Abstract. This paper presents the findings from a study aimed at understanding whether videogames (or serious games) can be effective in enhancing volcanic hazard ed- ucation and communication. Using the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, we have developed a video game – St. Vincent’s Volcano – for use in existing volcano educa- tion and outreach sessions. Its twin aims are to improve res- idents’ knowledge of potential future eruptive hazards (ash fall, pyroclastic flows and lahars) and to integrate traditional methods of education in a more interactive manner. Here, we discuss the process of game development including concept design through to the final implementation on St. Vincent. Preliminary results obtained from the final implementation (through pre- and post-test knowledge quizzes) for both stu- dent and adult participants provide indications that a video game of this style may be effective in improving a learner’s knowledge. Both groups of participants demonstrated a post- test increase in their knowledge quiz score of 9.3 % for adults and 8.3 % for students and, when plotted as learning gains (Hake, 1998), show similar overall improvements (0.11 for adults and 0.09 for students). These preliminary findings may provide a sound foundation for the increased integration of emerging technologies within traditional education sessions. This paper also shares some of the challenges and lessons learnt throughout the development and testing processes and provides recommendations for researchers looking to pursue a similar study.
The use of computer technology has been presented to the academic community as a new world full of endless possibilities for enhanced language learning. Despite the potential offered by computer technology, many barriers still need to be overcome in order to enjoy the benefits of technology to the fullest in education. Some of the barriers identified thus far are: the role of teachers’ beliefs negatively impacting the use (or lack thereof) of technology in the language classroom, first-order barriers (Ertmer, 2005), computer literacy, and curricular constraints (Wang & Huang, 2008; Galvis, in press). Bearing in mind the above considerations, the current state of computer technology has been entangled with many negative factors that raise important questions for both pre-service and in-service teachers and most of all for language program administrators. The following paper will relate the experience of using a popular video game in an EFL program of a military academy in Colombia. In the first section a definition of videogames, their potential, and what has been done in this growing field will be presented. Section two will relate the steps undergone in order to include a video game in a traditional language curriculum. This section will also include students’ perceptions from the classroom where this project was conducted. Finally, section four will expose areas of further research and critical points for language administrators, video game-based instruction (VGBI) researchers, and educators planning to implement videogames in their classes.
Designed by the investigators, the survey instrument con- tained 30 items that included: (1) questions on demo- graphics and four major domains, namely game-play experience and attitudes about game-play; (2) attitudes about the use of new media technology; (3) beliefs about multiplayer online simulations for healthcare education; and (4) perceived importance of acquiring specific skills, knowledge and behaviors during medical school. Most of the items were created upon consultation with experts in the area and were designed to extract general characteris- tics of the game-playing subpopulation of medical profes- sionals. The UW investigator (FWK) hosted a brown-bag luncheon to discuss student interest in new health media, to raise interest in the research and to help develop sur- vey questions. The online survey included skip patterns for items not relevant to the participant based on individ- ual responses. For example, participants who replied that they "did not play games" were not asked to answer which games they play. Scales measuring agreement with attitu- dinal items were written using the four-point Likert scale format (strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly dis- agree).
Certain aspects of the age group investigated in this study had to be taken into account in order to formulate the questions used in the questionnaire. These include the use of language, and the way they could be approached. To reach the target group, the surveys were spread throughout three gaming forums (the Assassin’s Creed: Origins forum (forums.ubi.com), the Civilization V forum (forums.civfanatics.com) and the Battlefield forum (forums.battlefield.com), Facebook (especially the Girlgamer NL group), through personal acquaintances, and in a few classes at the Dutch The Hague University of Applied Sciences. What was known about the target audience beforehand is that they consisted of people who play one of the videogames used in the research, and that part of them were active on either the Assassin’s Creed: Origins, the Battlefield 1, or the Sid Meier’s Civilization forum. Because this group can contain large differences in education and wealth, the questions had to be formulated in a clear way in order to be understood by all participating parties (Jansen and Joostens 1998, 44-45). Furthermore, the
Information technology has changed the way we live our lives. There is a growing body of evidence that students today have grown up in a media rich environment surrounded by video, consoles and computer games. According to a US based survey "by high school 77% of respondents had played computer games and over two-thirds (69%) had been playing videogames since elementary school. By the time the current cohort of college students graduates, virtually all of them will have had some kind of experience with gaming" (Jones, 2003) The current generation of students (ages 18-22) tend to be experiential learners - they prefer to learn by doing, as opposed to learning by listening. In this respect games have many attributes of effective learning environment. Games include elements of urgency, complexity, learning by trial-and-error and scoring points. They also support active learning, experiential learning and problem-based learning. Games make it possible to use information in context and are inherently learner-centred and provide immediate feedback. Surveys show that students who use the games find that difficult tasks can be engaging, intriguing - and amusing - when incorporated into a story and a meaningful context.
Extremely special thanks to Ari Zagnit and Mark Johnson for author- ing the sample disc and to Samantha Cheng at TPS for making it hap- pen. Thanks to Chuck Crawford and his wife for contributing their house to the project. I’m indebted to all the generous people who made the sam- ple disc possible: Willie Chu for music; Laurie Smith for art; Thomas Ben- nett, ace Easter Frog hunter, Jamie Pickell for help with audio; Mark Waldrep at AIX Media Group; Ralph LaBarge at AlphaDVD; Richard Fortenberry at Atomboy; Scott Epstein at Broadcast DVD; Hideo Nagashima of Cinema Craft; Gene Radzik, Bill Barnes, and Roger Dressler at Dolby; Lorr Kramer, Patrick Watson, and Blake Welcher at DTS; David Goodman at DVD International; Gabe Murano at DVant; Bruce Nazarian at Gnome Digital; Henninger Media Services; Rey Umali and Brian Quandt at Heuris; Joe Kane at Joe Kane Productions and Van Ling at Lightstorm; Chris Brown, Cindy Halstead, Lenny Sharp, Todd Collart, and others at InterActual; Chinn Chin and Joe Monasterio at InterVideo; Michele Serra of Library DVD; Microsoft Studios and the Dig- ital Video Services team, as well as Microsoft Windows Hardware Qual- ity Lab (WHQL) and Microsoft Digital Media Division (specific thanks to Andrew Rosen, Craig Cleaver, Kenneth Smith, Randy James, and Eric Anderson); Fred Grossberg at Mill Reef Entertainment; Trai Forrester at New Constellation Technologies; Guy Kuo and Ovation Software; Garrett Smith at Paramount; Sandra Benedetto at Pioneer; Henry Steingieser, Gary Randles, and Randy Berg at Rainmaker New Media; Randy Glenn and Bob Michaels at Slingshot Entertainment; François Abbe at Snell & Wilcox; Paul Lefebvre and Mark Ely at Sonic Solutions; Tony Knight at SpinWare; Greg Wallace, Rainer Broderson, and Gary Hall at Spruce
As a result of the growing concern about the possible negative consequences of violent videogames, national rating systems came into existence and in 2003 most of them in Europe merged into the “Pan European Game Information” (PEGI). The goal of PEGI is to assist European parents with making thoughtful decisons when buying videogames for their children. Age logos and content descriptors are used to clarify what the content of the game is. On the front side of the game box an age logo can be found which means that a game is only suitable from that age. The different age logos are 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ and 18+ (see Figure 1). On the back side of the game box content descriptors are found: these pictograms show whether there might be some objectionable content in it. The different content descriptors are the following: bad language, discrimination, drugs, fear, gambling, sex and violence. These content descriptors are the main reason why a certain age label is given to a game.
Designing audio games is known to have unique challenges, such as informing the player about the game-state while conveying aesthetics and not cluttering the soundscape . Designing audio games for electronic dance music brings further challenges in terms of how a given piece will fit into a larger set. There are technical complications that make this non-trivial. The primary difficulty is that each interactive piece or audio game is an intricate system requiring its own project file and controller mapping, so it cannot easily be played along with another project on the same computer. In practice, we have found it necessary to run two computers, one for the interactive pieces and one for mixing and playing prepared material or clips. This is also insurance against anything going wrong or “losing” one of the games—in which case it is possible to mix out and recover. Ensuring that interactive pieces mix well is also a challenge, as it requires designing the piece to reinforce an underlying metrical structure when desired, even from within non-linear time. Experimentation and practice are necessary to achieve an understanding of how to perform each piece, whose controls have their own unique nuances.
Within education, there was something of a revolution when computers came into the classroom and when playfulness could then be associated with gaming, and specifically ‘videogaming’. Playfulness could then be designed in such a way that playing could be packaged as learning. In his explanation of how digital gaming has pervaded classrooms, Egenfeldt-Nelson  describes the transition from ‘edutainment,’ which was where computers were mainly used in game like instances to provide drill and repetition, through ‘learner-centred’ products where the emphasis was on personalisation and individually adapting systems, to the most recent ‘socially constructed’ games where learning is situated in a context. Play has always had a close relationship with learning and is certainly essential to learning as far as young children are concerned, but the association of play with learning as learners become older is much less understood and is relatively understudied. In particular, the design of game based and play based This paper describes some of the tensions around serious games in education by considering how serious games might be designed for learners who may not be especially motivated to play them. Beginning with a narrative that sets out where serious games position within educational settings, with a focus on high school and college, the paper describes two elements that are considered essential for serious games for this demographic – fun and cool.
Pathfinding has been one of major research areas in videogames for many years. It is a key problem that most videogames are confronted with. Search algorithm such as Dijkstra’s algorithm and A* algorithm are representing only half of the picture. The underlying map representations such as regular grid, visibility graph and navigation mesh also have significant impact on the performance. This paper reviews the current widely used solutions for pathfinding and proposes a new method which is expected to generate a higher quality path using less time and memory than other existing solutions. The deployment of methodology and techniques is described in detail. The aim and significance of the proposed method in future videogames is addressed and the conclusion is given at the end.
Thus, the core of all agency is that it produces some type of change or it does not exist. The agency of a specific actor can then only be defined ‘through its action’ (Latour, 1999a: 122). That is why videogames – but also the hardware, connections, and peripherals that make the interaction possible – can be considered as actors. In that, their actions bring about change: ‘The player does not act so much as he reacts to what the game presents to him [sic], and similarly, the game reacts to his input’ (Arsenault and Perron, 2009: 119-120). The language of our interviewees reflects the agency of videogames by recognizing how they have an impact on reality, particularly on the people who play them. We see how videogames ‘can bring people together’ (Andrew, male, 28, dedicated and self-identifying gamer), ‘provide a sense of friendship’, (Zelda, female, 25, highly involved in the culture but only mildly identified as gamer), ‘have an effect’ (Steffan, male, 45, manager at a video game university) on gamers, or even ‘overwhelm you or make you think twice’ (Laura, female, 26, indie game developer and artist).
Tremendous research has already been done in Artificial Intelligence, yet videogames continue to use outdated techniques for NPCs to interact with human players . There are a few reasons why game designers are hesitant to improve dialogue AI. Firstly, it is a difficult research problem, and they would rather not have to solve it themselves. Instead, they would prefer for such a system to be readily available rather than create it in-house. Secondly, they are not confident that the current techniques are sophisticated enough to simulate realistic conversations, so they prefer to approximate dialogue with scripted techniques. Finally, they are not convinced that such high-level AI is actually necessary because they believe that videogames are entertaining enough with their current AI . If a system could be developed that could make NPCs act like human beings in a credible way, then it would add a new dynamic to videogames. As mentioned previously, the purpose of videogames is to entertain. Having this new element of gameplay would add to the entertainment value of those games where interacting with NPCs is necessary to progress through the storyline. Since the NPCs would act reasonably autonomously, the game world would be more immersive as a consequence, and the suspension of disbelief would not be broken as easily.
The most apparent characteristic of successful videogames is that they are difficult. Videogame producers tend to treat difficulty as a feature novel to games. Historically, culture has put a high value on difficulty and complexity and this is reflected in legend and folktale, from the labours of Hercules (Kerenyi 1988) to the little girl in Rumplestiltskin ordered to weave gold from straw in the course of one night (Grimm and Grimm 2009). Unlike the heroes of legend, the gamer never quite seems to complete the task/quest with comparable Herculean finality. The game concludes (if there is a discernible conclusion) without resonance, drama or catharsis, above all without emotional closure. Is it lack of design/technical capacity that causes this or is it because in an upgrade culture it is essential to have a consumer remain in hope of finding in the new version what he or she failed to find in the older? The lack of technical capacity is an issue which is fading as a consideration, if it has not already done so. The experience which the player sought and failed or only partially succeeded in finding was the Fantasy. Paradoxically, had the player found a completely satisfying experience in the game the result would be to desire a new experience of the same. This might explain why there are games, e.g., GTA and the Final Fantasy (Square Enix 1987) series, which base their appeal on satisfying the Fantasy cravings of the player and there are games which frustrate those same cravings. An example of the latter would be World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment 2004), which despite its technical merits does not possess the sophistication of either GTA or Final Fantasy. In fairness to World of Warcraft, there are strong Fantasy elements operating in the game. One example is the creation and deployment of composite characters. All the standard characters of Fantasy are deployed: dwarves, goblins, dragons, elves, gnomes etc. Also, there are characters with mixed attributes (night elves, half elves, etc.), which allow the psychological opportunity to blend attributes thereby creating more psychologically interesting characters.
Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (2011). However, gamification has received a relatively large num- ber of more or less consistent definitions and studies of the origin of the term and its political implications (Nelson 2012; Fuchs 2012; Jacobs 2012; Mosca 2012). This is partly due to the concept’s background. Gamification is in fact mostly a marketing concept, developed and promoted by designers and business consultants. In this context a clear and simple definition soon became a necessity in order to sell gamification to existing businesses (and sometimes also to public institutions). It is for this reason, probably, that most texts on gamification take the form of guidelines and instructions on how to gamify a certain experience. The term has been further defined in the academic context as well, simply replicating the how-to approach of many publications (e.g. “Gamification” module at Pennsylvania University, held by prof. Kevin Werbach, also seen in Werbach and Hunter 2012) or, occa- sionally, articulating what else could be involved in the phenomenon (“Re- thinking Gamification” workshop at Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University, May 2013).
In this paper, we propose validating and extend- ing semantic knowledge bases using videogames with a purpose. Here, the annotation tasks are transformed into elements of a video game where players accomplish their jobs by virtue of playing the game, rather than by performing a more tradi- tional annotation task. While prior efforts in NLP have incorporated games for performing annota- tion and validation (Siorpaes and Hepp, 2008b; Herda˘gdelen and Baroni, 2012; Poesio et al., 2013), these games have largely been text-based, adding game-like features such as high-scores on top of an existing annotation task. In contrast, we introduce two videogames with graphical 2D gameplay that is similar to what game players are familiar with. The fun nature of the games pro- vides an intrinsic motivation for players to keep playing, which can increase the quality of their work and lower the cost per annotation.
Race was similarly not correlated with whether interviewees identified as gamers or not, but also was not brought up in interviews in relation to gamer identity (though it was discussed in terms of identification and representation). I recognize that being a White interviewer may have made interviewees less likely to bring up race as a dominant factor, though they did discuss it at other points of the interview. It is also possible that Whiteness in gaming, like Whiteness in general, is often uninterrogated. That is to say, if race seems to disappear as a dominant factor in how people relate to the category of gamer, this may be because Whiteness itself often disappears as a subject of inquiry (Dyer, 2002a). Moreover, even though games are often produced by North American and European countries now, they are still commonly associated with Asian countries. ix After the ―video game crash‖ of the early 1980s, and the decline of arcades and Atari (an American company), the rise of the video game console in the late 1980s and early 1990s came primarily from Asian companies like Nintendo, Sega and Sony (Wolf, 2008). It was not until Microsoft released the XBox in 2005 that a non-Asian company began to make a mark on the video game hardware market. Though games may be made in the West, there is still an Asian-ness about gaming (including ties to Asian popular culture), which makes easy assumptions about how gaming culture is raced problematic.
Researching the topic was an exciting aspect of this thesis experience. The integration of old and new thought was one of the most stimulating parts of this study. Historical and contemporary information combined to form new concepts that were able to affect methods of creative thinking. Initial research was done in the arenas of board and video game design in order to study graphic design problem solving and how it may impact both physical and virtual environments. It was interesting to see how board and videogames create and recreate so many different environments within the confines of space, whether it be a square piece of cardboard or a rectangular screen. Although such spaces are considered “empty playgrounds” that are entirely open for interpretation, no such
In answering the two sub-research questions, the primary research question is now able to be answered. The major obstacle and challenge to the creation of a serious game that supports the identification of player personality characteristics is the lack of precedence in the area. While literature shows work done with existing videogames and some attempts had been made at custom designing scenarios to test for player personality (see Section 22.214.171.124.3), there were no guidelines or precedence when it came to a behaviourally focused video game tool. This was primarily overcome with knowledge provided by subject matter experts and followed the steps outlined in Section 3.4 to create the video game tool's design. Following this, an experiment was conducted with the results showing that not all of the designs performed according to predictions, but also demonstrating some interesting relationships. While the tool itself is not yet ready to be used as a new method of personality data elicitation, this project also describes improvements to be made to the existing software to help in that regard.
There has been a tremendous developmental curve in re- gards to the technological aspects of the interactive en- tertainment field in the last two decades—specifically in the video game industry. While the main focus for many years has been on improving visual fidelity, the matura- tion of graphics technologies has led to developers focus- ing on other game parameters in order to further engage players in the game experience. In particular, audio is known to have a dramatic effect on player immersion . Visually, videogames have traditionally included non- interactive elements, such as fixed-camera cut-scenes, but these are increasingly being replaced with interac- tive sequences. Similarly, game music, not least in high-budget mainstream products , has been modelled on non-interactive (or linear) film music. Even though many rich and sophisticated scores have been composed, they tend to lack the main feature required; interactivity. Unlike movies, videogames as interactive applications rarely follow a linear path, and more importantly offer a great range of repeatability which makes dynamism— hence, adaptivity—a must to have in terms of the audio content, as it is in other parts of such applications. While a few examples exist in the industry which try to achieve good adaptivity in audio, the issue has not been solved yet to an acceptable level particularly considering the practical aspects. More specifically, existing technolo-