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Learning in the City through Pervasive Games


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Keynote talk at Hybrid Cities 2 Conference, Athens, May 2013

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Learning in the City through Pervasive Games

  1. 1. 1Learning in the Citythrough Pervasive GamesNikolaos Avouris[University of Patras GR]Hybrid City 2013: Subtle rEvolutionsAthens, May 23-25 2013.
  2. 2. 2current gaming culture
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. 4Games in hybrid citiesPervasive games facilitated byinformation infrastructure and mobiletechnologies use modern cities asplaygroundsThese games are conducive to learning
  5. 5. 5Hybrid City II & games• C. Chrisanthopoulou –The Alice inWanderland project:An Alternate Reality Game in thecity of Athens.• M. Ivkovic, B. Piepgras, R. van Emden - Fun, games and collaborative plans: Benefits andshortcomings of including interactivity and gaming into the collaborative urban planning.• I.Theona – Experiencing cities as gamescapes.• Z. Lekkas, H. Rizopoulos, D. Charitos – Investigating the hybrid spatial experience of alocation based game.• I. Marmaras - Banoptikon videogame: City on the run.• I. Mavrommati, G. Mylonas, I. Chatzigiannakis, O.Akribopoulos, M. Logaras - Large scalemultiplayer sensor based installations in public spaces:The case of the Words game.• S. Papadopoulos, A. Malakasioti, G. Loukakis, G. Kalaouzis – CLOUDS: Urban LandscapesinVideo Games – Representations and Spatial Narratives.• E. Kolovou – CITYgories: Playing the urban space.• M. Saridaki, E. Roinioti - RouteMate, a location based route learning system for users withdisabilities. A playful methodological experience in different urban European landscapes.• A. Antonopoulou – Mass mediation:The “playful crowd” and the digital present.
  6. 6. 6On Physical and Game SpacesAny time we are engaged in playfulactivity we cross a “magical circle”and enter a new space: that ofgame play.New rules, new characters, newstories evolve in this new space.
  7. 7. 7In LaVita e Bella R. Benigni plays “hideand seek” in a concentration camp
  8. 8. 8Hybrid game spacesPhysical spaceGame space
  9. 9. 9Hybrid game spacesPhysical spaceGame spaceVirtual (Digital)space
  10. 10. 10o augments the Physical spaceo Supports the Game Space byimposing game mechanicsTheVirtual (Digital) Space:
  11. 11. 11Technologies to supportconnecting digital space tophysical and game spaces
  12. 12. 12Intra-spaces connections• QR codes/ NFC scanning• Image recognition• Gestures• Location-based instructionsencoding
  13. 13. 13Intra-spaces connectionsQR codes (quick response codes)(From Derby Museum, Connection toQRPedia)NFCtags (Near FieldCommunication)Source: NFC at Museum of London, Nokia(Youtube)
  14. 14. 14Gesture interaction modalitiesScan an image(GoogleGoggles)Source: Google Goggles at theGetty Museum (Youtube)Gesture-basedinteractionSource: RExplorer(Youtube)
  15. 15. 15Location-based instructions encodingfor progressing narration• Ruyi fromwhaiwhai(youtube,TGR)
  16. 16. 16Primitive player actionsThe players - through a mobile device -perform actions (selection of an item, reply toa quiz, etc.) that affect the state of the game.The context of actions in game space andphysical space, and player identity, givemeaning to them.e.g. proximity of two players may allow somepossible interactions between them, based on thefact that they belong to the same or competingteams.
  17. 17. 17Examples of actions meaning• Collecting a piece of information• Unlocking next part of a story• Receiving further instructions• Replying to a question, doing a puzzle• Linking objects (action as part of a sequence)• Transporting “virtual objects” betweenpositions (action as part of a sequence)• Modifying the state of an object, i.e. lockingor unlocking it
  18. 18. 18Pervasive games & learningDe Souza & Delacruz (2006) claim that thesegames facilitate learning :• Social learning– Multiuser activities content is created throughcommunication and collaboration• Experiential learning– The game provides opportunities for action andreflection on action• Situated learning– Activity in relevant physical locationterm used= augmented reality games
  19. 19. 19Pervasive games & learningSchrier (2006) identified an evaluationframework for location-based games basedon so called 21st century learning skills:
  20. 20. 20Pervasive games taxonomypeadicludicActiongamesTreasureHuntsRole PlayingGamesPartcipatorySimulatorsSituatedLanguageLearningMuseumGuidesMuseumInteractiveGuidesMuseum RolePlaying GamesAdventureGamesFiction inthe CityAvouris N.,Yiannoutsou N. A review of mobile location-based games forlearning across physical and virtual spacesTo appear in Journal ofUniversal Computer Science, vol 18. s&Yiannoutsou, 2012
  21. 21. 21Examples of learning in the city• Learning about the city (tourists,awareness)• Learning through the city (learninginspired by landmarks, historic sites,etc.)• Learning to live in the city (citizens’skills, solving everyday problems)
  22. 22. 22Pervasive Games examples• Carnival scrabble• Who Killed Hannae• Frequency 1550• Invisible city
  23. 23. 23We can adapt existing forms of games•Hide & seek, treasure hunt, cops & robbers•Party games, board-, trading- or role playinggames•Computer gamesGet support through design tools•Heuristics•Design guidelines•Design frameworksHow to design pervasive city games?
  24. 24. 24CarnivalScrabble
  25. 25. 25CarnivalScrabble• Based on the CityScrabble idea(linking places-concepts)• An activity in the 2013TreasureHunt game of Patras’ Carnival• Over 80 competing groupsusing their mobile phones forfollowing instructions• over 200 points in the city ofPatras, the players where askedto access and relate them to 28themes.
  26. 26. 26Who Killed Hannae• A mystery story in thecity of Aalborg (Paay etal. 2008) – existing novel• Episodes of the book arelinked to sites of the city.• Players play the role of adetective• Two players collaborateto solve the mystery
  27. 27. 27Who Killed Hannae• The story is delivered in theform of newspaper, digitalcharacter interactions• Users collect key evidence(i.e. pictures of objects orresponses from digitalcharactersWhen they are successful they are rewarded with ahalf sign.When two half signs are combined the next stopappears on the map
  28. 28. 28Frequency 1550• The Place: Medieval Amsterdam• The story: Players have to gain366 points or days of citizenship (ayear and a day rule to earn civilrights• Two types of groups:Headquarters and mobile groups• Mobile groups undertake the roleof merchants, beggars, priestswith different status order in thegame
  29. 29. 29Frequency 1550• The headquarters digitally follow the mobile teamand guide them through the tasks, they receiveinformation from the mobile team and make furtherinvestigations• The mobile team implements the tasks: go to thisplace and take a picture or a video. Involve specificplaces of interest• Six areas of medieval Amsterdam linked to differentassignments: labor, trade, religion, rules,government, knowledge, defense
  30. 30. 30Invisible City:The Rebels vs Spies (RvS)city game
  31. 31. 31Invisible cityRebelsVs Spies:The original Mafia party gameInspired by: Mafia game,aka Night in Palermo,Werewolves, Assassins...Asymmetrical information, informedminorityVS un-informed majorityFinal : Invisible city - RebelsVs SpiesoMultiplayer game for Android devicesoThe players move in the city, observe,solve puzzles, compete and cooperate
  32. 32. 32Invisible cityRebelsVs Spies:The original Mafia party game
  33. 33. 33Rebels → Uninformed majoritySpies → Informed minorityInvisible cityRebelsVs Spies: Expanding the concept
  34. 34. 34At the beginning of a roundthe players gather together andchoose a leaderInvisible cityRebelsVs Spies: Expanding the concept
  35. 35. 35A leader is elected who decides themissions for each playerInvisible cityRebelsVs Spies: Expanding the concept
  36. 36. 36The leader sends the missions to the playersand becomes a normal playerSome missions are critical, some are notIf a critical mission fails, the round goes to the spiesInvisible cityRebelsVs Spies: Expanding the concept
  37. 37. 37Each player proceeds to find the locationmentioned in the assigned missionInvisible cityRebelsVs Spies: Expanding the concept
  38. 38. 38The players can choose to eithersucceed or failInvisible cityRebelsVs Spies: Expanding the concept
  39. 39. 39After completing the mission playersproceeds to the location for the next roundInvisible cityRebelsVs Spies: Expanding the concept
  40. 40. 40Spatial expansionFrom the room →To the cityLocations are spread outPlayers cannot observe each otherMeaning and storyline is fragmentedSituated play and contextual knowledgeIncorporate contextual informationEngagement through physical involvementIntegrate a coherent narrativeInvisible cityRebelsVs Spies: Expanding the concept
  41. 41. 41Looking at the learningexperience
  42. 42. 42Learning in “Who killed Hannae”Participants all enjoyed walking through thecity of Aalborg; in fact current residents ofAalborg claimed that they had learned newthings about their city. For example, theexistence of theAalborg Convent, hiddennear the central city shopping precinct, and itshistorical associations with the Danishresistance duringWorldWar II had notpreviously been known to any of theparticipants.” (Paay et al., 2008, p. 128).
  43. 43. 43Learning in Frequency 1550• active experience of history through a location-based game adds to historical awareness,knowledge and appreciation of the city and itshistory (constructionist approach, Raessens, 2007)• [Akkerman, 09] observed that ... the city teams whoenacted the story, were often distracted by all thatwas happening in real time in the street, so whiletrying to find their way through the city, searchingfor assignment locations and completing theassignments, students lost the sight of the overallstructure of the game and its narrative and learningeffectRaessens, J. (2007) Playing History: Reflections on Mobile andLocation-Based Learning. pp. 200-217.
  44. 44. 44[ Extract 1 ]R. Did you learn something about the city thatyou didn’t know before playing the game?A:We didn’t know any of it…. it was all new.S:Yes, everything was new ….M: …. we walk every day by these sites but wehad no idea of all these things about themInvisible cities: familiar places seenthrough a new perspective
  45. 45. 45[ Extract 2 ]R: So, what would you say that you learned?S.That the church of Pantocratoras was anancient temple before.M: I was impressed with the informationabout the Mayor (information about an exMayor during the period 1949-1967)Historic layer
  46. 46. 46[ Extract 3 ]R: Do you think that the game would be useful fora visitor who doesn’t know the city?A:The game is not about “getting to know” thecity, it is about “discovering the city”. The gameis not designed for a visitor who wants to learnwhat the characteristic sites of this city are.Thequestions are about discovering the invisible city-things that were hidden and not obvious whenyou look at the buildings for example.Visitors vs locals learning
  47. 47. 47Selective attention[ Extract 4 ]R: Did you have the chance to look around whenyou were playing?K: I knew the surroundings more or less. ….
  48. 48. 48discussionOften Focus on factual information → game avehicle for transferring new information to theplayer- Search for this information in anintriguing, engaging and pleasant wayIs information all there is to learn about a city?Embodied experienceLive the city through the game .. City narrativeBalance is needed between overworking in“making” activities and reflection
  49. 49. 49… discussion• Fragmented experiences: in the context ofthis type of games places are treated as abunch of disconnected and de-contextualized things (Klopfer et al., 2005)• Fun vs learn:The focus on the place andthe mental riddles is the price the playershave to “pay” in order for the fun tocontinue
  50. 50. 50ParticipationCitizen tiles / ZsolnayCultural Quarter, Pecs
  51. 51. 51ookl: citizen curator
  52. 52. 52Mission tasks may becontributed through a website (e.g. a school teachercan design a specific versionof the game for a schoolparty)Contribution of facts,tasks, riddles by thecitizens to be included intothe game[Sintoris et al. 2011 ]
  53. 53. 53ευχαριστώ
  54. 54. 54Ideas for participatory tasks• Stating preferences, voting on interestingobjects, comments etc.• Tagging: unstructured text associated withobjects• Debunking, criticizing: arguing against otherpeoples’ ideas, tags etc.• Recording personal stories: personalmemories associated to a site• Linking objects or categorising: grouping ofobjects or associating them with themes (e.g.card sorting, cityscrabble)