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GI-Dagstuhl-Seminar 15283

Entertainment Computing and Serious Games

( 05. Jul – 10. Jul, 2015 )

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Using computer systems for entertainment purposes is a major application field for methodologies and algorithms developed in computer science. Computer game software has an enormous economic significance. The large consumer market is a driving force for technical innovations, for example graphical processing units (GPUs) or depth cameras. The low cost hardware becoming available due the economies of scale in the game market has a tremendous impact on a broader applicability of research results from computer science. For example, inexpensive GPUs facilitate a more extensive use of parallel computing as they can not only be used for computer games but for general-purpose computing.

Computer games have matured from addressing only teenage male audiences with a limited number of genres and serving entertainment purposes only. The term “serious games” describes software that offers additional benefits for their users. For instance, edutainment software is able to support users in learning and training; exergames encourage people to become physically active and sustain a healthy lifestyle; advergames are used for marketing purposes or recruiting and may raise awareness of certain topics. This makes computer games valuable for the information and knowledge society. Serious games also open up a whole range of new research questions, for example “How do we enable authors such as teachers or marketing experts to create content for computer games?” or “What are the factors that determine whether a serious game is able to achieve its anticipated benefits while still being entertaining?” In the following, we will look at serious games since the set of research questions associated with them is a superset of the research questions concerned with computer systems solely for entertainment.

Often resulting in highly complex IT systems, computer game software is based on research results from a wide range of computer science disciplines such as computer graphics, artificial intelligence, human computer interaction, software engineering, programming techniques, simulation and modeling, database management, computer communication networks or computer security. However, computer games themselves are not often subject of research and merely seen as an application field. As a result, only single aspects of computer game software are researched (e.g. real-time aspects in computer graphics research) and no holistic view is adopted. Also, it is often neglected that research that is directly concerned with computer games can provide valuable contributions to computer science research as there are not only dependencies but interdependencies. For example, in computer game development extensive playtesting is conducted as this is of key importance for a game’s commercial success. The results of these tests could provide highly valuable input for research efforts in the field of human computer interaction or multimedia. But dedicated scientific methods for playtesting are lacking as they have not been addressed by research that focuses on the interconnection between entertainment, (serious) games and computing.

Aims & Scope

The aim of this seminar is to bring together young researchers that have research interests in specific fields of entertainment computing and would like to actively collaborate on a textbook for this novel field. Appropriate for the topic targeted, the outcome should not only be a classic textbook but also an accompanying smart book / e-Learning course which will interactively involve students. In the seminar, ideas for the book will be discussed and teams of authors will be formed. The media and didactics used for the instructional material to be created (e.g. game-based learning) will also be deliberated. The seminar serves as kick-off for the text book project. As an additional result, the participants will be enabled to view their work in the context of serious game development, gain knowledge in fields overlapping with their own research and carry a holistic view on entertainment computing and serious games in their institution (and in the scientific community by publishing instructional material on the topic).

Participants will be selected from applicants to an international call for participation in the seminar. They are expected to be PhD students or junior researchers in Computer Science or related disciplines currently interested in an area relevant to the seminar’s topic:

  • Serious Game Design
  • Authoring Processes and Tools
  • Formalization of Serious Games development, processing and evaluation models
  • Serious Games Fundamentals (also from disciplines such as psychology or design)
  • (automated) Content Generation and Content Integration
  • Game Engines, Game Artificial Intelligence, Basic Algorithms
  • Balancing, Personalization and Adaptation of Games
  • Game Mastering
  • Game Experience and Usability
  • Serious Games Performance Assessment
  • Applications of Serious Games, e.g. Games for Health or Educational Games

The language of the seminar will be English.
After the seminar, the participants are expected to contribute and to collaborate on the instructional material. It will be peer reviewed and combined. Guidance by senior researchers will be provided throughout the whole process. The tangible results of the seminar will be published as a book (e.g. Springer LNCS Tutorial) and additionally as an accompanying smart book / e-learning course.

  • Entertainment Computing
  • Serious Games
  • Digital Educational Games