In this edition of the Serious Games Network Newsletter you will find the latest SEGAN Conference activity as well as highlights on the latest consortium activities regarding game and tool development.
SEGAN Summer School and Conference, Cork, Ireland
The third SEGAN Summer School and Conference was held in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Ireland during the week of the 2nd
June 2014. As a change of pace this year, the Summer School was advertised to second level students (16 and17 years) with an interest in gaming and game development. A total of 15 students completed the course.
The students covered topics such as serious game design, storyboarding, character design, audio editing and textures. The students worked in groups to develop their game ideas and used the software, Unreal Development Kit, to create their prototypes. As all the students were familiar with games such as Gears of War, which was developed in Unreal Engine, they were particularly enthusiastic about learning how to use this software.
On Friday 6th
June, the SEGAN conference was held in CIT in conjunction with the Irish Symposium on Game Based Learning, iGBL. The conference, which was attended by over 100 researchers, game developers, teachers and students, included three keynote presentations, two workshops and 15 presentations from industry and academia.
The SEGAN conference afforded attendees the opportunity to network and exchange ideas in the area of Game Based Learning with topics including gamification, corporate training and cognitive enrichment through music based games, to name a few.
Of the many highlights of the day, James Corbett’s workshop on Virtual Reality for Immersive Learning Experiences with the Oculus Rift proved to be very popular. In addition, the Summer School students had an opportunity to present their game ideas and prototypes to the attendees during a special presentation slot.
A photostream from the event is available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125257301@N07/sets/72157645077162192/
SEGAN Facebook group has reached 500 members!
On July 2014 the SEGAN Facebook surpassed the 500 members! The Facebook page has been the entry point for the SEGAN community since its very beginning and a hub to attract a broader audience. If you are interested in SEGAN or just if you are interested in getting information about serious games and simulations, please join the SEGAN community group and contribute to the success!
More info at https://www.facebook.com/groups/segan/
IGBL 2014 Classic Theater is a Childs Play
During the IGBL 2014 conference, Prof. Baltasar Fernández-Manjón presented D2GAMe (Drama to Game Adaptation Methodology) methodology, representing the e-UCM research group. This new methodology aims to facilitate the creation of educational videogames from classical theatre plays. In order to facilitate the understanding between videogame creators and different theater professionals (producers, playwrights, scene directors, scenographers, actors, dress designers…) who are not familiar with the videogame creation process, this methodology is based on acting theories. It unifies the disparate vocabulary of the game designers and domain experts.
The first game created with that methodology (The Foolish Lady) was piloted in 8 different schools, involving more than 700 students, during the first term of 2013. The results obtained suggested that the game was effective in drawing players’ attention to classic theater. An improved second version on the D2GAMe methodology is now being tested by creating a new game called “La cortesía de España” (The Courtesy of Spain), in collaboration with the Spanish Classic Theater National Company.
Slides available at http://www.slideshare.net/BaltasarFernandezManjon/serious-games-and-classical-theater
How many flags can you identify? Are you the master of capitals? Put your knowledge to the test in the GeoGeo! mobile game.
GeoGeo! already has many question categories (and growing!) and if you ever get frustrated, you can use the Planet Explorer to browse the countries at your own pace.
GeoGeo! was developed as a partnership between Virtual Campus Lda. and the GILT research group and is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Tasty bits for the upcoming eAdventure 2
It's been two years since the last release of the eAdventure platform
. Although it may seem that the project is dead, it is completely the opposite! With all the feedback provided by the eAdventure community and due to technology changes, the eAdventure team is working hard to create the new version of the eAdventure tool, in fact to release two tools:
- eAdventure Mockup
- eAdventure 2.0
As the importance of video games in our society grows, a number of different tools to facilitate the implementation of video games have been proposed. But these tools are usually focused on working on the final version of the game once its design can be considered final or at least stable, and they rarely provide any kind of support for conceptual game design. These design processes are of vital importance in the inception of a videogame.
eAdventure Mockup is a videogame authoring tool especially designed to facilitate game design and prototyping in early stages of development. Smartphones and tablets are proposed as target devices for the application, as their ubiquity, flexibility and integrated hardware (e.g. camera) and software (e.g. image edition tools) are interesting features for capturing the essence of a game and rapidly testing design ideas and concepts. Moreover, eAdventure Mockup is compatible with eAdventure 2.0, a more advanced editing tool for the desktop, which facilitates transforming a game concept into a fully featured final game.
eAdventure Mockup has been designed taking into account the necessary functionalities to be useful in a wide range of scenarios and different contexts. From capturing ideas in the most unexpected moments, for example, on the subway or in a casual situation, to the creation of more advanced prototypes of varied topics as, for example, an educational adventure in an operating room. It is a self-contained, ready-to-use tool thanks to its support for drawing (very useful for sketching), and its online repository, from which resources already created and ready for use can be downloaded.
eAdventure was first developed in 2005, and hence the technology and the platforms are becoming obsolete. In addition, at that time the Desktop (PC, Mac, etc.) was the main platform for educational tools, and this is also changing in the last 3 years. Hence, the eAdventure team decided to create a new version of eAdventure from scratch, particularly taking into account the new devices like tablets and smartphones, and learning from the past mistakes and limitations. The upcoming version of eAdventure has new exciting features like:
- Backgrounds with Parallax effect. eAdventure is still focused in 2D games, however the parallax effect adds a sense of depth to the games.
- Cameras. Now it is possible to define, for the very same game, different cameras and they can be controlled from the game so, for example, it is possible to focus the camera on a specific character when something important is going to happen.
- Follow me behavior. It is possible to attach the camera to a particular character and move the camera while the focused character moves. For example in the screenshot the plane near the star is the plane that has the camera attached.
- Chase Element behavior. Now it is possible to make an element to follow another element. In the screenshot below the star chases the focused plane, this way it is easy to create companions or followers in the game.
- Improved animation creation. We've added a very simple and powerful animation editor, based on a restricted set of animation primitives (move, scale, rotate, etc.). Hence it is even easier to create animations just using simple graphic assets.
- Gamification elements. One of the most requested features of eAdventure has been the ability to add progress bars, gauges, life meter, etc. inside the game to reflect the players' progress. We are working to create a set of predefined gamification elements that can be added to the game in order to provide feedback about the game progress.