Game Research

Blog by the game research group

Gamifying the perfect employee – A zombie in the organisation?

The paper “Gamifying the perfect employee – A zombie in the organisation?
by Mikolaj Dymek was presented at the 36th Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism and the 7th Australasian Caucus of the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism conference, August 17-20 2018, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan

This paper explores zombies as a rewarding avenue of inquiry on the notion of so-called gamification within organisational settings, and in particular as analogy for its users and players – the organisational strive to mold the “perfect employee” transmutes its characteristics into that of the zombie. The analysis centres on implicit and explicit conceptualisations of gamification players/users (Hibbert, 2003; Ayllon and Azrin, 1968; Kazdin and Bootzin, 1972; Asplund, 1987) in gameful/playful systems such as organisations (Huotari and Hamari, 2017), as a departure point, to propose that many assumptions of players/users are based on generalisations that reduce the nature of the player/user to the point of dehumanised subjects with voracious and simplistic driving forces, which lends itself to analogies of “zombification” of users.

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DiGRA 2018 Proceedings Online

The  Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message are now online at the DiGRA Digital Library.

Here is a direct link to what I presented in Italy in July:
http://www.digra.org/digital-library/publications/bleed-in-bleed-out-a-design-case-in-board-game-therapy/

There are also a few slides available from the talk I gave here:

Mirjam

The Impact of Design approaches presented at Making Games Seminar in Tampere

Petri Lankoski and I presented the working paper “The Impact of Design Approaches” at the 14th  Game Research Lab Spring Seminar “Making Games” in Tampere in April.  Our working paper maps and examines the impact of different design approaches, illustrating and demonstrating the mapping by giving concrete example from three game design case studies

The setup of the seminar is such that the participants read each others papers before the event, and then spend ample time for each paper at the seminar to give constructive feedback and commentary.

I made some watercolor notes at the seminar:

Day 1 part 1

Day 1 part 2

Day 2 part 1

Day 2 part 2

Untitled

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)

AI-Driven Game Design

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a crucial tool and often part of innovative game designs. AI in games needs to be integrated in the design to not only encompass agents, or other tools, but also tie into the architecture of a game, both in terms of world-building, such as physics in the world, as well as the rules of the game. Together this creates the game mechanics, which may result in different play dynamics depending on how it is played.

When AI and game design is modelled and developed in tandem, the level of innovation is often increased: an innovative game design may need a new type of AI architecture, and vice versa. AI as a driver for game design is gaining traction in the research community, and is sometimes referred to as “AI based game design”, “AI-assisted game design” and at other times “AI driven game design”.

Here are a few text where we have tried to describe this emerging field:

Technical Report: USCS-SOE-11-27: AI-Based Game Design: Enabling New Playable Experiences Mirjam P. Eladhari, Anne Sullivan, Gillian Smith, Josh McCoy, University of California Santa Cruz, December 2011

AI-Based Game Design Patterns, Treanor, M., Zook, A., Eladhari, M.P., Togelius, J., Smith, G., Cook, M., Thompson, T., Magerko, M., Levine, J., Smith, A. Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2015). Monterey, CA, June 22-25, 2015.

AI-Based Games: Contrabot and What Did You Do? Cook, M., Eladhari, M.P., Smith, A., Smith, G., Thompson, T., Togelius, J. and Zook, A. Playable Demo Track, Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2015). Monterey, CA, June 22-25, 2015.

PCG-Based Game Design Patterns, Cook,M., Eladhari, M., Nealen, A., Treanor, M., Boxerman, E., Jaffe, A., Sottosanti, P., Swink, S. CoRR abs/1610.03138 (2016)

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.

 

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