05 October 2010

[Conf] Notes from an NSF workshop about CGVW

This workshop focused on computer games and virtual worlds (CGVW) and gathered researchers in the STEM field and arts.

Notable positions

Some interesting points from position speakers.

Speaker Desc.
Boellstorff WoW is not overstudied, but there is a hype cycle. Making a distinction between computer games and virtual worlds. Impossible to research the future.
Hayes Learning is part problem solving (provided by current computer games) and part sociocultural (provided by multiuser virtual worlds).
Kesselman WoW is not revolutionary, it is just polish and history. Limited resources for many players is a bad game mechanic, it is frustrating.
Wright There are few social theories/framwework to explain why VW are so popular. It may be worth studying the impact of CGVW software on exclusion, relations between children and adults, cooperation and conflicts between players, and the reproduction of real-life social inequities in CGVW.
White Scripting languages can be used by professional game designers; in that case, it is pre-architected. If it is UGC, it is certainly buggy and possibly harmful. In some cases, the system limits the design (ex: 8bit consoles, Racing the Beam from Bogost) but in others, current designs do not yet use the full potential of the systems on which they are built (ex: augmented reality is still nascent).
Wardrip-Fruin Close-reading (in media studies) goes hand-in-hand with rapid and agile prototyping.

Working Groups

I found the 6 working groups to reflect well the domains currently implied in CGVW research. Here they are, taken from the workshop slides.

Title Desc.
Advanced GGVW Technologies AI, scripting, narrative and emergent systems, procedural and non-procedural content generation, avatar generation and customization, world building kits, etc.
Anthropological, Behavioral, Sociological Studies of CGVW ethnographic studies of CGVW, work-versus-play or work-as-play or play-as-work, patterns of migration across CGVW, CGVW in complex enterprise settings, research methods for studying CGVW,
CGVW for Science, Health, Environment, Energy, Defense CGVW as research tools or infrastructure for R&D in other scientific, industrial, or government domains, etc.
Education and Learning with CGVW how CGVW facilitate or inhibit learning in formal or informal education settings, play as learning, CGVW for STEM and Humanities learning, etc.
CGVW Systems Technologies multi-core and many core processors, computer graphics hardware and software, networking, databases, language design, sensors, etc.
Media, History, Culture and Art of CGVW CGVW as media, art, literature and expressive forms of social critique; new literacies, creativity with or through CGVW, etc.

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