Paper María Amparo Navarro - Serious Games for Dynamic Content and Advanced Entertainment Services
Serious Games for Dynamic Content and Advanced Entertainment Services Mª Amparo Navarro-Salvador1, Ana Belén Sánchez-Calzón 2, Carlos Fernández-Llatas3 and Teresa Meneu4 ITACA - Health and Wellbeing Technologies, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain 1 email@example.com 2 firstname.lastname@example.org 3 email@example.com 4 firstname.lastname@example.orgAbstract— Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) the starting point: the habitual use of ICT by children placehas been keeping a constant evolution for the last years. For ICT as a privileged way to transmit certain messages to them.children today ICT are not a strange element, but are part of ICT can be used to teach and entertain at the same time. Intheir daily lives and they easily use them. For this reason, it is this field, videogames can play a positive and important role ifinteresting to research how ICT can be used to teach and they are used properly. Interconnection of games can improveentertain children. In this scenario, Project Enjoy.IT! aims todesign, develop an validate an entertainment platform with social contact and the participation in common activities. Inadvanced contents, which will set up a practical realization of the this sense, it is another way to maintain or promote contactnew products and services from the Future Internet. The project among friends as well as other hobbies (sports, reading...).is integrating the physical world as an extension of the virtual Games are also beneficial when promoting eye-handworld and vice versa, creating an Ambient Intelligence (AmI) coordination and the acquisition of manual skills. They alsosystem which will be able to act depending on the needs and stimulate memory and the ability to retain concepts.knowledge of children. The platform is based on Services Finally, it is worth noting the current status of socio-Choreography and games are interconnected using a Social cultural field to children. In this area the objective is toNetwork. A games pilot has been developed, and tested by educate children while they play. But the use of ICT is verychildren of Polytechnic University of Valencia Summer School.From the results of this preliminary study, the rest of the games poorly integrated in sociocultural animation. It is necessary awill be developed for the final platform. qualitative transformation to get the full integration of ICT into the environment of the children. Different technologies I. INTRODUCTION and devices can be connected to create a new space of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) has entertainment where technology is the engine of the gamesbeen keeping a constant evolution for the last years. ICT are without the children becoming aware of it.increasing their presence in all human activities both in the In this context Project Enjoy.IT!  is born, whose mainworking life and in the private life. They offer a new objective is to design, develop and validate an entertainmentinnovator space in different fields such as industry, services, platform with advanced contents which will set a practicalhealth, commerce, education, etc. realization of the new products and services of the Future Nowadays, the Internet is a part of many people in many Internet. This platform is being implemented in the campus ofplaces of the world. Its evolution has been spectacular in the the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), during thelast 15 years. Despite that, the Internet is still in its Summer School . This school takes place in July at theadolescence: less than one third of the world population has at University campus and is destined to children from 3-17 yearsleast once surfed the Internet . On the other hand, the old who perform a set of cultural and sport activities directedInternet now is anywhere and at any time. People not only are by leisure professionals.able to access to it using a computer but also using a mobile, a The following paper explains, in first instance, thesmartphone, a tablet PC, a games console or even a TV set. objectives that the Project aims to obtain with their execution.Moreover, one of the most important parts of the Internet is In the second instance, the materials and methods which willdriven by Social Networks. Users are the creators of the be employed to the Project development are explained. In thisInternet content. Despite this, the Internet world is still a linear section, a state of the art of actual videogames andscenario focused on showing contents and dissociated from entertainment is described. In the third instance, we presentphysical world. the Project Enjoy.IT! results and which technology is being Focusing on children, who are the target of this Project, it is used. Finally, how the developed games affect to children isworth to highlight several aspects. For children today ICT are explained.not a strange element but are part of their daily lives. This is
II. OBJECTIVES videogames are those played via the Internet regardless of the The first objective of Project Enjoy.IT! is to design, platform. They can either be multiplayer games played withdevelop and validate an entertainment platform and advanced other people, or single player. Because one of the objectivescontents which is going to be a practical realization of new of the project is to get more than twenty children playingproducts and services of the Future Internet. Project Enjoy.IT! together at the same time, it is worth focusing on multiplayeris a pre-industrial prototype which will set up a technological games. These are games which include a mode for variousplatform of personalized, ubiquitous and collaborative players. They are often played via the Internet or otherservices. network with other people connected to it. Furthermore, there In addition, the implementation of this project aims to is the theme of these videogames. They can be collaborativepromote the use of ICT by children who are not enough or competitive games. The first group of them, thefamiliarized users with this kind of technologies. collaborative ones, are interesting videogames for Enjoy.IT!. Moreover, the project expects to develop innovative A cooperative game is a game in which two or more playersresearch lines. A good example is the integration of the user in do not compete, but rather strive to achieve the same objectivethe chain of provision of services. The receiver of this project and therefore earn or lose as a group. Role-playing games areis the Summer School which is applying this platform to its the most common form of a cooperative game, in spite of notchildren. The Summer School is the potential beneficiary of being always like that. In such games, players (acting asthe results and is also participating in the project conception characters) are generally seeking similar objectives.and design stages from the first moment. Additionally, there are serious games. A serious game is a This project also aspires to contribute to the researching game designed for a different purpose other than pureand development of innovative technology in three of the five entertainment. Serious games are learning tools which havepillars of the Future Internet. The first one is the Internet of pedagogical and educational objectives that enable players toThings . Project Enjoy.IT! wants to integrate the physical obtain a set of predominantly practical knowledge and skills.world as an extension of the virtual world and vice versa. For The game by itself is a motivating factor for students, itthis reason, an Ambient Intelligence (AmI)  system is becomes a meaningful and leisure learning, it promotesbeing created which will be able to act depending on the teamwork and it has great flexibility in its use. For this reason,children’s necessities. But this AmI network will not only be what we aim to achieve with Project Enjoy.IT! video gamingable to realize received requests but also be aware of the platform is that children learn while they are playing. At thechildren’s identity and his context. Another pillar is the same time, they will be developing in both the psychomotorInternet of Knowledge and Contents. In this research line, activity and the psychosocial levels .there is a Social Network that links all the games and its The interaction form of these games will be different fromcomponents. So, the games and its sensors are one of the the usual: we want children to perform a series of activitiesgenerators of the content. At the same time, children and linked by a common story. In this story they will have tomonitors also contribute to the content network. In this move and interact with the environment, either throughmanner, Project Enjoy.IT! will create and automatically sensors responding to his actions, or using the new availableassociate content and knowledge elements linked to the game controllers that make users stand up from the chair andInternet of Things which will be instantly extended to the use their body to move the remote control and the character atInternet of People and will also create tools for generating and the same time, such as Wiimote or PlayStation Move. Evenusing content in an easy and powerful fashion. Finally, the using Microsoft Kinect, where gestures and spoken commandsthird pillar of the Future Internet to be developed is the are used to control the game. Moreover, in order to create aInternet of People. Each player will have a specific role transparent environment, sensors and remote controllers usedwhich will complete the group abilities. So every child is will be hidden and, as far as possible, they will be wireless.important and needed, thus promoting the integration of all Otherwise, we aim to integrate all this technologies into thechildren in the use and enjoyment of applications, including world of the socio-cultural animation, which focuses on thethose with special needs or disabled ones. Of course, there is a development of recreational activities for children of all ages.special attention to ensure that these new capabilities don’t This animation currently does not include ICT for thejeopardize the privacy of users and securing inherent realization of the games and there is where Project Enjoy.IT!knowledge generated in the process and communications is going to give a change with this type of combinedsecurity . experience. Thus, the Project desires to go beyond what exists today in the world of video games: it wants to enhance the III. MATERIALS AND METHODS interactive possibilities not just with the remote control but For the implementation of this project various knowledge also with the environment, within a broad space whereare needed in order to unite different disciplines that, all entertainment activities can be executed in a way that includetogether, make up the games platform of Project Enjoy.IT!. both video games and physical activity, without the user being In the first place, there are current videogames. Performing aware of the technology that is behind all the environment.a global vision of the video games existing nowadays, it is In order to create this platform, an architecture based onworth noting two types of video games for Project Enjoy.IT!. Services Choreography  is going to be used. This fact willOn the one hand there are online videogames. Online facilitate the installation and fault tolerance in the
environment, which will be surrounded by sensors. The Using the choreographer, services and devices are able tosensors will collect the data independently from the central exchange information in a distributed way becausesystem. choreographed processes are independent and can For the games programming stage it is necessary to communicate with each other to define its workflow execution.highlight the following used elements. It has been used the This model makes easy to turn the connection andUnified Modelling Language (UML)  for the designing of disconnection of services dynamically and is capable of usingthe games. UML is a graphical language to view, specify and different types of sensors and configurations.document each of the parts comprising the development ofsoftware. UML provides a way of modelling conceptualthings such as business processes and system functions, aswell as concrete things such as writing classes in a specificlanguage, database schemas, and reusable softwarecomponents. XNA Framework 4 has been used for the gamesprogramming. XNA  is a set of tools with a managedexecution environment provided by Microsoft that facilitatesthe development of computer and management games.Version 4 has been chosen because it better fits thespecifications of the platform games, due to theirimprovements in the crossover development of applicationsamong platforms, simplicity and power of filters in addition toits improvements in the audio system and the support fortouch screens. Fig. 1 Enjoy.IT! platform architecture IV. RESULTS Project Enjoy.IT! is creating a digital and interactive Use of choreography for interconnecting services requiresentertainment platform for children. A complete role-playing the use of a common exchange language that allows servicesadventure of interconnected games is being built. Two to be understood. For this reason an architecture that includeshundred and fifty children approx., divided into groups of a semantic layer in the choreographer to improvetwenty-five children (9-10 years old) from the Polytechnic communication among sensors, actuators, and services in theUniversity of Valencia’s Summer School are participating on system is needed. The use of Ontology Services and Machineit. The plot introduces an adventure in a fantasy world where Reasoning for the description of data from sensors allowseach group of children plays as a village from a region and has making a more accurate interpretation of information obtainedto solve the same problem: Natural resources are near from them, and allows the system to automatically detectextinction and children have to begin a journey around an sensors and services available in each moment.imaginary world in order to find several pieces from a magical Service choreography involves the Orchestration  ofobject which will solve the problem. Using the recovered both manual and automated processes. There is a centralisedpieces the magical object will be assembled, always bearing in control mechanism which directs activities, each of which ismind the collaborative spirit to promote positive values among an interaction among services. So an Orchestrator is alsochildren. The adventure will be composed by around ten included in the architecture of Services connected to thedifferent games. A different technology is used in each game. choreographer who supports the use of workflows to describeGames are multiplayer, collaborative (among children in a processes graphically. Workflows are a formal specification ofgroup and among different groups) and interconnected to the the implementation of processes that can be dynamicallywhole adventure, using a Social Network. All the advances of executed by a computer-based system. Using these tools aeach group will be able to be consulted by every player and by non-expert can create complex processes, enabling them to bechildren’s parents . managed automatically by a system, without the need of To contain this adventure a modular and scalable platform writing any line of source code.is being created based on Services Choreography Architecture In this architecture there are other necessary components.(See figure 1). There is a control centre where the summer school monitors Services Choreography  specification is targeted for will control next year several aspects of the adventure such ascomposing interoperable, peer-to-peer collaborations among the evolution of each group, how many groups are playing atany type of participant regardless of the supporting platform the same time, where are they playing, which children areor programming model used by the implementation of the playing, etc.hosting environment. Choreography has no centralised control, There is also a repository where all data items are stored inwhich is instead shared among domains, where each one is the system.able to carry out its own activities according to its role in a Using a private Social Network the games are beingpeer-to-peer model, applying a global behavioural contract. interconnected to the whole adventure. All the advances of
each group in the adventure will be able to be consulted by B. The crazy boat raceevery player, monitors and even the parents of the children. Children have to navigate a river in a rowboat. Its objectivePlayers will be able to consult the milestones achieved by any is to reach the goal in the shortest possible time, collecting asgroup, contribute to various forums related to the places they many coins as they can along the way. On their journey, theyvisit, see the groups’ positions on the map as well as upload meet with a series of obstacles which they have to avoidand view photos, etc. So contents are generated by the users working as a team. The game makes a tour within anand by the system, from the information captured by the imaginary rowboat driven by 6 paddles. The children aresensors and the intelligence of the platform . sitting on 6 rows of 3 chairs, like if they were in a rowboat. In front of them there is a projected screen where players can see Focusing on games features, the first premise is that the route they must follow. The paddles used have a Wiimoteselected games for the platform must be reusable. It is feasible inside to capture their movement. The joint movement of theto use them for different years by modifying the environment, two sides makes the boat move in a straight line. But if onlythe content of the activities, the questions, etc. The idea is that one side is rowing, the boat moves diagonally in theany changes can be made by the monitors themselves using a corresponding direction. A total of 19 children can play out,configuration tool. 18 play as a rowers (3 children by paddle) and a helmsman, Four games have been developed and tested by UPV leading their colleagues.Summer School children. Next there is a summary of thesegames features.A. Finding the golden idol In this game the children must find the Golden Idol. So thechildren are divided into teams of 4-5 players. Moving arounda projected board they answer the proposed questions andbring together the five needed stones to open the chest of theidol. The Board is virtual and is projected on a big screen.Through an overhead camera, the image of the children isprojected on the board, and children become the counters ofthe game. For each throw children use a giant dice, inside ofwhich there is a Wiimote which captures the position of the Fig. 3 “The crazy boat race”dice. The questions belong to the following subjects: art, sport,science, technology and health and welfare. This game develops concepts of collaboration through a rowing experience that involves coordination and balance. The game strengthens the laterality, confidence and balance. It also promotes cooperation among the team members. For their proper development it is essential that children are guided either by another child or a monitor. If another child guides them, it is difficult for children of this age (9-10 years old): the child who runs is back to the screen and has to have a great coordination and orientation in space to make it properly. This game also involves physical activity because the act of rowing implies wide circular movements with both arms. When children play, they are immersed on the game. C. The endless forest The game objective is to successfully solve in the shortest possible time seven labyrinths presented to children in a touch Fig. 2 “Finding the golden idol” screen. The children have to scroll through the forest labyrinth by pressing the avatar with their finger and moving it around the screen. They have to be careful because, if they leave the In this game children are fully integrated in the technology, marked route and collide against a wall, they have to startfocusing on the development of the game, without realizing again. Arriving at the end of the labyrinth, they begin the nextthat it is virtual. This game stimulates the cognition through stage. Children individually perform the maze by turns. If onethe challenge of answering the questions. It also encourages child leaves the path, the avatar is immediately returned to theboth memory and attention. But, in addition, moving in a starting point, and the child must give way to anothervirtual board promotes motor and eye-hand-foot coordination, teammate, waiting for the turn to be able to continue.as well as the laterality and spatial knowledge. It is interactiveand motivating to children. By team working there iscollaboration among members and a desire for improvement.
use of ICT and make new technology accessible to children. It has been observed that ICT cause the collaboration among the children, help them to focus on learning, improve motivation and interest, favour the spirit of search, promote integration and also stimulate the development of certain intellectual skills, such as reasoning, problem solving, creativity and the ability of learning to learn. And ICT also contribute to the development of physical and cognitive skills. Project Enjoy.IT! also aims to integrate ICT in the individual’s environment and immerse the users in a world that will interact with them in a natural way. It is also true that, when children are initiated into the world of ICT, they need adults to help them meet the mechanism, to Fig. 4 “The endless forest” explain the operation and to modify ICT to their levels, to adapt ICT. So children may have increased autonomy in their This game shows an interaction and coordination of mutual use. And this is being achieved by Project Enjoy.IT!. Theinterests among children, so that, there is cooperation among game development using ICT in the UPV Summer School hasthem. When a child is performing the labyrinth the others are enabled, in addition to entertain children, the development ofspontaneously guiding them. Moreover, it has been noted a a range of abilities and skills and a cross-cutting educationrespect for rules and every child awaits his or her turn. Further, that the child acquires in a playful way.this game helps the attention process, eye-hand coordination As a whole, the developed games are very well accepted byand the capacity for concentration and manipulation, children, who immediately learn their handling anddeveloping at the same time the fine motor skills. understand their purposes. The games help to enhance aD. Paint and colour number of features of psychomotor development such as the Children have a whiteboard where, through infrared pencils, motor functions, coordination, laterality and temporal-spatialthey can select a range of colours and draw, either in a orientation. They also stimulate the processes of memory andspontaneous way or guided by monitors, who ask them to problem solving, as well as visual perception. Finally, it isdraw individual objects. Two children can now draw up at the worth to highlight that games favour interpersonalsame time. This year there was a canvas of reduced relationships with peers, encouraging collaboration anddimensions (1.5 m x 1.25 m). Following the success of the respect for the established rules.proof of concept, its size is increasing in order to have a large As the results of the pilot study in July prove, thescreen where up to five children could draw at the same time. developed games are complete games, which entertain children much, and that make them "learn without realizing it," as well as promote other capabilities in a transversal way. A follow-up is needed to identify, within them, which games are better accepted to promote them, as well as to modify those aspects that can make children get bored of the game, either for their difficulty or for the not adaptation to the psychological level of its age. REFERENCES  CISCO and GBN Global Business Network, “La evolución de Internet”, Fundación Telefónica Tech. Rep., Dec. 2010.  (2011) Project Enjoy.IT! website. [Online]. Available: http://www.proyectoenjoyit.es/  (2011) Escola d’Estiu website. [Online]. Available: http://www.escoladestiu.upv.es/  H. Sundmaeker, P. Guillemin, P. Friess, S. Woelfflé. Vision and Fig. 5 “Paint and colour” challenges for realising the Internet of Things. Cluster of European Research Projects on the Internet of Things, 2010. This game promotes creativity and encourages the  G. Riva, F. Vatalaro, F. Davide, M. Alcañiz. Ambient Intelligence. IOS Press, 2005development of the imagination. However, at this age an  M.A. Navarro-Salvador, A.B. Sánchez-Calzón, C. Fernández-Llatas, T.incentive must be proposed, as a sort of competition among Meneu. “Ambient Intelligence Based Architecture for Immersivethe players, for they to avoid getting bored soon. Social Entertainment”, in 2nd International Symposium on Ambient Intelligence (ISAmI 2011), paper, p. 227. V. CONCLUSIONS  M. Sánchez. Buenas Prácticas en la Creación de Serious Games (Objetos de Aprendizaje Reutilizables). Post-Proceedings del IV At the present time, the use of ICT in the teaching of Simposio Pluridisciplinar sobre Diseño, Evaluación y Desarrollo dechildren is essential because ICT are part of the daily lives of Contenidos Educativos Reutilizables, SPDECE 2007, Bilbao, Spain,children. This is why Project Enjoy.IT! aims to promote the September 19-21, 2007 2008
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