Crossmedia Game Epidemic Menace

Report about the Crossmedia Game Epidemic Menace by Jan Ohlenburg, Irma Lindt , and Uta Pankoke-Babatz is one of the PerGames 2006 paper. It describes an interesting pervasive game called "the Crossmedia Game Epidemic Menace", developed within the EU-funded IPerG project. It has already been presented at CHI2006 (see here) but the report goes into other details in terms of evaluations of the project. They used field observations done by four observers who constantly followed the players.

The evaluation was mainly based on detailed field observations. Four observers were constantly following the players, writing down their observations with respect to player-environment, player-devices, player-to-player and player-gamemaster interaction. Observers indicated time and location for each notice. Observations were combined with player feedback discussions and questionnaires. During the play test we got results with respects to the game story and game concept, the social play, the suitability of devices, and the technical aspects and game orchestration experiences. In the following we will briefly outline some of the results.

Players liked the two play-modes: stationary play in the team room and mobile play outdoors on the campus. We observed that collaboration across media and play modes worked well. Surprisingly, the speed of movement was rather high in both play modes. The speed of movement was suitable as a means to indicate high player immersion. Players easily understood the meaning and use of devices. However, it turned out that players preferred to play in pairs of two in both play modes, and that device specific roles emerged. The players liked communication and collaboration within their team and competition with the opposite team.

Why do I blog this? I like the usage of different gaming devices (running for example on mobile phones, stationary displays, mobile Augmented Reality) to engage people in a playful experience. A different set of research question arise when you have this sort of game design: how would giving different tool lead to specific roles attributions? How would this impact individual actions? group interactions? communication and actions asymmetry among teams? As you see, I am really interested in the collaborative user experience afforded by the gameplay and the artefacts. This sort of platform is then very relevant to CSCW research as we do in our projects. This kind of approach is described by Chalmers and Juhlin in "New uses for mobile pervasive games - Lessons learned for CSCW systems to support collaboration in vast work sites ".