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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Game in’ Action Conference Summary

The Game in´ Action Conference was organised by LearnIT at Göteborg University in Sweden and took place 13–15th of June, 2007. More than fifteen Truants participated! For me it was the first time to meet many of the guild members outside of the WoW server. I came the second day of the conference since I spent the first day, the 13th of June, in Helsinki with the wonderful people working with the SALERO project. The GIA conference organisers at Göteborg University had put together an impressive program, which you find here. I took notes of the sessions I went to, you find them here on the blog. Do keep in mind they are just my notes while listening, I may have misunderstood things.

I had some moments I could call highlights. First out was LE Bergs presentation about identity formation in games. (my notes here) Berg (social psychology) said in his presentation that our identities are virtual in a general sense, in the meaning that they are always mediated to us from other individuals on our environment. Something for me to dig deeper into, starting with reading his paper. I also appreciated R Tronstad’s presentation on Identity, where she mentioned embodied empathy in relation to narrative empathy. Plus, as soon as someone mentions Paul Riceur, I melt. (my notes here) TL Taylor’s keynote was, as always excellent. Good to get some thinking going on the subject of how add-ons affect play practices. (my notes) Another highlight was Louse Maddens presentation of her research. What caught my interest was that she methodically captures the player’s emotions in various situation of gaming. (my notes)

Helen and Rene 2 James Paul Gee - slides - wow-scrn Lars Erik Berg meaning Wrestling the bull 5 Jenny and me
Frida Tilly at GIA with HK bag Luca Rossi 15 Wrestling the bull 2
Klick here for more photos!

Liveblogging GIA: Conference Discussion and Closing

Freeform notes from Game in’ Action Conference in Gothenburg 15th June 2007.

Conference Discussion and Closing

Jonas Linderoth:
Legacy of game in action. We had an idea to make a book, but we won’t. Too long time. Instead special issue of Human IT.

Start off discussion with his reflection, and then give work to keynotes, then free.

JL satisfied. First game conference in Sweden of this proportion. Two points he is especially glad of. …se game studies happening, not so much Meta discussions about the field and about methods. A level of maturity. Honesty of the speakers of what worked and what didn’t. JL wants to see even more empirical studies. Need also more references to what is already made. Word to TL.

TL: well managed, liked breaks for moving between rooms, great space, and team did good job. Concur with opinion that more references to previous work would be good. Situate ourselves.

Jim: game studies being created on the spot amazing how fast it has happened, this new field. Strength that ppl are coming from so many different disciplines. Very creative time. At the same time, being old, seeing a new field, exiting and both frightening, what if some ppl monopolises it. An area where it… not surprising that industry give back the view of the capitalist society. Here an area where kids can push back, can mod, can do different participatory creative things. A real space for ppl to input back. Good to see game studies not restraining them… letting kids do it. Game studies being part of it rather than dictate it. Co-design.

JL, so being a gamer is to be subversive?

Jim: ppl do it in a spectrum from appalling to amazing. Cultural product where they speak back. In history of literacy... … interest in ppl reading but not in writing.

JL: image of gamer different now from in the 80ies nerd. Substance.

Henry Jenkins: coming from film studies, seeing what is in common… multidisciplinary… listening to each other. We see this emerge in game studies. A point where we are doing work, new paradigms. Cut off from main conversation. A language that is cut off. Fatal flaw in film was to have a discourse legitimising them to the academia, but cutting off from mass conversation, game studies have avoided this. Good to talk about gaming rather than game. …stuck within a single medium. We live in a convergent culture. Preoccupation with games in isolation of other media is a hazard. Dividing lines… danger. Overlap of the critical mistakes done in film studies. Think more broadly of games. Not be so locked in, this is a gem that is not a game… we need to move beyond that.

Word free.

Staffan B: Henry: reading and changing the text… designing games. The indented reader is what you have, not the actual one. Would be interesting to hear a comment about that. We need this duality.

HJ: no we shouldn’t get rid of the study. Work on several levels. Player feedback as early as possible. Hazard of using yourself as the intended player. That excludes many ppl. Diversity. Empirical studies that can be used, for designing games.

SB: agree on getting players in as fast as possible, but need time to think too, need to switch between those modes.

HJ: mental processes in production…

JL: that’s not the only problem. Mistake to talk about gaming when only having the game and the Own game experience.

C1: empirical studies important. Give nyanses.

C2: design – discipline – industry – trajectory… interesting correspondences…deign community … co-creativity. Events which bring together designers and critics are crucial for both sides. Regional discourses…

Konstantin: do we/ppl know what we/they want/need?

C3: game studies have a bad habit to own the terming. Game meta game individual texts. Burden on the texts. Game studies is constructing its canon, narrowing. Ico, Sim City, WoW.

JL: so a good thing that everyone think about their own generalization?

C3: games built in a hyper consciousness of other productions.

HJ: mid level research. Useful concept. General introduction. Same content. Broad terms. One extreme high order. Loop between the specific and the general. Pokemon studies. /* comparing it to WOW studies, what happens when WoW goes out of date. */ something different. Lasting impact. Publishing journal is slow.

Staffan: interdisciplinariness of the field. Setting up review things for DIGRA. Computing science. Conferences are really where to publish results, quicker than journals and books.

…And here I had to go out to the taxi waiting outside so I missed out on further comments.

Liveblogging GIA: Louise Madden: Online Gaming and Feminine Subjectivities

Freeform notes from Game in’ Action Conference in Gothenburg 15th June 2007.

Louise Madden: Online Gaming and Feminine Subjectivities

Madden 2

Doesn’t make sense to talk about context. Embodiment. Idea of experience. Emotional, sensation. Take up space in a world, wherever we are.

Janet Radways work on romance models.

Levels of meaning.

How research then.

Notion of subjectivity.

Individual path of the gamer. The articulation of story. What is partially taken up. The messiness of the actions. Impact of gaming. Look at the actual relations of gaming. The activities going on around it. What constitutes possibilities for gaming.

/* now this is really getting interesting */

Method slide.

Internet in general. Gaming as a kind of internet use.

The things that normally slip, what is not recorded, also capture that.

How situated it is. The practices of the space.

Screen. Alison. Using it for escapism.

Example in presentation; Mark. 3 recordings.

1 looking for party

2. in middle

3. Ending.

The irritated cleric. How he copes emotionally.

First reporting a lack of pleasure. Then irritation and stress. But hedging, saying that he shouldn’t let it irritate him, as if inappropriate. Raises interesting issues. Relation between work and play. He still stays although it’s no pleasure, as if he has to, as if it is work. 2. The feminisation of the role of the healer. Self sacrificing. Cleric class extremely flexible.

Slide from forum about how one is supposed to play cleric. No one really wants to do it, it seem. Sue Austin says women in guilds have to act as space so that men and boys can act. Acting as space for others. Fill in the gaps and the flaws of others. Making sacrifices and space.

A suitable gaming computer?

Amy on end of maternity leave. What’s mobilised around her machine. All the requirements that need to be met to be able to play many hours. Amy’s computer doesn’t meet any of those. Watching baby as she plays, while husband sits in the home office with the better computer. So she constantly wonders if he works or plays.

Sarah’s computer.

Arts student at mothers place. Her room full of identity object, having a privacy Amy doesn’t have.

…conclusions slide.

How much one can read from pictures of ppls gaming machines.

Link to pictures of the slides (photos at flickr)

Liveblogging GIA: Tina Lybaek and Emma Witkowski: Negotiating Game Culture: Reflections on Women’s Gaming Experiences.

Freeform notes from Game in’ Action Conference in Gothenburg 15th June 2007.

Tina Lybaek and Emma Witkowski: Negotiating Game Culture: Reflections on Women’s Gaming Experiences.

Tina Lybaek and Emma Witkowski 2

Gaming toolbox – creating them-selves.

Women gaming together in public room, such as internet café.

Positioning women as visible gamers.

Corinne – it’s her gender that hasn’t grown up playing, not the generation. Access and gendering collide.

Picture of nice play experience.

/* I remember when I walked around a bit lost at TGS07 and got dragged into a booth to play a platformer, how fun it was when the 3 Japanese devs, one female, successes in explaining the game play to me, which was in Japanese, and how I successed playing it, and they jumped around and applauded and gave me a price, what a great moment that was. It wouldn’t have happened unless they’d dragged me in there, I was too shy. */


TL: great work. Network for support important.

Hilde: if fun is not the motivation when they first come, what is the motivation? So many discourses saying it’s a waste of time.

Emma: spooky for female identity if no excuse

Tina: curiosity. They also bring friends. “Maybe we should try”

Rene: the examples of risk… I also thought of my male friends who stopped playing when super Nintendo come… when they se the internet cafés it’s just beyond them, and beyond me. Maybe it could be important for males too that doesn’t want to get ganked by 18 year olds?

Emma: but they have their male network that can help them

Rene: but it’s so exclusive! Also to males.

Tina: the immediate network. Gendered.

Jenny: how are you reaching out? How do ppl find you?

Emma: we started just this summer. Started with own network.

Tina: we’ve gone to women’s counter strike networks.

Jon: great project, god, but at the same time. I think it’s dangerous to generalise “oh they have their network” I know many males who don’t. Who are trapped in the male network where “you should do this on your own." You should not ask for help”. It’s bad to generalise, no good for equality.

Emma: But how do you make women continue…

Jon: don’t get me wrong, the project is good. Just saying males not so stereotypic.

Q: how do you see this in relation to women’s IT-skills?

Tina: that’s one of our goals.

Staffan Björk. Introducing females to gaming at a certain age… you want change. Are you hoping parents will introduce their kids?

Tina: female kindergarten teacher said, in my age I miss out of a lot of opportunities.

Link to pictures of slides (photos on flickr)

Liveblogging GIA: Hilde Corneliussen: World of Warcraft as a playground for feminism.

Freeform notes from Game in’ Action Conference in Gothenburg 15th June 2007.

Hilde Corneliussen: World of Warcraft as a playground for feminism.

Corneliussen 12

Mainly 3 strategies for including girls and women

-play games as they are

-pink games for girls

-Cross-gendered games.

WoW moves towards this.

-In-game activities.

Special female roles. Romantic partners, romantic conflict, mothering.

Example. Adrian, human girl elected as leader. When new leader to elected she wanted to chose. Seduced a male successor.

Need female roles to drive the male driven story forward.

Gender only exists as male and female. No technical difference to the characters play-role.

Though males and females of the same race – males always bigger, but from different races a female character can be bigger than a male.

The hyper sexualised features are quite moderate in WoW compared to other games such as Tombraiders Lara Croft.

Difference in PC representation between horde and alliance, alliance being more human likes, horde more monster like. Female horde characters more alike alliance chars.


Presence of females gives an illusion of normal life, habited area.

Night elves only race with more females. Coincides with how the race would be perceived.


Roles… female guards, non stereotypic roles for females in wow. Challenging stereotypical roles. No special emphasis on it, which make it seem normal.

Traditional activities with feminine association are used without regard to gender.


Peter: I disagree, there is gendered armour. Re-establishes gender. Same piece of armour on a female char shows more skin than on a male.

HC: yes but you don’t need to wear it, and you can have other clothes under it.

Peter: but hey.

TL: Norms about what you should wear… in a raid guild can require you to wear certain things to survive the instance. In the succession of the game there is a line. On middle levels it’s covered but up on high end it goes back to the traditional hyper sexualised.

Jonas Linderoth: just a comment… the affordances of the game. We had so high hopes when we studied the Sims, crossing boundaries. But no. It was extremely traditional boys playing were rebuilding the stereotypes, and the same seem to happen in WoW.

HC: I didn’t have time to present the whole thing here, but in the paper I go through different feminist stances

Maria: Did you take into account what type of server the play is on? Rp/normal/pvp?

HC: no, this is the first step in my study. I look at what frames allow us to play, and then look at how it is played. To watch gender bending.

Jon: are you planning to look at the sexualisation of the male body? The deformation with a lot of muscles, the fact that you can’t show your belly.

HC: males in shattarah show their belly with a little bikini top. Yes I do look at that. Muscles say something about power while breasts sexualises.

Jenny: yes and designed by males.

HC: blizzard wrote on a forum they had to make the male bodies more masculine, they lots of critique for not making them enough male.

Staffan B: isn’t sex power?

HC: Lara croft – very powerful body but in the last scene she comes out in a romantic dress. Female dwarfs, small and stocky, not attractive according to western stereotype

Here are pictures of the slides (photos on Flickr)

Liveblogging GIA: Keynote: TL Taylor.

Freeform notes from Game in’ Action Conference in Gothenburg 15th June 2007.

Keynote: TL Taylor.

TL Taylor

TL will talk about emergence. The not always pretty emergence. The ambiguity of emergence. Played audio file from a raid.

Interviewed raid leaders. Used an add-on CT for it

Ordering and stratification

Need to raid to get to high-end content. Requirements for members. Age for example. Screen of typical guild application.

CTProfiles. CTMod.

The Armory.

Various systems to order and classify player characters.


Add-ons mentioned are not quite in the game space.

Mods in relation to emergence and co-creation. Mod-productions bring ambivalence and discussion in player communities, debate and disagreement.

TL shows contrast between original UI and one with a lot of mods use.

TL: not only the icing on the cake. It changes the play experience. It is something more than getting information on the screen. Play practice changes.

Surveillance. Ambivalence there too. Constantly going on, on different levels. Always at work in WoW

…ran out of batteries: notes on paper.

Taylor slide

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Liveblogging GIA: Afternoon Truants Track, Luca, Jessica and Rene

Luca Rene and Jessica

Freefrom notes from GamesInAction Conference in Gothenburg 14th of May.

Luca Rossi: Property Practices in World of Warcraft.

Luca Rossi 14

WoW as a society. Sociology background.

World as a stage. Goffman.

Need to be coherent.

How items are described.

  1. req. skills
  2. quality
  3. type of bound.

In parallel Consumus in running around on the other screen, Nez waving. Icefalcon online too, grouped.

Schema slide. Adaptation of Juul’s schema from half-real.

Discussion of bourgeois stuff, ninja looting, twinkling. Torrill: Twinked chars not so popular, but it’s a desirable thing to be able to twink someone. Some guilds having it as their play. But difficult for other players.

See slides from Luca's speech (photos at Flickr)

Jessica Enevold: Mobility in World of Warcraft.

Jessica Enevold 2

Sustainable mobility.

Freedom, empowerment. Away to empower women, but problematic from the point of sustainability, from an environmental perspective. Not everyone have mobility.

Traditional dichotomies.

I’d add indoor/outdoor.

Set of games with interesting ways of transportation, comparative space.

Mobility increases with level, thus status. Treasured notion of speed and mobility.

Assumption of equality. All can level.

Gamers producers of the social norms.

JE will start environmental movement in wow.

Hilde: who’s gender are you talking about, characters or players?

JE: Interesting, since it is so traditional. Tends to be stereotypical when gender-bending since we reproduce traditions. JE looking for innovative ways to travel. To use mobility. In a study this would be important info, the gender of pc and p.

Rene; some of the games you will study does not even feature gender in the avatar. ..?

JE: different games. Would assume… a game called transport tycoon, build until you bust. Environmental cost? Congestion? More roads to solve that? Less transportation?

Q/C: feminine/masculine play style? Males often more aggressive in style, get mounts faster. Males parading their mounts. Trophies offered to female players.

Luca: after burning crusade mount became mandatory for certain areas.


René Glas: Playing Another Game: Twinking in World of Warcraft.

Rene Glas 3

Truants screen – I logged in so sparse notes here.

… common to start out as a killer, test boundaries.

Playing alone together.

The extreme expenses of twinking.

Domination in battle grounds.

Twinking as transformative play.

Difficult to find the time to achieve the props given in twinking.

Luxury – dominance – transformative – standardised.

Limited play style to do the twinking ( – but important to consider the amount of new end game content blizzard puts in – ) and they DO play another game.

Comment: twinking coming for the expression of older gay men proving for young lovers. A certain envy of that, of being twinked in a game. Book “male colours” .

..And instituionalised in Anarchy online.

Comment: but not only items, right.

TL: legitimate play? Would be interesting to broaden the discussion.

Slides from René's speech (photos on Flickr)

Liveblogging GIA: Keynote: Technicity and Power, Helen Kennedy and Jon Dovey

Freefrom notes from GamesInAction Conference in Gothenburg 14th of May.

Keynote: Technicity and Power, Helen Kennedy and Jon Dovey

Helen W Kennedy and Jon Dovey 1

Swedish state policy. Education and research in the area.

Learning project that uses Never winter Nights.

Conventional literacy… Technicity.

Serious games… Training ground for digital aptitude… cyborg identities.

…friction free economy… Gates… chaos theory.

HK and JD: grains of sand in the oyster.

The subjects. Identities. Cultural framing of technology.

Technicity – cultural habitus. Particular kinds of technicity are privileged.

Subjectivity in flux.

Historical; three kinds of traditions.

Post-humanism. Tools as inorganic extensions. Network theory. Human subject in the network of things. Bateson. Ecology. Cybernetics. Continuity between human and machine. Stiegler. Inorganic beings. Machine and eroticism. /* I remember the book Emma W ordered on this subject */ Techno erotic’s.

Neo Frankfurt School. Refuses to let go of our relationship of power and technology. Tech in modernity and industrialisation. Reinscription of modernist dreams of power and machines. Matter transformed to abstract calculation. Turkle notes this in the Eliza program. Markuse's One Dimensional Man. Rationalisation applied to digital society. Kellner. Dominant technologies. Hegemonic. Themeberg. “working with wood is to be a carpenter.” Viral communication – non-hegemonic.

The hacker. Open source transparent tools to citizens. Turkle again, the personalised aspect. Cognitive styles in choice of systems.

Insider/outsider identities. Preferred subjects in the techno culture.

Conflict Vietnam series in Pivotal games studio. Jon made interviews. Manipulation machine. Creative expression. Particular taste, particular use of technology, resulting in a particular type of game.

Star systems.

The idea of the cyborg and the idea of the hacker. Runs through the biographies they’ve looked at. /* makes me associate to the speech Bartle made at Austin Game Conf 2005 where he drew up a picture of those who made the first muds, and the culture around the development in the late 70ties and early eighties. */

Romero and Carmack. Dislike authorities. The hacker ethos. Dominant technicity of game production cultures.

Dominant technicity in this context. 2 aspects:


Technicity is ever shifting. Dominance not stable, not guaranteed.

Now some examples. Difference. Alterity.

female quake players. Deployed contradictory feminist discourse. Foregrounding femaleness. Not a masculine retreat from femininity.

Scratching surface of discussion forums evident that female players perceived as damaging to game play

Works or Raina Lee.

//photographed quotes.

Experiment with 8 young player. Gender less important than technicity. Lord of the Rings game. Play styles.

Future direction

Helen W Kennedy and Jon Dovey 16

See some of the slides (link to photos on Flickr)

Liveblogging GIA: Ragnhild Tronstad: Character Identification in World of Warcraft.

Freefrom notes from GamesInAction Conference in Gothenburg 14th of May.

Ragnhild Tronstad: Character Identification in World of Warcraft.


Bg: aesthetics, i.e. other persp. than the psychology.

Email for the paper.

James Newman: claims that identity has little to do with the appearance, rather with the capacity for actions. How do we then separate this, as being closely connected?

Capacity can become appearance. A representational capacity. Labels can show capacity to other players.

Appearance not static, but tied to capacity.

Want to see playing as a type of aesthetic experience. Flow.

Different types of emotional engagement in the character.


- sameness

- empathic.

In wow the sameness identity is not so common.

One has it over such a long period of time. A narrative identity. More relevant to call it empathic identity.

Vaage 2006.

Laugh one someone else laughs.

Affective reaction. Other end is the cognitive. We can understand, but we don’t share the emotions.

Embodied empathy – we feel it – regular play

Narrative empathy – we understand it. – role play

Types of engagement

Fictional engagement – i.e. immersion – i.e. transportation

Connect to the flow experience.

The narrative empathy closer in this category.

Aesthetic experience – flow.


Regular play in WoW. When experienced as flow, things are in place. Medium becomes transparent.

In role play – narrative required. Use Paul Riceur.

Told and untold experiences of life.

Some significant, some not. /* and that’s the genius of Lisbet’s project when looking at the experiences of death */

A feeling of being. … separate fictional being… in RP less likely to _be_ the character. Greater distance. /* this resonates so much to what I wrote in the Players Journey chapter. I should look closer at Tronstad’s paper, interesting */

WoW mechanisms not supporting Role Play. /* someone should make a study of how they RP is played when using the RP add-ons */

The character is experienced to not have an appearance. To a personalised tool. All capacity. /* How does she relate to Bartle’s concept of persona? */

Q: The idea of aesthetics. What about the temporality of flow? Expectations… the quilt metaphor. The phrasing of small events… and flow. Moments of flow. Roland Barthes discussion of wrestling

RT: I agree, the moments are small.

Berg: gestalt… narrative identity.

RT. The visual?

Berg: the photo … the film…

RT: appearance in numbers, the stats while playing.

Berg: is the narrative identity becoming more important on cost of the gestalt identity. //what does he mean… is it the gestalt-patterns-of-action?

Pictures of the slides

Liveblogging GIA: Lars Erik Berg: Stages of Identification in Computer Games.

Freefrom notes from GamesInAction Conference in Gothenburg 14th of May.

Lars Erik Berg: Stages of Identification in Computer Games.

Lars Erik Berg

Games giving a new … for identity formation

Stages of the identification process, not referring to stages in development psychology.


People meeting each other are always playing roles.


The make believe process works more swiftly on screen.


“you believe yourself on the screen”. If you believe that you are a poet. Liquid poetry in mind. Not yet cristallysed. Then some handwriting. Creates a distance, a degree of objectification. In the process the to the final work, the poet, it becomes more and more objectified. Externalised. First it was me, then it is outside me.

Similar to playing WoW: Many ppl tell stories about this.


Sherry Turkle: Virtual reality more real than reality itself. From the point of view of identity there is an enormous amount of quotes stating the same.

4. “Life gets more intensive at the screen”. (Abstract Life??). Problematic usage?

Berg: as an identity psychologist…. To Asplund abstract sociality is something dangerous. PPl abstracted from each other.

Infant-mother = very concrete. //yes, plus THAT is very very rare as fictional theme in games.

Berg sceptical to Asplund in this respect. This abstract sociality is more conserned with bureaucratic life rather than virtual life. Berg does not agree on the danger with Asplund.

How come that something seemingly so stable as ones identity can be so fragile, so floating?

- new slide.

Meaning is ambiguous.

Mening not created in the mind of _one_ human being. There need to be at least two. Rely on meanings. What we do is dependent on our capacity of creating meaning, else we go insane. Derstoying meaning has been used as mental torture, breaking people down.

  1. 3 month baby (in figure)
  2. the parent.
  3. other reacts to ego’s reaction to the object. This is observed by ego. Which is number 4
  4. and this is the process of meaning. The others response to egos action to the object.

Lars Erik Berg meaning

One can never se oneself directly. One can see the char. But for oneself. Need someone else to see one. The own identity – impossible to have direct access to it. But you have acess to others reacting to you “It is nice to see you smile”. There is NO concrete reality in the object which is identity. There is only virtual reality. This is a general and sustainable explanation, but on a general level of course.

Identity is a totally virtual reality object.

Identity a as representation of the _reflected_action where material reality (and concrete sociality) is gone.

.. the mashine is usable only if you have software. And what is this but what the “other”. Another language. Universal language.

The other invisible for you. Interesting process in identity psychology.

Now Berg is trying to …. The paper … (which are on the web)

Act. George Mead.

Impulse -> perception -> manipulation -> consummation

Identity growing from the reflected individuality. Going on _all the time_.

- new picture on OH

to left the more primitive to right more sophisticated, in the picture.

Lars Erik Berg stages

//oh that’s a new way to categorise games, looking at the level of sophistication in the identity formation.

Torril asks: what about games that are not computer games? How you consider that any came can carry away the player?

Berg: oh yes I did! Childen growing up – board games, rpg, woods etc, but computer games bring it furher:

T: soccer for exampla can be just as complicated

B: agree needs both empathy and intellingence.

More pictures from Berg's speech

Liveblogging GIA: Keynote: James Paul Gee

Freefrom notes from GamesInAction Conference in Gothenburg 14th of May.

Keynote: James Paul Gee. 9.15 – 10.15

James Paul Gee - slides - wow-scrn

Important to recognise the various types of games. How they can be used for learning.

Question: …. Serious games movement spreading over the United States…. Kids spend lot of time in them… use leverage for learning.

What are the deep properties of Publish Postthat type of games, why so compelling?

Could we do that for something different than entertainment, do for education?

If you can’t have all properties, which can you drop off, and what would that cost you.

Core games with deep properties.

Half-Life. Screen.

Text slide property 1

James Paul Gee - slides - prop1

Psych out a system, or game out a system…. Similar to what gaming is for gamers. Find the patterns, learn them, and use them to your advantage. Optimise, achieve own goals…

In a good game you try to accomplish the goals set by the design, but in your own way.


Never been a hip hopper before

Screen 3 Stalker, Russian game

Pollution. Challenge: find out what the rules are.

Property 2

James Paul Gee - slides - prop2

Micro control. Like over your own body. Your foot. Or if blind, a cone. Which feels like an extension of the body? Micro control a little bit further than the body.

Screen Prince of Persia.

The avatar and the control over the body of the avatar. Fine degree of micro control. Your body artificially extended. Like the blind mans cane. “I died” one says… not “my avatar died”

With different designs of the avatar one can achieve different things. Important for learning. Body needs to be there. Fundamental to learning. Joy of Prince of Persia to use the body of the avatar.

Why was the first body like this female, Lara Croft?

Or control a group of avatars. Loose intimacy but getting another scope.

God games… entire world, fully lost intimacy but gained gods eye. Being the centre of the universe.

Property 3

James Paul Gee - slides - prop3

Learning through experience.

A list of five.

James Paul Gee - slides - 1 - 5

The shadow priest role.

James Paul Gee - slides - shadowpriest

How come people who are into wow can learn this – compare to chemistry book with arcane language? Difference = experience.

Prop 4

James Paul Gee - slides - prop4


…Gibson argued around affordances in the world. Affordances for a hammer. Need a thumb. Need certain properties in order for an object to be affordable.

The body in metal gear solid, Solid Snake.

Far Cry. Shooter on a beautiful island. Can’t survive is stay and look at pretty fish. Eye candy irrelevant. Player needs to look through the eye candy. Snake need to sneak. In training session in MGS all eye candy is stripped out. Affordances for action for the body you’ve got.

Cheby Robo game. A cleaning robot. Clean a whole house being only 4 inches tall, a new challenge. Even cleaning becomes fun. Plus divorce going on, need to solve the marital problems.

Property 5

James Paul Gee - slides - prop5


A map – a simplified model of a city. Foundation. Computer games encourage model based thinking. Scientific

Contradictory to experience by learning?

Gee argues no - kids love modelling… /* Yes, makes me think of my overview from yesterday of types of systems and the myriads of system we tend to build, all the individual category systems and ontologies we carry, and for syntax, the common game of building an own language that you speak with your best friend. */

Screen with a map and strategies how to go through a level. Need abstractions to prepare. Metathinking about the experience.

James Paul Gee - slides - map

All games use models. Which to children seem boring in school. Tony Hawk skating. Also a model. Modelling a model, your skating.

Modding community in WoW.

The model is eating away at the experience! Hardly anything else on the screen. Model taking over.

Reading meters for information about the avatar… fill the screen. /* yes, one should replace some of it with music. Learn to interpret musical signals instead of only visual symbols and syntaxes. */

Property 6

James Paul Gee - slides - prop6

Player-Enacted Stories and Trajectories.

In wow, advance with other people. Massive number of trivial events creating texture and trajectory to the game. The story as a quilt. Quilts made of everyday things, like old jeans, out of trivia comes something artistic.

Property 7

James Paul Gee - slides - prop7


Picture of a ps2 controller showing a possible way to mod the Tony hawk skating game, so players can mod it to their liking.

Ppl as producers instead of consumers.

In education: let student’s mod the curriculum.

… Affordances that fit one’s power give flow.

Empathy for a Complex System.

Study through simulation in current science.

Projective identity.


Staffan Björk: How much of these types of games, these deep properties, could they be used for games as for example board games?

Gee: hmm the more of these props a game has the better… make the problem of your game to fit. Not so many successful serious games made yet. These are the props that give leverage. Also in life. Going away from the Copenhagen thing to encompass all types of games. Need to look at the types.

…Failure is fundamental for learning. Fail early and often. Games lower the cost of failure.

More photographs taken during the speech

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

SALERO's Experimental Productions

  • Hack the Van (Geni de Vilar Font, Activa Multimedia)
  • Triage (Richard Hackett and Richard Smithies, Blitz Games)
  • Full House (Juhani Tenhunen, University of Art and Design Helsinki)
  • (Carl Goodman, Pepper’s Ghost Productions)

Hack the Van

Already using output from tools-WPs in the experimental productions. (Salero been running for 18 months)

Hack The van using Multilingual Speech Synthesis (Carlos Monzo and Xavier Gonzalvo, Universitat Ramon Llull).

Demo with fully automated content. Evalutaion with closed user group.

Hack the Van


TruSim Division – serious games, learning and engagement.

Setting: disaster scene.

High fidelity characters.

Train paramedics, policemen or other staff working in case of disaster.

/*compare with M. El Jed, N. Pallamin, J. Dugdale, and B. Pavard.

Modelling character emotion in an interactive virtual

environment. In proceedings of AISB 2004 Symposium:

Motion, Emotion and Cognition, Leeds, UK, 29 March

1 April 2004. – designed for fire fighters */

…shows slides of scanned model etc – but slides marked confidential so I don’t photograph…

Face + eyes + wrinkles

Animations of facial expressions.

Together with lipsynking. It looks stunning.

Body: breathing and muscle movement.


Blood, sweat and tears.

A dying character – photo realistic – validated with medical experts. /*Difficult to see it without feeling emotion.*/

First on a disaster scene. What casualties to treat first? First Aid decision making.

Modularity characters and clothing.

An injury…omg. Can’t look.

Custimzable both for trainer and trainee.

//don’t forget to check the specs of the audio generation in the mmo middle ware alternatives.

Richard Smithies: Triage

Full House

Ironical political tv talkshopw. User to choose political candidate. Internet community, cell phone client, TV show. A great presentation movie.

More at:

Full House Guide Character



Objective: play well together.

Illstrative movie of little Bong who first doesn’t play nice but then becomes a good sport in cooperation. Adorable adorable characters, absolutely lovely. Puppy gesture language to Bong.

Second movie:

2 flying characters, red and green, in the windproof laboratory.

Wibbly wobbly sculpture in windproof laboratory. Fliff floff feathers. Piff poff socket.

Lipsynk on funnels!

MyTiny planets experimental production – webb interface, flash. Characters acting a guides, animated, voice

Salero to the rescue!

Live blogging from Salero Open House 2007-06-13

11.36. I’m listening to Gunnar Holmberg from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Music technology group. He is showing a set of extremely impressive tools for automatic audio for media production. Possible to analyse music in a similar way as a human do – emotional annotations.

Machine understanding of music Detailed facial animation according to emotional parameters

And that’s not all! I just heard Marco Romeo present a character animation tool that could make detailed facial animation based on both personality and mood. And before that! Charlie Cullen from Dublin Institute of Technology present a tool for speech and Linguistics analysis that could give output in the form of natural language with different levels of positivity and activity.

Acoustic Speech Analysis

…and so I’m sitting here, realizing that im sitting in a room full of people doing those tools that would fit my own research… like perfectly.

Look at