LiSC are delighted to be attending the 2009 MindTrek Conference in Tampere, Finland, which takes place from 30th September to 2nd October. MindTrek is the leading Nordic digital media and business conference, focusing on social media & Web 2.0. The conference brings together entrepreneurs, researchers and practitioners from diverse disciplines that are involved in the development of media in various fields, ranging from sociology and economy, to technology.
Ben Kirman will present a paper entitled “Mario, Luigi and Dave: The Effect of Language on the Social Structure of a Bilingual Online Mobile Game.”
Abstract – In this paper, we explore the structure of a social community built in an online game that was released in two languages, specifically examining the behaviours of players involved in inter-lingual interaction. This asynchronous social game was released simultaneously in Italian and English. The player base was seeded with English and Italian players but allowed to grow organically without restriction. Despite the built-in segregation by language, we found that the entire player-base formed into a single social network and developed strategies for overcoming the challenges faced by a multi-lingual game community.
Using Network Analysis, we break down the community in the game based on language and play style. We demonstrate that the behaviour of both English and Italian players was equivalent, and that play style had no effect on the likelihood of players deliberately engaging in inter-lingual communication.
In the context of the strategies used by the players in our experiment, we discuss game design patterns that provide incentives for users to behave more socially and how to create tools to enable the players to cross the lingual and cultural barriers in online games.
Conor Linehan will be presenting a paper entitled “Developing a serious game to evaluate and train group decision making skills.”
Abstract – The success of a serious game depends on whether the skill being taught and practiced in the game is the same as that which is required in the real world. The current paper describes the building of a serious game designed to teach group decision making skills to a unique audience; people who co-ordinate responses to real-world emergencies such as floods, fires, volcanoes and chemical spills.
Eighteen participants were recruited and videotaped while playing a paper prototype of the game. Playersâ€™ actions within the game were analysed in terms of whether the challenges that are present in real world decision-making environments are also present in the game-world decision making environment. It appears that the defining characteristics of group decision making behaviour, especially the mistakes, are evident in groups that play our game. In addition, the round-based game structure allows a tutor the opportunity to deliver in-depth qualitative feedback without interrupting game play. Thus, the game design should prove to be a valid environment in which to train, practice and evaluate the decision making behaviours of groups and function as a valuable and engaging part of a group decision making skills training course.