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Instructor-led course

Provided by: Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

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The Engaged Researcher Online Training: Game Changers - Using Game Design to Promote Playful Engagement with Academic Research


What might your research project look like if it were presented as a video game? What rules would structure a board game based on your work? What toys could you make to encourage people to play with your key concepts? This session introduces the basics of game design and models a method for identifying the rules and mechanics that structure playful experiences. Using a series of case studies, we will examine the intersection between academic research and game design, and discuss how playful thinking can facilitate innovation, experimentation, and sustained engagement.

Target audience

PGR students and academic and professional staff


Please acquaint yourself with a minimum of 3 of the following free browser games: - You are Jeff Bezos (15 mins) - Novena (15 mins) - Quick, Draw! (2 mins) - 3rd World Farmer (endless play) - Dys4ia (20 mins) - Fake it to make it (endless play) - A Dark Room (endless play) - Queers in love at the end of the world (2 mins) - Hair, Nah (10 mins) - Depression Quest (45 mins)


Participants of this course will think critically about the place of ‘play’ and games in our research practice. Use the tools of game design to devise a set of carefully balanced ‘rules’ that express particular aspects of our research project. Determine what kind of player experience we would like to elicit and then understand how to achieve this type of engagement through combining aesthetics and mechanics. Generate ideas for interactive research outputs that go beyond traditional formats and platforms. Participants will produce a pitch and/or prototype for a game based on your research. Be able to articulate the purpose and value of this game as a research output and as a tool for public engagement.




Weeklong course:

Monday	3-5	The first session will examine a selection of case studies in which academic research has been expressed through video games. The course leader will give a short presentation about four very different games that were developed in conjunction with academic researchers. 
Wednesday	3-5	In the following session, the course leader will introduce some basic practical approaches to game design, encouraging participants to respond to prompts using examples drawn from their own research. Participants will then be introduced to two free examples of game design software - Bitsy and Twine - as well as a range of resources designed to initiate new game creators. 
Friday	3-5	The final session will focus on how digital games can be used for public outreach, as teaching resources for online lessons, and as tools to gather data. Participants will have the opportunity to share pitches and drafts of research-based ludic interactions they have developed during the sessions, and to receive feedback from the course leader and other participants. 

Events available