Games, Interface and Gesture

Gameplay Cultures / Player Experience

Material Cultural History of Interactive Media

Games and Public Engagement

Interactive Narrative

Industry Game Development / Creative Social Economy


Augmenting Motion Graph with Video Data

The current project we are working on is focused on enhancing the standard motion graph algorithms. We are interested in utilizing transition frames presented in video data to inform the transition generation process in order to achieve more realistic transitions between actions. Video data is readily available, less intrusive and easy to produce compared to motion capture. Our algorithm is to reduce human interference during motion creation and improve the realism of the animation.

Creators

Kaustubha Mendhurwar, Sudhir Mudur

XiaoLong Chen,

Civic Gaming project

The results of a recent Pew Foundation survey have shown that there is a correlation between playing video games that simulate civic and political processes (e.g. the SimCity and Civilization series) and actual participation in civic and political life. Although this finding highlights the possibility that video games could have an significant impact on citizens’ levels of knowledge and interest about civic life, the fact remains that this possible connection needs to be investigated more closely. The studies that are grouped under the umbrella of the civic games project investigate the civic potential of video games from a variety of angles.

Creators

Bart Simon, David I. Waddington

Vivek Venkatesh, Ann-Louise Davidson, Tieja Thomas, Kris Alexander, Tim Gallant, Anne Newman

Cubid

CUBID is a large scale play /game environment in which two players collaborate in real space to move through the levels of the virtual game. The players use wireless physical interfaces to control the visuals and the sound in real time. The game is aimed at casual players of all ages. Its non- narrative content is colourful and engaging and the use of the interfaces intuitive. Because participants must collaborate to advance through the levels, and because the screen is large (3Oft) and the action is entertaining for non-participants to watch, the game has a pronounced physical and social dimension.

Creators

Lynn Hughes

Geoffrey Jones, Alain Thibault

DEFCON

This project investigates the impact of DEFCON, a critically acclaimed nuclear war strategy game, on university students’ attitudes toward nuclear weapons. DEFCON is a game which gives users an “in the bunker at NORAD” experience–as a grim soundtrack plays and sirens wail, players must make decisions about how best to use their nation’s nuclear arsenal as well as attempt to defend against incoming strikes. As the game’s tagline–“Everybody dies”–indicates, playing DEFCON implies reckoning with the terrifying power of nuclear weapons, and video game ethicists have consequently theorized that DEFCON is an especially promising game in terms of getting users to reflect upon the world outside the game. Our project has been putting this hypothesis to the test, and early results have been promising.

Creators

David I. Waddington

Vivek Venkatesh, Ann-Louise Davidson, Tieja Thomas, Kris Alexander, Tim Gallant

Ethereal

Ethereal is an iPad game in development that is meant to explore the actions and meaning behind ones voice and the ability to navigate an abstract space. Inspired by circuit bending, the team is working at creating a prototype that takes vocal input to generate unique sound bubbles that the player can then manipulate through touch and interaction with the environment. Ethereal takes place in the mind of a person as they drown to death. The setting allows the team to explore themes of memory and loss, as well as instability and fantasy along with unique soundscapes inspired by the setting.

Creators

Jason Camlot, Stéphanie Bouchard, Ian Arawjo, Joachim Despland, KO-OP Mode, Mohannad Al-Khatib, Jonathan Llewellyn, Michael Fortin

Jean-François Bourbeau, Taylan Ulger, François-Xavier Dupas, Bronson Zgeb

Facebook Games Research

This project aims to explore multiple facets of the social aspects of Facebook games. Areas of research within this project include working to understand the ways in which families use Facebook games to keep in touch through the ways they negotiate the social elements designed into the games as well as exploring the range of perceptions of cheating among the general player population. In doing so, this research will begin to demonstrate the social affordances and boundaries of Facebook games in a range of different play contexts.

Creators

Mia Consalvo, Kelly Boudreau, Irene Serrano Vazquez

Game Jams

A Game Jam is an organized get-together with the intention of creating a full game – from conception to completion – in a pre-determined, short period of time, usually one weekend. Popular Indie games such as World of Goo and Crayon Physics Deluxe were both created during this same type of rapid prototyping. TAG holds regular game jams at the Hexagram Concordia space – keep an eye out on our events page for the next jam.

Get Water!

Get Water! is an iPad, iPhone game that illuminates the global crisis for the most basic and universal need: water. You play as Maya, a young girl who is pulled out of school to fetch water for her family. In the style of other viral smartphone games, you collect water with your water pot and learn new skills to aid in your effort. Along the way, you learn important perspectives about water shortages and waste and become a more informed global citizen.    

Creators

Decode Global
http://decodeglobal.org/

Get Water! and Social Impact

This is a research project for the Digilab and DiIt projects in GRAND NCE.  The game Get Water! is a gesture based endless runner game featuring Maya who lives in India and is pulled from school to get water for her family.  Get Water! is a simple, fun, and optimistic game intended to elicit conversation and increase awareness of the issues of global water scarcity and the effects on girls education.  Though the goal is complex, we are investigating the social impact of the game through various entry points.  This involves ethnographic research, media and communications analyses, a case study involving university students, and focus groups with young adolescents.  Does the game bring awareness to the issues effecting Maya’s life?  How do people respond to […]

Creators

Bart Simon, David I. Waddington, Renee Jackson

Emily Sheepy
Decode Global

Gets It Better: Poor, Ugly, Gay, Stupid, Sick

Gets It Better, is a contemporary art board game designed to challenge received notions about games, art and the pursuit of happiness. By pushing the boundaries of procedural rhetoric, it simulates happiness in non-standard ways. It does so by modeling forms of self-worth in high school, the means of its production, along with various handicaps for its acquisition. The goal of the project is to deploy the game in high school classrooms to open discussions on factors contributing to suicide.    

Creators

William Robinson, Renee Jackson

Symon Oliver
Lisa MacDonald

Incubator

The mission of the Montreal Games Incubator is to recognize and assist the next generation of video game developers, designers, visionaries and entrepreneurs in the realization and their games and the commercial launch of their companies. A collaboration between Concordia University and Dawson College, The Montreal Games Incubator provides a creative space at the intersection between university-level interdisciplinary digital games research and creation programs, technical college-level programs, the independent game development sector, and the video games industry.

Indie, Eh?

This project focuses on understanding the people behind the games: game developers and their work.  Nancy Zenger is starting with a pilot study in Montreal, interviewing local independent game developers to learn about the evolving practices of digital labour.  Of course, Montreal is only the starting point. We’ll be talking to independent developers in other cities as well.  This segues into larger project for the team: DIGILAB. DIGILAB is short for Digital Labour: Authors, Institutions and New Media.  It’s part of the larger Graphics, Animation and New Media Centres of Excellence. GRAND NCE for short. GRAND is a research network  focused on growing Canada’s digital media sector. It links together computer scientists and engineers with artists, designers and social scientists, and develops ways for researchers […]

Creators

Nancy Zenger, Jen Whitson, William Robinson, Bart Simon

Jarbles

Jarbles is a game about reconstructing audio compositions through touch interaction with tangible 3-D objects, designed for the iPad and iPhone. The design of Jarbles is based on the material objects used in the popular children’s games of jacks and marbles. The player must determine which pairs of jacks (audio components) go together and then combine them to form a marble. These marbles are further ordered by the player in order to solve sound puzzles.

Creators

Jason Camlot, Ian Arawjo

FX Dupas, Taylan Ülgar

JEKA Games

JEKA GAMES is a blog project about journalism and gaming that aims to chronicle community interactions in the Montreal gaming community and explore different aspects of gaming from a lay person’s perspective. Other aspects of the project include managing social media surrounding the Montreal and international gaming communities in order to build relationships within these communities and pave the way for future collaboration. Some of the topics addressed on the blog are community events, gameplay, and indie game creation.

Creators

Jessica Marcotte, Max Stein

Learning Human Action Sequence Style from Video

The current project we are working on is focused on enhancing the standard motion graph algorithms. We are interested in utilizing transition frames presented in video data to inform the transition generation process in order to achieve more realistic transitions between actions. Video data is readily available, less intrusive and easy to produce compared to motion capture. Our algorithm is to reduce human interference during motion creation and improve the realism of the animation.

Creators

Kaustubha Mendhurwar, Sudhir Mudur

XiaoLong Chen

Methods for the Analysis of Motion-based Video Games

As part of the Graphics, Animation, and New Media Network of Centres of Excellence (GRAND NCE), we are working in collaboration with researchers at York University to evaluate a set of methods that can be applied to the study of motion-based video games, including games for Microsoft’s Kinect, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation Move. One of the methods we are investigating is an adapted form of participant-observation consisting of videotaped play sessions in which participants and researchers play games together in both cooperative and competitive modes. These sessions are bracketed by informal interviews and questionnaires designed to gather additional information about perceived gameplay experiences.

Creators

Carolyn Jong, Salvador Garcia-Martinez, Leif Penzendorfer

Morality and Digital Role-playing Games

This project investigates players’ perceptions of ethics and morality in their videogame play. Through semi-structured interviews Mia Consalvo and Carolyn Jong are investigating how players negotiate issues of representation, moral dilemmas, and morality systems in digital role-playing games. Some of the questions being explored through the project include: • What choices do players commonly make in games, and how do they describe their reasons for making those choices? • How do players role-play in games and how does this affect the decision-making process? • How do players relate their in-game choices to the ethical codes and moral beliefs they maintain outside of the game? • How does moral decision-making impact players’ affective responses to the events that take place in the game, and vice versa? […]

Creators

Mia Consalvo, Carolyn Jong

Oracle Game Proposal

The goal of this project is to create a game that can be played at conferences and will encourage meaningful social interaction between players both on- and off-site. Team members include Mia Consalvo, Jane Tingley, Joachim Despland, and Carolyn Jong. Together the team designed a game called Oracle, which would allow those players that are unable to attend the conference but wish to contribute the chance to participate in the event by interacting with and aiding conference attendees/players. The game is intended to provide a platform for discussion, challenges, questions, and answers. The traces of these activities will form a final artifact representing the conference and the collective contribution of the players. The game system is based on the idea of social recognition. During the game players […]

Creators

Mia Consalvo, Joachim Despland, Carolyn Jong, Jane Tingley

P.o.E.M.M.

P.o.E.M.M. = Poetry for Excitable [Mobile] Media. The P.o.E.M.M. Cycle is a ten-part new media series exploring themes of language, authenticity and contingency. The works explore different strategies for both writing and reading using multi-touch and mobile devices, and how those strategies substantially expand the range of expression available to me as an artist. Each piece in the series includes a large-scale interactive touchwork for exhibition, a mobile interactive touchwork for tablets and for smartphones, and one or more large-scale prints made with software created by the artist.

Creators

Ian Arawjo, Jason Lewis

Bruno Nadeau, Christian Gratton, Chris Drogaris, Amanda Hui, Brian Li, Charles-Antoine Dupont, David Jhave Johnston

Play Along / Joue le jeu @ La Gaîté lyrique

Play Along / Joue le Jeu showcases games as the broad, rich cultural phenomenon they now are. Forget the outdated idea that contemporary games are only blockbuster products with violent content and limited visual or narrative variety. This is a golden age of creative game design! With powerful and accessible new tools and technologies, and the immense potential of networked distribution, a thriving community of game designers is producing innovative new games that speak to both longstanding and emerging themes and styles. The Gaîté’s introduction to this lively, varied world is brought to us by curators Lynn Hughes, Heather Kelley and Cindy Poremba. All three women design games themselves and have been recognized for their creative work and testimony itself to the way games are changing.

Creators

Lynn Hughes, Cindy Poremba, Heather Kelley

Propinquity

Propinquity is a full-body game that is a hybrid between fighting and dancing games. Two players wear proximity sensors on different body parts and as they move to the music, different sensors patches on their bodies light up to indicate when they are active. The players attempt to get as close as possible to active patches on the other player’s body to score points. The longer s(he) can stay “in the sweet spot” (but without actually touching), the higher the resulting score. Part of the IndieCade 2013 Official Selection.

Creators

Lynn Hughes, Bart Simon, Jane Tingley

The Modern Nomads:
Jane Tingley, Anouk Wipprecht, Marius Kintel
Severin Smith

past contributors:
Steffanie Schirmer
Amanda Williams
Bruno Nadeau

SKINS

Skins is a video game workshop for Aboriginal youth offered by an Aboriginally determined team of game designers, artists and educators known as AbTeC. The unique curriculum begins with traditional storytelling and proceeds to teach participants how to tell a story in a very new way–as a video game. With that foundation in place, the students then learn important skills for the production of video games and virtual environments, such as game design, art direction, 3D modeling and animation, sound, and computer programming.

Creators

Skawennati Fragnito, Jason Lewis, Amanda Williams, Mohannad Al-Khatib

Owisokon P. Lahache, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Mathew McNeill, Darwin Frost, Teyowisonte Thomas Deer, Beth Aileen Lameman, Robert Brais, Nancy Elizabeth Townsend, Sahar Homami, Charlotte Fisher, Ramy Daghstani, Chris Drogaris, Shawn Mullen, Tehoniehtathe Delisle

Snek

Snek. is Snake! With better music! And really awkward controls! Learn to love turning your iDevice around and around in your hands! Tilt your screen away from you and realize you can’t see what’s happening anymore! Thrust your device in all directions and get a great workout! Snek.! Snek. was written in Objective-C using Apple XCode 4.6 and the Kobold2D library. The kick drum and snare sounds are from freesounds.org. Snek. works on iPhones, iPods and iPads that have a gyroscope. You should make a video of yourself playing and send it to me.

Creators

Pippin Barr

Street Level

Street Level is a research-creation project for sidewalk accessible arcade-format videogames. The project is currently being funded by Concordia’s Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG), as part of the PLAYPR project (GRAND-NCE). Games will use Microsoft’s Kinect motion tracking peripheral through vacant storefront windows, with games playing on projectors or large-scale monitors inside.

Creators

Cindy Poremba

SUPER HYPERCUBE

superHYPERCUBE, from Kokoromi, is a game about holes, and cubes that love them. It explores the vast, mostly unexplored TRON-like tundra of stereoscopy and head tracking in games. Originally produced for GAMMA 3D in Montreal, superHYPERCUBE is a public installation that literally takes the classic game Tetris into the third dimension as you try to rotate increasingly complex cube constellations to fit into a series of rectilinear holes. Presented as an art game, SuperHYPERCUBE’s well-designed 3D mechanics are leveraged to create unique and inventive puzzles on par with mainstream games in the genre. This Kinect Hack version was prepared as a TAG / PLAYPR / Kokoromi / Polytron collaboration for Indiecade 2011. The game was an indiecade finalist.

Creators

Kaustubha Mendhurwar, Cindy Poremba, Heather Kelley

Phil Fish, Renaud Bedard

Tangible User Interfaces and Metaphors for 3D

Beginning of the project was marked by the creation of the 3D interaction metaphor of navigational puppetry, and implementation into a tangible user interface prototype, The Navi-Teer, which afforded basic navigation within a virtual world. The preliminary goal was to attempt to blur the lines between the ‘action’ and ‘perception’ of the navigation activity and to blend egocentric and exocentric control. The prototype was further augmented to behave as a 3D soundscape modelling and experience tool allowing the user to yield unique ‘spatial’ 3D audio mixes through the act of navigation. Building on this research, the current aim is to explore the tangible and gestural elements of new areas of creatively biased 3D interactions. The focus is on the theoretical end of interaction metaphor design […]

Creators

Andrew Blakney, Sudhir Mudur

The Oldest Game

“The Oldest Game” (working title) is a web-based newsgame that explores the complex issue of the legalization of the sex trade in Ontario and Quebec.  Drawing inspiration from games such as Budget Hero, in which players learn the parameters of a complex system, and from role-playing games that provoke empathy and identification, “The Oldest Game” focuses on the motivations on the debate over legalized prostitution.  This debate was most recently in the news when three prostitution laws that were up for dispute in the Ontario Court of Appeal (ruling made in March 2012).   The game seeks to address a crucial flaw in the media coverage: news articles, in trying to portray a sense of impartiality, often set up a false ‘balance’ between those against changing the laws […]

Creators

Lisa Lynch, Sandra Gabriele

Amanda Feder

The Secret Life of Software

We’re told that the mark of good software is that it is so seamless and intuitive to use that it becomes a natural extension of our body.  In doing so, we effectively ‘erase’ the hundreds of people and their labour that go into making that software. This ethnographic project looks at the secret life of game software. We examine the day-to-day lived experiences of game developers in a number of domains:  within large MMO companies like Funcom, in mid-size game incubator start-ups like Execution Labs, and in the smaller indie projects undertaken within TAG. Central questions of this project include: What does game development really look like? How do interns learn how to be developers? How do developers collaborate in small teams? What does work […]

Creators

Jen Whitson, Bart Simon

Victorianator

Victorianator is an iPhone game that explores the use of gesture to trigger synthetic effects upon speech. Gesture was a significant part of recitation (reading poetry out loud) during the Victorian era in the 19th Century. We have taken specific gestures as prescribed in Victorian elocution manuals and have put them at the core of our gameplay. The player records one of three Victorian poems in monotone, and then, using these Victorian elocutionary gestures, triggers Victorian style elocutionary effects upon the recording.

Creators

Jason Camlot, Stéphanie Bouchard, Mohannad Al-Khatib, Michael Fortin, Jeremy Valentin Freeman

Henk Boom