Conference PaperPDF Available

Toward Understanding Disciplinary Divides within Games Research

Authors:

Abstract

Recent work has highlighted a notable divide in communication and collaboration between technical and social science/humanities disciplines within games research. In order to provide deeper insight around this apparent separation and underlying difference in epis-temic cultures, we interviewed experts from various communities within games research. Our findings highlight some fundamental differences in research methodologies, publication practices, and epistemic cultures that need consideration in the larger discussion around future directions of games research. We in turn utilize these differing viewpoints to consider an assortment of approaches that could potentially better address the needs of technical, social science, and humanities sub-communities within games research.
Toward Understanding Disciplinary Divides within Games
Research
Extended Abstract
Edward Melcer
New York University Tandon School of Engineering
Brooklyn, New York 11201
eddie.melcer@nyu.edu
Katherine Isbister
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California 95064
katherine.isbister@ucsc.edu
ABSTRACT
Recent work has highlighted a notable divide in communication and
collaboration between technical and social science/humanities dis-
ciplines within games research. In order to provide deeper insight
around this apparent separation and underlying dierence in epis-
temic cultures, we interviewed experts from various communities
within games research. Our ndings highlight some fundamental
dierences in research methodologies, publication practices, and
epistemic cultures that need consideration in the larger discus-
sion around future directions of games research. We in turn utilize
these diering viewpoints to consider an assortment of approaches
that could potentially better address the needs of technical, social
science, and humanities sub-communities within games research.
CCS CONCEPTS
General and reference Surveys and overviews;
KEYWORDS
Games Research, Expert Interviews, Epistemic Cultures
ACM Reference format:
Edward Melcer and Katherine Isbister. 2017. Toward Understanding Disci-
plinary Divides within Games Research. In Proceedings of FDG’17, Hyannis,
MA, USA, August 14-17, 2017, 4 pages.
https://doi.org/10.1145/3102071.3106355
1 INTRODUCTION
Recent work has highlighted a notable division in communication
and collaboration between technical and social science/humanities
communities within games research [
3
,
10
]. While limited commu-
nication and shared work between underlying disciplines is not
necessarily detrimental to the eld, understanding the causes for
disciplinary divides could help improve collaboration and ultimately
foster innovative ideas by facilitating work across disciplines on
shared problems, particularly in applied contexts [5].
One common theme underlying both the motivations for and
barriers to eectively unifying communities of games research is
the divergence of epistemic cultures. This results in dierences
Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or
classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed
for prot or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation
on the rst page. Copyrights for third-party components of this work must be honored.
For all other uses, contact the owner/author(s).
FDG’17, August 14-17, 2017, Hyannis, MA, USA
©2017 Copyright held by the owner/author(s).
ACM ISBN 978-1-4503-5319-9/17/08.
https://doi.org/10.1145/3102071.3106355
concerning publication practices, peer review, funding, methodolo-
gies, etc. required to achieve academic rigor necessary for hiring,
tenure, and promotion [
3
,
7
]. In order to improve communication
and collaboration between games research disciplines, a deeper
understanding and conversation around these dierences is useful.
This paper addresses rst steps towards that goal by presenting
ndings from interviews with seven games research experts in
social science and humanities domains (complementing prior re-
search concerning technical domains [
10
]) to highlight some key
epistemic dierences underlying the games research community.
Overall, the intention of this paper is not to make claims about or
take a position towards some "ideal" venue, discipline, or direction
for games research. Rather, we intend for these ndings to act more
as an entry point and preliminary set of fundamental considerations
toward discussion around future directions of games research.
2 RELATED WORK
2.1 Division of Games Research Disciplines
Recent work by Melcer et al. [
10
] identied key themes and sub-
communities within games research using a bibliometric study of
over 8,000 papers from 48 core games research venues. From this
data driven approach focusing on journal and conference papers,
one notable result was how little representation there was of crucial
humanities and social science focused communities that have pro-
foundly impacted games research (e.g., game studies). This likely
happened as a consequence of excluding books from the sampling
process. On the other hand, technically focused communities such
as Articial Intelligence and Interactive Narrative appeared very
clearly in the results. Thus their attempt to generate a broad picture
of the eld was not comprehensive because it did not take into ac-
count publication practices across the entire spectrum of research
practices.
In a similar vein, Deterding [
3
] recently examined game studies
through the lens of interdisciplinarity, nding that rather than be-
coming a diverse interdisciplinary eld (i.e., reciprocal interaction
between disciplines [
2
]), it is instead transitioning to a narrower
multidisciplinary one (i.e., dierent disciplines that are working
on a problem in parallel or sequentially without challenging dis-
ciplinary boundaries [
2
]). He argues that this is due in part to the
legitimization of games research to the larger academic community–
HCI and communication research are notable examples–and the
signicant barriers scholars commonly encounter in young inter-
disciplinary elds such as games studies. To address this transition,
Deterding suggested the usage of shared boundary objects and mid-
dle range theories (i.e., concepts and frameworks that can remain
FDG’17, August 14-17, 2017, Hyannis, MA, USA Edward Melcer and Katherine Isbister
discipline-specic and enable cooperative work in the absence of
larger community consensus [9]).
3 INTERVIEWS
We conducted semi-structured interviews with expert games re-
searchers in order to gain a better understanding of the dierences
in epistemic cultures within the games research community. Initial
questions covered topics such as the structure of the games research
community (e.g., “How have you seen games research change over
time? What communities have emerged?”), publication outlets (e.g.,
“Where do people in X publish?”), academic inuence (e.g., “How do
people in your disciple discuss and frame inuence?”), and keeping
up to date on current trends in the eld (e.g., “How do you keep
track of themes or trends in your eld?”). Interviews were analyzed
using a bottom up, iterative open coding approach to identify dif-
ferent categories of epistemic dierences, followed by axial coding
of these categories to identify underlying themes [11].
3.1 Participants
To better understand why crucial communities such as games stud-
ies were largely missing from the eld wide analysis by Melcer et al.
[
10
], we interviewed expert games researchers from humanities and
social science disciplines. This was done to balance Melcer et al.’s
technical focus with viewpoints from other major disciplines within
games research, providing a broader perspective on disciplinary
dierences. Seven expert games researchers (6 male and 1 female
ranging from 13 to 33 years of research experience, M=19.15) were
interviewed, with two participants from North American games
research programs and the remaining ve from European programs.
One participant was from the game history discipline and the re-
maining six were in game studies spanning topics such as game
education, ethics, game ontology, game narrative, virtual environ-
ments, and player immersion.
4 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
4.1 Dierences Across Communities
During interviews, experts identied a number of factors illustrat-
ing dissimilarities between epistemic cultures in games research.
Rather than take a position towards the validity of any one disci-
pline or epistemology, we instead present expert descriptions in
conjunction with literature discussions of these processes for both
technical and humanities/social science domains. This is done to
balance the technical approach of Melcer et al. [
10
] and oer a
broader perspective to more appropriately address the needs of a
greater number of disciplines.
4.2 Publication Practices: Conference vs. Book
All seven experts noted a drastic dierence between technical and
humanities communities in publication practices. I.e., “It depends
on the eld. If I’m looking at HCI, I’m going to look more at papers
and conferences. If I’m looking at humanities, I’ll nd some things
in papers but most of the work I will nd is going to be in books,
Expert 4 (E4).
Historically, technical communities within computer science
(e.g., HCI, computer graphics, AI/CI, etc.) have treated conferences
as the primary publication venue for research. I.e., “When I go
to a conference, I’m publishing a paper and that needs to go into
some archival place. That is the end of it; there are no steps after
that. That is what you see in Computer Science”, E1. This is due in
large part to early computer science research needing swift review
and distribution of results to keep up with the rapid growth of
the eld [
4
]. As a result, journals in computer science domains
have not reached the same levels of prestige as conferences, with
only a tiny proportion of conference papers ever being extended
for publication in a journal. This focus on conference publications,
however, is a distinctly atypical practice when compared to other
scientic communities [
13
], and presents its own set of challenges
such as skew towards short-term, deadline-driven research and a
resulting emphasis on "least-publishable units" (cf., [
4
] for more
examples).
On the other extreme, game research communities such as games
studies primarily focus on books as an end destination for published
work. Consequently, review and distribution of ideas is slower in
these communities, since books and book chapters take longer to
write than conference papers. However, to address the slower dis-
semination of concepts and trends, conferences instead become a
forum to share and discuss preliminary work/ideas. E.g., “Confer-
ences are the spaces where you present work in progress at a very
early stage, even if it’s a full paper. And from those conferences,
things will pop up that will then crystallize into books”, E3.
4.3 Formulating Ideas: Workshops vs.
Conferences
Experts also identied distinct dierences in the way the commu-
nities formulate ideas. For example, humanities scholars in game
research primarily view conferences as a means for networking and
presenting/discussing preliminary ideas, rather than as a venue in
which to present completed work. As a result, extended abstracts
and even full papers submitted to these conferences are generally
used to present work in progress. E.g. , “You go to the conference
to get feedback, then you go and x your paper, present it again,
and hope it’s better. Then it turns into a book chapter or a book,
but it won’t necessarily turn into Journal papers... That paper at
the conference means nothing, I wouldn’t even put it on my CV”,
E6.
Technical communities instead use extended abstracts, work-
shops, and poster sessions for dissemination and discussion of early
ideas. Notably, the purpose of workshops is actually twofold in that
it presents and discusses preliminary work/ideas, as well as helps
to organize new sub-communities around emerging topics. While
these forums are a prominent aspect of technically focused confer-
ences, they remain distinct from larger conference proceedings and
talks.
4.4 Methodology & Industry: Looking Forward
vs. Looking Back
Perhaps the most notable and interesting distinction that 4 of the 7
experts identied between technical and social science/humanities
disciplines was dierences in methodology and how this relates to
commercial practice in the eld of games. I.e., “So there’s a tension
Toward Understanding Disciplinary Divides within Games Research FDG’17, August 14-17, 2017, Hyannis, MA, USA
between communities within game research that want to build
things and communities that want to critically analyze things”, E2.
Domains such as game studies typically engage in a reective
practice [
14
]. Whether it is humanities scholars interested in how
games express meaning or social science researchers interested
in players and how games aect them, the methodology itself is
inherently reective and focused around contextualizing aspects of
games. As a result, with relation to industry, these domains gener-
ally look upon an existing phenomenon or game(s) to understand
their success, impacts on players, etc. As new phenomena arise in
games and play, these scholars take them up as important objects
of study.
Conversely, technically focused domains such as HCI and AI/CI
commonly embrace the notion of “building [games, algorithms, etc.]
as an argument”, E3. They attempt to look forward to shape the
technical direction and aspects around the creation of games in
industry. As a result, much of the work presented in these domains
formulates algorithms/tools (e.g., [
12
]), produces design guidelines
(e.g., [
8
]), etc., with the intention of improving future games and
the game creation process.
E1 perhaps summarizes this distinction best, “So I guess what’s
interesting about games is that a lot of what’s trending has to
do with what the industry’s doing... A lot of times in computer
science, computer science research is leading industries. And some
games research is like that, but also a lot of games research is about
discussing stu that’s already happened; trying to make sense of
why was this game interesting, why is this game so popular, or how
are people adapting how they play games to online streaming or
whatever it is. So in that sense it sort of follows rather than leads.
We believe this dierence is critical to grasp, as it serves to high-
light the synergistic possibilities of strengthening collaboration
and communication between games research disciplines. Technical
research is crucial for providing new technologies and approaches
to creating games, while humanities and social science research
is vital for contextualizing the outcomes of these games and pro-
viding a deeper understanding of ensuing phenomena. Through
strengthened collaboration and communication between these di-
verse communities, we can achieve a more holistic picture of games
and games research.
5 POTENTIAL FUTURE DIRECTIONS
In this section, we use the previously outlined dierences/considerations
to present pros and cons for a few dierent approaches that could
be taken to address future directions of games research. This is
not an exhaustive or denitive list of approaches, but instead is
used to provide examples of how the preliminary considerations of-
fered in this paper can be utilized to brainstorm ideas and facilitate
discussion.
5.1 Creation of a Subject (Games Research)
Repository?
If a primary concern we wish to address moving forward is lack
of a shared body of writing, one option is the creation of a Subject
Repository (SR) for games research. Existing examples include arXiv
for physics disciplines, the Social Science Research Network (SSRN),
and Research Papers in Economics (RePEc). SRs provide an open
access approach to archiving papers at a variety of stages, ranging
from preprint working papers and submitted manuscripts to post-
print accepted manuscripts and published articles [
1
]. Through cir-
culation at an early (preprint) stage, authors are able to receive and
incorporate comments into the nal paper version before publica-
tion, while postprint work provides complete and eshed out ideas
in a more central and publicly accessible forum. Such an approach
would create a central location for sharing games research, address
technical communities’ needs for rapid dissemination of work, and
address humanities and social science communities’ needs for early
idea formulation and discussion. However, SRs do not provide the
peer review of traditional venues and therefore cannot verify the
legitimacy or relevance of presented work to other academic dis-
ciplines [
6
]. Furthermore, it is unlikely that scholars will archive
portions or all of their books, which could exclude a large amount of
research occurring in humanities and social science communities.
5.2 Merge Existing Conferences?
Another possible direction for games research is to merge existing
venues to create broader and more interdisciplinary reach. This
was recently initiated with the 1st international joint conference of
DiGRA and FDG, which notably separated after just one year. It is
possible that this divergence highlights the diculty of combining
two epistemologically distinct communities, due to the dierences
in research practice previously noted in this paper. We assert that
any future merged venues will need to strongly consider the funda-
mental epistemic dierences between games research disciplines
when it comes to idea formulation/discussion and publication prac-
tices, as these ultimately aect peer review and the perceived quality
of accepted research.
A variety of approaches could be taken to address the humanities
and social science communities’ need to present, discuss, and formu-
late early stage work at conferences, while balancing the technical
communities’ need for rigorous peer review and quality conference
publications. In the loosest sense of “merge”, conferences could be
co-located to share organizational logistics and space but remain
separate for peer review and presentations (similar to SIGGRAPH’s
co-location option
1
). This would maintain existing review and con-
ference standards for both communities, but could also somewhat
undermine the intent for stronger communication and collabora-
tion by separating everything other than shared space. Another
approach would be for both communities to mutually adopt some
of the other’s practices. One example could be through a shift in
conference review process to that of an accelerated journal review
for technical communities (aording further rigor and more dis-
cussion between reviewers and authors), while having a stronger
adoption of idea formulation/discussion through extended abstracts
in the form of poster presentations and workshops for the human-
ities and social science communities. However, this still requires
acceptance of changes to the status quo for rigor and publication
practices within scholars’ home disciplines, which in itself presents
numerous additional challenges.
1http://www.siggraph.org/attend/co-locating-symposium-or-conference-siggraph
FDG’17, August 14-17, 2017, Hyannis, MA, USA Edward Melcer and Katherine Isbister
5.3 Conference with Journal-Integrated Model?
Considering that journals are the primary form of overlap in terms
of peer review and acceptance for most communities, another fea-
sible approach would be for a conference to adopt a more journal-
centric publication model; as this would help bridge communica-
tion/collaboration needs and review quality. One existing example
of this is DiGRA’s conference-rst model where “best” conference
papers are invited for submission to the ToDiGRA journal. However,
this does not directly impact the quality of papers presented at the
venue since it does not inuence the conference peer review process.
Conversely, in a journal-integrated model, conferences oer an ad-
ditional form of submission that is similar to the journal review
process with author revision and re-review by the same reviewers as
well as post-event acceptance in the journal (e.g., SIGGRAPH/TOG
and CHI/TOCHI). While this does provide an additional avenue
of communication and rigor for all communities, it also does not
address the issues of idea formulation/discussion and quality in
other forms of submission (e.g., full paper, short paper, etc.). Those
would require separate considerations and adjustments through
other changes to a venue’s structure.
6 LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE WORK
We are inherently limited in the breadth and generalizability of
our claims due to the small number of experts interviewed and
resulting inability to analyze every community situated within
games research. However, while the insights presented here may
not map perfectly to every community conducting games research,
these ndings can serve as an entry point for a larger conversation
around the future direction of games research. E.g., if we seek
to improve communication within games research, how should
we structure it in a way that addresses the complex and varied
needs of its many dierent disciplines? We hope the considerations
presented here can help to serve as a discussion point and initial
guide for next steps concerning these complex issues.
For future work, we plan to utilize surveys in order to more easily
reach a larger number of games research communities and provide
a more comprehensive picture of epistemic dierences/needs.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank the scholars who kindly volun-
teered their time to participate in interviews. We would also like to
thank everyone in the Social Emotional Technology lab at UCSC
for their valuable time and feedback on this work.
REFERENCES
[1]
Bo-Christer Björk, Mikael Laakso, Patrik Welling, and Patrik Paetau. 2014.
Anatomy of green open access. Journal of the Association for Information Science
and Technology 65, 2 (2014), 237–250.
[2]
Bernard C K Choi and Anita W P Pak. 2006. Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinar-
ity and transdisciplinarity in health research, services, education and policy: 1.
Denitions, objectives, and evidence of eectiveness. Clinical and investigative
medicine 29, 6 (2006), 351–364.
[3]
S. Deterding. 2016. The Pyrrhic Victory of Game Studies: Assessing the Past,
Present, and Future of Interdisciplinary Game Research. Games and Culture
Published online before print September 1, 2016 (2016), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.
1177/1555412016665067
[4]
Lance Fortnow. 2009. Viewpoint: Time for computer science to grow up. Commun.
ACM 52, 8 (2009), 33–35.
[5]
Robert Frodeman. 2010. Introduction. In The Oxford handbook of interdisciplinar-
ity. Oxford University Press, xxixâĂŞxxxix.
[6]
Kristrun Gunnarsdottir. 2005. Scientic journal publications: On the role of
electronic preprint exchange in the distribution of scientic literature. Social
Studies of Science 35, 4 (2005), 549–579.
[7]
J. B. Holbrook. 2010. Peer review. In The Oxford handbook of interdisciplinarity.
321–332.
[8]
Katherine Isbister and Florian âĂIJFloydâĂİ Mueller. 2015. Guidelines for the
design of movement-based games and their relevance to HCI. Human–Computer
Interaction 30, 3-4 (2015), 366–399.
[9]
Susan Leigh Star. 2010. This is not a boundary object: Reections on the origin
of a concept. Science, Technology, & Human Values 35, 5 (2010), 601–617.
[10]
Edward Melcer, Truong-Huy Dinh Nguyen, Zhengxing Chen, Alessandro
Canossa, Magy Seif El-Nasr, and Katherine Isbister. 2015. Games Research Today:
Analyzing the Academic Landscape 2000-2014. In Foundations of Digital Games
(FDG). Pacic Grove, CA.
[11] Johnny Saldaña. 2015. The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Sage.
[12]
Noor Shaker, Julian Togelius, and M Nelson. 2014. Procedural Content Generation
In Games. Springer.
[13]
Moshe Y. Vardi. 2009. Conferences vs. journals in computing research. Commun.
ACM 52, 5 (2009), 5. https://doi.org/10.1145/1506409.1506410
[14]
Annika Waern and Jose Zagal. 2013. Introduction. Transactions of the Digital
Games Research Association 1, 1 (2013), 1–2.
... Games are notable among artistic media in that the interactive systems underlying them can often be precisely defined. This has enabled great mathematical progress in understanding game-centric decision-making processes, through efforts in game theory and artificial intelligence (AI) (e.g., [1]), but this progress has been largely isolated from other, "softer" subfields of game studies [2], [3]. In particular, little mathematical attention has been given to questions of game design, even while the methods and vocabulary used by designers has become increasingly sophisticated and systematic (e.g., [4]- [8]). ...
... These chance edges lead to new state nodes. State nodes may be further subdivided into single-player nodes, in which only one player has legal decisions available (the node belongs to that player); multiplayer nodes, in which multiple players have legal Algorithm 2: Game Tree Construction, for τ (G|s 0 ) 1 Draw a root node, assigned the initial state s 0 . 2 While not all leaves have assigned outcomes, repeat: 3 For each leaf node w in the current tree, with assigned state s(w) but no assigned outcome, do the following: 4 Let s = s(w). If s ∈ S ter , then assign the outcome Ω(s) to w, and stop for node w. ...
Preprint
We develop methods to formally describe and compare games, in order to probe questions of game structure and design, and as a stepping stone to predicting player behavior from design patterns. We define a grammar-like formalism to describe finite discrete games without hidden information, allowing for randomness, and mixed sequential and simultaneous play. We make minimal assumptions about the form or content of game rules or user interface. The associated game trees resemble hybrid extensive- and strategic-form games, in the game theory sense. By transforming and comparing game trees, we develop equivalence relations on the space of game systems, which equate games that give players the same meaningful agency. We bring these together to suggest a method to measure distance between games, insensitive to cosmetic variations in the game logic descriptions.
... Games are distinct among artistic media in that the interactive systems underlying them can often be precisely de-fined. This has enabled great mathematical progress in understanding game-centric decision-making processes, through efforts in game theory and artificial intelligence (AI) (e.g., [7]), but this progress has been largely isolated from other, "softer" subfields of game studies and design [8,9]. This definability of games, however, could also be used to formally explore questions of interest to those softer subfields: What makes a game broken, or balanced, or hyper-competitive? ...
Preprint
We propose the study of mathematical ludology, which aims to formally interrogate questions of interest to game studies and game design in particular. The goal is to extend our mathematical understanding of complex games beyond decision-making---the typical focus of game theory and artificial intelligence efforts---to explore other aspects such as game mechanics, structure, relationships between games, and connections between game rules and user-interfaces, as well as exploring related gameplay phenomena and typical player behavior. In this paper, we build a basic foundation for this line of study by developing a hierarchy of game descriptions, mathematical formalism to compactly describe complex discrete games, and equivalence relations on the space of game systems.
Conference Paper
Faculty in the fields of games and interactive media face significant challenges in publishing and documenting their scholarly work for evaluation in the tenure and promotion process. These challenges include selecting appropriate publication venues and assigning authorship for works spanning multiple disciplines; archiving and accurately citing collaborative digital projects; and redefining "peer review," impact, and dissemination in the context of creative digital works. In this paper I describe many of these challenges, and suggest several potential solutions.
Article
Within Entertainment Computing, games research has grown to be its own area, with numerous publication venues dedicated to it. As this area evolves, it is fruitful to examine its overall development—which subcommunities and research interests were present from the start, which have come and gone, and which are currently active—to better understand the research community as a whole and where it may proceed. In this paper, we present a data-driven analysis and interactive visualization tool to shed light on how technical domains within the games research field have evolved from 2000 - 2013, based on publication data from over 8,000 articles collected from 48 games research venues, including Entertainment Computing, FDG, AIIDE, and DiGRA. The approach we present is descriptive. We first used data mining algorithms to group related papers into clusters of similar research topics and evolve these clusters over time. We then designed an interactive visualization system, named Seagull, comprised of Sankey diagrams that allow us to interactively visualize and examine the transition and coalescing of different clusters across time. We present our descriptive analysis in this paper and also contribute the visualization interface to allow other researchers to examine the data and develop their own analysis.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we present an analysis of the academic landscape of games research from the last 15 years. We employed a data driven approach utilizing co-word and co-venue analysis on 48 core venues to identify 20 major research themes and 7 distinct communities, with a total of 8,207 articles and 21,552 unique keywords being analyzed. Strategic diagrams and network maps are applied to visualize and further understand interrelationships and underlying trends within the field.
Article
Full-text available
Open access (OA) is free, unrestricted access to electronic versions of scholarly publications. For peer-reviewed journal articles, there are two main routes to OA: publishing in OA journals (gold OA) or archiving of article copies or manuscripts at other web locations (green OA). This study focuses on summarizing and extending current knowledge about green OA. A synthesis of previous studies indicates that green OA coverage of all published journal articles is approximately 12%, with substantial disciplinary variation. Typically, green OA copies become available after considerable time delays, partly caused by publisher-imposed embargo periods, and partly by author tendencies to archive manuscripts only periodically. Although green OA copies should ideally be archived in proper repositories, a large share is stored on home pages and similar locations, with no assurance of long-term preservation. Often such locations contain exact copies of published articles, which may infringe on the publisher's exclusive rights. The technical foundation for green OA uploading is becoming increasingly solid largely due to the rapid increase in the number of institutional repositories. The number of articles within the scope of OA mandates, which strongly influence the self-archival rate of articles, is nevertheless still low.
Article
Full-text available
The scientific community has begun using new information and communication technologies to increase the efficiency with which publications are disseminated. The trend is most marked in some areas of physics, where research papers are first circulated in the form of electronic unrefereed preprints through a service known as arXiv. In the first half of this paper, I explain how arXiv works, and describe the conceptual backstage and its growing influence. I will look at the motives behind the developing technologies and focus on the views of promoters and makers of the system. In the second half of the paper, I look at the eventual fate of papers initially circulated with arXiv. While it is argued that preprints are sufficient for the everyday scientific practice, nearly every paper in some specialities finds its way into formally peer-reviewed journals and proceedings. I argue that the continuation of traditional publication practices, in spite of their costs and inefficiencies when compared with arXiv, suggests that formally certified publication still has important roles. Certified publication verifies the relevance of scientific work and establishes professional credentials in the outer rings of the community, whose members are not sufficiently embedded in esoteric networks to make appropriate judgements on the basis of reading papers in isolation, or even through consultation. © SSS and SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks CA, New Delhi).
Book
This book presents the most up-to-date coverage of procedural content generation (PCG) for games, specifically the procedural generation of levels, landscapes, items, rules, quests, or other types of content. Each chapter explains an algorithm type or domain, including fractal methods, grammar-based methods, search-based and evolutionary methods, constraint-based methods, and narrative, terrain, and dungeon generation. The authors are active academic researchers and game developers, and the book is appropriate for undergraduate and graduate students of courses on games and creativity; game developers who want to learn new methods for content generation; and researchers in related areas of artificial intelligence and computational intelligence.
Article
Although game studies are widely viewed as an interdisciplinary field, it is unclear how interdisciplinary they actually are. In response, this article reads scientometric data and game studies editorials, handbooks and introductions through the lens of interdisciplinarity studies to assess game studies’ status as an interdiscipline. It argues that game studies show drivers and hurdles typical for interdisciplines. Yet instead of establishing themselves as the broad umbrella interdiscipline of digital game research, they are becoming one narrow cultural studies multidiscipline within the growing and diversifying field of game research and education. Researchers from fields like human-computer interaction or communication are abandoning game studies venues in favor of disciplinary ones – ironically thanks to game studies legitimizing game research. The article suggests that a design orientation and cross-disciplinary boundary objects such as middle range theories could help to broaden, deepen, and secure future interdisciplinary game research.
Chapter
Dunes is the first book in over a decade to incorporate the latest research in this active and fast-developing field. It discusses the shapes, sizes, patterns, distribution, history and care of wind-blown dunes, and covers all aspects of dunes, terrestrial and in the Solar System. • The only book to cover all dunes, terrestrial and in the Solar System, in deserts, on coasts, and in the past • Represents the most current update on the research of dunes for over a decade • Incorporates the latest research to come out of China where the field is most rapidly expanding • Discusses the most recent range of skills and technology now focused on the study of dunes • Brings up-to-date a rapidly expanding field.
Article
Movement-based digital games are becoming increasingly popular, yet there is limited comprehensive guidance on how to design these games. In this article we discuss a set of guidelines for movement-based game design that were initially presented at CHI 2014 (Mueller & Isbister, 2014). These guidelines were developed through reflection upon our research-based game development practice and then validated and refined through interviews with 14 movement-based game design experts with experience in the academic, independent, and commercial game development domains. In this article, we provide an in-depth contextualization and explanation of the research process that led to the creation of the final guidelines and discuss what human-computer interaction researchers and designers might learn from the guidelines beyond entertainment contexts. The primary contribution of this research is a body of generative intermediate-level knowledge (Höök & Löwgren, 2012) in the design research tradition that is readily accessible and actionable for the design of future movement-based games and other movement-based interfaces.
Article
There are three components to boundary objects as outlined in the original 1989 article. Interpretive flexibility, the structure of informatic and work process needs and arrangements, and, finally, the dynamic between ill-structured and more tailored uses of the objects. Much of the use of the concept has concentrated on the aspect of interpretive flexibility and has often mistaken or conflated this flexibility with the process of tacking back-and-forth between the ill-structured and well-structured aspects of the arrangements. Boundary objects are not useful at just any level of scale or without full consideration of the entire model. The article discusses these aspects of the architecture of boundary objects and includes a discussion of one of the ways that boundary objects appeared as a concept in earlier work done by Star. It concludes with methodological considerations about how to study the system of boundary objects and infrastructure.