Research areas at the Institute of Gamification and advanced interactive simulations of complex systems: "The Game School "

The faculty has a wide variety of activities and projects within research and development (R&D) and artistic development (AD). The activities span from strict disciplinary research within the humanities to artistic production and technological innovation. Still, the core of the activities related to R&D and AD can be summed up as the development, application and analysis of media products and technological systems.

A brief inventory of topics covered by the R&D and AD activities at the faculty illustrates both its broad scope as well as the centrality of the core concepts; development; application; and analysis:

  • Documentary filmmaking; TV formats; digital art; animation
  • Serious games; gamification; system design; audience studies
  • Media industries and production studies; the art of storytelling; the aesthetics of games; film and television history

Vision of a goal

Create a set of educations, covering the main themes of Gamification and advanced simulations of complex systems and the application of games for entertainment, serious simulators and interactive computer simulations of complex systems. Application areas are:

  1. Game development and associated activities from art to technology
  2. Simulators using game technology and gamification competence. Finding applications in industrial use, administration, education, foresight in planning.
  3. Interactive simulations of complex systems such as industrial production systems, logistics and supply systems, decision systems embedded in social contexts, economic systems and the coupling of all of these. (Use in industrial systems, governance systems, service and supply systems, integrated assessment modelling)

Quantifiable goals

  1. Degrees offered in 2025:
    • Bachelor of Science,
    • Master of Science,
    • PhD-education.
  2. Have 60 students per year at bachelor level, 30 at Master level and graduating 1-2 PhDs per year.
  3. Be one of the 5 leading game schools and leading educator of graduates with skills in interactive simulation of complex systems and gamification in Europe by 2030.
  4. Arrange the International System Dynamics Society Conference with games as theme at the Game school, Norwegian Inland University, Hamar Campus before 2026.
  5. International Game Conference

Overall working strategy

  1. Strengthen the competences running the existing bachelor programme. Improve recruitment and improving the starting student quality significantly.
  2. Develop a Master of Science programme with M.Sc. degrees in gamification (15 graduates) and interactive simulations of complex systems (15 graduates). Strengthen the institute with good researchers and teachers from abroad and nationally for the masters programme.
  3. Develop 4 main research topics for PhD studies. Support these primarily with research grants from industry and research councils (National Councils, Nordic Councils, European research grants.

The research themes 2020-2030

The research at the institute has a strong transdisciplinary character. Thus, our research areas are all integrating and synthesizing at the nexus of many traditional disciplines. At the Department of Game Development, “The Game School”, a number of research focus areas are under development. A number of professors, senior researchers, research assistants and PhD students are active in the focus areas of our research at the Department if Game Development:

1. Art by design and purpose

The nexus of art, conceptualization, applied concepts and design. The area involves the science of creation art in creating different aspects of human-computer interface as it appears in game development, but also in related fields like simulators, integrated assessment models and reality games for strategy. The art is designed and created for defined utilitarian purposes, based on causal insights. It works around the thinking necessary for going from art as a handcraft to art as a knowledge-oriented activity. In This area we have:

    1. Projects:
    2. Researchers (?)
    3. PhD students: 1 (Håvard Vibeto)
    4. Keystone publications:

2. Game development, gamification science and gaming technology

The field combines traditional methods with innovative approaches using systems analysis and system dynamics. This theme is typically transdisciplinary with combinations of pieces from traditional sciences. Innovative approaches to programming and variants of artificial intelligence belong here. This area involves the sciences that come together when present and future games are to be created:

    • Projects:
      • BSR culturability (Nordby, Strandvik)
      • Gaming democracy
    • Researchers
    • PhD students: (Anders Nordby)
    • Keystone publications:

3. Systems thinking, systems analysis and system dynamics

The research area is transdisciplinary, is problem solution oriented, using applied systems analysis for investigation and system dynamics for gamification, simulations and interpretation in general. This research focus area combines all traditional academic fields needed to solve complex or challenging issues, for any application where gamification, system thinking and simulation can play a role. This stretches from applied sustainability, advanced technology, materials, biophysical economics, social dynamics, life sciences and virtual phenomena.

    1. Projects:
      • Modelling the resource outcomes of the Energie-wende policy in Germany 2000-2050 and the development of policies for a sustainable future (SIMRESS, Funded by the German Ministry of Environment, Sverdrup)
      • WORLD7; Global systemic future and the development of policies for a sustainable future Sustainability of the worlds ecosystems (Past funding by EU FP7 and Naturvårdsverket, Stockholm and Vinnova, Stockholm (Sverdrup, Nordby).
      • LOCOMOTION; Modelling the energy future of Europe (EU 2020). Coordination by University of Valladolid, Spain (Diller, Sverdrup)
    1. Researchers: Harald Sverdrup, Anders Nordby
    2. PhD students: (Ole van Allen, John Chrisman)
    3. Keystone publications

4. Industrial innovation and interactive simulations

  1. The area covers advanced simulations for real world systems and how these are used. This is applied system dynamics and systems analysis in the fields of industrial production, industrial systems, and integration of world systems. The research field heavily employs transdisciplinary competences, utilizing systems thinking and aspects of gamification, systems thinking and simulations.
    1. Projects:
      1. Norse Biotech; Issues in research-driven business development. Funded by Norse Biotech and local Research grants (Chrisman)
      2. Multiparameter industrial optimization. Funded by GENIS hf. Siglufjørdur, Iceland).
      3. The Virtual Factory
  2. Researchers: Prof Harald Sverdrup
  3. PhD students (John Chrisman, Jon Gardar Steingrimsson, Marit Strandvik)
  4. Keystone publications:

Game Development is a broad field where we yet have only ventured into limited parts. The focus areas are not administrative areas with fencing, but open focus groups with mutual associations and cooperation.  Harald Sverdrup will try to engage in all focus area and try to help build connections and activity.

The PhDs will be enlisted in one of the key 4 PhD programs in the Norwegian Inland University (NIU).

Explore writing teams and writing camps for publications

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Latest Research Projects

The Spectaclular Design of First-person Shooter: Remediating Cinematic Spectacle in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Battlefield 4

The first-person shooter (FPS) has tapped into the audiovisual spectacle characteristic of the Hollywood blockbuster, recreating spectacular, awe-inspiring moments within the interactive environment of video games. Accordingly, this article sets out to discuss two FPS games, Call of Duty: Advanced Warefare and Battlefield 4. The article explores the indebtedness of these video games' audiovisual effects to the spectral characteristic of blockbuster cinema and how audiovisual spectacle affects the ludic qualities of these games.

Havard Andreas Vibeto

Michael Fuchs and Jeff Thoss (Red.)
Intermedia games – games inter media: video games and intermediality
, 2019. Bloomsbury Academic

Intimate scrutiny: using rotoscoping to unravel the auteur-animator beneath the theory (2016)

The act of Rotoscoping by its very nature takes live-action film and passes it through the hand and eye of the animator, with results that can heighten and intensify every flicker of emotion. (Ruddell 2012) This intense, frame by frame scrutiny can potentially capture through hand drawn art the most fleeting of micro-expressions, and when the filmed subject is themselves the animator, the auteur, the act of animating over filmed footage becomes a potential means for exploring intimate and sometimes distressing personal issues; capturing, dissecting and scrutinising emotions ranging from delight to subjective pain.
I will discuss the following questions: What effect does this have on the animator, who is forced to re-live and re-invent very personal subjects? How can rotoscoping be used as a tool for unwrapping the subtleties of body-language and fleeting expressions? By quantifying and qualifying emotion through practical research, theory and self-reflective study, via the production of an animated artefact, the animator as auteur-researcher hopes to establish new avenues of study in emotion and animation.

Sophie Mobbs

Animation Studies 11 . ISSN 1930-1928

Buchanan, A. 2007, "Facial Expressions for Empathic Communication of Emotion in Animated Characters", Online Journal for Animation History and Theory, vol. Animated Dialogues, pp. 22nd February 2011.

Mehrabian, A. 1981, Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes, Wadsworth Publishing Company, USA.

Ruddell, C. 2012, "'Don't Box Me In': Blurred Lines in Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly", Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, [Online], vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 7-23.

Russell, J.A. 1997, "Reading emotions from and into faces: Resurrecting a dimensional-contextual perspective" in The Psychology of Facial Expression (Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction), eds. J.M. Fernández-Dols & J.A. Russell, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 295.

What video game features can contribute to gaming disorder?

March 9, 2020

Partly funded by Medietilsynet, this study will look at how a video game’s inherent features, e.g. mechanics, dynamics or aesthetics, can help developing addiction. The analysis will be based on a small selection of video games which frequently occurs as subject for addiction among people diagnosed with gaming disorder. The game titles will be picked from a quantitative survey and will then be analyzed qualitatively within the framework of Hunicke, LeBlanc & Zubeck’s MDA-model (2004) combined with psychological theories of need, and motivational science. If you like to read more please follow the link to announcement on University website.

Anthropomorphic deviations in Bojack Horseman

October 2020

This paper analyzes anthropomorphic configurations within animation, with a special focus on how anthropomorphism is used both to explore identity, and as a metafictional device in BoJack Horseman (Bob-Waksberg, 2014-2020). The paper is based on previous research within the field of animation, supported by theories within anthropocentrism and poststructuralism. The paper was presented at Medieforskerkonferansen 2020 and is currently in review for a journal.

 

Film style in Cinematic VR

2019

This paper examines how film style is used to tell stories in Cinematic VR, i.e. movies made for virtual reality. By close reading three animated shorts, the study analyzes which storytelling features within cinema that are still applicable within a ubiquitous 360-degrees view. It is also targeting how the potential sense of immersion and spatial presence achieved by user-interaction and the 360-degrees view influences the narration. The paper has been accepted and will soon be published at journal.animationstudies.org

 

Ole Christoffer Haga

The Unexpected Path: How Animation Might be Used to Help Carers Interpret Restricted Expressions in Their Patients (2017)

Character animators strive to observe and interpret expressions to instil into their animated characters, for example, using mirrors to study their own expressions or though observing others. This paper describes the path taken when an animator/researcher tried to explore subtle and restrained emotion through creative practice methodology. While this research was initially conducted to explore and inform animation practice, the author’s own experience in caring for a terminally ill-relative revealed new and unexpected avenues as to how this research might be extended to help carers interpret (and thus respond to) patients who are unable to speciÖcally vocalise their needs or are too ill to express themselves beyond the smallest of gestures. Such gestures might include, the hint of a facial expression, the slightest tilt or tension of the body. This paper discusses how animation practice might be used as a tool of study, and discusses the possibility of expanding research into ways to help animators and carers become more attuned to perceiving and acting upon emotions that are (through cultural rules or physical restraints) otherwise restricted or subdued.

Sophie Mobbs

CONFIA . International Conference on Ilustration & Animation
Guimarães. Portugal . July 2017 . ISBN: 978-989-99861-3-8