Sunday, September 30, 2007

Understanding Games

Understanding Games is series of four games trying to raise awareness for the basic concepts of video games. The tutorial-style episodes deal with rules, motivation, learning and identification in video games. The player is guided through each episode by the narrators Bob and Bub, who explain core concepts of games to the player. The player can experience these concepts directly while playing the integrated games.

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Understanding Games is a diploma thesis project I did at the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany in communications design. The game design theory behind the four episodes is based on various books I’ve read during my research. If you are interested to read more about these topics I highly recommend you the following books.

I am also thinking about a way to somehow integrate these recommended readings into the episodes, so if you have an idea how to do this, please let me know.

Chen, Jenova: Flow in Games.

Costikyan, Greg: I Have No Words & I Must Design.

Crawford, Chris: The Art of Computer Game Design.…

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York : HarperCollins.

Gee, James Paul: What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York : Palgrave Macmillan.

Gingold, Chaim: Miniature Gardens & Magic Crayons: Games, Spaces & Worlds. Georgia : Institute of Technology.

Huizinga, Johan: Homo Ludes: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. Boston : Beacon Press.

Johnson, Steven: Everything Bad Is Good for You. London : Penguin Books.

Juul, Jesper: Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge, Massachusetts : MIT Press.

Koster, Ralph: A Theory of Fun for Game Design. Scottsdale, Arizona : Paraglyph Press.

Linderoth, Jonas: Animated game pieces. Avatars as roles, tools and props. Aesthetics of Play Conference. University of Bergen.

McCloud, Scott: Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York : Harper Perennial.

Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric: Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, Massachusetts : MIT Press.

Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric: The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology. Cambridge, Massachusetts : MIT Press.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

e-Clippings Learning as Art

This is the blog for Mark Oehlert, a fascinating learning professional and avid gaming follower. He has many links, interesting blog posts, and this is worth visiting for many resources and interesting posts or just to add his posts to your network if nothing else. He has numerous game links, gaming research and games for education links.

Gretchen Regehr

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning

From Author Karl M. Kapp's Site Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning

“This site is a continuation of the book (Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning) and a place to build a community discussion around knowledge transfer and the gamer/boomer knowledge gap. Feel free to add a comment on the blog, create an entry in the wiki and play some of the great educational games in the Games and Simulations section. The goal is for knowledge transfer between the author and the readers but, more importantly, between and among the many readers of the book. Share your insights, ideas and concerns on the blog. Provide input and new links on the Wiki Glossary. ”
Karl M. Kapp

Saturday, September 22, 2007

River City – a Research on MUVE and Learning Scientific Inquiry

Multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) are not necessary to be heavily game-specific. One of the most well-known MUVEs is River City project created by a group of professors from several universities in 2000.

This National Science Foundation funded project is based on a scenario that a city in 19th century is suffering from public health problems. Students create their own avatars and step into the online virtual environment to explore the possible sources for diseases, using many levels of skills. The project offers free implementation opportunities for middle schools and non-profit educational institutions globally. About sixty teachers for 4000 middle grades science students in the US and Australia have participated in River City Project. I knew they planed to expand the exploring base to India and China but I am not sure if they had done that now. According to research papers, students participated in the course said that they felt like playing a game while doing research like real scientists.

This originally Harvard Graduate School of Education based project intended to find a way to help students understand how to identify a problem, create a hypothesis, then test it. They created River City project to explore the strengths and limits for learning with MUVE technology The research scope has now been expanded to study how to make the curriculum robust enough to be effective across levels of engagement, students’ prior academic history, class size, and differences in teachers’ training.

To learn more:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Second Life @ Georgia Tech: A Librarian & Professor Experiment

From an article in Campus Technology:
"Georgia Tech librarian Brian Matthews has teamed up with GT computer science professor Blaire MacIntyre to develop a space in the Second Life virtual world from which students could "check out" land parcels in order "to hang out, explore, and learn the basics of the software."

From Brian Matthews' blog, the Ubiquitous Librarian:
"We're inviting (recruiting) students to hangout, explore, and learn the basics of the software. Our rational is that if there is an interest, let's say 20 students or more, then we'll work toward purchasing an island for them. The idea is still in the very early stages, but ideally we're following this basic principal: just as a student can checkout a book, they can also checkout a plot of virtual land. In this framework it becomes a discovery experience."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hey Ed Tech 670 Gamers! Are you living your Second Life yet? Check out this swell camp I set up.

Here is the URL to my 670 blog:

Links> Avatars and More

This week I've noticed some game-related stories/posts via my Bloglines feed and I thought that some of these might be of interest to others too!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Halo 3

Wired magazine's latest issue has a great story on how they test the gameplay of the popular Xbox game, Halo.

Halo 3 is coming out soon, and this article looks at what game designers at Bungie Studios do to make the game fun.

Note to all students: We'll be talking more about the blog assignment when we meet again Monday.