Games are a great objective for research on tangible and embodied interaction as they not only have a long tradition in both the analogue and the digital game domain; they also perfectly represent the tangible and the embodiment through the nature of game play. In this Studio, we will go beyond the analogue characteristics of board games, not just by adding a visual digital layer, but by examining new game play mechanics for board games through digital technology. We will do this by introducing a new role in board games as an immersed ‘character’ in the game. For this, we use a very specific technology (virtual reality live streaming from a miniature perspective) as a new lens on (existing) board games. Through experimentation with and exploration of existing board games through this new lens, we will conceptualize and prototype game play mechanics for this new notion of game participation.
board games; virtual reality; hybrid games; perspectives;
In this Studio, we will examine new game play mechanics for board games by initially introducing a new role in board games as an immersed ‘character’ (or ‘meeple’: a small figure with a stylized human form, used as a playing piece in certain board games) in the game. For this, we use a very specific technology (virtual reality live streaming from a miniature perspective) as a new lens on (existing) board games. The aim is to foster research on hybrid gaming, which combines the tangible, virtual, digital, tactile and social aspects of gameplay. The organizers will pre-select different games to be played and explored throughout the studio. This selection will be based on different cooperative or competitive game mechanics, different approaches to components and materiality, various turn structures and timings, as well as diverse player roles. Participants are also invited to bring their own (selection of) board games.
The organizers will provide 360°-cameras with the ability to live stream, and head-mounted devices through which these streams can be watched. Starting out from ‘general‘ game play, we will challenge the participants to introduce the camera to their game and assess the way the game play mechanics are – or could be – altered by introducing this new perspective. Participants will be encouraged to explore different roles in board games, ranging from passive bystander (e.g., the dealer in poker), to constructive game component (e.g., dice, blocks from Jenga) to active participation (e.g., the ‘meeple’ in Carcasonne).
Throughout the Studio, participants will explore games in two rounds. The participants will be introduced to a range of different games styles and mechanics through a play session. Following these explorations, the Studio participants are encouraged to create new board game concepts and game play mechanics, starting from the perspective of a character in a board game. The participants will then prototype their game, incorporating the knowledge they have gathered earlier about different game types and mechanics. Throughout the ideation and prototyping stages, the organizers will reflect with the participants on the game mechanics that work (and do not work) from a meeple’s point of view. By starting with an immersed perspective, the participants will be challenged to use the VR technology as a design material, rather than a visual layer, added on top of the existing game play in later stages of the design of a board game.
Game Play Mechanics. The organizers will give an intro- duction to ’modern’ board games and highlights of different genres. Thereby, participants will learn about, games that follow innovative perspectives on materiality and physical game components, unusual social interactions as well as general design considerations when it comes to game mechanics.
Hybrid Games. We will further discuss existing products and concepts of board games that incorporate technology, therefore being considered hybrid. Approaches such as externalizing computation from players to a smart phone, assistance for randomized board setups, narration and rules introduction, will be discussed. In doing so, we also highlight technical aspects and related design consideration.
Introduction to VR live streaming and VVVV. We will provide participants with the hardware and software necessities to explore VR live streaming on the spot. Additionally, participants will be introduced to VVVV, a visual programming environment. Getting started with VVVV is low- threshold, and we are confident that participants from any programming skill-level will be able to apply the software in their projects.
Constructive Design Strategies for VR. In the Studio, we will take a bottom-up approach to design strategies for VR. We will start from the introduction of a new technology, and move quickly into paper prototyping, so that participants – regardless of prototyping skill level or knowledge about VR – can benefit from the new perspectives introduced to them in this Studio.
We seek tinkerers, programmers, makers, gamers, and anyone interested in tangible interaction and the opportunities of virtual reality (live streaming) to come join this Studio. At the end of this one-day Studio, participants – from all skill levels – will be (introduced to and) more familiar with the medium of Virtual Reality, and have new tools at their disposal to incorporate this technology in their work. Participants will further have experienced hybrid game play and deeper explored VR live stream games. They will have explored novel game design ideas and will present concepts (and prototypes) of new, hybrid board games that incorporate the virtual perspective from the get-go. We will reflect on the possibilities and limitations that this specific technology introduces into the design and game play mechanics of board games, as well as on the opportunities and obstacles that come with the development of hybrid board games in general.
Studio Date: 17. March 2019
Main Conference Date: 17.-20. March 2019
Conference Location: Tempe, AZ, USA
To take part in the workshop, you can simply sign up for it when registering for the conference.
Dorothé Smit is a researcher at the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Salzburg. In her dissertation, she focuses on embodied sensemaking in uncommon situations, such as virtual reality, dislocated interaction, and second language conversations. She has a track record of publishing at multiple TEI venues.
Bernhard Maurer is a researcher at the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Salzburg, working on the topics of interaction design for games, tangible user interfaces and eye-based interaction. In his research he explores the meaning and function of diverse forms of embodiment in play. He was involved in organizing a range of conference workshops and events at, e.g., CHIPlay’18, CHI’16 and Persuasive Technology Conference’16.
Martin Murer is Senior Scientist at the Center for Human-Computer Interaction. His research focuses on ‘Making things Apart’, the art and science of learning through making and unmaking. Martin has also published at TEI several times, and has experience organising workshops and studios for several conferences, including TEI, CHI, and DIS. Last year, he was Studio Co-Chair at TEI in Stockholm.
Jens Reinhardt is PhD student on the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. His current research focuses on crowded situations in which a large number of participants visiting multi-user virtual reality (VR) simultaneously and on the maintenance of physical laws in VR. Jens receives his degree in computer science in 2006 from the Berlin University of Applied Sciences.
Katrin Wolf is a professor for Media Informatics at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. Her research interests lie at the intersection of human-computer interaction and interaction design, focusing on how to make novel technologies more usable and useful. To date, Katrin’s research has focused on technologies and domains including mobile and wearable systems; virtual, augmented and mixed reality, as well as interactive exhibitions.