SciFest, SciEdu

[I will be talking about play, games and new technology in the context of learning in Joensuu] Matkustan tänään Joensuuhun, missä on laaja SciFest 2015-tapahtuma 23.-25.4. Itse puhun tapahtuman yhteydessä toteutettavassa SciEdu-seminaarissa la klo 13 otsikolla “Leikkiä, peliä ja uutta teknologiaa: oppiminen ja kulttuurin muuttuvat puitteet”. Lisätietoja:

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Aloite: Suomen pelitutkimuksen seuran perustaminen

[Postitin tämän aiemmin tänään pelitutkimuksen finland[at]digra.org -postilistalle; tervetuloa mukaan sinne ja keskustelemaan aloitteesta; ohjeet liittymiseen löytyvät alta.]

Tänään Pelitutkimuksen päivän yhteydessä käytiin keskustelua, kannattaisiko perustaa Suomen pelitutkimuksen seura (ry.) edistämään pelitutkimuksen asemaa maassamme. Koska kaikki kiinnostuneet eivät varmaankaan olleet paikalla Turussa (kiitos järjestäjille ja puhujille!) niin avataan keskustelu myös täällä DiGRA Finland-sähköpostilistan puolella. Muutamia pointteja keskustelun herätteeksi:

– “Meillä on jo DiGRA Finland, kansainvälisen pelitutkimusyhdistyksen paikallisosasto, miksi uusi ry, eikö vanhan byrokratiassa ole jo tarpeeksi?” – Tähän voisi kommentoida että väljä toimijaverkosto (jollaista tämä chapter-toiminta lähinnä kai on) on ilman muuta mukava tapa välittää tietoa ja järjestää kevyellä kaavalla aktiviteetteja. Yhdistys kuitenkin tarjoaisi muutamia etuja.

– Pelitutkimuksen tieteellinen seura voi hakea Tieteellisten seurain valtuuskunnan (TSV) jäsenyyttä ja tätä kautta myös tieteellisten seurojen julkaisutoimintaan, ja esimerkiksi konferenssien järjestämiseen tarkoitettuja valtionavustuksia. Myös jäsenmaksutulot tukisivat tapahtumia, tiedottamista ja muuta toimintaa.

– Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirjan kehittäminen ja toiminnan rahoittaminen hyötyisi em. avustuksista.

– Seura voisi olla tärkeä kansallinen yhteistyöfoorumi ja tuoda aiempaa tehokkaammin yhteen eri tieteenalojen, hankkeiden, alueellisten keskusten ja monitieteisten verkostojen piirissä virinnyttä peli- ja pelillistämistutkimuksen aktiviteetteja.

– Seura ja sen verkkosivut voisivat kehittyä tärkeäksi kansalliseksi tietoportaaliksi: keneltä löytyy asiantuntemusta ja mistä aihepiiristä.

– Tieteellinen seura voi toimia myös edunvalvojana ja seuran toimielimet ottaa virallisemmassa roolissa kantaa esimerkiksi pelitutkimuksen asemaan yliopistokentässä, pelitutkimuksen laadun arviointia tai aihealueen kehittämistä koskevissa asioissa. Tämän voi ennakoida nousevan entistä tärkeämpään rooliin jatkossa kun kotimaisen korkeakoulukentän rakenteellinen kehittäminen etenee.

Mitä ajatuksia tämä aloite teissä, suomalaisissa pelitutkijoissa herättää? Puolesta – tai vastaan – puheenvuoroja? Ideoita siitä miten yhdistyksen toiminnan painopisteitä pitäisi priorisoida, tai millaisia aktiviteetteja olisi pyrkiä luomaan tai kehittämään? Ja ennen kaikkea: löytyykö meiltä riittävästi innokkaita vapaaehtoisia että näille erilaisille ideoille löytyisi myös toteuttajia?

Tätä viestiä saa ilman muuta levittää tahoille joiden uskoisitte olevan asiasta kiinnostuneita (ohjeet listalle liittymiseen siis löytyvät täältä: https://digrafinland.wordpress.com/contact/). Turussa hahmottelimme etenemismallia, missä aluksi käydään tällaista yleisempää ja kiinnostusta kartoittavaa keskustelua, ja jos järkevältä näyttää, ryhdyttäisiin esimerkiksi yhdistyksen sääntöjä hahmottelemaan verkossa, ja mahdollinen perustamiskokous kutsuttaisiin koolle esimerkiksi ensi vuoden Pelitutkimuksen päivän yhteyteen.

Itse ajattelen että Suomessa on erinomaiset mahdollisuudet luoda vahva ja näkyvä tieteellinen yhdistys alueelle, ja että pelitutkimuksen mittava monitieteisyys huomioiden tällaisesta, eri aloilla toimivia ihmisiä yhteen tuovasta liittoumasta olisi mahdollisesti paljonkin konkreettista hyötyä. Kulttuurinen, tekninen, taiteellinen, taloudellinen, sosiaalitieteinen, psykologinen pelitutkimus – kaikkia näitä löytyy nykyään Suomesta ja uusia toimijoita tulee alueelle koko ajan. Olisi siis ehkä hyvä idea nostaa lippua korkeammalle ja pyrkiä tekemään näkyvämmäksi tätä monisäikeistä, nyt aika hajallaan olevaa toimintaa?

– tv. Frans Mäyrä @ Tampereen yliopisto, Game Research Lab

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CFP: Farnir 3/2015 (Nordic Issue)

Please spread the word:

CALL FOR PAPERS: Fafnir 3/2015 (Nordic issue)

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research invites you to submit a paper for the upcoming edition 3/2015!

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is a peer-reviewed academic journal which is published in electronic format four times a year. Fafnir is published by The Finnish Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy Researchers (Suomen science fiction- ja fantasiatutkimuksen seura ry).

One of the objectives of Fafnir is to join up the Nordic field of science fiction and fantasy research, and the upcoming issue will be dedicated to the history and present state of science fiction and fantasy research in the Nordic countries.

If you would like to submit your text for Fafnir 3/2015, we ask you to take the following into account:

* The main language of the journal is English, but articles are also published in Finnish or in the Scandinavian languages. Please note that if English is not your first language, you should have your text reviewed or edited by an English language editor before submitting it for Fafnir.

* The submissions must be original work.

* Manuscripts of research articles should be between 20,000 and 40,000 characters in length.

* The journal uses the most recent edition of the MLA Style Manual. More information on submission guidelines can be found here: http://journal.finfar.org/for-authors/submission-guidelines.

* The manuscripts of research articles will be peer-reviewed.

In addition to research articles, Fafnir welcomes text submissions such as essays, interviews, overviews and book reviews on any subject suited for the journal.

The deadline for the submissions is 31 May 2015.

Please send your electronic submission (as an RTF-file) to the following address: submissions(at)finfar.org. For further information, please contact the editors: jyrki.korpua(at)oulu.fi, hanna.roine(at)uta.fi and paivi.vaatanen(at)helsinki.fi. More detailed information on our journal is available at http://journal.finfar.org.

The upcoming edition is scheduled for September 2015.

Best regards,

Jyrki Korpua, Hanna-Riikka Roine and Päivi Väätänen

Editors, Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research

e-mail: submissions(at)finfar.org

http://journal.finfar.org

https://www.facebook.com/groups/fafnirjournal

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Dumb Smartwatches?

Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Apple Watch has been much in the headlines lately, and the leading role Apple has long had in fashionable, personal devices explains much of the hype. If Apple enters the product category, then it is ready for mainstream, the conventional wisdom goes. However, in this case Apple’s leadership is not guaranteed.

A smartwatch is possibly even a more personal and intimate device than a smartphone, if such a thing is possible. Rather than pocketed, a watch is tied to your wrist, always just a glance away from the focus of your attention. Granted, many people appear to walk around with their mobile phone constantly in their hand, but that is not the way a phone is originally designed to be used. A wristwatch, on the contrary, is meant to be worn all day long.

A wristwatch is also on your skin. It becomes really intimate part of yourself, and as it is a visible part of one’s attire, it can also be considered as a fashion accessory. Some people invest considerable sums of money to jewelry, and some prefer to make their fashion statements by investing into expensive timepieces. This is one demographic which Apple Watch is aimed at, with its 17 000 dollars top-of-the-line pricing.

One major problem with expensive smartwatches is the speed that information and communication technologies and services evolve. A one year or two years old model might already be obsolete, as it is missing support for some crucial new functionality. A classic wristwatch can be timeless in a manner that a smartwatch never can be.

Samsung Gear S

Samsung Gear S

Another key issue is the service ecosystem integration. Currently there are at least three non-compatible app ecosystems that are competing of the souls (and money) of smartwatch users: Android Wear, Samsung Gear (based on Tizen, Samsung’s own Android-competitor), and the Apple Watch OS. I have personally been testing Samsung Gear S watch for some time, and while it has some arguably superior technical features (for a full list, see here), it is seriously lacking in applications that would support and integrate with key information, communication, entertainment and lifestyle services that most people are already committed into, with their smartphones, tablet devices and personal computers. Support of such services is really essential for a smartwatch to survive in the technologically overpopulated media ecology of today. Having unique content that truly benefits and interacts with e.g. the sensors and contextual information of these things (as in next generation pervasive games) will be another necessary step.

LG G Watch R

LG G Watch R

It is still too early to declare any winners in this race to colonize the virgin landscape of mainstream wearable space and associated user cultures. If some guesses can be made, though, I’d bet that Apple Watch will be doing rather well particularly in the US, where the existing user base for Apple devices has traditionally been strong, and the benefits of extending that into a smartwatch are therefore strongest. On the other hand, elsewhere I’d bet Android Wear to have advantage. This is due to the obvious benefits available for Google service users: the direct access to the wrist from Google Calendar and Google Now alerts alone is something that would be rather valuable for any busy professional of today. If all your personal and business contacts are in Google system, and you have saved all your important address points to the Google Maps, then it is natural to extend daily navigation, time keeping and communications filtering tasks to a Google-compatible smartwatch. Samsung appears to be weakest in this service integration area, and it might be a good idea for them to join forces e.g. with Microsoft with its large base of Exchange/Outlook users, as without well-integrated and highly automated access to the backbone personal data services a smartwatch is actually a pretty dumb idea.

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Filed under digital culture, game studies, technology

Chillies, 2015

Chilikirja / Chilli book & seeds, from Fataliiseeds.net

Chilikirja / Chilli book & seeds, from Fataliiseeds.net

It is germination time again: this post lists (most of) the chilli pepper varieties I have selected for this season, with links to the Finnish Chili wiki and other sites:

Happy chilli season!

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Filed under DIY, garden, nature

Master’s Degree Programme in Internet and Game Studies

Note that there are still a few days left to apply to study in our Games and Internet Studies master’s degree programme, see:

http://gamelab.uta.fi

Master’s Degree Programme in Internet and Game Studies (120 ECTS credits)

Programme: Internet and Game Studies

Specialization: Information Studies and Interactive Media

Admission criteria in 2015

Please see the UTA Admissions website for the IGS admission criteria.

Programme profile

The programme aims to provide an in-depth view to the fundamental character and development of games and Internet. Games have grown into an important form of culture and human interaction, expanding from entertainment to other areas of life. Internet and social media form an increasingly vital part of communication, social life and distribution of media and services.

The programme is particularly targeted at the questions of analysis, design and application of online services and digital games from user- and culturally focused perspectives. The programme directs students to develop academic skills like critical thinking, scientific writing and carrying out research projects while encouraging active and comprehensive involvement with the practical processes and phenomena related to games and Internet.

The programme is offered by the School of Information Sciences. The school has high profile research groups that are focused on Internet and game studies. There has also been a long history of education in hypermedia and in information studies and interactive media that form the basis of this degree programme.

Graduates’ jobs

Graduates typically combine the skills and knowledge derived from the programme with studies and proficiencies that enable them to work as experts of games and Internet in various professional roles, in research, in public sector as well as in industry. The need for knowledgeable workforce is growing in the fields related to games and interactive media, but the students should adopt an active attitude in fashioning their own specific area of expertise and professional profile.

The possible jobs of graduates include researchers, developers, critics and specialists working with the interpretation, evaluation or implementation of games and social media.

The degree also gives a strong basis for and eligibility to take Doctoral studies in the field (available at UTA).

Structure of studies

80 ECTS of advanced studies including the Master’s thesis, 40 ECTS of other studies (including language and complementing studies).

Studies

Studies consist of lectures and seminars on theoretical and methodological questions, and supervised individual research for a Master´s thesis. Studies require active attendance and participation in classes. Some of the course units are organised only once during the programme period. Teaching takes place during daytime and is on-campus contact teaching.

Complementing studies may be required depending on the student’s previous studies.

Language studies in Finnish and English must be included in the programme studies.

With the long tradition of academic freedom at the University of Tampere, students are free to include in their programme studies some course units also in other fields than their specialization, thus enabling a multidisciplinary degree.

Usually there is no need to buy any course books.

The programme requires approximately two years of full-time studies.

Degree awarded

The degree awarded is the Master of Science degree. The degree is a second cycle degree; for more information on Finnish degrees, please see the page on Degrees.

Contact information

If you have questions concerning the admission requirements, study related issues, or programme specific enclosures, please contact the SIS admissions contact person, Ms Kirsi Tuominen.

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Knutepunkt book 2015

Knutepunkt (Solmukohta in Finnish) books have for a long time been inspiring mix of role-play theories, artistic manifestoes, and practical, larp design or game-running advice. The Knutepunkt book 2015 is no exception. Here is link to the PDF version (published ahead of the actual event), and outline of the contents:

The Knudepunkt 2015 Companion Book
Eds. Charles Bo Nielsen & Claus Raasted

Foreword 6
Claus Raasted

6 levels of substitution: The Behaviour Substitution Model 8
Lauri Lukka

Behind the larp census: 29.751 larpers can’t (all) be wrong 16
Aaron Vanek

Four Backstory Building Games You Can Play Anywhere!: Simple and effective 24
Peter Woodworth

Infinite Firing Squads: The evolution of The Tribunal 30
J.Tuomas Harviainen

Ingame or offgame?: Towards a typology of frame switching 34 between in-character and out-of-character
Olga Vorobyeva

Learning by playing: Larp as a teaching metod 42
Myriel Balzer & Julia Kurz

Looking at you: Larp, documentation and being watched 56
Juhana Pettersson

Now That We’ve Walked The Walk…: Some new additions to the larp vocabulary 62
Bjørn Flindt Temte

On Publicity and Privacy: Or “How do you do your documentation?” 70
Jamie MacDonald

Painting larp: Using art terms for clarity 78
Jacob Nielsen

Processing political larps: Framing larp experiences with strong agendas 82
Kaisa Kangas

Safe words: And how to use them 88
Nathan Hook

Steering For Immersion in Five Nordic larps: A new understanding of eläytyminen 94
Mike Pohjola

The Art of Steering: Bringing the Player and the Character Back Together 106
Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros & Eleanor Saitta

The Blockbuster Formula: Brute Force Design in 118 The Monitor Celestra and College of Wizardry
Eirik Fatland & Markus Montola

The D-M creative agenda model: An axis instead of a pyramid 132
Nathan Hook

The Golden Cobra Challenge: Amateur-Friendly Pervasive Freeform Design 138
Evan Torner, Whitney “Strix” Beltrán, Emily Care Boss & Jason Morningstar

There is no Nordic larp: And yet we all know what it means 142
Stefan Deutsch

Workshop practice: A functional workshop structure method 148
Mo Holkar

Ending: The larper’s burden 156
Claus Raasted

For more, see: http://www.knudepunkt.org/

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Filed under events, game studies