Research Seminar: Dr. Joe Marshall

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Joe Marshall, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, will be visiting us to give a research seminar on Interpersonal Touch in Gaming.

The seminar takes place on Wednesday, February 10th, 13:30 in room MC 3107. Seating is limited – please email Kathrin Gerling (kgerling at lincoln dot ac dot uk) if you would like to attend.

Abstract

Touch between people is a key way in which we communicate socially, from the early bonds developed by caring touch between parent and child, to the many adult uses of touch to communicate friendship, sexual attraction, violent aggression or physical competition. Touch is also a part of many sports and games, such as rugby, martial arts and Twister. In children vigorous physical contact play serves both long-term functions in the development of cognition, emotional coding and fighting skills, plus more immediate functions  relating to strength and endurance training & social dominance.

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Global Game Jam 2016

The School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln will be hosting a site for the 2016 Global Game Jam, which takes place from January 29th to January 31st. If you’re looking to have a go at developing a full game in just a weekend – why not join us?

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“Come along to the University of Lincoln site for the biggest international game jam of the year! This 48 hour Game Jam pits developers across the globe against each other in a battle to make the best game they can.

Programmers, artists of all types, sound designers, even writers of ALL abilities are welcome to come along and work on something fantastic. Even if you’ve never written a line of code before, or have never drawn anything, we still want you to come on down and have a go! 48 hours is a long time, so why not learn something new?”

Attending the event is free, but you will need to book a ticket via Eventbrite. More information on the Lincoln site is also available via facebook.

Lincoln Games Research at CHI 2016

We’re happy to share that we’ve had two full papers conditionally accepted to CHI 2016!

Gerling, K., Hicks, K., Kalyn, M., Evans, A., and Linehan, C. Designing Movement-based Play With Young People Using Powered Wheelchairs. Conditionally accepted to CHI 2016, full paper.

Smeddinck, J., Mandryk, R., Birk, M., Gerling, K., Barsilowski, D., and Malaka, R. How to Present Game Difficulty Choices? Exploring the Impact on Player Experience. Conditionally accepted to CHI 2016, full paper.

The first paper is the result of a year-long research project funded by the University of Lincoln Research Investment Fund that was carried out together with St. Francis School in Lincoln, and looked into making movement-based play accessible for young people who use powered wheelchairs. The second paper was co-authored with collaborators at the University of Bremen, Germany, and University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and it explores how player perceive different options to adjust game difficulty.

We look forward to seeing you in San Jose!

Some impressions from CHI PLAY 2015

We’ve just returned from CHI PLAY 2015 in London, which was a more than worthy successor to last year’s inaugural event in Toronto. The conference was a whirlwind of presentations, demos, inspiring conversations, restaurants and pubs, and we’ve come home excited about new collaborations and interesting ideas.

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If you’re interested in what other people thought about the conference, Gustavo Fortes Tondello of the HCI Games Group at the University of Waterloo wrote up a very nice blog post for the ACM’s Crossroads magazine.

And last but not least, we would like to thank Kieran Hicks, Alexandra Samper Martinez (Universitat Rovira i Virgili), and Max Birk (University of Saskatchewan) for joining us for post-conference talks at the University of Lincoln – our students very much appreciated the guest lectures and insights into the games research community.

Reflections on Accessible Game Design: Working with Players & Game Design Experts

Recently, we ran two very different game design projects: When teaching Advanced Games Studies, we challenged our students to create wheelchair-accessible movement-based games, and in a university-funded research project, I (Kathrin) worked with young people who use powered wheelchairs, trying to elicit game concepts that they would be interested in. A comparison of these two approaches to game design will be available in the forthcoming special issue on Participatory Design for Serious Games in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

Perhaps the most surprising lesson that we learned throughout the project was how daunting the creation of a wheelchair-controlled game was for design experts; many of them felt they would not be able to grasp the implications of wheelchair use, and wondered whether they could create respectful and engaging games, worrying about the choice of game theme and background stories. In contrast, many of the young people using wheelchairs openly reflected on the impact of their abilities on play, and where we expected to see instances of vulnerability, participants voiced their opinions and appreciated the opportunity to make themselves heard. In the end, both groups came up with a number of exciting game concepts, and there was quite a lot of overlap between them.

What this teaches us is that involvement in design can expose vulnerability in unexpected ways. But beyond that, it also raises the question of how accessible game design should be approached to turn it into a rewarding experience for game designers and players, and it suggests that we might need a wider discussion of game accessibility that extends beyond interface design and adaptable game mechanics.

Gerling, K., Linehan, C., Kirman, B., Kalyn, M., Evans, A., and Hicks, K. Creating wheelchair-controlled video games: challenges and opportunities when involving young people with mobility impairments and game design experts. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (in print, 2015). View Pre-print.