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  • 1.
    Backlund, Per
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Bai, Hua
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Bankler, Victor
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Krettek, Alexandra
    University of Skövde, School of Health Sciences. University of Skövde, Digital Health Research (DHEAR).
    Wilhelmsson, Ulf
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Zhang, Ran
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Teaching cardiovascular health through a purposeful game2022In: Collection of materials: II International Scientific and Practical Internet Conference "Innovative Solutions in Economy, Business, Public Communications and International Relationships", April 21, 2022, Dnipro: Volume 2, Dnipro: Університет митної справи та фінансів / Universytet mytnoyi spravy ta finansiv , 2022, Vol. 2, p. 5p. 391-396Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Games for health is one of the most prominent areas for serious games, i.e. games with a purpose beyond only entertainment. The purpose of a health game may be to inform about health related issues; promote healthy lifestyles and even to drive behavioral change. This paper outlines the initial game design considerations and some future research directions for a game focusing on cardiovascular health. As the overall aim of the project is to promote a healthy lifestyle through diet and physical activity to prevent future cardiovascular disease, we focused on “taking care of your heart” as the basis for the game. Hence we call the game Happy Heart and use a heart symbol as a non-playable character (NPC) that the player needs to take care of. To some extent we are inspired by the electronic Tamagochi toys (Bandai) where players need to take care of a digital pet. The heart symbol is universal and is also an ideograph that expresses the concept of love and as such it transcends language barriers.

    The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD) is rapidly increasing across the world. Today they are the main drivers of morbidity, disability, and mortality in low- and middle income countries (LMICs), and are expected to increase due to unhealthy lifestyles in the wake of ongoing societal changes [1]. Among the major risk factors in many LMICs are poor diet, insufficient physical activity, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and exposure to hazardous substances, e.g. from air pollution. LMICs currently contribute three quarters of the deaths from NCD.

    Among the NCD, cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of hospitalization in Nepal [1]. Digitalization and collaboration with the education sector (e.g. community schools) in health promotion interventions could further improve children’s behavior by targeting factors that affect their lifestyle outside the family environment [4]. Hence, the Digital Game Based Learning approach.

  • 2.
    Bai, Hua
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Berg Marklund, Björn
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Zhang, Ran
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    An Exploratory Study on Nepalese Teenager’s Visual Recognition and Preferences in Serious Games2022In: Proceedings 2022 IEEE International Conference on e-Business Engineering ICEBE 2022: 14-16 October 2022 Bournemouth, United Kingdom, IEEE Computer Society, 2022, p. 13-18Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In serious game development, effective communication through both languages, sounds, and icons can be crucial for a game to have its intended impact. While this is also true for entertainment games, serious games have added layers of challenges as they are a) often played by audiences outside of the “typical” game ecosystem, and b) miscommunication can lead to players missing important lessons or even learning incorrect information. When a serious game is intended to be used in different parts of the world, however, clear visual communication gets an added layer of complexity: culturally informed symbol interpretation and visual preference. In order to examine how these might affect players’ experiences when playing serious games, this paper presents the results of a mixed-method study conducted in two schools in Nepal. The study included 10 participants, between 13-16 years old, who played a prototype of a mobile game currently in development, which has the purpose of teaching young players about food nutrition and healthy habits. After playing the prototype, they took a short survey where they were asked to identify different food types, and they were also interviewed to discuss their opinions of the game’s visual style. The results of the study indicate that, while higher fidelity images were much easier to correctly identify by the participants, the participants’ preference for visual fidelity varied to a large degree.

  • 3.
    Bai, Hua
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Zhang, Ran
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Berg Marklund, Björn
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Wilhelmsson, Ulf
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Game graphics and effective learning: A review of visual communication research in serious games2022In: Proceedings of the International Conferences Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction 2022, Game and Entertainment Technologies 2022 / [ed] Katherine Blashki, IADIS Press, 2022, p. 165-173Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The visuals of a game is a crucial element when it comes to providing good player experiences. Visuals are also an incredibly complex subject in a game context since different modes of visual representation can be more or less “appropriate” for different settings. For example, while one can look at photo-realism as an impressive feature of a game due to its technical complexity and functionally accurate representation of real-world objects, it might still not be a fitting choice for different audiences, or for different pedagogical strategies. Serious game research seldom focuses on understanding the design of these components or their applicability to different types of learning, and it more often focuses on games’ mechanics and how well they manage to capture subject matter content while still being engaging. The aim of this paper is to explore the gap in visual communication research, describing what studies tend to focus on providing some valuable context. This review was conducted on papers that dealt with visual aspects of serious games. The results show that visual communication is rarely addressed in serious game development research. Future research would benefit from taking visual communication in detail to facilitate the effectiveness of serious games.

  • 4.
    Wang, Wei
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Engineering Science. University of Skövde, Virtual Engineering Research Environment.
    Zhang, Ran
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Improved Game Units Balancing In Game Design Through Combinatorial Optimization2021In: Proceedings 2021 IEEE International Conference on e-Business Engineering ICEBE 2021: 12-14 November 2021 Guangzhou, China, IEEE, 2021, p. 64-69Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Game balancing is an essential part of game design, and it plays a vital role as the balancing results directly affect the players' experiences. At present, there is no well-admitted definition of game balance. Generally, the game designers hold their own envisions of “balancing” in specific contextualized environments. Accordingly, it is a great challenge for game designers/developers to understand and establish. Since game balance is a multifaceted concept, there is no prescriptive guideline either. In this work, numerical balancing is selected to investigate the possibility of applying engineering optimization techniques to the game unit balancing in a quantitative manner. Currently, although the definite rules of game mechanics could be expressed mathematically, the game developers tune different attributes manually to evaluate the changes in an iterative way, which is tedious and time-consuming. Moreover, the balancing quality and efficiency strongly rely on the game developers' personal skills. To address this issue, we modeled the balancing process as a combinatorial optimization problem, in which the assessment metrics of game units are optimization objectives, and the attributes of game units are variables. The “balancing” of game units is interpreted as minimizing the standard deviations of the assessment metrics, and the evolutionary algorithm such as NSGA-II is used to find the optimization solutions. A typical case study is employed to demonstrate the proposed idea, and the optimization results show that the proposed method can simultaneously improve the numerical balancing in terms of quality and efficiency. At last, we summarize the contributions of the work and discuss how the proposed method can be further improved for game balancing in future work.

  • 5.
    Wilhelmsson, Ulf
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Wang, Wei
    University of Skövde, School of Engineering Science. University of Skövde, Virtual Engineering Research Environment.
    Zhang, Ran
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Toftedahl, Marcus
    University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, Informatics Research Environment.
    Shift from game-as-a-product to game-as-a-service research trends2022In: Service Oriented Computing and Applications, ISSN 1863-2386, E-ISSN 1863-2394, Vol. 16, no 2, p. 79-81Article in journal (Other academic)
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