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Thursday, April 26 • 10:30 - 13:30
Academic and Artistic Research on Digital Games: summit with Björn Bartholdy, Gundolf S. Freyermuth, Frans Mäyrä, Katharina Tillmanns, Emmanuel Guardiola, Isabela Granic, Pippin Barr

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10.30-10.35 | Opening Björn Bartholdy and Gundolf S. Freyermuth
10.35-11.15 | Opening Keynote Frans Mäyrä
11.15-11.45 | Katharina Tillmanns project presentation
11.45-12.15 | Emmanuel Guardiola project presentation
12.15-12.45 | Isabela Granic project presentation
12.45-13.30 | Closing Keynote Pippin Barr

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The integration of academic and artistic research on games is a central desideratum of game studies - but to a certain extent it is already a lived reality. This Summit deals with the fundamental question of how the procedures and results of academic and artistic research relate to one another. Furthermore, outstanding projects will be presented that embody the interface between academic and artistic research.

Prof. Dr. Frans Mäyrä (University of Tampere), director of the Finnish Center of Excellence for Game Culture Studies, will open the summit with a keynote on the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in game research. Katharina Tillmanns (TH Cologne) will then present her work on the augmented reality games app Porta Praetoria C.C.A.A., followed by Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic (Radboud University, Netherlands), who will present virtual reality projects in the context of neuroscience. Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola (TH Cologne) will then offer some reflections on the research challenges he faced in the production of the learning app "Antura and the Letters." Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr (Concordia University, Canada) will give the closing keynote on researching game design.

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Prof. Björn Bartholdy, Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth: Academic and Artistic Research on Digital Games

Welcoming and introduction of the Clash of Realitites@A MAZE. / Berlin track.

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Prof. Dr. Frans Mäyrä: Potentials of multidisciplinary collaboration in the study of future game and play forms

The work in the University of Tampere Game Research Lab (UTAgamelab) has been dealing with some of the key emerging game and play forms over the last two decades, such as location-based mobile multiplayer gaming, pervasive play, games with digital distribution and micropayments, social network games, and hybrid playful designs. Much of such work has been based on a combination of humanities, social sciences and design research work, with an aim to build bridges between theoretical and foundational research, and applied, future oriented work. In this talk, professor Frans Mäyrä will discuss experiences from this kind of combinations of academic and creative work, with reference on how such lessons have influenced the planning of new “Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies” (2018-2025), which he is currently heading.

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Katharina Tillmanns: Art & Artifacts: Location-Based Learning with Augmented Reality

Porta Praetoria C.C.A.A. is a location-based Augmented-Reality game app for smartphones that introduces players to the Roman roots of Cologne. By blending in first-century Roman architecture and artifacts within the contemporary cityscape, the app playfully demonstrates the development and origins of today ́s Cologne city center. Targeted at pupils age 10-15, Porta Praetoria C.C.A.A. ́s cooperative and explorative approach allows for an autonomous learning experience that provides historical facts while establishing relevance and an overarching motivational fundament for further studies. - The game app is being developed at the Cologne Game Lab at the University of Arts, Technology & Sciences TH Köln and currently in an advanced prototype phase. The project is funded by Rheinenergie Foundation and the ERDF program.

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Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola: Research challenges of the humanitarian game Antura and the Letters

Antura and the Letters is an Arabic literacy and psychosocial support free mobile game addressing 5 to 10-year-old Syrian child refugees. After two years of development and open beta the final version is now released along with the results of a large field test report evaluating the impact of the game on the most fragile audience in refugee camps.Throughout this applied research project the team was faced with different challenges: choice of the educational and the psycho-social approaches; game design methodologies integrating educational and psychological objectives; application of humanitarian principles as the ”do no harm” in a game production; integration of refugees in the design and production; design of the evaluation protocols in this complex setting; distribution specificities; communication methods to reach the families; etc. This talk exposes multiple points of view on this multidisciplinary project and highlights contributions in different research fields.

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Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic: The Art and Science of Virtual Reality Experiences that Promote Emotional and Mental Health

Innovative, scalable, deeply evocative and engaging experiences that can address rampant anxiety and depression rates are urgently needed. We combine neuroscience, developmental and clinical psychology with emotionally evocative VR game design to develop experiences that promote emotional health and well being. To illustrate our multidisciplinary approach, I will present DEEP, a novel biofeedback VR video game. In DEEP, your breath is the joystick and through this embodied play, individuals learn skills that decreases anxiety in their everyday lives. The promise of future innovations for applied games that use biofeedback tools and integrate VR and mobile platforms will be discussed. Through the combination of emotionally evocative design and evidence-based behavioural change mechanisms, these tools have the potential to dramatically improve the mental health of the next generation of youth.

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Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr: Materialising Game Design

Game design is invisible in many ways. By the time a videogame is played, the multitude of decisions that were made along the way, from mechanics to technologies to aesthetics, are frozen into place and non-negotiable. It is difficult for a player not to see the result as a monolithic block, unchangeable and unchanging. For the same reasons, it can be challenging for scholars to get a grasp on the living design process itself and they are most often left to analyse and deconstruct its results. Finally, creators themselves, who literally go through the process first-hand, often have no easy way to concretely consider, assess, and discuss their work.

In this talk, Pippin Barr will discuss two versions of "materialising" game design for these audiences. First, he will present a form of videogame design that foregrounds design and technology itself in the finished product, exposing the seams, decisions, and even the arbitrariness of a given game's structure. This represents a way to disseminate videogame design research in the form of videogames themselves. Second, he will outline and give examples of an approach he and his collaborators are calling "the method", a formalised approach to videogame design and development inspired by design research and prototyping theory with a practical focus on documenting the process as it happens for future analysis and consideration. This method yields both extensive materials for post-release analysis and research in the form of incremental builds and design writing in a version control repository as well as the opportunity for the designer to systematically materialise their design process as they perform it.In both cases, the hope is to perform the magic trick of rendering the invisible visible again.

avatar for Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr

Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr

Assist. Prof. Dr. Pippin Barr is a videogame maker, educator, and critic who lives and works in Montréal. He is the Associate Director of the Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) Lab, Canada's premier games research centre and part of the Milieux Institute for Art, Culture and Technology... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Björn Bartholdy

Prof. Björn Bartholdy

Björn Bartholdy is Professor for Media Design and Co-Director Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences. Björn Bartholdy studied communication design (diploma) at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart and media design (diploma) at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth

Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth

Prof. Dr. Gundolf S. Freyermuth is Professor of Media and Game Studies and a founding director of the Cologne Game Lab at TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany. Gundolf S. Freyermuth is a writer, media producer and co-founder of the Cologne Game Lab (in... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic

Prof. Dr. Isabela Granic

Isabela Granic did her undergraduate and graduate work in Toronto and got her PhD at the University of Toronto in developmental psychology. She is currently Professor and Chair in the Developmental Psychopathology department, in the Behavioural Science Institute, at Radboud University... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola

Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola

With expertise in game design methodologies, Professor Emmanuel Guardiola is a veteran of the video game industry with over 30 titles released for publishers such as Ubisoft and independent studios such as Dontnod Entertainment. His tracklist includes titles from licences as Prince... Read More →
avatar for Prof. Dr. Frans Mäyrä

Prof. Dr. Frans Mäyrä

Frans Mäyrä, PhD, is the Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, with specialization in digital culture and game studies in the University of Tampere, Finland. Since 2002, Frans Mäyrä has been heading the University of Tampere Game Research Lab, and he has... Read More →
avatar for Katharina Tillmanns

Katharina Tillmanns

Katharina Tillmanns is a transmedia researcher, writer and producer based in Cologne, Germany. In her studies and work, Katharina Tillmanns is exploring and promoting the expressive qualities of games as a means of art and activism. A former co-president and founding member of the... Read More →

Thursday April 26, 2018 10:30 - 13:30 CEST
Stage 2