The inherent richness and complexity of applied game environments (and simulations) makes the topic to be a cross-cutting one, embracing a variety of pedagogical and technological themes. On the one hand concepts and principles from pedagogy and instructional design need to be fully linked and integrated with the game design. That is, notwithstanding the need for game concepts such as challenges, rules, scores, competition and levels, the game design should address and accommodate principal pedagogical functions and variables such as instructional support, feedback, guidance, reflection, self-regulation, attention, motivation, cognitive flow and assessment. On the other hand, advances in digital gaming are primarily driven by cutting-edge technological innovations, which requires research into serious games architectures, data interoperability, machine learning, adaptive and personalised system design, sensors, affective computing and natural language processing, among other things. Many of these themes are currently covered by this topic in close collaboration with European research parties as part of the RAGE project, which is Europe’s principal applied gaming research project in the Horizon2020 Programme of the European Commission, lead by the Open University of the Netherlands.
The EMERGO game engine supports the quick authoring of games for learning.
Applied game design
- A couple of dozen so-called scenario-based (mini)-games for learning - mostly addressing complex cognitive skills or professional skills using authentic tasks and embedded support - have been designed and developed with various subject matter domain experts in the last decade (and still the case), often (partly) externally funded, and mostly using the EMERGO methodology and authoring toolkit.
Surf-EMERGO, Galema, Surf-Skills Labs, NRO-SLEM (finished)
- Emotion recognition
The main goal of this study is to develop a client side software application to detect emotions from players’ faces. This study considers six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, and anger and detects the neutral face. Game developers can use the outcome of this study. The programming languages used are: C#, Unity3D, and C++.
- Adaptation methods
Within the RAGE project, we are developing an open-source adaptation and assessment (TwoA) asset. Its purpose in a serious game is twofold: assess player’s performance and adapt game difficulty correspondingly. Both steps are done automatically and in real time.
- Performance analytics
The performance statistics software provides insight in student’s performance in serious games and automated signalling of students at risk. These insight can be used to guide teaching efforts and to improve game design. The software is available as C# and Java libraries and as an integrated component in the UCM learning analytics system.
More information including links to the software...
- Reusable software components for serious game development
This study follows the evolution of a software architecture designed for creating and delivering highly portable software components containing pedagogical functionality. The study encompasses the architecture design, verification of portability, quality assurance and acceptance by both component creators and users (e.g. game developers).
More information including links to the assets...
- Flow theory
Deep engagement with a game can cause a player to enter the state of flow and show improved performance. However, quantitatively measuring the state of flow is highly challenging. We approach this problem from the perspectives of time perception and attentiveness to external distractors.
- Game evaluation and experimentation
In the RAGE project we use various evaluation instruments and metrics to assess the effectiveness of applied games
- Essay grading
We have created a general language model for Dutch and use the Readerbench Natural Language Processing framework to automatically assess student reports in the VIBOA game used by the Open University of the Netherlands and Utrecht University.
Go to the readerbench website
- Computational modelling
Simulation models have been developed to simulate the process of playing a serious game. The model is based on flow theory and involves a variety concepts such as motivation, complexity, attractiveness, prior knowledge, learning efficiency, and many more.
Read more ...
- Stealth Assessment for Serious Games
The main goal of this study is to verify the proper functioning of a generic stealth assessment prototype. Log data from gameplay activity will be used as input to the prototype to generate Bayesian inferences and classify the data. Relative data from verified measurement instruments will be used to perform correlation analysis.
European Project, Doctoral research
- Reverse Engineering Techniques for ECD Construction from Raw Data
The main objective of this study is to develop a generic tool for constructing ECD models using raw data from both gameplay activity and verified measurement instruments. Regression analysis techniques will be applied on data collected from previous experiments to detect its statistical relationships in order to construct respective ECD models.
European Project, Doctoral research
The Introductory Psychology (IP) course will be enriched with case-based interactive practicals (IP), which will offer more active and situated ways of learning about the psychology program and future professions in psychology. We are comparing the old and new course, and will carry out experimentation within new variants of 16 mini-games developed, using a triangulation of methods and techniques.
The Youth@Work game is targeted at young people between the ages of 13 and 19 years that have to make future career decisions. It supports teachers and careers guidance staff in helping young people to think about employability and careers. It seems likely that young people find a game-based approach to employability and careers highly attractive.
European project (finished February 2017)
Watch the video...
The proposed RU EU? game offers an innovative, informal digital approach to supporting young people in developing and sharing their understanding of European identity, culture and values. An online game offers an ideal solution to challenging young people's views on national and European identity since games have the potential to provide personalised, challenging activities that require decision making about relevant problems.
European project (started October 2017)
- Bahreini, K., Nadolski, R., & Westera, W. (2016). Communication skills training exploiting multimodal emotion recognition. Interactive Learning Environments, 1-18. Taylor & Francis Group. DOI: 10.1080/10494820.2016.1247286.
- Nadolski, R.J., & Hummel, H. G. K. (2016). Retrospective Cognitive Feedback for Progress Monitoring in Serious Games. British Journal of Educational Technology. DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12503.
- Nyamsuren, E., van der Vegt, W., & Westera, W. (2017). Automated Adaptation and Assessment in Serious Games: a Portable Tool for Supporting Learning. In Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Conference on Advances in Computer Games 2017 (ACG2017).
- Becker J., van Lankveld G., Steiner C., Hemmje M. (2016) Realizing an Applied Gaming Ecosystem: Towards Supporting Service-Based Innovation Knowledge Management and Transfer. In: De Gloria A., Veltkamp R. (eds) Games and Learning Alliance. GALA 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9599. Springer, Cham
- Van der Vegt, W., Nyamsuren, E. & Westera, W. (2016). RAGE Reusable Game Software Components and Their Integration into Serious Game Engines. In: Georgia M. Kapitsaki and Eduardo Santana de Almeida (Eds.), Bridging with Social-Awareness, 15th International Conference, ICSR. 2016, Limassol, Cyprus, June 5-7, 2016, Proceedings, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 9679 2016, pp. 165-180.
- Westera, W. (2015). Games are motivating, aren´t they? Disputing the arguments for digital game-based learning. International Journal of Serious Games, 2(2).
Check out for more games-related papers in http://dspace.ou.nl/.