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CIG 2009

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CIG 2009

  1. 1. A Task Annotation Model for SandBox Serious Games F. Bellotti, R. Berta, A. De Gloria, L. Primavera ELIOS Lab DIBE – University of Genoa Elios Lab - UniGe
  2. 2. Summary <ul><li>A specialization of computer games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Infuse instruction into the game play experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Huge potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a growing slice of population is familiar with playing games </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Realistic and compelling challenges, capturing user concentration span for long times </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>suited to engage the learner and encourage active construction of meaning and development of skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Methodologies/tools now needed to support pedagogical authors in developing effective learning experiences </li></ul>Serious Games
  3. 3. Elios and partner <ul><li>Importance of helping students develop well-connected knowledge structures representing relationships among facts and concepts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When the knowledge structure for a topic is well-connected, new information is more readily acquired, since the cognitive load is low </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Sand Box Serious Games (SBSGs) SG class </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Successful pure entertainment games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grand Theft Auto , Oblivion </li></ul></ul></ul>Cognitive Processing
  4. 4. The SBSG model <ul><li>A concrete spatial organization where knowledge is distributed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The VW to be explored </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tasks, spread and contextualized in the VW </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tasks embody units of knowledge that can be discovered and accessed by the player in order to construct meaning, build lasting memories, deepen understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Task Based Learning (TBL) theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Concrete, focused activities to construct knowledge and develop skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Characterizing tasks: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An ability to engage the learner’s interest; a primary focus on meaning; a need to be completed; an outcome in terms of which the success is judged; a clear relationship with real-world activities </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Inserting tasks in SBSGs <ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery Strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When, where and how they become are assigned to the player </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A key aspect to support effective knowledge building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Usually tackled through author-scripted levels and missions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Costly and difficult to scale </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Vision <ul><li>Hp: huge availability of simple contents (tasks) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elementary online visual authoring tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also User Generated Contents (UGC) trend. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple task models: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minigames, quizzes, visiting a limited VW zone, interactions with 3d objects or CVHs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Tasks are semantically annotated by the author </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Employable in various VW environments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A city, an industrial plant, an island </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Decoupling contents from their delivery strategy <ul><li>Domain experts focus on defining the tasks’ content and annotation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. topics, difficulty, geo-ref. position, learning style, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Game authors specify the requirements for a runtime task delivery strategy according to their educational and entertainment objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy learned by a specific CI module embedded in a Game Engine (GE) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This Experience Engine (EE) performs the gameplay task sequencing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>drive the player’s exploration of the environment by dynamically assigning tasks tailored on his actual profile </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Workflow and high-level System Architecture
  9. 9. Concept (I) <ul><li>No need for a detailed story specification </li></ul><ul><li>A high-level challenge spurring competition through exploration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. various types of treasure hunts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The story emerges from player-environment, player-task, player-player interactions in a meaningful (3d) context </li></ul><ul><li>A shift of focus is needed, in content production, from narrative to actual edu contents (the tasks) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enlarge the basis of authors and provide users with high quality, content-rich multimedia educational experiences. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Concept (II) <ul><li>Not better than a strong interactive narrative architecture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They are complementary approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But it is a new model that uses AI to deal with a database of semantically annotated tasks and with various types of user features/needs and teacher perspectives/requirements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VW independent </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. The model (I) <ul><li>SBSG as an exploration field where the player is given missions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Missions consists of tasks embedded in the VW </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The model (II) <ul><li>The requirements for the decision policy are parameters of the model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Values to be specified by the game author </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The runtime system will learn the decision policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Choice of the tasks according to their fitness to the author strategy with regard to the player </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Annotating the tasks <ul><li>Proposed parameters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Type (quiz, arcade, dialogue, exploration) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entertainment value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill relevance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Covered learning styles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dependences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Place </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Sample values
  15. 15. User Model <ul><li>Skill Level </li></ul><ul><li>Navigation Ability Level </li></ul><ul><li>Task Type Need/Preference </li></ul><ul><li>Skill Need/Preference </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Style Need/Preference </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual, auditory, reading and kinesthetic learning modalities </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Model of the Delivery Strategy <ul><li>Definition of a Cost Function for a Mission </li></ul><ul><li>To be minimized by the runtime system </li></ul><ul><li>Cost = deviation from the reference values specified by the game author </li></ul>
  17. 17. Reference Difficulty Curve
  18. 18. <ul><li>Navigation Difficulty Curve </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-task dependences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>C NoDep penalizes the absence of dependences from previous tasks (Nd a 0 or 1) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C FailedDep penalizes the absence, in the previous tasks of the sequence, of a task on which the a th task depends (Fd a 0 or 1) </li></ul></ul>CIs
  19. 19. Distributions <ul><li>Task Type </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Style </li></ul><ul><li>Covered Skills </li></ul>
  20. 20. CIs <ul><li>Entertainment and quality thresholds </li></ul><ul><li>Trend for entertainment and quality </li></ul><ul><li>Performance curve </li></ul>
  21. 21. SkillBenefit Threshold <ul><li>The benefit for the player must be above a threshold </li></ul><ul><li>Repetition </li></ul>
  22. 22. Runtime AI Engine <ul><li>EE built atop of the Torque Game Engine </li></ul><ul><li>Genetic Algorithm implementation </li></ul><ul><li>The EE can operate also in absence of the specification of the delivery strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuous adaptation of the game flow without aiming at the achievement of target knowledge levels predefined by the author </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reinforcement Learning implementation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Sample Application: Travel in Europe <ul><li>The TiE platform is designed to promote the knowledge of the European cultural heritage to a wide audience using the paradigm of multiplayer SGs </li></ul><ul><li>A cultural treasure hunt across Europe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visit a certain number of cities (objective), and in each town the player has one or more missions to accomplish. </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Sample Application: Travel in Europe <ul><li>Mission are characterized by a number of questions </li></ul><ul><li>The player’s explores the urban environments in search of the places indicated in the mission </li></ul><ul><li>At each target PoI, the player looks for 3D icons </li></ul><ul><li>Each icon triggers a task session through which the user can virtually manipulate pieces of the artistic heritage and face quizzes related to the PoI </li></ul>
  25. 25. Sample Application: Travel in Europe <ul><li>The structure and high-level plot is quite simple and schematic </li></ul><ul><li>But it is a scalable and flexible format </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost-effective development (3 rd parties & UGC) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Little overhead on the player , who can focus his attention on the contents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to understand overall structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minigames instances of templates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3D settings, game mechanics and interaction modalities necessarily high quality </li></ul>
  26. 26. Conclusions (I) <ul><li>Methodologies to support effective authoring of SGs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Abstract model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>VW , tasks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Support authors to focus on defining the tasks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No game scripting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>hard-coding events, actions, locations and contents of a specific game. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Conclusions (II) <ul><li>Task annotation allows reusing tasks also in different games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UGC: involvement of user communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A new authoring model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exploit repositories of tasks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Build educational games specifying a VW and the task delivery strategy criteria for the missions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learnt at runtime by a CI engine. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New perspectives to pedagogical experts and game designers to provide players with adaptive contents </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Upcoming work <ul><li>Extensive user testing is now needed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess and analyze the support for effective learning in a real entertainment context </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An extensive validation of the user and task models and of the delivery strategy cost function </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The speed of the runtime user adaptation process </li></ul></ul><ul><li>However, it is important that the developed games are able to attract users, similarly to commercial videogames, even if they deal with educational topics </li></ul>
  29. 29. Thank you!

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