Gaming & Video Games Design

Rusnak, PJ, Petrina, S., Feng, F. & Wang, Y. (under review, 2010). Being@play. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 1-19.

Kim, J. & Petrina, S. (2006). Emotional laboring in the video game, The Sims: A curriculum of emotional experience. Educational Insights, 10(2), 84-94.

Research Projects

Heroes of Math Island: Designing Engaging Educational Games
Gutica, Mirela

This research study involves the design, implementation and evaluation of an educational gaming framework and identification of emotions triggered for or during gameplay.  The identification of exactly which emotions to model is one of the outstanding problems necessary to resolve prior to the design of pedagogical agents that respond to students’ emotional needs.  Although progress has been made with respect to emotion classifiers, emotion recognition, and affect analysis in the context of adaptive interfaces, it is important to identify and isolate emotions for modeling pedagogical agents’ response when emotion is detected.  Research conducted on ITSs (i.e., Conati’s and Maclaren’s affect-modeling framework) focus not only on cognitive models but also on affective models.  The purpose of this study is to inform methodologies used in studies of emotion and learning in the context of gaming and ITSs with a focus on emotional aspects of interaction.  A high-level goal of this dissertation is to gain a better understanding of how to design educational software that improves the students’ motivation by adapting to their emotional needs.

Learning :: Thinking :: Playing @ Digital Media & Technology– Children Designing Video Games for Children
Rusnak, PJ

This empirical study examines girls’ designerly ways of being, knowing and playing @ 101 Technology Fun, a game design and technology research camp (UBC campus). Building upon Laurel’s (2003) designerly ways of researching and Denner et al.’s (2005) “Girls Creating Games” model, design theories meet design realities as 11 co-researcher girls (ages 9-13) are placed in roles of games designers with real-world design challenges, heuristics and constraints. The design brief: to create a massively-collaborative alternate reality game(ARG) for Mother’s Day. The design solution: a high-social, low-tech ARG that celebrates the unique relationship between mothers and daughters (of all ages and cultures) with a storyline that explores a new world currency of care. As females continue to be under-represented in a gaming industry dominated by a masculine culture of play (AAUW, 2000; Fullerton et al., 2008; Krotoski, 2004), what do the designerly experiences of girls tell us?

Game On: The Dream (British Columbia Portfolio Requirements: ICT and the Power of the Arts), Inukshuk Internet, Inc, Co-Investigators: Dallas, Distance Education Schools Consortium; & Winklemanns, Open Schools. ($60,000)

GameOn: The Dream is a Flash-based interactive game designed to engage secondary students in learning about the Arts and Design. The research component of this project examined how students and teachers can use rich media and virtual education to enhance learning. It was created to study game design as well as the learning strategies used by these genres. Our goal is to plan, design, produce and test a multimedia learning module which will allow students to acquire expertise and achieve both core and choice criteria from the new graduation requirements.

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