Tandem Transformational Game Design

About 

Tandem Transformational Game Design is a game design process framework. This project’s goal is to help teams making transformational games maximize every team member’s contribution, deeply ground their prototypes in theory, and have a clearer, more-shared game vision throughout their process. Tandem Design focuses on making to reflect and iterating on theory and related transformational goals.

Tandem Design consists of two cyclical sub-processes : Game-Driven Goal Delineation and Goal-Driven Game Design. These sub-processes intersect at Alignment. Goal Delineation involves defining your goals and grounding those goals in related literature. Game Design involves making prototypes and playtesting those prototypes. Alignment involves evaluating both your game and research artifacts and align your team’s orientation around your project.

If you are interested in using the materials associated with Tandem Design, please reach out to Alexandra To.

Publications

Tandem Transformational Game Design: A Game Design Process Case Study. In Proc. Meaningful Play 2016. To, A., Fath, E., Zhang, E., Ali, S., Kildunne, C., Fan, A., Hammer, J., Kaufman, G. (2016)

People

Alexandra To
Jessica Hammer
Geoff Kaufman
Elaine Fath
Eda Zhang
Safinah Ali
Catherine Kildunne
Anny Fan

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Sensing Curiosity in Play and Responding (SCIPR)

First to Launch.JPG
First to Launch

 

Combinations.JPG
Combinations

About

The SCIPR (Sensing Curiosity in Play and Responding) project focuses on designing tabletop games that work as interventions to empower marginalized youth. Our games are specifically designed to increase curiosity as a way to increase comfort and skills for students who are marginalized in STEM classrooms and inoculate these students from being prematurely off-ramped from potential futures in STEM.

For this project we have iteratively prototyped four different playable tabletop games, each with different but interrelated transformational curiosity goals.

  • Outbreak – a collaborative question-asking and hypothesis-building board game about comfort with failure
  • First to Launch –  a competitive team game about hypothesis building and comfort with voicing uncertainty
  • Combinations –  an asymmetric card-matching logic game with hidden information designed around misattribution of arousal and uncertainty
  • Alter Egos – a role-playing game about growth mindset

In designing these games, we used a method we developed called Tandem Transformational Game Design (learn more about Tandem here http://tandemdesign.strikingly.com/) which leverages the strengths of interdisciplinary teams and has a dual focus on theoretical and physical iteration. Specifically, we spent three months play-testing and co-designing these games with local middle school students in Pittsburgh. These students were of diverse backgrounds, with socio-economic status, race and gender being the main axes of diversity. We worked with students at the Homewood YMCA, Carnegie Science Center and PRYSE. As a result of this work, Outbreak was presented with two game design awards at Meaningful Play 2016.

Finally in addition to these methodological and artifact contributions, we have also had theoretical contributions arise from this work including pulling together game design and curiosity theory as well as creating design models for curiosity.

If you are interested in working on this project, please reach out to Alexandra To.

Publications

  1. Modeling and Designing for Key Elements of Curiosity: Risking Failure, Valuing Questions. In Proc. DiGRA 2017. To, A., Holmes, J., Fath, E., Zhang, E., Kaufman, G., Hammer, J. (2017)
  2. Scaffolding Conversation through the Design and Implementation of Board Games. In Proc. DiGRA 2017 Boardgame Studies Round Table Workshop. To, A., Kaufman, G., Hammer, J. (2017).
  3. Designing Affective Supports for Curiosity in Games. In Proc. CHI ’17 Designing for Curiosity Workshop. To, A., Kaufman, G., Hammer, J. 2017.
  4. Tandem Transformational Game Design: A Game Design Process Case Study. In Proc. Meaningful Play 2016. To, A., Fath, E., Zhang, E., Ali, S., Kildunne, C., Fan, A., Hammer, J., Kaufman, G. (2016).
  5. Treehouse Dreams: A Game-Based Method for Eliciting Interview Data from Children. In Proc. CHI Play 2016. To, A., Fan, A., Kildunne, C., Zhang, E., Kaufman, G., Hammer, J. (2016).
  6. Integrating Curiosity and Uncertainty in Game Design. In Proc. DiGRA/FDG 2016. To, A., Ali, S., Kaufman, G., Hammer, J. (2016).

Awards

Best Student Non-Digital Game, “Outbreak”, Meaningful Play 2016
People’s Choice Game, “Outbreak”, Meaningful Play 2016

People

Alexandra To
Jessica Hammer
Geoff Kaufman
Elaine Fath
Safinah Ali
Jarrek Holmes
Catherine Kildunne
Anny Fan
Allison Mui
Arlex Gole
Eda Zhang
Justus Hibshman
Daniel Hua
JiaQi Wang
Siyuan Tu

Collaborators

Articulab
MultiComp Lab

Funding

Heinz Foundation

Audience Participation Games (APG)

The reach and popularity of livestreaming platforms, such as Twitch, Youtube Gaming, and Hitbox,  is on the rise, with 292 billion minutes watched on Twitch alone in 2016. These platforms allow users to stream themselves playing games while interacting with a live audience. While most audience interactions are purely social, a small but growing number of games allow for livestreamed audiences to participate in gameplay. This project investigates these Audience Participation Games (APGs) technically, socially, and through game design.

We are developing games that use livestreamed audience participation, at a range of fidelities from design sketches to fully-playable prototypes. See our games under development.

We are creating technical tools that support the development of APGs, as well as curricula to help new designers work in this space. See the tools we have developed; see our curriculum and course materials.

We are studying player motivation and behavior in APGs, including understanding the impact of participation on streamer popularity and reasons why audience members choose to participate. Read our papers.

The APG project is led by Jessica Hammer in collaboration with Chris Klug, Jeff Bigham, and Saiph Savage. The project is funded by Amazon.