CGames 2011 Conference Quick Hits

Last week I was at CGames 2011 in Louisville Kentucky. The conference was sponsored by IEEE, so naturally, it had a computer science angle. It has been around for a long time and when it first started 16 years ago it was quite cutting edge. Over the years, as the games field has expanded the content of the conference has become less unique. Still, there were some innovation ideas, and being from Louisville, Kentucky the conference held a bit of extra value for me. Since I am just now beginning a job search I was hoping to scope out any job possibilities in Louisville and learn a thing or two in the process.

A few quick notes from things that came out of the conference:

1. Humana, Inc. is trying to gamify your health. Nothing really new here. Humana is working with various universities to create a new innovative approach to health care. In doing so they are looking for ways to take advantage of the quantification-of-self movement and games to provide both intrinsic and extrinsic (discounts or taxes) incentives to their policy holders.

2. Miami University of Ohio has some very interesting game related research going on. Dr. Lindsay D. Grace presented on the documentary/curatorial function of modern games. Miami and Dr. Grace also hold a yearly global game jam that might be of interest to students in the Midwest.

3. Another presentation by undergraduate Nicholas Masso was very interesting. Nicholas Presented a game called Shape Maker that was designed to teach players the fundamentals of computer programming. Shape Maker uses a very unique tactile interface. Players play against an opponent and draw cards from a deck. The cards have QR Codes on the back, which are then read by the computer as code to build rudimentary shapes. The project is still in its early stages, but the I thought it had some real potential for game driven learning. Imagine playing a game like dominion where the objective was not to collect victory points into your deck, but build a simple computer program. Hopefully they will test how effective it is for learning soon.

4. One presenter referred to gamification as the “Tom Sawyer Effect”. I found this amusing. He used the story of Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence as a way to envision gamifing wireless security. He opened his presentation by saying, “Are any of you connected to the wireless hotspot? Are you sure that it is the actual hotspot? I have everything on my computer to duplicate that hotspot, so that if you connected you would actually be feeding all your data through my computer.” I though nice way to break in a crowd as everyone looked around a bit spooked.

CGames 2011 Conference Quick Hits by Travis Ross, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

3 Responses to “CGames 2011 Conference Quick Hits”

  1. Nick Masso says:

    I had a great time at CGames meeting all of the interesting people there. I left with new found inspiration to continue in my own work and I'm looking forward to sharing what comes from that. Here are two of my favorite papers from the conference.

    The first is "Bee Prepared," from Jeremy Long of the University of Victoria. Jeremy does really interesting research into the simulation of other species's visual systems. He created a visual simulation that approximates how bees see the world. Around that, he created a game where the player must switch between human and bee vision to grow and harvest a garden. Jeremy's work opens the door to much more diverse gaming experiences and even helps us learn what it's like to be something other than human. Check out his video here.

    The second is Bartholomaus Steinmayr's Karido, a game designed to help human kind generate better image tags. Most image tagging games only result in very general tags for images. For example, you might tag an image "red car" even though you know its a 1964 Ferrari because your partner doesn't need that much detail to recognize the image. Karido places similarly tagged images together and then asks you to find more specific tags so that your partner might be able to differentiate between 9 different images of red cars. There's a lot of artworks in the image bank for the game, which I really enjoyed. The game is available online, so go try it out!

  2. Mitchell says:

    Thought it wo'ldnut to give it a shot. I was right.

  3. I guess finding useful, reliable information on the internet isn't hopeless after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>