Arguing on the Holodeck

A CHI Play 2017 Workshop on

Designing Immersive Interactive

Entertainment with Persuasive Intent

Summary

Important Dates

August 14, 2017  Submission Deadline
August 28, 2017 Acceptance Notification
October 7, 2017 Last-Minute Participation
October 14, 2017 Workshop

Location

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Fee

€150,-, or  €50,- for ACM CHI Play 2017 Visitors. Participants of the workshop receive free access to the Persuasive Gaming Conference on October the 15th (limited seats, first comes first served!)

Workshop Focus

Games are designed with different objectives in mind, some primarily for entertainment, others also to educate, motivate or persuade its players. Games with the latter objective, that of persuasion, are designed not only to be entertaining, but also with the intent to shape how players think and feel about issues in reality. However, despite the growing interest in persuasive games, with particularly those using immersive technologies, we still lack the design insights and strategies that support their production. With the ‘Arguing on the Holodeck’ workshop we aim to address this issue.

Workshop Approach

With this hands-on design-oriented workshop we bring together academic and industry experts to advance persuasive game design. Together we explore traditional and contemporary design opportunities for (immersive) persuasive games, and subsequently generate exemplar work, best-practices and design strategies through making, play-testing and reflecting.

Example of a Mixed Reality game with Persuasive Intent: A Breathtaking Journey

Introduction

Background

About a decade ago Bogost, grounded in Murray’s concept of procedurality [18], pointed at the unique persuasive properties of games, coining ‘procedural rhetoric’. Procedural rhetoric is seen as “the art of persuasion through rule-based representations and interactions rather than the spoken word, writing, images or moving pictures” [4]. Through rules and procedures, in particular how simulations play out, games can covertly present players with enthymemes framed to tell something about issues in reality. A classic example of a persuasive game is Darfur is Dying; a “viral video game for change” that “was created in 2006 to put you [the player] in the shoes of a displaced Darfurian refugee” [20]. And as Bogost’s work suggested, the interactive component of the game has indeed shown to improve its persuasive capacity [19,25]. In the same vein we see that empathy can be used as a persuasive appeal [23], with games being particularly interesting for their role-taking affordances [19]. And as Boltz et al. [5] argue, “well-designed empathy games can also encourage us [the players] to evaluate choices and consequences, and to question the system a game represents”.

Several scholars have also pointed at the more holistic persuasive potency of immersive experiences [2,7,12,14,15], possibly resulting in a similar ‘suspension of disbelief’ known from narrative persuasion [6], in which the player is so deeply engaged with the content that she is less inclined to think critically about presented arguments.

Novel Opportunities

A decade after Bogost’s seminal work on persuasive games the objective to ‘put the player in the shoes of someone else’ as means to raise empathy and shape attitudes, is still very much alive. Artists like Milk [17] have already dubbed virtual reality (VR) the “ultimate empathy machine”, and situated at the crossroads of procedurality, empathy, and presence we see an increasing interest in ‘immersive persuasive games’. This is exemplified with recent projects like Project Syria [8], DeathTolls Experience [9] and A Breathtaking Journey [14], which, just like Darfur is Dying, are designed with the intent to raise empathy and shape attitudes towards refugees. 

Workshop

With this hands-on design-oriented workshop we bring together academic and industry experts to advance persuasive game design. We explore traditional and contemporary design opportunities for (immersive) persuasive games, and subsequently generate best-practices and design strategies through making, play-testing and reflecting. This workshop will be held as a single-day event and is organized around a series of guided iterative design cycles. No technical or game design experience is required as we use physical prototyping techniques, balance the teams in advance, and provide support by academic and industry experts (from 11 bit studios [1], FourceLabs [11] and Ludomotion [26]). 

Workshop Planning

Below you will find a preliminary planning for the workshop including the presentation of submitted abstracts, argument iterative prototyping, reflection, and formulation of best-practices and design strategies for persuasive game design.

09:00 - 09:20 | Introduction to Workshop

9:20 - 10:30 | Pecha Kucha

After a brief introduction to the workshop, we ask each participant to present a PechaKucha presentation [13] based on their submitted abstract; including a short biography, their work, and the outlined design opportunities or issues. As a group, we will summarize the opportunities or issues, which will serve as input for the design sessions.

10:30 - 10:50 | Presentation by Wojciech Setlak

Wojciech Setlak is writer at 11 bit studios and worked on the award-winning games ‘This War of Mine’ and ‘This War of Mine: The Little Ones’. In his presentation, he wil provide us with insight into the development of both games and shares some tips and tricks to design games with a message.

10:50 - 12:00 | Attitude Mapping and Ideation

We divide the group into teams of 3 participants. Each team will receive a document outlining the topic and persuasive message; including background stories, a persuasive game design toolkit and prototyping material. Each team is tasked to explore the topic, formulate preferred attitudes, arguments, personas and player experience.

12:00 - 13:00 | Lunch Break

A short lunch break to refresh and be socially awkward.

13:00 - 16:15 | Defining Gameplay and Prototyping

Each team will have three timed sessions to work on their prototype. With the provided materials and tools the teams are asked to iteratively create a low-fidelity version of their game.

16:15 - 17:30 | Playtesting

We use role-playing [24] to evaluate player experience. During these evaluations the team members will act as the game’s mechanics, while someone from another team acts as the player.

17:30 - 18:00 | Formulating Design Insight

We will discuss insights and formulate possible strategies, techniques and best-practices that were supportive for the creation of a game with persuasive intent.

18:00 - | Drinks TBD

Workshop Pilot in May, 2017

We will be prototyping on a life-size scale, to mimic contemporary immersive technology without the need for technical ‘know-how’. Some inspiration:

The inspiration images belong to their respective owners

Location & Date

The workshop will be hosted in conjunction with the CHI Play 2017 Conference on Saturday October 14, 2017.

The workshop is hosted one day earlier than other CHI Play 2017 workshops as it directly connects to the  Persuasive Gaming satellite conference. We are currently looking into the possibility to provide workshop participants with free access to the closed Persuasive Gaming conference (depending on available seats)

Call for Participation

Workshop Participation

We accept two types of submissions: Extended Abstracts and Letter of Interests.

Extended Abstract submissions should be a maximum of 3 pages long in the ACM Extended Abstract Format (excl. references). Accepted Extended Abstracts submissions will be included in the workshop proceedings and hosted on the workshop’s website.

Letter of Interest submissions should be a maximum of 250 words with a motivation for joining the workshop. The Letter of Interests will not be included in the workshop proceeding and not hosted on the workshop’s website. The Letter of Interest is primarily meant for those interested in Persuasive Games and Immersive Technology but are not able to submit an Extended Abstract. 

Both submissions should include a biography of the author(s) and cover one or more of the following topics:

  • Theory, design or analysis of an (immersive) persuasive game, prototype or concept.
  • (Immersive) persuasive game design strategies, techniques or best-practices.
  • The use of novel technologies, particularly immersive technologies, in a persuasive game.
  • Interview or ethnographic study related to the development of an (immersive) persuasive game.

Submissions (in .PDF format) should be sent to m.j.l.kors@tue.nl and e.d.v.d.spek@tue.nl (co-authors in CC) with the subject CHI Play 2017 AotH Workshop – ‘title of abstract’ – ‘name first author’ by August 14, 2017. Submissions should not be anonymised and will be reviewed by the organizers based on their relevance, quality, and contribution to the workshop. We will send a notification of acceptance on August 28, 2017. Last-Minute Participants can still send in a Letter of Interest up to October 7, 2017. Participants have to register to the CHI Play 2017 conference in order to join (with a workshop registration fee of €50,-). For those who do not plan to visit the CHI Play 2017 conference, there is a €150,- ticket available. Participants of the workshop receive free access to the Persuasive Gaming Conference on October the 15th (limited seats, first comes first served!)

For questions please contact Martijn Kors at m.j.l.kors@tue.nl

Organizers

Martijn Kors

Martijn Kors

Main Organizer

is a doctoral candidate and game designer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Eindhoven University of Technology. In his design-research he studies the design of interactive entertainment with persuasive intent.

Karel Millenaar

Karel Millenaar

Main Organizer

is a game designer who supports research as a resident designer and lecturer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He also designs serious games for change with his company FourceLabs.

Erik van der Spek

Erik van der Spek

Support

is an assistant professor of game design at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He researches the design of games and play for learning, motivation and attitude change.

Gabriele Ferri

Gabriele Ferri

Support

is a postdoctoral researcher at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He pursues a research agenda focusing on the use of urban games as design tools to empower minorities.

Ben Schouten

Ben Schouten

Support

is a full professor in playful interactions at the Eindhoven University of Technology, and lector in Play and Civic Media at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Alyea Sandovar

Alyea Sandovar

Support

is a researcher at Fielding Graduate University. Her PhD research focuses on the relationship between game designers’ cultural perceptions and their designs.

Participating Industry

Wojciech Setlak

Wojciech Setlak

11 bit studios

is working at 11 bit studios and has worked on This War of Mine and This War of Mine: The Little Ones as a writer. Currently he is writer and narrative designer for the company’s upcomming game Frostpunk.

Cas Ketel

Cas Ketel

Freelance VR/AR Developer

is a freelance virtual reality and augmented reality developer working at the VR Base in Amsterdam.

Joris Dormans

Joris Dormans

Ludomotion

is the lead designer at Ludomotion and lecturer in game studies at the Leiden University

References

  1. 11 bit studios. 2015. http://www.11bitstudios.com1. 11 bit studios. 2015. http://www.11bitstudios.com.
  2. S. J. Ahn, J. Bailenson, C. I. Nass, B. Reeves, S. C. Wheeler, and Stanford University Department of Communication. 2011. Embodied Experiences in Immersive Virtual Environments: Effects on Pro-environmental Attitude and Behavior. Stanford University.
  3. Jonathan Belman and Mary Flanagan. 2010. Designing games to foster empathy. International Journal of Cognitive Technology 15, 1: 11.
  4. Ian Bogost. 2007. Persuasive games: The expressive power of videogames. MIT Press.
  5. Liz Owens Boltz, Danah Henriksen, and Punya Mishra. 2015. Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century: Empathy through Gaming–Perspective Taking in a Complex World. TechTrends 59, 6: 3.
  6. Jordan M. Carpenter and Melanie C. Green. 2012. Flying with Icarus: narrative transportation and the persuasiveness of entertainment. Psychology of entertainment media, 2nd edn. Routledge, Florence: 169–194.
  7. Luca Chittaro and Nicola Zangrando. 2010. The Persuasive Power of Virtual Reality: Effects of Simulated Human Distress on Attitudes towards Fire Safety. In Persuasive Technology (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), 58–69.
  8. Emblematic Group. 2013. Project Syria. http://www.immersivejournalism.com/project-syria-premieres-at-the-world-economic-forum
  9. Ali Eslami. 2016. DeathTolls Experience. http://alllesss.com/portfolio-item/deathtolls-experience
  10. John Ferrara. 2013. Games for Persuasion: Argumentation, Procedurality, and the Lie of Gamification. Games and Culture 8, 4: 289–304.
  11. FourceLabs | Pioneers of Play. http://www.fourcelabs.com
  12. D. Grigorovici. 2003. Persuasive Effects of Presence in Immersive Virtual Environments. In G. Riva, F. Davide, & W. IJsselsteijn (Eds.), Being there: Concepts, effects and measurement of presence in synthetic environments.
  13. Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham. PechaKucha 20x20. http://www.pechakucha.org
  14. Martijn J. L. Kors, Gabriele Ferri, Erik D. van der Spek, Cas Ketel, and Ben A. M. Schouten. 2016. A Breathtaking Journey. On the Design of an Empathy-Arousing Mixed-Reality Game. In Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, 91–104.
  15. Martijn Kors, Erik van der Spek, and B. A. Schouten. 2015. Foundation for the Persuasive Gameplay Experience. In Proceedings of the 10th Foundations of Digital Games conference.
  16. Gregory Maio and Geoffrey Haddock. 2009. The psychology of attitudes and attitude change. Sage.
  17. Chris Milk. 2015. How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine. TED.
  18. Janet Horowitz Murray. 1997. Hamlet on the holodeck: The future of narrative in cyberspace. Simon and Schuster.
  19. Wei Peng, Mira Lee, and Carrie Heeter. 2010. The Effects of a Serious Game on Role-Taking and Willingness to Help. The Journal of communication 60, 4: 723–742.
  20. Susana Ruiz, Ashley York, Mike Stein, Noah Keating, and Kellee Santiago. 2006. Darfur is dying.
  21. Jesse Schell. 2014. The Art of Game Design: A Deck of Lenses, Second Edition. Schell Games.
  22. Dennis Schleicher, Peter Jones, and Oksana Kachur. 2010. Bodystorming As Embodied Designing. Interactions 17, 6: 47–51.
  23. Mary Lou Shelton and Ronald W. Rogers. 1981. Fear-Arousing and Empathy-Arousing Appeals to Help: The Pathos of Persuasion. Journal of applied social psychology 11, 4: 366–378.
  24. Kristian T. Simsarian. 2003. Take It to the Next Stage: The Roles of Role Playing in the Design Process. In CHI ’03 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’03), 1012–1013.
  25. Sharon T. Steinemann, Elisa D. Mekler, and Klaus Opwis. 2015. Increasing Donating Behavior Through a Game for Change: The Role of Interactivity and Appreciation. In Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’15), 319–329.
  26. Ludomotion. http://www.ludomotion.com27. Persuasive Gaming Conference. Persuasive Gaming in Context. http://persuasivegaming.nl/persuasive-gaming-conference
  27. Persuasive Gaming Conference. Persuasive Gaming in Context. http://persuasivegaming.nl/persuasive-gaming-conference