ICSE 2012 Workshops
2012 34th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE)
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2012 Second International Workshop on Games and Software Engineering: Realizing User Engagement with Game Engineering Techniques (GAS), June 9, 2012, Zurich, Switzerland

GAS 2012 – Proceedings

Contents - Abstracts - Authors

Second International Workshop on Games and Software Engineering: Realizing User Engagement with Game Engineering Techniques (GAS)


Title Page

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to the second workshop on Games and Software Engineering – “GAS 2012: Realizing User Engagement with Game Engineering Techniques.” GAS 2012 explores issues that crosscut the software engineering and the game engineering communities. We had a total of eighteen submissions, of which nine were accepted. The first workshop on Games and Software Engineering was held in conjunction with ICSE 2011 in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii. This workshop brought a diverse community of researchers and practitioners together, fostering discussion on new and interesting research avenues.
This year’s program, put together by the program committee and ourselves, touches on three main topics: gamification and the software engineering process, software engineering techniques for games, and studies of serious and pervasive games. We believe that this diversity in topics and selected papers will continue to foster the growth of our community.
The GAS workshop not only provides a forum for researchers interested in the intersection of games and software engineering, but also a platform for our work to be recognized by the wider software engineering community as an exciting research area in its own right. We hope that GAS will encourage other researchers to participate in this discussion. With the continuation of the GAS workshop, we can grow our community further. Your attendance here today shapes the future conversations we will have, and we look forward to seeing you all, alongside any and all newcomers, in the workshops to come.
- Jonathan Bell, Kendra M.L. Cooper, Gail E. Kaiser and Swapneel Sheth Workshop Organizers

Games of Software Engineering

Learning Software Engineering Processes through Playing Games: Suggestions for Next Generation of Simulations and Digital Learning Games
Jöran Pieper
(University of Applied Sciences Stralsund, Germany)
Software Processes belong to those knowledge areas of software engineering that are less suitable to be taught classically in lectures. Class projects which frequently complement lectures are limited by academic settings in various ways too. Simulation and digital game-based learning are considered to have great potential to extend the learning experiences beyond lectures and class projects, help to develop insight into the necessity of software processes and to widen the perspective of software engineering students in a virtual and efficient way. Several efforts made by different research groups show encouraging results. This research gathers preliminary findings, develops new ideas and gives suggestions to exhaust the potential further and to encourage the wider application of digital game-based learning in software engineering education. These suggestions are the foundation for building blocks of a new framework for simulation based digital learning games aiming to teach software engineering processes more effectively and efficiently.

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It Was a Bit of a Race: Gamification of Version Control
Leif Singer and Kurt Schneider
(Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany)
The adoption of software engineering practices cannot always be achieved by education or processes. However, social software has the potential for supporting deliberate behavior change. We present preliminary results of an experiment in which we encouraged computer science students to make more frequent commits to version control by using a social software application. We provided a web-based newsfeed of commits that also displayed a leaderboard. While we have yet to analyze the data, interviews we conducted with the participants allow for first qualitative insights.

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Games for Software Engineering

Toward Adopting Self-Organizing Models for the Gamification of Context-Aware User Applications
Daniel J. Dubois
(Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
Recent developments in the area of small and smart devices led to a massive spread of them, which, in some cases are replacing traditional computers for performing common activities such as web browsing. These devices are usually equipped with specialized hardware to sense and interact with the environment. In this context the use of self-organizing techniques has been widely used to provide adaptation capabilities at the low level, such as for optimizing energy consumption, or for providing some fault-tolerance properties to the communication middleware. What we want to show in this work is how the same self-organization principles can be used at the user-experience level of context-aware applications. The approach we propose shows that self-organization can be used to model the introduction of gaming elements to motivate and simplify the use of context-aware applications, thus leading to higher quality software. This work is finally validated using a case study and empirical evidence from existing popular context-aware applications.

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Serious and Pervasive Games

Supporting Seniors Rehabilitation through Videogame Technology: A Distributed Approach
Dario Maggiorini, Laura Anna Ripamonti, and Eraldo Zanon
(University of Milan, Italy)
The current demographic ageing in Europe is the result of a relevant economic, social, and medical development. Nevertheless, this is also leading to an increase in the demand for Long Term Care (LTC) by seniors. In this paper we address this problem by designing a distributed software architecture exploiting intuitive and non-invasive off-the-shelf technology typically used for videogame consoles. Adopting a remotely controlled serious game for in-home rehabilitation activities is more engaging for the elder and may also provide easily tunable parameters to better adapt the game therapy to the actual patient recovery. The proposed solution, thanks to its user-friendly interfaces and smooth learning curve, will also contribute in minimizing the interferences in the elder’s private life.

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Adaptive Serious Game Development
Damir Ismailović, Juan Haladjian, Barbara Köhler, Dennis Pagano, and Bernd Brügge
(TU Munich, Germany)
Learning is a process that is associated with a lot of effort and perseverance. In learning theories, motivation can be observed as a key factor. In some cases learning can become playing if the learning experience is so intrinsically satisfying and rewarding that external pressures or rewards for learning are of secondary importance. Serious games are able to increase motivation for learning by realizing diverse approaches which can address cognitive as well as affective learning. By using a variety of elements such as visual environments, story-lines, challenges, and interactions with non-player characters, serious games can be optimal learning environments. Even though, they have such motivational power, several studies have shown that there are no known forms of education as effective as a professional human tutor. This paper explores the interaction of human tutors with learners in a serious games with the focus on ’Social Development Theory’. It will present results that show how human tutors observe players in executing learning tasks, and interacting with the game environment in serious games. Based on the results of this studies we provide a definition of adaptivity for serious games.

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Evaluation of User Engagement and Message Comprehension in a Pervasive Software Installation
Mia Aasbakken, Letizia Jaccheri, and Konstantinos Chorianopoulos
(NTNU, Norway; Ionian University, Greece)
The goal of this work is to explore the relationship between pervasive software and user engagement towards environmental issues. We study this relationship in the context of an art installation that concerns the water cycle in nature. The research question is: How can we design and evaluate software that becomes a medium to engage and inform the user? We have gathered empirical data during a two days exhibition of two versions of a pervasive art installation by: observations, questionnaires, and input logs. Data analysis reveals that the art installation engaged users, with focus on young children, and communicated the intended message. The results are organized according to five important factors for developing and evaluating interacting art installations. These are: 1) data collection method; 2) user interaction; 3) social interaction; 4) issues about children; 5) message comprehension. We suggest that these factors can inform engineering practices for engaging software like video-games.

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Creation of a Game-Based Digital Layer for Increased Museum Engagement among Digital Natives
Katelyn Doran, Acey Boyce, Andrew Hicks, Jamie Payton, and Tiffany Barnes
(University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA)
The combined hardships of economic downturn and a target audience that is increasingly defined by their affinity for active participation in their surroundings have left many nonprofit museums struggling to remain relevant in the 21st Century. We have partnered with Discovery Place, a hands-on science museum in Charlotte, North Carolina in order to create an easy-to-integrate software solution to help them better engage their audience. Our project is the creation of a three-part digital layer to increase museum engagement for all visitors, but particularly those considered digital natives. We have created two systems to be implemented in the museum, one to appeal to traditional visitors and one to better engage large groups of students. In the future, these two systems will be tied to an online meta-game to complete our digital layer by bringing the enhanced museum experience home for visitors.

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Software Engineering for Games

Reusable Components for Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games
Christopher Dragert, Jörg Kienzle, and Clark Verbrugge
(McGill University, Canada)
While component reuse is a common concept in software engineering, it does not yet have a strong foothold in Computer Game development, in particular the development of computer-controlled game characters. In this work, we take a modular Statechart-based game AI modelling approach and develop a reuse strategy to enable fast development of new AIs. This is aided through the creation of a standardized interface for Statechart modules in a layered architecture. Reuse is enabled at a high-level through functional groups that encapsulate behaviour.
These concepts are solidified with the development of the SkyAI tool. SkyAI enables a developer to build and work with a library of modular components to develop new AIs by composing modules, and then output the resulting product to an existing game. Efficacy is demonstrated by reusing AI components from a tank to quickly make a much different AI for a simple animal.

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Feedback in Low vs. High Fidelity Visuals for Game Prototypes
Barbara Köhler, Juan Haladjian, Blagina Simeonova, and Damir Ismailović
(TU Munich, Germany)
Prototypes have proven to be a good practice in different areas. In the gaming industry, they help identify usability and gameplay issues, among others. The earlier these issues are identified, the less effort is required fixing them. But game assets like graphics are often expensive and are available later on, or even after game functionality has been implemented. Game prototypes are in this case created using lower fidelity visuals. While this technique makes it possible to perform usability tests, it may bias the feedback provided by usability testers. In this paper we investigate how the fidelity of the prototypes used for usability testing influence the feedback provided by testers.

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