and Jon Back
  9. Going indie: Methods for understanding indie production / Alyea Sandovar
  10. Critical practices in game design / Jess Marcotte and Rilla Khaled

Citation

Lankoski, P. and Holopainen, J. 2017. Game design research: An Introduction to Theory & practice. ETC Press. ISBN: 978-1-387-40836-8 (print), 978-1-387-40837-5 (online).

Available at http://press.etc.cmu.edu/index.php/product/game-design-research/ (Printed book, e-pub & Free PDF)

Research through Game Design: Two Cases

Game design aims to solve a design problem of “how do we create this specific game?” The main goal of this process is a game; new understanding about game development and game design is merely a by-product of that process. In game design research the aim is to uncover new facts and insight about game design, design processes, or games as designed objects; that is, to gain new knowledge and understanding about game design. (Lankoski and Holopainen, forthcoming.)

Below you can read two examples of my research by design project.

Lies and Seductions (2009) is a game built around a triangular drama. The game was designed to test ideas of character-driven game design and explore game mechanics around a social conflict between characters. While artificial intelligence (AI) was not a research topic, the game required building an AI capable modeling different personalities that react to events based on their personalities and preferences.

Publications on Lies and Seductions:

  • Lankoski, P. & Horttana, T. (2008). Lies and Seductions. In ICIDS08 (Erfurt, Germany 26–29 Nov), Berlin: Springer, pp. 44–47. DOI=10.1007/978-3-540-89454-4_7.
    Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2007). Gameplay design patterns for believable non-player characters. Proceedings of DiGRA 2007 Conference: Situated Play. University of Tokyo: Tokyo. Available at: http://www.digra.org/dl/db/07315.46085.pdf.
    • Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2007). Gameplay Design Patterns for Social Networks and Conflicts. In GDTW 2007 Conference Proceedings, Liverpool, UK.

In the MOGAME project (2003–2004), we studied the possibilities of mobile games that utilize the unique features of the mobile technology. The MOGAME project was design and development based research. Within the project (one of the firsts) persistent location-aware multiplayer game, The Songs of North, was build in order to study how certain game mechanics can be used in mobile games. In addition, how different limitations of mobile technology influence to the game design was studied. Pokemon GO (Niantic, 2016) uses similar game mechanics.

Publications on MOGAME

  • Ekman, I., Ermi, L., Lahti, J., Nummela, J., Lankoski, P., & Mäyrä, F. (2005). Designing sound for a pervasive mobile game. ACM SIGCHI International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology ACE 2005, Valencia, Spain. Available at http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1178477.1178492.
  • Lankoski, P., Heliö, S., Nummela, J., Lahti, J., Mäyrä, F., & Ermi, L. (2004). A case study in pervasive game design: The songs of north. In: NordiCHI ’04: Proceedings of the Third Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Tampere. 413-416. Available http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1028014.1028083.