“What’s your PhD about?”, one year later

One year and a few months ago I wrote a post trying to explain the topic of my PhD. I would like to give a small follow up on how that evolved.

To recap, I wrote that my topic was developing a tool to automatically capture and represent over time the emotional states of players in a collaborative Serious Game. The idea was that the tool would be generic, so that it could be used independently of the topic of the game or type of gameplay. It would be developed as a service, to facilitate its integration not only with the game, but also with other services (e.g. user profiling, social features…).

It is still in my plans to develop this service, but I’ve been focusing on more general aspects of the development of serious games so far. This will, hopefully, pave the way to the creation of an emotions recognition service that can be truly useful and easily integrated to several types of serious games. Instead of considering the service as my end product, it will be more like an example implementation to illustrate a vision of what serious games could be like.

So far I’ve been working on this vision in two main fronts, one more theoretical and the other one more practical:

  • The theoretical one is a model to understand the internal structure of serious games, particularly how gaming and pedagogical elements are connected to each other in a game to reach its educational goals.
  • The practical one is an investigation of the benefits and drawbacks of using Service-Oriented Architecture in the development of serious games. Why is it a good thing, and what needs to be taken into consideration when creating a game from pieces developed by different teams, in different places, with different goals?

My work from now one is to match those two facets of the problem, and see how can I use the model to create a framework that can help serious games designers and developers in a very practical way. My goal is that this framework will help them connect the pieces (that is, the existing services for serious games), ultimately making it easier and cheaper to produce serious games.

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