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Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS-GAMES), 2013 5th International Conference on

Date 11-13 Sept. 2013

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  • Title Page

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  • [Copyright notice]

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  • Preface

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  • Committees

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  • Keynote Speeches [2013 5th International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS-GAMES)]

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    These keynote speeches discuss the following: multisensory feeling communication in the hyperconnected era; what will virtual reality do for games; and computational modelling of artificial behaviour. View full abstract»

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  • 2013 5th International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS-GAMES) - Table of contents

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  • Author index

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  • A video game prototype for speech rehabilitation

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    Speech rehabilitation software is usually aimed at people with hearing impairment that implies the need to exercise some speech abilities. Such abilities depend on the language and the context of the disability. In the case of children with hearing loss diagnosed at an early age (before 2 years), and who have been treated correctly and in an opportune manner (with a cochlear implant, for example), the abilities that need to be developed vary from the very basic (elementary productions, such as single sounds, or vowels), to more complex, such as spontaneous productions of meaningful words and phrases. Such rehabilitation therapy is accomplished with the help of a therapist, but software that allows the autonomous exercising of these abilities would help children with difficulties in affording such sessions. We introduce a video game prototype for speech rehabilitation of children with an early diagnosed hearing disability and who are using some kind of aid, such as a cochlear implant. The application relies on the auditory-verbal therapy theory and educational objectives such as the accurate assessment and reinforcement of voice production. It also relies on verbal interaction with the children through the intensive use of speech recognition technology and on visual feedback. An initial prototype was implemented which offers challenges in the field of voice interaction such as the latency of the speech recognition module, and feedback consistent with the recognition rates it provides. View full abstract»

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  • Affective educational games: Utilizing emotions in game-based learning

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    Emotions play an important role in cognition, memory, attention and motivation but the current generation of educational games largely ignore emotions' role in learning. However, there is a movement within games development for entertainment to create more affective gameplay. As such this paper will discuss how new research from affective neuroscience, affective computing and contemporary psychological learning theories can inform educational game development. Firstly outlining our current understanding of emotions in learning, this paper will then explore three key aspects of affective game design: sensing and recognition of emotions; modelling emotions and emotion expression by game characters and player avatars. In this section it will review currently available technology, theories and models as appropriate. Finally this paper will explain how incorporating these aspects in educational game design can produce more effectual learning experiences by being aware of affective game design principles that effect attention, memory and motivation. Although this paper is not conclusive, it is comprehensive enough to bridge the gap between academia and industry, so that commercial educational games development can benefit from our current understanding of affective game design and emotions role in attention, memory and motivation. View full abstract»

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  • An initial study to assess the perceived realism of agent crowd behaviour in a virtual city

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    This paper examines the development of a crowd simulation in a virtual city, and a perceptual experiment to identify features of behaviour which can be linked to perceived realism. This research is expected to feedback into the development processes of simulating inhabited locations, by identifying the key features which need to be implemented to achieve more perceptually realistic crowd behaviour. The perceptual experimentation methodologies presented can be adapted and potentially utilised to test other types of crowd simulation, for application within computer games or more specific simulations such as for urban planning or health and safety purposes. View full abstract»

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  • Antsworld - a Tangible Interface for an Interactive Ant Foraging Simulator

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    Emergent order in complex dynamic systems is a concept that is both important to a wide variety of fields of science and difficult to understand and teach. Recent advancements in interactive and tangible interfaces point towards the possibility of new tools which can help with both the analysis and simulation of complex systems, while also making the systems dynamics more approachable and easier to understand for students. This paper describes an experimental tangible interactive interface designed to make the complex and emergent behavior of ant colony foraging more understandable. We present the system design, its interactive capabilities, and discuss evaluation methods for further studies. View full abstract»

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  • Assessing Brain-Computer Interfaces for Controlling Serious Games

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    This paper aims at examining how to fully interact with serious games in noisy environments using only non-invasive EEG-based information. Two different EEG-based BCI devices were used, one which requires no calibration, and another one that needs some sort of calibration to create a user profile. User testing was performed using both types of BCIs with 61 participants. Results indicate that although BCI devices are still in their infancy, they offer the potential of being used as alternative game interfaces prior to some familiarisation with the device and in several cases a certain degree of calibration. View full abstract»

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  • Choosing the Infrastructure for Entertainment and Serious Computer Games - a Whiteroom Benchmark for Game Engine Selection

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    The technology base, i.e. the infrastructure, for modern computer games is usually provided by a game engine. At the start of the game development process, developers usually face the choice of either developing their own proprietary game engine or to license an existing engine to build on. The question of what constitutes a game engine, however, is rather ill defined. This paper aims to address these problems by presenting a method for simplifying the process of evaluating engines for their suitability for game development projects, comparing a number of game engines and using our findings as a basis for a definition of the term 'game engine'. View full abstract»

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  • Combining Storytelling Tradition and Pervasive Gaming

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    In recent years storytelling has gone through various attempts of renaissance, thanks to a recreational storytelling revivalist movement, which has not been largely successful. Pervasive gaming is an all-encompassing branch in gaming and has the potential to reach a large amount of people. Moreover, it provides a way to mix modern society with age-old traditions like storytelling. This paper describes the development of a small scale pervasive game embedding at the same time social and improvisational features and the use of this game by amateur storytellers. The game, Props, aims to take storytelling from oblivion to modern urban environments. View full abstract»

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  • Converting Sedentary Games to Exergames: A Case Study with a Car Racing Game

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    One of the major challenges in designing exercise games (exergames) is maintaining engagement and motivation over time. Previous research has shown that games can increase the motivation exercise. However, these games are typically developed with limited set of specific exercises in mind, which limits genre choices, and potentially long term motivation. To address this critical issue, we are interested in employing any exercise as an interface to common, existing, sedentary games, such as a car racing game. Specifically, in this paper, we aim to take initial steps toward this goal. As a proof of concept, we developed 2 exercised based interfaces for a car racing game - a game genre minimally used for exergames. We present the evaluation of our novel exercise interfaces to the racing game, and offer general guidelines for converting common classes of sedentary games to exergames. View full abstract»

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  • Educational games - Are they worth the effort? A literature survey of the effectiveness of serious games

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    Over the last decade educational games have become more and more popular. There are many games specifically designed as educational games, as well as a number of entertainment games that have been successfully used for educational purposes. The EduGameLab project aims to stimulate the use of games in the classroom. This paper presents a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of game-based learning and focuses specifically on empirical evidence on the effectiveness of using games in education in the last decade. Moreover, the study focuses on usage in formalized school contexts, i.e. pre-school, elementary school, secondary school, high school and higher education. As secondary aims we also assess whether there are any clear methodological trends and whether a link could be found between the outcome of empirical studies and the evaluator being a stakeholder in the game development. View full abstract»

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  • Efficient Mesoscopic Simulations for Persistent Agents in 3D-Applications and Games

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    To save computational resources, traffic simulations in virtual environments and digital games often remove entities from the simulation once they leave the user's visual field of view. This can lead to inconsistencies within the simulated world and break the immersive effect. To counter this effect, we propose a system consisting of a regular microscopic simulation around the user and an additional less detailed simulation layer beyond the user's immediate surroundings. The new layer performs a mesoscopic simulation based on the FastLane model, utilizing elements from queuing theory. With this hybrid approach it is possible to simulate a reasonable amount of detailed traffic participants as well as a much larger number of less detailed, but persistent traffic participants. As a result it is possible to simulate entities with complex behavior close to the user while maintaining reasonable traffic densities throughout the entire system. View full abstract»

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  • Engaging Engineering Students with Gamification

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    Well-designed games are good motivators by nature, as they imbue players with clear goals and a sense of reward and fulfillment, thus encouraging them to persist and endure in their quests. Recently, this motivational power has started to be applied to non- game contexts, a practice known as Gamification. This adds gaming elements to non-game processes, motivating users to adopt new behaviors, such as improving their physical condition, working more, or learning something new. This paper describes an experiment in which game-like elements were used to improve the delivery of a Master's level College course, including scoring, levels, leaderboards, challenges and badges. To assess how gamification impacted the learning experience, we compare the gamified course to its non-gamified version from the previous year, using different performance measures. We also assessed student satisfaction as compared to other regular courses in the same academic context. Results were very encouraging, showing significant increases ranging from lecture attendance to online participation, proactive behaviors and perusing the course reference materials. Moreover, students considered the gamified instance to be more motivating, interesting and easier to learn as compared to other courses. We finalize by discussing the implications of these results on the design of future gamified learning experiences. View full abstract»

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  • Federation Technology and Virtual Worlds for Learning: Research Trends and Opportunities Towards Identity Federation

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    Currently, Virtual Worlds technology is used for educational purposes in a cross-disciplinary way. However, particularly in formal learning institutions, its widespread adoption is far from being a reality due a broad range of technological challenges. This paper addresses identity federation systems as possible solutions to some of the interoperability, security and user management problems. Our major goal is to present what systems, architectures and standards are standing out, how the research area is moving toward identity federation, and why educational institutions need to address it. We consider identity, privacy, security- assurance, and interoperability as main concerns within our analysis, in order to interconnect digital identities with physical identities, and create a unique federated identity system that can act independently from the service in use. Thus, VWs technologies will be able to scale and evolve independently without compromising user's identity. View full abstract»

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  • From the outside Looking In: Creating a Serious 'art Game in India - a Case Study

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    This is a description of a serious game in progress that is being made in India as part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project. Due to its unique cultural context as well as its disciplinary affinities, the creation of the game 'Meghdoot' has raised important questions regarding cross-cultural understandings and interpretations of game design and cultural relevance, which are explored in this paper. View full abstract»

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  • Gameful Pedagogy and Collaborative Learning a Case Study of the Netsx Project

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    This case study paper introduces and discusses NetsX, a semester-long research project developed around gameful design principles to encourage peer- to-peer collaboration and engagement. The paper situates NetsX in recent scholarship on higher education game design, collaborative learning and the use of online tools in teaching and learning. It discusses how gameful principles were used to design a low-cost, highly iterable curriculum that incorporates freely available online resources, namely Google Docs, Wordpress, and Wikipedia. The paper concludes by discussing current limitations and future possibilities for NetsX, proposing that the project be expanded to make the visual components more gameful, and to make student contributions easier to track, navigate and search in a graphical user interface. View full abstract»

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  • Green Gang Vs. Captain Carbon. Integration of Automated Data Collection and Ecological Footprint Feedback in a Smartphone-Based Social Game for Carbon Saving

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    The serious game "Green Gang vs. Captain Carbon" aims to promote pro-environmental information and action. We present the game design in regards to user interface, automated data collection on everyday trips and household electricity consumption, and on ecological footprint calculation. We report the results of a pilot test with power users in Austria. View full abstract»

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  • How Does Usability Impact Motivation in Augmented Reality Serious Games for Education?

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    The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of usability on motivation in Augmented Reality serious games. As a test-bed, we developed and evaluated a novel application of mobile phone Augmented Reality (AR) for passive solar energy education (AR-SEE). The goal of AR-SEE is to enable students to learn about the science behind architectural design - how passive solar energy design impacts internal temperature and energy usage efficiency. We conducted two pilot studies with 9 teachers and 13 high school students resulting in three development iterations, as well as a study with 36 college students to assess usability, motivation, and learning outcomes. Results of our studies provide insights into usability, motivation, and the impact on learning with AR serious games from which we derive guidelines for designing future AR serious games. View full abstract»

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  • Is Serious Games Design Political? The Competing Logics When Using a Game Engine

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    this poster looks at how game engines silently incorporate ideologico-affective features, showing that technology, far from being value-free, is also politically and fantasmatically constructed, and this is especially important in the context of gamification, which involves a new vision of enjoyment and education. View full abstract»

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  • Marketing Tourism via Electronic Games: Understanding the Motivation of Tourist Players

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    Marketing tourism via games is a new phenomenon. This research uses a qualitative method to explore the motivation of tourist players. Through content analysis of the focus group results, it identifies five reasons to play a tourism game on holiday, namely, curiosity; exploration; socialization; fun and fantasy experience; and challenge and achievement. Suggestions to tourism marketing are drawn based on the findings. View full abstract»

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