Developing Digital Games in and for Academic Contexts

Join the Discussion on Academic Games!

Welcome to the first workshop on the development of games within academic contexts. Researchers and educators are often involved in the modification or creation of games.

The point of departure for the workshop is that the development of ‘academic games’ has distinct challenges and opportunities that are specific to the environment and circumstances in which they are created.

The goal of the workshop is to make these distinctions explicit to understand how they can be better supported and improved in the future. The workshop takes place in a hybrid format. Parts of the workshop that involve both on- and offline participants are moderated, while a longer group-work session during the workshop is separated in online and offline groups. At the end of the workshop, we summarize the outcomes of the individual groups, and look towards next steps on this research agenda.

Workshop Program

The workshop takes place as part of the FDG conference in Athens, Greece. The workshop involves discussions and group work among participants rather than individual presentations of submitted papers.

Wednesday, September 7 — 10:00 in WS Room 1

10:00 - 10:45 Introduction & Briefing
Presentation of case-studies of academic game development and briefing for the workshop activity.

10:45 - 13:00 Grouped Session
Determining commonalities in different case studies and the roles of actors within them. Groups are joined by workshop organizers. The session includesand 🍰

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

14:00 - 14:30 Grouped Session Wrap-Up
Drafting a summary of what has been discussed and conceptualized.

14:30 - 15:50 Discussion and Workshop Conclusion
Presentation of outcomes and challenges in determining commonalities.

Workshop Platforms

We use Discord and Miro to support interfacing between online and offline participants. If you are joining the workshop online, please make sure that you have a (free) account on Discord. A Miro account is not required; a guest link with edit permissions will be distributed shortly before the workshop. If you have not received a link for joining Discord via mail yet, contact us!

Post-Mortem Publications

As part of the workshop, participants were encouraged to submit post-mortem papers of work on games in an academic context. The following papers were submitted and accepted as part of a peer-review process (click on the title to access camera-ready version):

About the Organizers

In alphabetical order:

  • Claudia A. Libbi (Leiden University) — PhD-researcher working in the area of applied games for children facing difficulties in their social environment. She is particularly interested in co-designing with children, as well as the people they interact with. Her motivation to organize this workshop is to create an open environment for sharing individual experiences and perspectives of researchers across disciplines.

  • Giulio Barbero (Leiden University) — Former industrial design engineer and PhD researcher in the areas of social cognition, game design and artificial intelligence. His research involves programming education processes using video games. He teaches programming courses and supervises theses involving education and gamification. He wants to organize this workshop to bring together specialists in the field and stimulate meaningful conversation on the topic.

  • Hainan Yu (University of Luxembourg) — PhD researcher interested in how to use games as media to acquire knowledge. She has a background in game AI and data science, and advocates using these technologies to improve game user experience. She is starting her PhD research on learning collaboration using games. Her motivation for organizing the workshop is to explore the use of games for social sciences and discuss interdisciplinary game research.

  • Isabelle Kniestedt (TU Delft / University of Twente) — Game developer and researcher, currently managing an applied gaming project while finishing her PhD. She has lectured game courses at Leiden University. Her interest lies in the potential of games as tools for change, by using their emotional impact to stimulate thought and behavior. Trained as a game artist and animator, she has taken on various roles in applied gaming projects. Her motivation for organizing this workshop is to gather similar experiences, and produce knowledge to support academic game development.

  • Marcello A. Gómez Maureira (Leiden University) — Lecturer, PhD-researcher, and game developer working in the area of game user research. Originally trained as game artist and designer, he worked in that capacity for commercial projects before focusing on research and education. Marcello lectures game courses, supervises theses involving game development, and has co-organized Hackathons. His motivation to organize this workshop is to develop a better understanding between different fields and interests that come together when games are made for research purposes.

  • Marta "Tuki" Clavero (Breda University of Applied Sciences) — Senior Researcher in Creative & Entertainment Video Games, and game developer. She has lectured about games as research tools. Trained in Game Design from ITU Copenhagen, and Game Architecture and Design at Breda University. She was co-lead designer of the IGF finalist ATUM and has worked on a variety of games, ranging from educational games to gameful designs for better living. She is working on the design and identification of design-patterns for psychological horror games in VR.

  • Mike Preuss (Leiden University) — Assistant Professor at LIACS, the computer science institute at Leiden University. Previously, he was with ERCIS (the information systems institute of WWU Muenster), and before with the Chair of Algorithm Engineering at TU Dortmund, where he received his PhD on evolutionary algorithms for multimodal optimization. His current research focuses on Game AI algorithms and their application to real world problems. Mike’s interest in the workshop is to investigate approaches to make and use games in educational or application contexts.

  • Mikkel Svendsen (Geometric Interactive) — Game Developer from Copenhagen. He worked at Playdead on the critically acclaimed game 'Inside', and held talks about its use of visual effects and lighting at GDC and other conferences. Currently, he works at Geometric Interactive on an upcoming project, and privately, on an audiovisual holographic theater piece. Alongside his partner Tuki he develops a psychological horror VR experience and conducts research using games. He has a keen interest in developing immersive experiences for experimentation and learning