Keywords: game; playful interaction; storytelling; persuasiveness; case-based validation research; research through design.
The research in this project is concerned with the characteristics, design principles, and effectiveness of persuasive gaming. We study gaming practices that combine the dissemination of information with attempts to engage players in particular behaviors and attitudes. A unique feature of the project is the collaboration with partners in the Dutch game industry enabling us to immediately relate and apply our knowledge drawn from Game Studies, Media Studies, validation research and research on Game Design to practical demands of the industry. Theoretically, we develop the innovative approach of a constant and intense interaction between what is drawn from theory with the actual design of game experiences. The subsequent merger between design and validation research provides a crucial testing ground to assess and validate the value of the knowledge we aim to produce. The process of persuasion is approached from a humanities perspective focusing on the interplay of different persuasive dimensions, including storytelling and playful interaction. The cases extend beyond traditional videogames incorporating also transmedia storytelling platforms and ambient games creating play experiences closely integrated in the context of e.g. city life, therapy or education. The ultimate goal is the construction of a dynamic model for persuasive game development and implementation that is accessible for the industry as well as the research community. We are confident that this close collaboration between the industry and the academic world will contribute to improving the international competitive position of the Dutch game industry.
Games play an increasingly important role in education, healthcare, safety, and other economic and societal sectors. Games allow users to practice, experiment, research, and learn in a safe and motivating environment. The game-related training and research groups at Utrecht University are well positioned to benefit from, and contribute to, global trends towards gaming for training and entertainment. Five strong research clusters in game research contribute to this graduate program, from the following domains: Artificial Intelligence, Software Systems, Virtual Worlds, Interaction Technology, and Game and Play Studies. Together these clusters form the Utrecht Center for Game research and Technology (U-GATE). The focus of the research and education in the center lies on the computer science and humanities aspects of games. The graduate programme Game Research matches the most talented master students to top-scientists of the U-GATE center, with full freedom for students to follow their own research interest provided this fits in the general environment of one of the selected 5 top-level research groups of the university.
The IP titled Identity and Interdisciplinarity in Games and Play Research has as its main objective to strengthen the European excellence in games and play research by providing a two-week intensive course and workshop in this interdisciplinary field. It aims to teach students the state-of-the art theories and methods of Game and Play Research. The current situation is such that students who are interested in the study of games and play have limited opportunities to broaden their horizon internationally, let alone to study this subject interdisciplinary. This IP wants to fill this hiatus by offering an innovative interdisciplinary platform for learning about games and play that doesn’t yet exist anywhere in Europe or beyond. The target group consists of excellent PhD and MA/MSc students who are starting or working on thesis projects in games and play from humanities, design research, social sciences or computer sciences related approaches. The targeted students share an interest and ability to broaden their scope of knowledge and go beyond the boundaries of their field.
This network will explore the burgeoning 'Games for change' movement that has emerged in the last decade, which has appropriated to engage people beyond entertainment. A growing number of artists, educationalists and activities are developing games that contend with personal, social and political subject matter, e.g. poverty, immigration, fiscal crisis, with the explicit intention of altering or affecting player opinion outside of the game world. The network will also focus on games which allow immersive and interactive storytelling experiences to play out across a range of trans-media platforms, such as Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and Urban Games, which engage with social justice, community and humanitarian issues.
The number of micro and SME businesses has grown post-recession. This network will bring together leading international and UK scholars, indie games developers and creative industry stakeholders to examine this transformation of the young but highly significant video games industry to identify how it makes possible new kinds of cultural production, collaboration and creativity. The research aims to formulate and 'map forward' the key processes and connections that represent commercially viable, creatively sustainable and culturally valuable pathways for the development of this sector so that it lives beyond its early 'bubble' and makes a significant difference in video game production as both economically and culturally valuable form.
Onderzocht zal worden hoe een twee jarige (120 ECTS) internationale Master Degree Game Studies opgezet kan worden. Ook zal bekeken worden of, en zo ja op welke wijze, deze master geïntegreerd kan worden in de Research Master Media and Performance Studies. In het beoogde Master programma zal samengewerkt worden met de Research Master Game and Media Technology, onderdeel van de Graduate School of Natural Sciences, Faculteit Bètawetenschappen.
To use mobile applications and games for learning purposes an appropriate use of design principles for story-telling, spatial indication and social networks is indispensable. To improve learning results, stories have to be aptly integrated in game-play, maps have to be properly incorporated in the game and must be open for development by players, and social networks have to facilitate a sharing of learning results and processes. In this GATE knowledge transfer project we want to use and apply the knowledge that has been gained in work package 4.2 (see GATE project) about these three areas in order to improve and evaluate the learning results of mobile applications and games that are developed by 7scenes. This KTP will also function as a practical benchmark to further substantiate the design principles that Utrecht University has developed in workpackage 4.2.
It is always difficult to predict the future. But it is clear that the possibilities of gaming will rapidly increase over the coming years. Equipment is getting more powerful all the time. New graphics and physics cards allow for increased visual realism but this must be accompanied by increased behavioral realism of game characters. New interface technology will enable a different, more natural form of communication and control. Gesture recognition, tactile feedback, and possibly even direct brain connections will become possible. Games will also not only happen on a screen but can influence other actuators in the house. And high-speed broadband connections and wireless access leads to new forms of collaboration and to new types of games, like large online game communities and mobile gaming, each with its own research challenges.These developments will have a huge impact on both entertainment games and on training and educational use of gaming and simulation. It is already a reality that people take part of their driving lessons in simulators. Games are used in training safety procedures and crisis management. Similar developments will happen in decision and policy making. In education gaming will offer ample possibilities for personalized learning, long distance learning, and lifelong learning. To advance the state-of-the-art in gaming, to facilitate knowledge transfer to companies, and to show the potential of gaming in public sectors, the government has funded the GATE project with a total budget of 19 million Euros. The project runs from 2007 till 2012 and involved eight partners: Utrecht University, Utrecht School of the Arts, TNO, Twente University, Delft University of Technology, Waag Society, NederlandBreedbandLand and Thales.
The aim of this interdisciplinary (conceptual-philosophical, media-theoretical, and qualitative-empirical) project is to investigate if, and if so, to what extent and in what way, digital information and communication technologies are transforming the (construction of) personal and cultural identity. To that end we will develop a theory of ludic identity that critically elaborates on Ricoeur’s theory of narrative identity. In this theory play and games are not only appropriate metaphors for human identity, but they are also conceived of as means by which people reflexively construct their identity. The theory of ludic identity, the outlines of which have been sketched in some of the principal applicant’s previous publications, will be further developed and critically evaluated in three case studies (three PhD projects) focusing on (the domestication of) three different media, respectively: 1. mobile phones, 2. websites, and 3. computer games. Each case study will examine the way the medium-specific characteristics shape and are being shaped by the participation of the user, and on the implications of this for the reflexive construction of personal and cultural identities. By way of dialectical counterpoint, in each of the case studies the practice of reflexive identity construction will be confronted with a specific development that threatens to subject this reflexive self-construction to the logic of an external system (respectively processes of commercialization, globalization and homogenization). The applicants will not only act as the supervisors of the PhD projects, but will also write a synthetic monograph in which the results of the case studies will be integrated and situated in a wider context of historical and philosophical approaches to culture.