PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

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Simulation and gaming miscellany, 29 October 2014

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Some recent items on conflict simulation and serious games that may be of interest to PAXsims readers:

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun has an interview with Pawel Miechowski at 11 Bit Studios on the forthcoming release of This War of Mine:

RPS: What do you want people to get out of playing This War Of Mine?

Pawel Miechowski: We want to raise awareness about how civilians suffer when war is breaking out. We want to show the other side. We’re partnering with War Child so we’re going to raise money for [kids in war]. From the perspective of being creators we use a parallel to movies because it works well in this case. Sometimes you’re in the mood to watch an action movie or a comedy. Sometimes you watch drama – The Pianist or Saving Private Ryan with that brutal opening. We decided we see games as ready to speak about important things. We’re not pioneers – we already have amazing games which do that really well – Gone Home, Papers Please….

See the full interview at the link above.

(h/t James Sterrett)

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Positech Games have announced the release of Democracy 3: Clones & Drones, an expansion for their political strategy game Democracy 3. It adds a range of new policies to consider (from the use of armed drones to human cloning to driverless cars) and events (shortages of “rare earths”, anti-technoloy rebellions,  antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and many more).

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In an article in the Huffington Post, Mary Flanagan (Dartmouth College and Tiltfactor.org) has called for using games to examine and resolve otherwise intractable conflicts and public problems:

…unusual strategies — and the gall to enact them — are desperately needed as we increasingly face complicated conflicts that seem to have no way out. Police and citizens distrust one another in places like Ferguson, Missouri. Bullies taunt kids from rich neighborhoods to poor. Old ways of fetishizing power, such as nationalism, and winner-takes-all need to be replaced with new models in which complicated people in global, complex societies can not only get along but prosper. It’s not impossible. We need resilient communities that not only survive, but thrive.

And as law scholar Yochai Benkler noted in his bookThe Penguin and the Leviathan: Triumph of Cooperation Over Self-Interest (2011), systems built wholly on self-interest end up as disasters. Parts of society that serve everyone – from public parks to Wikipedia — last longer and make people happier.

It’s time to recast the molds. Let’s find new ways to model unusual forms of cooperation. Games like Pandemic or Pox: Save the People, two board games where teams of people fight against spreading viruses, are a first step. Let’s tell stories that replace the “bad guy” with the challenges we face together.

We must reinvent rusty old conflict models, or we will never escape the vicious cycle of war countering war. Violence isn’t the answer to seemingly intractable problems. And yet, we’re only as brilliant as the tools we’ve learned to use.

I have certainly used games as a way of exploring challenging issues and helping to players to jointly identify possible solutions to deep-rooted conflicts (see, for example, here, here, and here). However, I think we also have to be careful that we don’t oversell what games can do.

(h/t Matt Kirschenbaum)

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In a forthcoming issue of Politics, Erin Hannah and Rorden Wilkinson reflect on Zombies and IR: A Critical Reading:

The zombie genre is quickly becoming a feature of International Relations (IR) classrooms and pedagogical toolkits as scholars enthusiastically embrace the undead as a vehicle for teaching the discipline. This article offers a cautionary note on a generally positive move to embrace the use of zombieism in IR. It shows how an uncritical use of a zombie apocalypse as a vehicle for teaching IR can reinforce existing divisions in the field, essentialise country positions, crowd out heterodox approaches, reinforce gender stereotypes and dehumanise people. To guard against these problems, the article shows how Zombie IR can be better used to think critically and normatively about world politics.

(h/t Lisa Lynch)

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York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design is seeking a tenure-track junior researcher in the area of games, gaming and gamification:

This position seeks a strong junior researcher whose creative practice and theoretical interests span games, gaming, and organized play as cultural phenomena, as a platform for art-making, and who explores gaming as it manifests in a wide range of contemporary practices. Possible areas of interest include the following: art games, serious games, experimental game mechanics, alternate reality games, game related art or installation, interactive narrative, critical game studies, world making, visualization, alt-games, notgames and gamification. The candidate will be a practicing artist and creative coder, with strong theoretical framework, who has expertise with a variety of tools found in professional game development and whose technology-based art practice incorporates interdisciplinary approaches to art and science. The candidate will have capacity to teach practicum courses in Digital Media and Design.

You’ll find additional details here. The deadline for applications is 5 December 2014.

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute is advertising a tenure-track faculty position in serious games. You’ll find details here. Applications should be received by 15 December 2014.

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Earlier this year, George Phillies (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) posted a series of videos on wargame design to YouTube, based on a class he taught on the subject. You’ll find the first of them below, and links to the others here.

Concordia University: Recruitment award for PhD candidates in digital game studies

Concordia University is offering a PhD bursary for PhD candidates in digital game studies:

 

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Call for Applications

Recruitment Award for Doctoral Candidates in Digital Game Studies at Concordia University, Montreal

The Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) invites applications for the TAG-IMMERSe Research Bursary, in support of a Doctorate in Digital Game Studies at Concordia University in Montréal. The bursary is available for a maximum of $15,000 CDN/year for up to three years. For promising candidates, it may be combined with other fellowships and entrance awards, including the TAG Merit award (valued at $10,000/yr). Details of the award package may vary for each successful applicant.

This recruitment award is specifically designed to support humanities-based research with the Concordia unit of IMMERSe, a federal research network focused on digital games and interactivity, funded by a SSHRC Partnership Grant hosted at the University of Waterloo. The award is tenable for doctoral projects consistent with the Concordia unit’s research mandate within the network on narrative and games, player storytelling and narrative cultures, and the craft of game writing.

To be eligible for the bursary, students must work under the supervision of Darren Wershler, Jason Camlot, Bart Simon or Mia Consalvo, and be accepted in one of the following PhD programs at Concordia: The PhD in Humanities program, the Individualized Program in Game Studies and Design, or the PhD in Social and Cultural Analysis.

In addition to a complete application to one of the PhD programs listed above, interested students must submit a package containing the following documents to Dr. Darren Wershler [d.wershler@concordia.ca] by January 15, 2014: Letter of intent, curriculum vitae, academic transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a representative sample of your most current work. This can include academic essays, research/creation papers, conference papers, game mods, complete video games or game elements.

Learn more about the TAG Centre.

Learn more about the IMMERSe network.

For all inquiries about this recruitment award, please contact Dr. Darren Wershler.

For inquiries about graduate admissions, please contact the specific program administrators or the Concordia School of Graduate Studies:

2145 Mackay Street (S 105), Montreal, Quebec H3G 2J2, Canada Telephone: +1 514-848-2424 ext. 3800 Fax: +1 514-848-2812

Concordia University: Position in Digital Media, Learning and Games

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Concordia University is making a tenure-track appointment in digital media, learning, and games:

Strategic Hire in Digital Media, Learning and Games

Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, invites applications for a tenure-track strategic hire position in the area of Digital Media, Learning and Games. Depending on the selected candidate’s profile, the appointment will be made either in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or in the Faculty of Fine Arts. The goal of the strategic hire program is to augment existing research capacity at Concordia through the development of high profile interdisciplinary research clusters. The successful candidate will receive an attractive research support and teaching package.

Working with members of Concordia’s Technoculture, Art and Games Research Centre (TAG), the strategic hire in Digital Media, Learning and Games will build on Concordia’s leadership in the growing field of game studies and design to enhance our understanding of the cultural and learning potential of digital games, develop new research partnerships and applications, and innovate programs and curriculum. The TAG Centre is an interdisciplinary, cross-faculty research platform dedicated to advanced research and graduate training in digital culture, new media art and design, and game studies. TAG operates under the umbrella of the Hexagram Institute for Research/Creation in Media Arts and Technologies which is the largest and most productive new media lab in Canada.

Applicants for this position may come from any disciplinary background but must have a PhD or appropriate terminal degree for the relevant discipline and a superior record of research, research creation and/or design innovation in interdisciplinary, critical cultural and/or qualitative approaches in the field of digital media, learning and games. The successful candidate is expected to have demonstrated abilities to work in collaborative multidisciplinary settings, attract excellent graduate students and secure external funding.  She or he will also be expected to take a leadership role within TAG. The appointment will be made in one of the following departments at Concordia, as appropriate: Communication StudiesDesign and Computation Arts,EducationEnglish, or Sociology and Anthropology.

Applications should be submitted electronically and consist of a cover letter, current curriculum vitae, copies of recent publications and/or a design portfolio, a statement of teaching philosophy/interests, a statement of research achievements, a three-year research plan and evidence of teaching effectiveness. Candidates must also arrange to have three letters of reference sent directly to:

Dr. Mia Consalvo
Chair, Digital Media, Learning and Games Search Committee
Concordia University
c/o Donna Stewart
Assistant to the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. West, L-AD 326-1
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8

Subject to budgetary approval, we anticipate filling this position, normally at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor, for August 1, 2014. Appointments at a more senior level will also be considered. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. All applications should reach the Chair of the hiring committee no later than January 6, 2014. All inquiries about the position should be directed to donna.stewart@concordia.ca.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. Concordia University is committed to Employment Equity and encourages applications from women, aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities.

Junior wargame analysts/researchers wanted

330303The online game portal www.wargaming.net is looking for “a couple of good junior researchers/analysts to grow as part of a global media services team in Austin.” According to Chris Keeling:

They should not be straight out of college and must be well versed in military technology and military history. Videogame experience is helpful, but transmedia experience (books, tabletop games, graphic novels, military simulations, etc.) is at least as good, if not better. While I am at it, I am also looking for an experienced technical editor with a military background (not necessarily service, but a solid understanding of modern military technology). Knowledge of Russian would be a big plus for this position.

And for those of you who haven’t seen our products, we’re part of wargaming.net, and we make modern free-to-play arcade-style but authentically modeled and researched online multiplayer videogames. And yes, it’s a great job and a fantastic company!  :-)

For further information contact Chris at chris@wargaming.net.

Leeds University: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Militarization of Social Media/the Politics of Videogames

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Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Militarization of Social Media/the Politics of Videogames

Fixed term until 31 May 2017, position available immediately

Working within the School of Politics and International Studies you will be working with a multinational research team to conduct qualitative or quantitative research into the way in which military videogames developers make use of social media through their promotional activity, the implications of that activity, and of the way in which members of the public respond to that content through their interactions within social media.

With a successfully completed PhD (or about to submit) in a relevant field of study, you will have clear research interests in aspects of the politics of social media and/or videogames and experience of conducting either quantitative or qualitative research. Your background may be in a range of fields, including political studies/science, international relations, sociology, economics, social policy, communications or geography, and you must be willing to work across disciplinary boundaries. You will also work with members of the School of Politics and International Studies and the international project team to organise events, publish in peer-reviewed journals and provide short reports on your research findings for various academic, professional and non-professional audiences throughout the course of the four-year project.

Further details are here.

University Grade 7 (£30,424 – £36,298 p.a.) please note that due to funding limitations, the maximum salary available will be £33,230 p.a.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr Nick Robinson, tel +44 (0)113 343 4790, email N.Robinson@leeds.ac.uk.

Closing Date: 27 September 2013 Ref: ESLPO0036

Northeastern University seeks Postdoctoral Research Associate on Gaming and Decision Making

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The following position may be of interest to some in the PAXsims community:

Seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate on Gaming and Decision Making

Responsibilities

The Playable Innovative Technologies (PLAIT) Lab at Northeastern University is seeking a Post Doctoral Research Associate (Post Doc) to join our fast-growing game research group with expertise in Game User Research, Game Analytics, Game Artificial Intelligence, and Games for Impact (see www.northeastern.edu/games). The research position involves assisting in empirical studies and in writing research papers on the topic of gaming and decision making. Additional responsibilities include grant proposal preparation and laboratory management.

Playing games is about making decisions. In this project, the Post Doc will be involved with a number of small-scale, exploratory empirical studies using existing and newly developed games in the context of security and sustainability. On the one hand, the studies will investigate what we can learn from player decisions about the player and/or about decision making; on the other hand, the studies will investigate what players have learned from making decisions in a game. Novel methodologies, including eye-tracking, are used and developed and so the ideal candidate has a strong methodological background. The Post Doc will furthermore be involved with writing grants for large-scale studies and review articles and with building and managing a laboratory on this topic. An opportunity exists to become involved with the design of one or more games and supervise undergraduate students. The work will be performed under the guidance of Dr. Casper Harteveld, an Assistant Professor of Game Design. As most studies will involve collaborations with other PLAIT members and faculty from across Northeastern University, the Post Doc will experience a wide variety of interactions with various researchers.

Qualifications

We seek candidates who have a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Management Science, Cognitive Science, or related areas. Successful candidate will have an interdisciplinary background, an interest in games for impact, and expertise in empirical research. With regards to empirical research, candidates should demonstrate knowledge of quantitative and qualitative methodologies and of being able to run experiments involving technology and people. Candidates should ideally also demonstrate coding abilities and expertise in grant preparation.

Additional Information

All applications must be submitted electronically at http://www.northeastern.edu/camd/about/careers/. Salary is competitive. We expect the position to start January 2014 for 1 year with the possibility of a 1 year renewal contingent on funding and performance. Your application should include:

        •      Curriculum Vitae
        •      Cover letter
        •      Names and contact information for three references

Deadline for the application is November 1st. However, we will review the applications as they arrive. The position will be open until filled. For more information, please contact Dr. Harteveld (c.harteveld@neu.edu).

The job posting can be viewed here directly: https://neu.peopleadmin.com/postings/26598

 

McGill: Visiting Fulbright Chair in International Development Studies

This isn’t directly games-related… but it could be.

A one semester Visiting Fulbright Chair in International Development Studies will be available at McGill University for the 2013-14 academic year. The primary focus is democracy and democratization, but that doesn’t preclude those who are interested in simulations as a mechanism for either understanding or teaching about political and economic development. Applicants must be US scholars with a PhD (or equivalent professional experience).

If you’re at all interested, feel free to drop me a line to learn more about the city and university. (Although I’m affiliated with ISID, I’m not involved in the selection process. And no, I have no idea what the red shopping cart is supposed to represent.)

NDU seeking Senior Research Fellows

The National Defense University is currently advertising for a couple of Senior Research Fellows, to be employed at NDU’s Center for Applied Strategic Learning. According to the advertisement, the duties of the positions would be:

  • Responsible for leading the planning, implementation, and management of programs dealing with interagency coordination, national security crisis management, humanitarian assistance, and stability and reconstruction operations.
  • Responsible for leading in the research, design, development, and implementation of experiential learning initiatives (including national-level educational exercises/ simulations and conferences, symposia, and workshops) conducted by the Center for Applied Strategic Learning (CASL).
  • Supervises and conducts research and analysis focused on the development of national security exercises concerning security issues with national or international implications.
  • Oversees CASL teams that are developing and implementing national and homeland security exercises and other experiential learning activities, with a particular emphasis on subjects related to stability operations, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and emerging national security threats.
  • Directs the organization and execution of exercises, symposia, conferences, workshops, and other CASL activities in support the full range of CASL clients by serving as one of two Division Directors in CASL.
  • Provides authoritative advice to the staff, faculty, and students of NDU and other Senior Service Schools and the wargaming centers in order to develop programs, curricula and simulations to support academic goals and requirements.
  • Collaborates with other national security experts from the government and private sector to share information on a broad range of national and homeland security issues.

Only US citizens are eligible to apply, and the closing date for applications is 2 December 2011.

Incumbent must have at least five years of experience in national-level policy formulation, planning, implementation, and management of nation security-related programs (e.g., humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, or stability and reconstruction operations).  Incumbent must also have significant management and supervisory experience. Accredited master’s degree and or PhD degree preferred, but extensive relevant practical experience may be substituted for this preference.

Additional information (including application procedures) can be found at the USA Jobs website.

Position: Professor of Serious Gaming for Complex Multi-Actor Systems, Decision-and Policy Making

Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands is currently advertising a tenure-track vacancy for a Professor of Serious Gaming for Complex Multi-Actor Systems, Decision-and Policy Making:

Applicants should have a PhD degree in a relevant field of social science, such as policy sciences, organization and management, policy analysis, or systems analysis. He/she should have proven experience as an independent and productive researcher as demonstrated by publications in scientific journals relevant to the research area. She/he should be well embedded in the international scientific community of gaming-simulation, policy sciences and policy analysis, and infrastructures. The candidate preferably has proven experience with relevant quantitative, qualitative and design research methods, and demonstrable affinity for the integrated sociotechnical systems approach to infrastructure systems as practiced at the TPM faculty. He/she preferably also has a multidisciplinary research attitude, a track record in multidisciplinary research collaboration and excellent communication skills.

More information is available on the Digital Games Research Association website.

strategic gaming positions at NDU

The Center for Applied Strategic Learning at National Defense University is currently advertising two positions.

The first is for an Associate Research Fellow:

Serves as a one of two Division Directors at the Center for Applied Strategic Learning (CASL), National Defense University (NDU). Under the direction of the CASL leadership, the incumbent will be responsible for all aspects of activities within his/her division. Division duties focus primarily on designing, developing, and executing scenarios/exercises in support of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Applied Learning and the colleges of the National Defense University (NDU). Incumbent will also be responsible for ensuring subordinates design, develop, and facilitate national security exercises in support of Members of Congress, State Governors, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, the Geographic Combatant Commands, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and other activities. The incumbent is responsible for assisting with experiential education and training programs for the academic, non-governmental, and interagency policy communities at the strategic and operational levels. The incumbent is specifically responsible for all supervision, contracting, budgeting, branding, and other outreach activities of the Strategic Policy Integration Division and its associated programs.

The second is for an Instructor:

Serves as an Instructor for a Division Director at the Center for Applied Strategic Learning (CASL),National Defense University (NDU). Under the direction of a CASL Division Director, the incumbent will assist with designing, developing, and executing scenario creation and exercise initiatives in support of educational, training, and outreach programs of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Applied Learning and the colleges of the National Defense University (NDU). Incumbent may also assist in designing, developing, and facilitating national security exercises for Members of Congress, State Governors, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, the Geographic Combatant Commands, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and other activities. The incumbent is also responsible for assisting with experiential learning programs for the academic, non-governmental, and interagency policy communities at the strategic and operational levels.

Those interested in applying will find full details on the USAJOBS website at the links above. The deadlines for application are 13 and 18 October.

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