ReFiG: IN SITU

 

This project is a collaboration between game:play and Super Ordinary Lab.

IN SITU is a research project in partnership with Ubisoft Toronto funded by ReFiG (http://www.refig.ca/) that examines the opportunities around and impact of internal and external efforts aimed at creating a diverse and inclusive work culture in the game development industry.

The primary research goal for the project is to explore the factors that create an environment and culture of diversity, inclusivity and belonging (DIB) for game developers who identify as women at Ubisoft Toronto. This pilot stage of an ongoing research collaboration has been designed to feed into and support a diversity, inclusion and belonging initiative organized around internal task forces being rolled out at Ubisoft Toronto. 

The research insights from an environmental scan and ethnographic interviews will provide context to the primary research question and will inform the development of the task forces and programmatic initiatives at Ubisoft Toronto. A secondary phase of the project will evaluate the efficacy and impact of the task force programs through ongoing developmental evaluation. 

The collaborative nature of this research is central to it’s goals, partnerships of this nature are essential to build sustainable bottom-up DIB initiatives that are well informed, understood and embedded within existing corporate structures, practices and people. 

 

This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Creator: 
Advisor: 
The logo for Ubisoft Toronto
Monday, July 16, 2018 - 4:30pm
Lab Member: 
Emma Westecott
Suzanne Stein
Cheryl Hsu
Kashfia Rahman

From Within an Active PoV: Feminist VR Game Making

From Within an Active PoV: Feminist VR Game Making is a research-creation project that investigates a feminist intervention in virtual reality game-making. It aims to build a generous and inclusive coalition of feminists in games by bringing feminist VR makers together and studying how, what, and why they make VR games.

From Within an Active PoV builds on the research of ReFiG, a 5 year project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Composed of an international collective of scholars, community organizers and industry representatives, ReFiG is committed to promoting diversity and equity in the game industry and culture and effecting real change in an often myopic space that has been exclusionary to many. ReFig accomplishes this by intervening in four areas: game cultures, the games industry, informal learning environments, and formal education.

Unlike the world of commercial digital gaming, the VR ecosystem includes diverse voices: marginalized makers are visible in this emerging sector of technology (for example, CFC Open Immersion lab is open to indigenous artists and artists from the global south).  The inherent physicality of VR (which involves two audiences: the immersant and the voyeur) is also an opportunity to explore feminist approaches to game-making. From its development in the early nineties VR art has been driven by female artists, including works such as Catherine Richards’ Spectral Bodies (1991) and Char Davies' Osmose (1995). This clearly indicates a feminist interest in the ability of VR technologies to extend and reconfigure embodied experience. By featuring a living body, performance (and subsequently VR) allows women to “assert themselves as the active and self-determining agents of their own narratives” [1].

Through feminist game jams (distinguished by methods engaged and identification of participants) supported by multiple approaches to research documentation situated in OCAD University’s game:play lab, From Within an Active PoV will produce a series of VR sketches that explore, document, and instantiate a range of feminist approaches to processes of capture, design and development and interface.​ Engaging politically motivated activity in game cultures should grow from a purposeful playfulness in approach: playfulness is a much more potent force than direct conflict and offers an important means of engagement. 

​This will culminate in public exhibition and a co-Laboratory. Interested ReFiG researchers will join an open call for participation to these research jams. The jams will be documented using multiple methods (audio, video, note-taking, sketching, mapping, etc.) and the outcome shared in a range of channels including publication (academic and on the web), learning kits (for use in community and classroom) and via exhibition.

Additional Resources:
ReFig Website 
CFC Open Immersion Lab

1. Wark, Jane. 2006. Radical Gestures, Feminism, and Performance Art in North America. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

 

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Creator: 
Photographs of immersants interacting with VR technology
Photograph of girl kneeling while playing a VR game
Photograph of two people: an immersant steps forward while interacting with VR and is observed by a second person
Photograph of a person using VR. Their right arm is extended forward as they move through the game world.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 11:00am

Tweetris

Tweetris -- pairs compete in front of a large display to make random Tetris blocks (Tetrominos). A picture is taken of the winner of each round as they make the shape, and this is tweeted to TweetrisTO. Anyone can play a game of Tetris using these Tetromino images in real time on their smartphone or web browser. This was a curated exhibit in Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche on October 1, 2011, and has since been demoed at the Digifest 2011 conference, Dalhousie University Open House, and will be submitted as an art exhibit to TEI 2012. Research is currently underway to examine factors impacting gameplay (setting, audience participation, observation of prior players) over the course of Nuit Blanche.

http://forum.grand-nce.ca/index.php/Artifact:4325

 

Keywords: 
Sponsor(s): 
An image of someone playing the Tweetris game
Sunday, August 19, 2012 - 7:15pm
Lab Member: 
Suzanne Stein
Embed Video: 

Math Game Prototyping Project

Digital game forms are increasingly used in educational contexts, and the potential of digital games to create significant learning impact is a huge growth area internationally. This project seeks to broker relationships in building game-driven learning tools to support math curricula in a network of interest across academic and private sector partners. As an approach for design research the design and development of games is recognized as offering a constructionist approach to creating new models for learning.

The objectives of this project are to formalize an existing relationship into a more closely framed collaboration and grant submission between project partners. The Math Games Project supports the start of an ongoing and larger research project. In interdisciplinary design teams, the students from OCAD U’s Game Design class were presented with the challenge of conceiving and developing a complete growth plan for virtual math games. The games would be built for mobile consoles (iPhone, Java-based phones) and for young students. The games considered the growing presence of technology in the educational environment and the potential to foster young students’ positive reception of math.

Project partners have committed resources in kind to this project e.g. JumpMath to provide subject expertise, content and context and pedagogic and cognitive expertise coming from The Hospital for Sick Kids (see below).

Goals

  • Build on existing expertise at OCAD for development of games and of mobile applications (iPhone, Java-based phones) through the collaboration between GamePlay Lab (Westecott)and Mobile Lab (Davila) at OCAD
  • Collaborate with University of Waterloo in researching user interaction with various game platforms, game play, and/or theming.
  • Engage broader base of partners in detailed scoping exercise.
  • The creation of an online resource of both relevant research and design material to seed future projects

Vision

  • Prototypes developed will be introduced to various elementary school classes.
  • Foster a working relationship with industry partners.
  • Feedback from the classes will be tracked by the Human Factors researchers at University of Waterloo.
  • Engage existing OCAD students in design process.

Background & Context

This funding will help the OCAD team collaborate and contribute to an interactive math pedagogy research initiative being developed with JumpMath (John Mighton).

This initiative seeks to find ways of creating engaging courses for students struggling with math in elementary school, high school and college as well as users outside of an educational context who wish to improve math skills. It involves a two-pronged approach that will translate existing curriculum, exercises, and workbooks developed by JumpMath as well as create new game modules that further a student's math learning outside of class time.

The project received early funding from the Corus Seed Grant, and will seek for continued funding from a variety of sources including SSHRC, NSERC and OCE.

Prototype Math Games

Keywords: 
Images from OCAD U’s Game Design class
Image from OCAD U’s Game Design class
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 8:15pm

DIGITAL ECONOMY TRADING ZONES (DETZ)

This SSHRC Partnership Development Grant examines novel forms of cross-disciplinary and cross-sector partnerships necessary for creating world class academic research on digital media. It also intends to provide novel insight for private industry and for commercialization, as well as new venues for the innovative work of artistic and cultural organizations. This research partnership develops a digital economy trading zone that connects the diverse interests, knowledge and values from a diverse set of partners. Its focus is on a developing aspect of digital media, namely, the increasing materialization of digital media and the related interweaving of physical and virtual modes of engagement. The project therefore brings together working groups in order to develop concrete projects that provide value to each of these groups. The three groups include members from academic institutions, cultural organizations, and private SMEs, and are organized around the following inter-related themes; Space, Play, and the Self.

The grant includes as co-applicants, Professor Sara Grimes from the Faculty of Information, Professor Megan Boler from OISE, and Professor Mary-Lou Lobsinger from the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, as well as Professors Kate Hartmanand Professor Emma Westecott from OCAD University, and Professor Jason Nolan from Ryerson University. The project runs for three years and primarily provides salaries and stipends for masters and PhD students.

 

IOT Theme # 2 - Play

In this working group, we will explore how digital games and other play technologies enable multi- modal practices that traverse and integrate the virtual and the material in a variety of ways. Examples of this include the production of tangible “ludic artifacts” (Tolino, 2009), the interplay of situated and digital practices within mobile gaming, the phenomenon of alternate reality games (ARG), and the incorporation of physical motion within kinetic game systems (such as Wii Sports). With the rise and spread of pervasive gaming and portable devices, digital play becomes resituated as a transitory, in- between and oftentimes liminal activity, as play is reintroduced into a broader range of the spaces and activities of everyday life. Our academic team includes Sara Grimes, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information who has published extensively on the political economy of games and game play, Associate Professor Jason Nolan who runs the EDGE gaming lab at Ryerson University, and collaborator Emma Westcott, an assistant professor at OCAD. Game developers Play Dynamics Inc. and HugeMonster are our private partners.

Sponsor(s): 
Sunday, August 19, 2012 - 7:15pm