October 11, 2013

SIEGE 2013


This past weekend was this year’s SIEGE event, the gaming and interactive conference for the South, where some of our team members presented on various topics.


Mobile Device Data


Jesse Jacobson, along with Josh Skelton, gave a presentation on reading and using data from mobile devices, such as the Wiimote, the Move, and the Kinect.


Tabletop Design


Daniel Fuller and Jesse, along with Michael Shinall and Michelle Menard, covered unique challenges in designing for tabletop games, including designing rulesets, mechanics, and underlying math when there are no lines of code to drive these things. They discussed methods of using physical pieces to drive gameplay as solutions, as well as the opportunities in understanding that tabletop design provides for designers and developers.


Isometric Pipeline


Stephanie Chergi Hilario Gonzalez, along with Daniel and Jesse discussed the advantages, challenges, and solutions in the 3D to isometric pipeline deployed for The Enemy of Reason. This covered some of the issues in designing the environments and levels, interesting problems and their solutions in the animation pipeline, how we used scripts to streamline and automate processes, and ways we used specialized art and animations to create more interesting scenes.


Learning by Losing


Dov Jacobson discussed “Learning by Losing”. He observed that failure in a game challenge can provide a  highly effective learning mechanism – but only for some players. These are the gamers, who react to failure with the Mastery Response.   Others players experience a negative effect called ‘Learned Helplessness’. Dov’s seminar  explored the principles of Constructive Failure.  This is the fail that stimulates a player to pursue mastery. Dov proposed a rubric for designing a constructive fail, and demonstrated its use  within a complex learning game. This work was supported by SIRIUS Program, a multi-team research project that aims to discover game design principles that help players learn. Case study examples from this project were presented.

Games for Health




During the special Games For Health day that preceded  SIEGE,  Dov Jacobson presented Brush Up. Originally intended as an update session for scientists  who had seen Brush Up in 2012, the talk focussed on analysis of the one year longitudinal studies.

However the October government shutdown prevented participation by CDC professionals  and other public health officials. After a  quick shuffle of the slide deck, Dov presented instead  a game designer’s view of the project (which was not part of the 2012 presentation). Attendees learned of the design challenges posed by the child’s limited capacity for abstraction  and reviewed the project’s  custom made tools for exploring design and research results.


Overall it was both a successful and fun year at SIEGE. There were some enjoyable and informative panels. If you didn’t make it this year, hopefully we will see you there next year!




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