What is InC?InC is the Innovative Communication research Group at the IT University of Copenhagen. It focuses on
- design and development of interactive technologies in the contexts of prior and emerging cultures of information
- advanced and innovative communication trends
- historical and rhetorical methods of innovation
Category Archives: Games
Four of the Inc people participated in the CHI 08 conference in Florence, Italy, last week. Anker Helms Jørgensen organized a Special Interest Group on the history of User Interfaces together with Brad Meyers, CMU. The session was well attended with more than 20 people participating and Anker has now started a blog to continue the discussion.
Javier San Agustin and John Paulin Hansen presented their work-in-progress, comparing mouse and gaze selection. They found a combination of gaze and EMG clicking to be faster than mouse pointing and clicking. The research is important for the development of more efficient interaction with e.g. games and with communication systems for disabled people. This work is done in collaboration with Julio Mateo at Wright State University and an abstract can be found here.
Sune Alstrup participated in a workshop about evaluation of user experience in games, where he presented work on how to evaluate gamers’ experience by the use of eye tracking and retrospective think aloud.
I wrote earlier on developments in general video game commercials. When it comes advertising concrete titles, the change is no less striking.
Halo 3 is breaking sales records throughout the gaming world. Check out this recent commercial:
And compare it to this 1982 specimen.
Taking into account the itchy trigger fingers of would-be Halo 3 players, I actually find the former fairly classy.
I’ve recently – partly as a consequence of my Digital Rhetorics course – become interested in the persuasive potential of video games.
One game which I find fascinating in this regard is a stressful-rush-hour-traffic-dash-to-reach-the-bank-before-it-closes simulator which aims to convince the player of the pleasures of Internet banking (try it). The game is made for – and made available by – Danske Bank.
It’s interesting for a number of reasons.
First, to me at least, it’s kind of entertaining and technically decent (neither aspect can be taken for granted in advergaming).
Second, it uses a fairly advanced (or “strange”, if you will) rhetoric. Common knowledge (in edutainment circles most particularly) has it that, all else being equal, game goals should overlap with learning goals (i.e. that which the player should strive for should coincide with what the designer wants the player to learn). Since The Parking Game is about parking, there is really no relation to the persuasion goal (sign up for the Internet bank). If you actually manage to park before the bank closes, i.e. achieve the game goal, the game message is in fact subverted – if you win, the entire argument (that it’s hopeless to try to get to the bank before it closes) collapses.
Rather, the game argument is the very feeling of stressfulness that the player has while racing through the virtual town. But this creates another rhetorical complication as I see it: If you actually think the game is fun, then stressfulness is not the dominant emotion which you have. If you don’t think it’s fun then why on Earth would you be playing it? In other words, if you play it then you don’t really get significantly stressed out and the argument doesn’t really work (unless, of course, you’re playing it because I asked you to, in which case the argument might work).
Another communicatively interesting aspect of the game, of course, is the very strong, quite honest, if perhaps universally accepted, claim made by the game that needing to get to your physical bank branch in person is hell on Earth.
Last week five people from ITU attended the third COGAIN Camp in Leicester, England. There was a conference on Monday with the theme “Gaze-based Creativity, Interacting with Games and On-line Communities”, and an exhibition on Tuesday where an award ceremony for the student competition on gaze creativity was held. ITU had the pleasure of being represented in both events.
Jakob Schantz, a master student at ITU, participated in the Creative Gaze student competition with his StrongEyes game, a 3D space arcade where the user controls a spaceship using only their gaze. The game was awarded the second prize, and reviewers praised its great potential of gaze control for both disabled and non-disabled users. Jakob got the opportunity of attending to the Camp and showing his game. Some eye tracking companies were interested in incorporating his game to their software packages, which might open up some job possibilities for Jakob in the near future. You can see a video of the ceremony and the exhibition here (originally uploaded by John Paulin Hansen).
On Monday Javier presented the paper that was written together with Jakob and John. In this paper we studied the performance of 6 input devices (mouse, joystick, touch screen, head tracker and 2 different eye trackers) in two common tasks in videogames, target selection (aim and shoot) and target tracking. During the Q&A’s the audience provided feedback on issues that could be further investigated in student projects and master theses.