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Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Category Archives: call for papers

Simulation miscellany, 25 March 2014

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Some recent items on conflict simulations, serious games, and similar topics that may be of interest to PAXsims readers.

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The Mind’s Lie is a free Android gaming app designed by Kris Wheaton (Institute for Intelligence Studies, Mercyhurst University), now available in beta version at the Google Play Store available now:

The game is designed to implicitly teach you and the other players (up to six players per game) to recognize confirmation bias, anchoring bias, stereotyping/representativeness bias, projection/mirror imaging bias, bias blind spot, or fundamental attribution error in more or less realistic situations. It is based on a successful tabletop game I designed.

Read much more about it at his Sources and Methods blog.

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This War Is Mine is a video game under development by 11 Bit Studios:

This War Of Mine provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle. For the very first time you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, so you need to focus on maintaining your hideout. At night you get a chance to scavenge nearby locations for items that will help you stay alive.

Make life-and-death decisions driven by your conscience. Try to protect everybody from your shelter or sacrifice some of them to endure the hardships. During war, there are no good or bad decisions; there is only survival. The sooner you realize that, the better.

See also the coverage at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. (h/t James Sterrett)

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A call for papers has been issued for a special issue of the journal Traces.

This issue of the Tracés journal questions the relationships between play and games, on the one hand, and materiality, on the other – i.e. materials, objects, interfaces and infrastructures, as well as bodily aspects involved in play and games. Various forms of play and games can be studied in that perspective, such as gambling, board games, children’s games, role play and video games, among others. Contributors are invited to explore the role of materiality in play, to tackle the industrial, political, economic or legal dimensions of the materiality of games, their aesthetic or symbolic aspects, or to embrace the material aspects of “non playful” functions sometimes attached to games.

Argument

Studies devoted to play and games are increasingly visible in the humanities. This issue of Tracés aims at questioning this theme from an interdisciplinary perspective with a focus on materiality. It aims at probing the relationships between play, games and the physical and sensitive world.

Although materiality contributes to any experience of play to a significant extent, it has been little approached by game and play studies. Play and games have long been conceptualized separately from their relationship to materials, objects, technical interfaces and infrastructures, or to the body – presumably as a consequence to classic contributions which stressed normative or epistemological aspects of play and games (Huizinga, 1938; Wittgenstein 1953; Henriot, 1989). In the field of video games, such notions as the “virtual” and the “immaterial” have long prevented taking into account the material aspect of these games.

Play can be considered as an activity, framed by systems of rules or models for describing action, or simply bound to specific objects related to an activity or situation. This issue welcomes various definitions of games and play, to reflect on their relationship with materiality. Is materiality necessarily central to the study of games and play, and in what regard? Various types of games can be considered, such as traditional games (card games for instance), toys, digital games, role playing games, sport and all hybrid forms. Investigations can be based on various conceptualizations of games and play, in line with the paper’s research methodologies.

The editors suggest four major themes:

  • Materiality and the framing of play (“This part explores the construction of a frame for play, which can entail formal, normative, symbolical and material dimensions. Relationships between the rules of the game and players’ practices can be explored, in so far as they rely on material elements in the game.”)
  • Materiality and the political, economic and legal implications of game industries. (“Materiality plays a part in the organization of cultural industries, in their political, historical, economic and legal dimensions. Focusing on game industries, the role of materiality in manufacturing, distributing and commercializing games can be explored, as well as its role in marketing and advertising.”)
  • Materiality, representations and game images. (“This part is devoted to cultural, visual and symbolical aspects of games in their material dimensions. Contributors are welcomed to explore the visual and aesthetic dimensions of games as well as the social and cultural representations they can convey. Relationships between the materiality of components and the meanings attached to games and play can be interrogated.”)
  • Materiality and “non-playful” uses of games. (“Finally, this issue aims at dealing with situations where other aims than fun are devoted to games, for instance in ritual, educational, artistic or business environments. The values and roles of play and games in these contexts, and the amount of “seriousness” attached to them, can vary from one context to another. The limits and definitions of this activity are hence questioned in the light of its material dimensions.”)

Contributors can submit long papers  or shorter notes, and papers are expected to consist in first-hand original research, in French, English, or Spanish. Papers will be evaluated using a double-blind review process.The deadline for contributions is 15 June 2014.

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David Gooblar suggests that if you want students to come to class prepared, try rolling some dice.. Read more about it at his “Pedagogy Unbound” column at Vitae. (h/t Brian Train)

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The fourth annual Serious Play Conference will be held at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles on 22-24 July 2014.

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The 8th European Conference on Games Based Learning will be held at the University of Applied Sciences HTW Berlin, Germany on 9-10 October 2014. The call for papers will close on April 4.

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The Society for Modelling and Simulation International will be holding its 2014 Spring Simulation Multi-Conference (SpringSim’14) on 13-16 April 2014 in Tampa, Florida. Details here.

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At the recent World Affairs 2014 conference held in San Francisco on14-15 March 2014 included a simulation of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis:

CFP: Special issue of S&G on sustainability and simulation/gaming

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Levent Yilmaz (Auburn University) and  Tuncer Ören (University of Ottawa) have issued a call for papers for a special issue of Simulation & Gaming that would be devoted to sustainability and simulation/gaming.

As the challenges involving the achievement of a sustainable society become truly global involving complex interdependencies among social, political, and technical dimensions that collectively influence risk, simulation gaming with complex system models is becoming a highly effective strategy to study them. In today’s challenging policy environment, government officials and other decision-makers are confronting difficult sustainability problems whose common feature is their complexity.

Even under optimistic conditions, unexpected disasters and crises will increase severity of conditions for immediate disaster relief and the need to assist large number of refugees. Also, human actions contribute to environmental disasters such as oil spills. These emerging challenges suggest development of adaptive and resilient plans that can be revised under conditions of deep uncertainty. Development of simulation-based predictive displays for a control system or predictive displays based on multisimulation to evaluate several futures and decisions based on the outcomes of several futures will be critical enablers to deal with uncertainty that is pervasive in complex interconnected systems that need to be properly managed. Better data can also drive simulation games, which can help predicting important trends, assessing how well proposed policies and strategies would meet desired system-level objectives, and determining the optimal levels of resource use. Examples include growth, development, and evolution of urban areas, management of critical infrastructures during crisis and disaster, and management of natural environments such as forests or rivers as well as policies for governance such as fiscal and economic policies to assure sustainability and definitely to avoid disasters. However, effectiveness and relevance of simulation games to decision-making require careful consideration of the integration of the simulation gaming solutions with deliberation and political process. Hence, the issues pertaining to transparency, legitimacy, and participation are critical pillars of an integrated strategy.

With this special issue, we aim to provide the opportunity for authors to contribute original and unpublished articles that present the use of simulation/gaming, including debriefing, for exploring social, economic, and environmental sustainability of human and natural systems. Simulation/gaming, with debriefing, can serve as a proactive anticipatory system to examine possibly unintended consequences of course of actions, as their impacts are amplified and are often unforeseeable due to complex interactions and emergence that permeate through the components of a complex interconnected system of systems. Multidisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome to address the problem of complex system sustainability.

  • Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
  • Integrated economic, social, and environmental simulation games for sustainability
  • Models of human factors and social dynamics in relation to human and organizational enterprises
  • Simulation games for decision support under uncertainty and long-term policy analysis
  • Metrics for proactive anticipation of unsustainable conditions and their solution
  • Tools and techniques for assessing adaptability, resilience, and emergent behaviour in complex adaptive human and social systems
  • Simulation gaming for disaster management and recovery
  • Advanced methods and tools for testing of the resilience of proposed financial regulations
  • New ways of thinking for policy makers for predictability, control, and explanation of complex adaptive phenomena
  • New resource management paradigms investigated by M&S
  • Data needs and validation of sustainability models and simulation games
  • Synergy of software agents and simulation games, including agent-monitored simulation games
  • The use of debriefing, and the integration of debriefing into simulation/games, for sustainability.

Proposals will be accepted through spring/summer 2014. For more information on submissions, click the link above.

simulations miscellany, 14 January 2014

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Some recent items that may be of interest to PAXsims readers:

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Kris Wheaton wants you to play Hnefatafl—especially if you are an aspiring intelligence analyst. Robert Beckhusen takes up the story at War is Boring:

You Have to Play This 1,600-Year-Old Viking War Game

Especially if you’re a diplomat, soldier or spy, says one ex-spook

Viking warriors storm into the torch-lit camp of a rival clan. Outnumbered, the ambushed Norsemen are far from their boats. Their one goal: flee to a nearby castle while keeping their king alive.

At first glance, Hnefatafl (prounounced “nef-ah-tah-fel”) might just look like a knock-off version of chess with Norse helms and impressive beards, but the game is at least 600 years older—already well-known by 400 A.D.—and is perhaps a lot more relevant to the conflicts of the 21st century.

“I love the asymmetry in this game. To win in this game, you absolutely have to think like your opponent,” emails Kristan Wheaton, a former Army foreign area officer and ex-analyst at U.S. European Command’s Intelligence Directorate. “Geography, force structure, force size and objectives are different for the two sides. If you can’t think like your opponent, you can’t win. I don’t know of a better analogy for post-Cold War conflict.”

For another “simple” game that also highlights the intellectual challenges of asymmetric conflict, check out Brian Train’s Guerrilla Checkers.

There’s even a Vassal module for it.

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The  European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research (EMCSR) will be holding its annual meeting in Vienna on  22-25 April 2014. In conjunction with that meeting a workshop will be held on “Game-based learning in systems thinking.”

Game-based learning is one of the current buzzwords almost everywhere, even if the successful examples are few and far between. The worldwide systems movement could greatly benefit from a critical survey of research and insight in this field, furthering the application of game based learning principles to various fields within the scope of the conference.

This workshop invites authors to submit extended abstracts demonstrating research, design or practice in topics like but not limited to:

  • games & systems
  • games as fail-safe spaces
  • systems, modelling & abstraction
  • games as simulations
  • exploration of cause/effect
  • transformational learning/transfer
  • gameful design
  • gamification
  • serious board games
  • social impact games
  • game-based learning

Prospective authors are invited to submit extended abstracts (not exceeding 800 words) in any of the topics listed above, not including personal information about the authors. Accepted papers will be allocated 30 minutes for oral presentation (including discussion).

Extended abstracts should describe either (1) thought-provoking ideas with the potential for interesting discussions at the conference, (2) the academic reflection of practical work in the space of game-based learning and social impact games or (3) mainly theoretical papers addressing one or more of the above areas.

Further details are available at the link above.

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The latest issue of Simulation & Gaming (December 2013) is now available, devoted to “the development of a Finnish community of game scholars”:

Articles

  • Simulation/Gaming in Finland
  • Subjective Experience and Sociability in a Collaborative Serious Game
    • Kimmo Oksanen
  • Social Network Games: Players’ Perspectives
    • Janne Paavilainen, Juho Hamari, Jaakko Stenros, and Jani Kinnunen

  • Hypercontextualized Learning Games: Fantasy, Motivation, and Engagement in Reality
    • Carolina Islas Sedano, Verona Leendertz, Mikko Vinni, Erkki Sutinen, and Suria Ellis

  • Formation of Novice Business Students’ Mental Models Through Simulation Gaming
    • Lauri-Matti Palmunen, Elina Pelto, Anni Paalumäki, and Timo Lainema

Guest Editorial

  • Development of a Finnish Community of Game Scholars
    • J. Tuomas Harviainen, Timo Lainema, Jaakko Suominen, and Erno Soinila

Newsletter

  • Immersive Technology Strategies
    • David Wortley 

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The latest (February 2014) edition of the Journal of Simulation is out, with articles on discrete-event simulation, dispatching and loitering policies for unmanned aerial vehicles, product and process patterns for agent-based modelling and simulation, simulating a crowd, and many other things beside.

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The Red Team Journal offers Five Reasons Why You Should Red Team Your Red Team.

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The new blog Powder Keg Politics gives a shout-out to PAXsims. Thanks!

New French-language games journal: Sciences du jeu

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Sciences du jeu is a new academic journal/website that has been launched with the aim of promoting and disseminating French-language research on games:

Revue internationale et interdisciplinaire, Sciences du jeu a pour mission de développer la recherche en langue française sur le jeu, de lui donner une visibilité, de nourrir le dialogue entre les disciplines autour de cet objet, et de susciter des débats. Elle a pour objectif de publier des articles scientifiques inédits sur le jeu. Elle est ouverte à toutes les approches ou méthodes disciplinaires, portant sur tous les objets ludiques (dont, mais non exclusivement, les jeux vidéo), et a pour ambition de présenter des recherches issues de différents terrains concernant le jeu dans un sens large (objets, structures, situations, expériences, attitudes ludiques).

Actuellement l’université Paris 13 à travers le centre de recherche EXPERICE (axe B) en assume la gestion pratique dans le cadre d’une association avec d’autres universités représentées au comité de rédaction de la revue. D’autres personnes et institutions pourront se joindre à cette équipe de départ. La gestion pourra également tourner en fonction des possibilités offertes par telle ou telle institution.

Sciences du jeu est disponible intégralement en libre accès. Les numéros sont thématiques, et peuvent aussi contenir des articles hors dossier dans une rubrique « Varia », ainsi que des comptes rendus. Si les propositions hors dossier de qualité sont abondantes, des numéros de varia (ou avec des dossiers réduits) peuvent être mis en chantier.

CFP: APSA Teaching & Learning Conference 2014

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The American Political Science Association is currently inviting paper proposals for its 2014 Teaching & Learning Conference, to be held in Philadelphia on 7-9 February 2014. As usual, the conference will include a simulations and role play track:

Simulations and Role Play

Simulations and role play exercises help political scientists and students model the decision making processes of real-world political actors. Examples of these teaching techniques and strategies include Model United Nations, Model European Union, in-class self designed simulations, and on-line role playing exercises. Papers in this track will address such topics as: in what way can simulations and role-play expand student learning opportunities in political science? Which formats are most effective? and How do we measure the effectiveness of simulations?

Simulations miscellany, 8 September 2013

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Some recent items on games and simulations that may be of interest to PAXsims readers:

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gaming-research-2The folks at GrogHeads have started a new monthly column for academic-focused research on games and wargames:

Hobby games and gamers – especially in the strategy gaming and wargaming world – have rarely been the subjects of much serious published research inquiry.  And yet, some of us know from personal experience that such research is, in fact, being conducted in graduate schools and academic institutions all over.  Distinct from marketing analyses in that they are not focused on improving commercial performance, these studies are frequently conceptualized and executed by members of the broader gaming community who are seeking to fuse their love for the hobby with an academic persuit in the social sciences or humanities.

Although there are a few academic outlets for such research – the journal Simulation & Gaming springs to mind – not every paper was written with the intention of journal or conference submission.  Nevertheless, the research is still interesting and useful, and for GrogHeads everywhere it is certainly relevant.  Papers shared may inspire better research by later investigators, and the ideas discussed may help designers and developers craft better games.

Here at GrogHeads, we’re kicking off a new monthly series on Research and Gaming.  The first of these papers was published in early August, and we plan to follow with one each month.  And we’d like you to submit your research to us.  We’re not a peer-reviewed journal, but we do have some academics on our staff and among our “Friends of GrogHeads” network that include PhD’s in history, political science, and business, as well as other grad degrees in social sciences and the humanities.  So if you’ve got something interesting that you want to share, here’s your chance.  Email us your papers at research-at-grogheads-dot-com . Make sure you include all of your citations and footnotes in the document, and attach any graphics as separate files.  We will also need a short bio from you about who you are and how people can contact you.  One great way for people to contact you is to create an account in our forums, so that you can join any discussions of feedback that go on there.  We even have an area dedicated to references and research.

A few caveats, of course:

  • Do not send us something you’re hoping to see presented at a conference, or in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Do not send us something you expect to try to claim on a CV when you’re hunting for a future academic job
  • Do not send us blatant marketing, political, or religious tracts
  • Do not expect detailed, in-depth critiques of your work from our advisory team, but do expect a lot of questions from our audience, many of whom do not have a great academic background, and for whom there will need to be some gentler discussion of the finer points of how your research got to where it is.

So please send us your tired, huddled research projects yearning to breathe free, and let’s share them with the wider gaming audience.  Who knows what great insights they may spawn for someone else to build on, what feedback you’ll get to improve your own work.  Either way, it’ll be in the public and being discussed, which sure beats languishing on a digital shelf somewhere, next to the Ark of the Covenant.

Their first piece, by Brant Guillory, examines “Entrepreneurship in the Hobby Games Segment of the Publishing Industry.”

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The various slides and presentation recordings from the recent Connections UK professional wargaming conference are now online at the Connections UK website.

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JDMSAn article by Andrew Collins, John Sokolowski, and Catherine Banks  on “Applying Reinforcement Learning to an Insurgency Agent-based Simulation”  will appear soon in the Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology.”

A requirement of an Agent-based Simulation (ABS) is that the agents must be able to adapt to their environment. Many ABSs achieve this adaption through simple threshold equations due to the complexity of incorporating more sophisticated approaches. Threshold equations are when an agent behavior changes because a numeric property of the agent goes above or below a certain threshold value. Threshold equations do not guarantee that the agents will learn what is best for them. Reinforcement learning is an artificial intelligence approach that has been extensively applied to multi-agent systems but there is very little in the literature on its application to ABS. Reinforcement learning has previously been applied to discrete-event simulations with promising results; thus, reinforcement learning is a good candidate for use within an Agent-based Modeling and Simulation (ABMS) environment. This paper uses an established insurgency case study to show some of the consequences of applying reinforcement learning to ABMS, for example, determining whether any actual learning has occurred. The case study was developed using the Repast Simphony software package.

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Strategic Crisis Simulations, a student-run organization at George Washington University, will be conducting “Shattered Resolve: A Simulation of Conflict and Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula” at GWU from 11:30 AM – 5:00 PM on 14 September 2013. You’ll find registration details here.

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How might a  zombie elf help you get to college? The New York Times explains.

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The University of Denver sponsored an international humanitarian crisis simulation exercise over the 2013 Memorial Day weekend. You’ll find a very good video of the event below.

CFP: Validating cyber-interventions for training, wellbeing and sustainability

10055_15_2_oc.qxpWe’re pleased to pass on this call for papers for a special issue of the academic journal Virtual Reality on the theme of  “validating cyber-interventions for training, wellbeing and sustainability.” While the deadline is very close, we’re told that if an author has serious intention to submit a paper and needs a deadline extension, this can be negotiated.

Validating cyber-interventions for training, wellbeing and sustainability

We define cyberinterventions as the attempt at modifying people’s actions, meanings and habits with a protocol that is primarily supported by a digital environment, with the final goal of increasing wellness of a consentient user and to serve values shared by the society at large. Typical domains of ‘cyber-interventions’ are, for instance, applications designed to increase consumers’ awareness of the environmental consequences of each single consumption act; cognitive-behavioral therapeutic interventions carried out with virtual environments; virtual simulations aimed at training users in the proper reaction to emergency situations; serious games showing the long-term effect of risky behaviors for educational purposes. The environments used for all these interventions range from immersive virtual worlds, to complex driving simulators, to mobile applications.

As is the case with any intervention tool and protocol, the mediated environment for cyberintervention must be validated to prove that it is able to generate the proper user experience instrumental to the goal of the intervention and that the protocol is effective.

We invite scholars to contribute to a theme issue on validation in cyberinterventions of any kind and in any domain. Examples of topics for submissions to this theme issue are:

* Specific methods and techniques to validate cyberintervention and/or cyberintervention environments
* Issues raised while validating cyberintervention and related solutions
* Differences and similarities between cyberinterventions and regular, face to face interventions in terms of validation
* Review/studies on relevant user experience dimensions for specific application fields
* Quality standards, requirements and guidelines to frame cyberintervention
* Relation between user experience validation and cyberintervention effectiveness
* Ethical validation of cyberinterventions
The theme issue will appear in the Springer journal Virtual Reality. Submissions will be peer reviewed in accordance with the journal’s normal process. Submission of a manuscript implies: that the work described has not been published before; that it is not under consideration for publication anywhere else; that its publication has been approved by all co-authors, if any, as well as by the responsible authorities – tacitly or explicitly – at the institute where the work has been carried out. The publisher will not be held legally responsible should there be any claims for compensation.

 

Guest editors

Anna Spagnolli, University of Padova, Italy

Cheryl Campanella Bracken, Cleveland State University, USA

 

Important Dates

Submission of paper: 22nd of March 2013
Notification of acceptance to authors: 14th of June 2013
Revised papers: 27th of September 2013

To discuss a possible contribution, please contact the theme issue editors at anna.spagnolli@unipd.it and c.bracken@csuohio.edu.

 

Submission modality

Papers should be submitted at: http://www.editorialmanager.com/vire/ under the category of “Cyberinterventions”.

 

About Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality covers a wide range of topics, to fully capture the multidisciplinary nature of the field. From business and commerce to telecommunications, entertainment and gaming to medicine, Virtual Reality covers a wide range of specific application areas, featuring clear, well-written, and accessible articles that will appeal to a multidisciplinary audience.Virtual Reality is abstracted and indexed by Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, INSPEC, Google Scholar, EBSCO, Academic OneFile, ACM Computing Reviews, ACM Digital Library, Computer Abstracts International Database, Computer Science Index, Current Abstracts, Current Contents/Engineering, Computing and Technology, DBLP, EI-Compendex, Gale, io-port.net, OCLC, PASCAL, Summon by Serial Solutions

simulations miscellany, 27 January 2013

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With absolutely no predictability whatsoever, PAXsims once again brings you various and sundry items of gaming news,. This time we have quite a few interesting scholarly articles in the mix:

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In the  International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations 4, 2 (2012), Mark Pearcy discusses “America’s Army: “Playful Hatred” in the Social Studies Classroom.”

America’s Army is a first-person “shooter” online video game produced by the U.S. Army and freely available on the Internet. Ostensibly a recruitment tool, the game constitutes a “mimetic” experience that encompasses real-life Army codes, regulations, and behaviors, approximating an authentic military experience, including realistic missions that involve violence. This article considers the educational role of such mimetic games, practical impediments to its inclusion in classrooms, and the conceptual demands the use of such games may place on teachers and students. Additionally, this article considers the ideological barriers and arguments against the educational use of games like America’s Army. Finally, this article connects the experience of America’s Army to Douglas’ (2008) concept of “playful hatred,” calling for a reconceptualization of the term towards a more competitive and pedagogically useful approach.

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In Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 6, 1 (2012), Henrik Schoenau-Fog exploresTeaching Serious Issues through Player Engagement in an Interactive Experiential Learning Scenario.”

In order to inform about a serious subject concerned with the tragic consequences of being a victim of war in an interactive narrative game-like experience, it is essential to design a scenario which engage the participants despite the grave content. This paper thus focuses on how player engagement and playfulness can be applied to drive participants through a non-pleasurable experiential learning scenario in order to communicate serious topics. By investigating the concept of engagement in games, a framework of player engagement will be described. The framework has been used in a case-study to aid the design of an application – the “First Person Victim” – which is intended to be used in combination with an in-class discussion in order to address the serious topic. An evaluation of the scenario indicated that theme related feelings like hopelessness, fear, loneliness, and chaos are experienced by engaged participants and that there is a potential for using the scenario as a tool in teaching.

As the article discusses, this is done through the development of a “First Person Victim” video game which “places the participant in the role as a civilian in a war torn country during an airstrike, where it is possible to explore tragic and dramatic events.”

During the entire experience, the participant’s narrative construction depends on encountering several different audiovisual events varying in tension (Fig 2). There are in total 42 events organized in six scenes, each with seven events. These events can be audio events (e.g. a phone call or cries for help), audiovisual graphical events (e.g. an exploding building), texts (e.g. sms-messages) or video recordings of real actors placed the 3d world.

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Fig. 2. (a) Meeting a smuggler. (b) Woman being harassed. (c) Rockets hit the City

An ‘Interactive Drama Experience Manager’ (Schoenau-Fog et al. 2010) organizes the various events by selecting the next possible events based on the users’ navigation in the environment as well as causality. For each scene there is one less event to encounter, so in the first scene in an apartment it is possible to encounter seven events, in the next scene on a street there are six events and so on. The final events are all concerned with tragic endings, and users have no options for happy endings. The scenario is mediated through the game engine Unity (2011) by inverting first person shooter (FPS) conventions so it is not possible to use weapons or engage in combat. However, the participants can be shot at, hit by rockets or explosions and step on mines, but in order to let participants encounter as many events as possible before the discussion, it is not possible to die. There is no explicit goal defined by the scenario, as it is the intention to let participants define as many intrinsic objectives as possible in order to keep them engaged through the emergent narrative.

Some participants found the experience engaging, and wished to continue—but others did not.

The main objective of this study is to evaluate engagement in the FPV application and the results show that 40% clearly wanted to continue playing, while 32.5% did not want to try again and 27.5% were in doubt. The survey and observations show that the engaged respondents, who wanted to try again had the desire to continue due to intrinsic objectives, activities related to exploration, solving problems, experimentation and experiencing the characters and story. Moreover, they also wanted to continue mainly because of the theme and positive elements from the game design. The evaluation furthermore investigates the affect experienced by the students, as the mediation of feelings related to the topic is important for the communication of the theme. The engaged group reported the experience of more feelings related to the theme than both the group of respondents who were in doubt and the group who did not want continue.

The group who did not want to continue playing reported that it was mainly due to game design issues and technical problems while feelings related to the theme were not as frequently reported as in the other groups. While most of the students in this group state that they did not feel anything in particular, the findings show that engaged students report that the FPV triggers negative feelings, which are related to the theme, and that they want to continue even though those feelings are not fun, enjoyable or pleasurable.

The findings thus suggest that this affect can be the result of the activities introduced in the PEP framework – e.g. exploration and experiencing the characters. Since there is nothing explicit to accomplish in the FPV, the affect encountered is not intended to include positive feelings such as satisfaction, triumph or closure, which is usually related to accomplishments in game experiences. However, disengagement can also be a sign of successful communication of the theme, since negative emotions related to the content can make participants not wanting to try again. For example, one teacher who did not want to continue stated that she felt afraid and powerless: “I felt a lot like a victim. […] that loneliness… I felt bad.” (Female, 42)

The study finds some potential educational value in the FPV, but provided it is appropriately debriefed and integrated with curriculum.

Another goal of the evaluation in this study is to investigate the potential for using the FPV as a tool in teaching. Findings of the survey show that the engaged students reported that they learned something related to the topic more frequently than the other groups. Moreover, a majority of the students who were disengaged state that they did not learn anything related to the theme. When discussing the experience with the classes, both students who were engaged in the experience and students, who did not want to try again participated in the discussions. Although there was a risk that the self-selective sample of the discussion could result in that only the engaged students would contribute, the discussion showed that also students who were not engaged during the experience of the FPV participated actively. However, the factor of social expectancy could also have affected the outcome of the discussions, as students might want to answer “correct” during the interview, especially because one of the designers, who is a refugee himself, was present at the discussions.

During the post-game interviews, teachers state that applications such as the FPV could have potential in teaching as an initiator for in-class discussions about a theme. Some of the teachers mentioned that there were examples of students, who usually never contribute to discussions (especially the “quiet boys”), who took active part in the discussions after the experience.

The findings from the discussion and teacher interviews supports the idea that an in-class discussion and debriefing is important and valuable for learning as it makes learners reflect on another level, which is no always achieved during the experience. However, a comparison with a group of students who did not have a post-game discussion would be needed to verify this impression.  The results furthermore suggest that the FPV can be seen as a successful exemplification of how learners in a designed experience (Squire 2006) can gain knowledge of serious issues by “doing and being” (ibid. p.32) in an experiential learning scenario.

Methodologically, this is a very serious and thoughtful piece of scholarship, and well worth a read.

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The third issue of the International Journal of Role-Playing came out late last month, with articles on “Creativity Rules. How rules impact player creativity in three tabletop role-playing games,” “An Embodied Cognition Approach for Understanding Role-playing,” “A tale of two cities: Symbolic capital and larp community formation in Canada and Sweden ,” and “The self-perceived effects of the role-playing hobby on personal development – a survey report .”

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Want to know how best to teach agent-based simulation? C M Macal and and M J North have some suggestions in the Journal of Simulation (2013).

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In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation, Susannah J. Whitney, Philip Temby, and Ashley Stephens offer “A review of the effectiveness of game-based training for dismounted soldiers“—and find the results rather disappointing:

Computer games are increasingly being used by armed forces to supplement conventional training methods. However, despite considerable anecdotal claims about their training effectiveness, empirical evidence is lacking. This paper critically reviews major studies conducted in the past decade that have examined game-based training with dismounted soldiers. The findings indicate that these studies are characterized by methodological limitations and that the evidence regarding the effectiveness of game-based training for this military population is not compelling. Furthermore, due to methodological limitations with the studies, the possibility of negative training effects cannot be discounted. The paper concludes with implications for the scientific and military communities, as well as recommendations for the conduct of future studies in this area.

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If you haven’t yet read the December 2012 issue of the M&S Newsletter, published by the Modeling and Simulation Coordination Office of the US Department of Defense, now’s your chance.

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Michael Peck is in search of women. More specifically, in the wake of the recent US decision to (finally) open combat roles to women, his latest gaming column at Forbes asks “Are Female Soldiers Coming to Video Games?

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Issue #3 of Modern War (January-February 2013), complete with a game of near-future coalition operations against Somali pirates (and Somalia).

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This year’s Serious Play conference will be held on August 20-22, 2013 at Digipen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA—and they are looking for speakers.

SEATTLE – Jan. 22 2013 – Submissions are now being accepted from professionals who create games or sims or lead game programs for the education, corporate, military, healthcare or location-based market to speak at Serious Play Conference. The annual gathering for leaders in the industry will be held August 20 – 22, 2013 at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Wash., just outside Seattle.

A new feature of the conference will be four pre-conference workshops on Monday, August 19 designed as introductory sessions for new serious game program directors, workforce and talent development professionals and K-12 educators and university faculty:

  • How to Integrate Games into the Classroom – created for heads of school districts, curriculum specialists and cutting edge teachers
  • Using Location-Based Games – designed for Instructional designers, museum education departments, non-profit organizations and entertainment destination professionals
  • Using Games to Grow Talent, Train and Engage Employees – aimed at IDs, HR and organizational development, military and government workforce managers
  • Building a Serious Games Curriculum – geared toward faculty of higher education institutions interested in adding serious game degree programs

Speakers at both the main conference and the various workshops will share their expertise and outline critical success factors in game design. Industry analysts will discuss the latest industry trends and how best to take advantage of current market needs.

The submission form is located online at www.seriousplayconference.com/speakers

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The Stack Academie 2013 gaming convention will be held on 3-5 May in Montréal. Volko Ruhnke (designer of Wilderness War, Labyrinth and Andean Abyss, and codesigner of the forthcoming A Distant Plain) and Brian Train (designer of Algeria, Arriba Espana, War Plan Crimson, and a great many others, and the other codesigner of A Distant Plain) will be guests of honour. More details here.

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CFP: Engagement, Simulation/Gaming and Learning

Nicola Whitton  (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Alex Moseley  (University of Leicester) will be editing a special issue of Simulation & Gaming devoted to “Engagement, Simulation/Gaming and Learning.” The deadline for article proposals is 31 October 2012 (details below, click to enlarge).

NASAGA 2012

The North American Simulation and Gaming Association will be holding its 50th anniversary conference in Columbus, Ohio on 7-10 November 2012. You will find more information in this leaflet, or on the NASAGA website.

They are also still accepting applications for sessions until March 15. Proposals may be for either of two types of sessions.

Concurrent sessions are 90 minutes, interactive, energetic, lively and original – typically PowerPoint-free. Game night sessions are two hours, held concurrently one evening, and allow time for playing and debriefing a complete game or simulation.

For further information on submitting a proposal, see here.

 

 

Call for papers: 6th European Conference on Games Based Learning (October 2012)

A call for papers has been issued for the 6th European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL-2012) being held at The River Lee Hotel, Cork, Ireland on the 4-5 October 2012. Details can be found here, and the call is open until 16 March 2012).

Over the last ten years, the way in which education and training is delivered has changed considerably with the advent of new technologies. One such new technology that holds considerable promise for helping to engage learners is Games-Based Learning (GBL). The Conference offers an opportunity for scholars and practitioners interested in the issues related to GBL to share their thinking and research findings. Papers can cover various issues and aspects of GBL in education and training: technology and implementation issues associated with the development of GBL; use of mobile and MMOGs for learning; pedagogical issues associated with GBL; social and ethical issues in GBL; GBL best cases and practices, and other related aspects. We are particularly interested in empirical research that addresses whether GBL enhances learning. This Conference provides a forum for discussion, collaboration and intellectual exchange for all those interested in any of these fields of research or practice.

The conference committee welcomes contributions on a wide range of topics using a range of scholarly approaches including theoretical and empirical papers employing qualitative, quantitative and critical methods. Action research, case studies and work-in-progress/posters are welcomed approaches. PhD Research, proposals for roundtable discussions, non-academic contributions and product demonstrations based on the main themes are also invited.

Publication opportunity

Papers accepted for the conference will be published in the conference proceedings, subject to author registration and payment. Selected papers will also be considered for publication in a special issue of the Electronic Journal of e-Learning and to the International Journal of Game-Based Learning. The latest issue of the Electronic Journal of e-Learning is available to read online.

CFP: International Journal of Game-Based Learning

Researchers are welcome to submit manuscripts to be considered for inclusion in the second issue of the second volume of the International Journal of Game-Based Learning to be published in April 2012. All submissions should be sent to the IJGBL, Dr. Patrick Felicia, at pfelicia@wit.ie, no later than 30th September 2011.

Mission of IJGBL

The mission of the International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL) is to promote knowledge pertinent to the design of Game-Based Learning environments, and to provide relevant theoretical frameworks and the latest empirical research findings in the field of Game-Based Learning. The main goals of IJGBL are to identify, explain, and improve the interaction between learning outcomes and motivation in video games, and to promote best practices for the integration of video games in instructional settings. The journal is multidisciplinary and addresses cognitive, psychological and emotional aspects of Game-Based Learning. It discusses innovative and cost-effective Game-BasedLearning solutions. It also provides students, researchers, instructors, and policymakers with valuable information inGame-Based Learning, and increases their understanding of the process of designing, developing and deploying successful educational video games. IJGBL also identifies future directions in this new educational medium.

CFP: International Journal of Role-Playing

The online International Journal of Role-Playing is now accepting submissions for its third issue, due to be published in Winter 2011.

The International Journal of Role-Playing invites researchers, designers, developers, academics, artists and others involved in the growing field of research related to role-playing to submit articles. The IJRP is a peer-reviewed journal, and welcomes submissions from any sphere of interest, knowledge network, research field or de-development sector that directly or indirectly relates to role-playing interests.

Potential topics include but are certainly not limited to the following:

  • Role-playing games, e.g. frameworks, storytelling and graphics; art, design and creative industry
  • Role-playing culture, psychology, media, economics, and sociology
  • Role-playing technology, surveys, vocabulary, training and education
  • Other aspects of role-playing and related research and development

The International Journal of Role-Playing is a biannual international journal that covers all aspects of role-playing, irrespective of the medium, platform or intent. The IJRP specifically aims to act as the focal point, for pushing the limits of role-playing knowledge, and to improve sharing of knowledge across the knowledge networks involved with role-playing- and related work, notably the industry, the academia and the arts. The journal will encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences, and will be a free, online forum where knowledge can be harvested. In realizing that the knowledge networks involved with role-playing- and related work are based in a variety of interest spheres, which write and publish their work in different ways, the IJRP will accommodate the knowledge sharing principles of the various networks.

The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2011. Further details can be found at the IJRP website.

CFP reminder: Simulations and Gaming to Build Peace

A reminder to everyone who might be interested in contributing to the forthcoming special issue of Simulation & Gaming: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Theory, Practice and Research on “Simulations and Gaming to Build Peace” that the deadline for proposals (March 31) is fast approaching.

As for those who have already submitted something, you should be hearing from us in early April.

CFP: Red Teaming, Red Cells and Analytical Decision Support

This may be of interest to some PaxSims readers:

Call for Abstracts

As part of a government funded research project on Red Teaming, Red Cells and Analytical Decision Support, the Centre for Security, Armed Forces and Society (CSAS) of the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) will contract for a number of papers of 1500 to 5000 words. Authors of selected abstracts will receive 1000$ (Canadian) upon delivery of an acceptable paper. Papers will subsequently be edited for publication in journals. Abstracts must be received by February 23, 2011. Papers must be submitted by March 23, 2011.

Papers may address any of the following:

  • Red Teaming experiences
  • Red Teaming tools
  • Red Teaming best practices
  • Red Teaming in International Relations
  • Red Teaming in security policy
  • Challenge function in security decision making
  • Alternative Analysis
  • Alternative Perspectives
  • Red Cell operations
  • Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for employment of Red Cells and Red Teams
  • Interdisciplinary Red Teams
  • Coordination of Red Team activities across department or agency boundaries
  • Recruitment, selection, training and development of Red Teams
  • Mimetic and Digetic Red Teaming
  • Adapting private sector practices to security sector Red Teaming
  • Questioning assumptions: limits and constraints of Red Teaming
  • Necessity for Red Teams
  • Devil’s Advocacy and contrarian techniques in Red Teaming
  • Structured analytical techniques for Red Teaming
  • Developing imaginative thinking in Red Teams and Red Cells
  • Thinking techniques for Red Teaming

For further information please contact Will Chalmers at 613-541-6000 extension 6494 at the Centre for Security, Armed Forces and Society. Please submit abstracts to William.Chalmers@rmc.ca.

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