Serious Games, Collaboration and Embodied Interaction

Multi-user serious games are a well established game genre, one in which player collaboration is a key component of the game experience. Although such games are traditionally desktop-based, recent technological advances offer an opportunity to move serious games into environments which support full body interaction.  Whereas collaboration in traditional serious games occurs primarily through linguistic communication, embodied interaction environments can support physical manifestations of collaborative behavior, such as proximity, orientation, approach, etc. As such, they allow researchers to take a much broader perspective on what it means to collaborate, and can also provide opportunities for supporting collaboration in individuals or groups with linguistic communication difficulties, for example, those with autism.

The first priority of this Research Challenge is to synthesise the current research on collaboration in serious games, including a consideration of the relative efficacy of disparate models in supporting and/or teaching collaboration skills. This will lead to the development of a large scale research proposal looking at how embodied interaction environments can engage children with autism and their typically developing peers in spontaneous, naturalistic collaborative interactions and joint play.  In particular, we are interested in how specific features of an embodied serious game can support the development and maintenance of collaborative skills, and how such environments might foster the effective transfer of skills developed in the environment into the real world.

The Research Challenge Leaders for Serious Games, Collaboration and Embodied Interaction are Professor Helen Pain (helen@inf.ed.ac.uk), Dr Judith Good (J.Good@sussex.ac.uk) and Dr Narcis Pares (narcis.pares@upf.edu).