Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Playing with Reality – IGIC

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 November 2, 2011, International Game Innovation Conference, Orange, CA--Patricia Gouveia from the Universidade Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Portugal described how persuasive games are making a new culture that merges cities, mobility, networks and many other aspects of modern life.

These new games integrate reality, augmented reality, and games into a total experience. These games are intended for all users everywhere. The advent of casual players is changing the definition of games and requires reconsideration of all the existing lessons from other game types. Examples of these types of games include "Uncle Oz everywhere" and "Can you see me now?" Some games are using location data and physiological measurements to change the game in progress.

One game, "Check MP expenses" grew from a series of articles in the UK about some members of Parliament abusing the expenses systems. The game asked people to find what they could about MP spending and post their findings on a website. Others would check and validate the findings and all got participation points. The activity and interest forced the MPs to make changes in the expense process. .

Another type of game gets people to explore a city. By combining the capabilities of a smart phone for locations and mapping, the game directs people to sites and events in a city. The ability to add augmented reality to the information allows the player to make interesting detours. These games can be developed as flash games using things like the "Astroids" engine.

The game design includes prizes and rewards. This new type of game is very different from other types because it encourages casual players to participate more and addresses the fact that most of the work people do is boring. Social media like Facebook are where the world is going. The changes in game structure does offer changes to society and can help to build communities.

Jeff Watson from USC continued the topic and described multi-context multi-mode play in a wide range of settings. Players now engage in casual and comfortable, active and in-public space games. Game play has always ranged from little to lots of technology and from single to multi-player. Now people have access to everything from consoles and browsers to cards and rocks.

The multi-platform game mixes context and modes, for solo and multi-player interactions, and also mix high and low technologies. The film school wanted to make a game with augmented reality to integrate the view of the school and increase collaboration. They determined that social media were insufficient, so they made something new.

The game is based on a pack of cards that every freshman received at orientation. The cards had history and important aspects of filmmaking on the back and properties on the front. The properties held symbols, mystery, and clues and the players could combine or share any cards with others. Properties might be venue, film type, etc. and all 140 freshmen plus some others played. These cards became woven into the fabric of their lives and people integrated the cards and social media.

The results engendered some group and individual projects even though the game and participation were voluntary. One motivation to play was the leader board which gave weekly rewards to the leaders. Rewards included special events, visits to studios, and chances to talk to industry luminaries. Leaders were determined through performance and peer acceptance.

The game took 13 people to develop and run. The cards had background information and factoids related to filmmaking on the backs to provide more educational opportunities. There were 300 unique cards and the game helped to expose and initiate discussions about both the front-side properties and the back-side information tidbits. The game included a web page for each card.

The finesse of the game design led to creative prompts and were curative drivers. The cards helped to remove constraints to creativity by asking for a project based on a semi-random set of properties. The personal involvement of the players led to very high quality projects.

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