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Inside the New CITE Game Innovation Lab Construction at NYU-POLY

Published February 16th, 2011

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By Charles Hendee

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This conceptual rendering shows how gaming projects will be exhibited on CITE’s exterior wall via a media display that passersby will be able to interact with. [Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

G4LI partners, Prof.’s Joel Wein and Katherine Isbister, are nearing completion and ribbon cutting of the New Game Innovation Lab at NYU-POLY.
Within days of completing the first renovation project of a 10-year plan to transform its Brooklyn campus, Polytechnic Institute of NYU started its next.
Construction began on the new project, the Center of Innovation for Technology and Entertainment (CITE), in early October on the first floor of the Dibner Building and is expected to be completed by late winter/early spring.
Like Project 2010, the first renovation initiative of the 10-year i2e Campus Transformation, CITE, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, will be a showcase of NYU-Poly’s invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship philosophy — what it calls “i2e.” Its centerpiece will be the Game Innovation Lab, a place, according to its research director, Dr. Katherine Isbister, “that will bring together some of NYU-Poly’s strongest researchers and their students across multiple departments (Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences), taking games as an innovation challenge.”
Dr. Isbister explains that “games are profound drivers of both technological and user experience innovation, and we have deep expertise at NYU-Poly that can extend and transform what’s already happening in this exciting field.”

Within days of completing the first renovation project of a 10-year plan to transform its Brooklyn campus, Polytechnic Institute of NYU started its next.
Construction began on the new project, the Center of Innovation for Technology and Entertainment (CITE), in early October on the first floor of the Dibner Building and is expected to be completed by late winter/early spring.
Like Project 2010, the first renovation initiative of the 10-year i2e Campus Transformation, CITE, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, will be a showcase of NYU-Poly’s invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship philosophy — what it calls “i2e.” Its centerpiece will be the Game Innovation Lab, a place, according to its research director, Dr. Katherine Isbister, “that will bring together some of NYU-Poly’s strongest researchers and their students across multiple departments (Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences), taking games as an innovation challenge.”
Dr. Isbister explains that “games are profound drivers of both technological and user experience innovation, and we have deep expertise at NYU-Poly that can extend and transform what’s already happening in this exciting field.”

Read more here: http://www.poly.edu/news/2010/11/05/what%E2%80%99s-going-there-inside-cite-game-innovation-lab-construction

8th Annual Games for Change Festival 2011–Call for Content

Published February 4th, 2011

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By Cheryl Byrne

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The 8th Annual Games for Change (G4C) Festival being hosted by G4LI on June 20-22, 2011 is putting out the official call for content for your chance to participate! The deadline to submit proposals is March 14, 2011.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.gamesforchange.org/main/newentry-features/festival_call_for_content_speaking_awards_demos/

Game and Phone Camp

Published January 18th, 2011

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By Cheryl Byrne

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A free two-day event is being hosted by Microsoft at St. Francis College to learn how to build games for the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7 platforms. To learn more and register:

http://ic11gc01.eventbrite.com/

BOSE releases report on Learning Science: Computer Games, Simulations, and Education—contributions from G4LI faculty Plass

Published December 17th, 2010

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By Jan L Plass

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Computer games and simulations are worthy of further investment and investigation as a way to improve science learning, according to this new book from the National Research Council. The study committee found promising evidence that simulations can advance conceptual understanding of science, as well as moderate evidence that they can motivate students for science learning. Research on the effectiveness of games designed for science learning is emerging, but remains inconclusive.

G4LI—Game Design Workshop with Nicholas Fortugno, Frank Lantz, and Mike Edward

Published December 17th, 2010

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By Charles Hendee

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Today we are hosting our third in a series of Game design work shops to discuss integrating Game mechanics and learning mechanics in an effective manner.

This month we have three game designers to get input from the game mechanic perspective: Nicholas Fortugno, Frank Lantz, and Mike Edward.

Frank Lantz team game sketches

Workshop Agenda 12-17

Game Designer Bios:
Nicholas Fortugno is an American game designer and educator. Fortugno
is perhaps best known for designing Diner Dash, a top-selling casual
game developed by Gamelab, and the award-winning Ayiti: The Cost of
Life.[1][2] In addition to his large body of digital work, Fortugno
has been involved in the design of numerous non-digital projects,
including board games, collectable trading card games, large-scale
social games, and live-action role-playing (LARP). Since 2002,
Fortugno has taught the Game Design and Interactive Narrative program
at Parsons The New School for Design, and has contributed to the
development of the school’s game design curriculum.[3] Fortugno is CCO
of Playmatics LLC, a New York City-based game development studio
focusing on casual games and cofounded with Margaret Wallace.[4]
Fortugno also hosts and writes for the game journal and review site
Critical Smack! [5]
______________

Frank Lantz, Creative Director and co-Founder of area/code is a game
designer based in New York City. He has worked in the field of game
development for the past 20 years. Before starting area/code, Frank
was the Director of Game Design at gameLab, a developer of online and
downloadable games.Frank has also worked as a game designer for the
developer POP, where he created games for Cartoon Network, Lifetime
TV, and VH1. Between 1988 and 1998, he was Creative Director at R/GA
Interactive, a New York digital design company.For over 10 years,
Frank has taught game design at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications
Program, the School of Visual Arts, and the New School. His writings
on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of
publications.
______________

Mike Edwards is a designer and a geek. He has worked with everything
from high-traffic e-commerce servers down to surface-mount
microcontroller chips. A 2008 graduate of the Parsons Design and
Technology MFA program, his thesis had him working with a team in
Malawi to create devices that help diagnose malnutrition in children
and pregnant women. He has built games on themes as diverse as
epidemics, ecology, math, and New York City history. He is currently
conducting research into SMALLab, an embodied learning environment. He
has even hacked a bathroom sink.

Katherine Isbister, a G4LI Co-PI at NYU-POLY, and Her Research is Featured on Wired.com

Published November 16th, 2010

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By Charles Hendee

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Nintendo’s Wii game console may owe some of its extraordinary success to emotions that are triggered by specific movements: It might essentially be using your body to hack into your brain.
A better understanding of which motions trigger which emotions might not only lead to better games, but could one day help improve the iPhone, iPad and other gesture-based and multitouch interfaces as well.
“There’s no reason why dealing with a spreadsheet or sorting e-mail couldn’t be as wonderful as tai chi,” said computer and social scientist Katherine Isbister at NYU’s Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn. “Games are the perfect ecosystems for evolving fun, and hopefully we might be able take those lessons elsewhere.”
The Nintendo Wii introduced physical movements to gaming consoles and in just four years became the fastest-selling console of all time. Now Isbister and her colleagues are investigating how Wii games can make us feel by mapping the responses certain movements and gestures evoke.
For example, in “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed,” a player can fling an object or a person to the ground, using a hurling motion with the nunchuk part of the Wii controller, creating a feeling of aggression.

Nintendo’s Wii game console may owe some of its extraordinary success to emotions that are triggered by specific movements: It might essentially be using your body to hack into your brain.
A better understanding of which motions trigger which emotions might not only lead to better games, but could one day help improve the iPhone, iPad and other gesture-based and multitouch interfaces as well.
“There’s no reason why dealing with a spreadsheet or sorting e-mail couldn’t be as wonderful as tai chi,” said computer and social scientist Katherine Isbister at NYU’s Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn. “Games are the perfect ecosystems for evolving fun, and hopefully we might be able take those lessons elsewhere.”
The Nintendo Wii introduced physical movements to gaming consoles and in just four years became the fastest-selling console of all time. Now Isbister and her colleagues are investigating how Wii games can make us feel by mapping the responses certain movements and gestures evoke.
For example, in “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed,” a player can fling an object or a person to the ground, using a hurling motion with the nunchuk part of the Wii controller, creating a feeling of aggression.

The full article is here

GAMES FOR LEARNING INSTITUTE, MICROSOFT RESEARCH, AND MOTOROLA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE COMPETITION TO CREATE GAMES THAT MAKE LEARNING FUN

Published November 1st, 2010

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By Charles Hendee

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Can you make this fun?

Are games the future of learning? Can you make an entire school curriculum into a learning game and still make it fun? Willplayers be able to apply what they learn to new problems long after the game has ended? Can the samegame benefit players of different abilities and levels of knowledge?

Teachers, principals, and school administrators are starting to ask these questions, and there is growing demand for effective games for learning. One of the key academic subjects that many believe could be made into a game is basic geometry for 6th graders, which includes skills like solving for the missing angle in a triangle and finding perimeter, area, and surface area of simple shapes. But is it possible to make this fun?

The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), research partner Microsoft Research, and Motorola think it is and are challenging developers to create such learning games through the 2010 Games for Learning Design Competition. Contestants will create and submit their own game for learning basic sixth grade geometry.

Entrants will choose five New York state standards that their game will address, and then create a learning game to teach those standards and demonstrate that the learning goal was achieved. The first-place winner will be awarded $5,000. Cash prizes will also be awarded to 2nd through 5th place winners.

Update: To reach all relevant communities of game designers, G4LI is extending the deadline to enter the game design competition. The contest is open to the general public. Entries are due January 12, 2011 (11:59 p.m. EST). For more information about how to register, game design requirements, and judging details, please email registration@g4li.org or call 212.998.3342.

Select entrants will have the opportunity to demo their games to professional game researchers and designers at the Games for Learning Design Competition Expo to be held on January 30, 2011, 2-4 p.m. at NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life, Room 914 (60 Washington Square South at LaGuardia Place).

Register by:                                                                   January 12, 2010

Game Submission Deadline:                                         January 12, 2011

DIRECTIONS

Use the following directions to guide your submission to the game design contest.  Additional information is contained in sections later on in this document.

  1. Read Official Rules
  2. Register Your Team
  3. Choose 5 Standards
  4. Review Sample Test
  5. Study the Scoring Rubric to See How Judges Will Assess Your Game
  6. Design an Awesome Game Around the Standards You Selected

  7. Demo Your Game at the Games for Learning Design Competition Expo on January 30, 2011 at NYU Where Winners Will Be Announced

OFFICIAL RULES: Second Annual Games for Learning Design Competition

Published November 1st, 2010

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By Charles Hendee

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OFFICIAL RULES:

2010 Second Annual Games for Learning Design Competition

GAME

Your game should teach basic geometry concepts and skills at the 6th grade level.

●      Your game should be appropriate for use by 6th graders in school. This game is for average students who are receiving their first exposure to basic geometry.  It is intended to supplement their regular school instruction.

●      Your game should teach 5 standards from basic geometry. Choose five standards from the section called “BASIC GEOMETRY STANDARDS” to build your game around.

●      Your game will be judged by 1) how well it teaches the math standards you selected, 2) how it adapts to each player’s skills and weaknesses, and 3) how fun it is.

PLATFORM

Most American school computers are commodity PCs with Internet access and limited administrative privileges.

●      Your game must run in a major browser. Acceptable browsers are Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer.  Cross-platform capability is not required.

●      Your game must run on a commodity PC. Acceptable PC operating systems are Mac OS X 10.4 or newer, or on Microsoft Windows XP or newer.  Your game resolution should not exceed 1024×768.  Cross-platform compatibility is not required.

●      A limited set of plug-ins are allowed.  Acceptable plug-ins are Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, or Oracle Java.  Games requiring other plug-ins or special hardware will not be reviewed by judges.  

●      Each team is responsible for its own web-hosting.

ELIGIBILITY

The Games for Learning Design Competition is open to the general public and may comprise of one or more members to a team.

REGISTRATION

Your team must register by December 12, 2010 by emailing registration@g4li.org.  Your registration will need to include your intended platform, your chosen five geometry standards, the URL (if known), your team name, and team member names.

DEADLINE

Your game must be completed no later than January 12, 2011 at 7:59AM EST and emailed to submitgame@g4li.org.  Changes to your game after this date will result in disqualification.

JUDGING

A panel of judges will use a scoring rubric to qualitatively assess your game.   The exact rubric the judges will use can be found in the section called “SCORING RUBRIC”.  Websites sometimes go down, so the panel will make two attempts to play your game.  If the URL given during registration is not working on the first attempt, your team will have 2 hours to restore it.

PRIZES

Five cash prizes will be given for the best games.  The winners will be announced at the Games for Learning Design Competition Expo on Sunday, January 30, 2011 in New York City.  For more details, please see EXPO section.  Select entrants will be given space to demonstrate their game at the expo.

1st Place         $5,000             (1 prize)

2nd Place        $3,000             (1 prize)

3rd Place         $2,500             (1 prize)

4th Place         $2,000             (1 prize)

5th Place         $1,500             (1 prize)

THE FINE PRINT

You may enter multiple games in this competition, however contestants cannot win multiple prizes.  Individuals intending to register who are less than 18 years old will need parental consent.  Questions regarding the contest should be directed to cbyrne@g4li.org

Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data

Published September 30th, 2010

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By Charles Hendee

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Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google—Sept. 17, 2010 Talk, Hosted by G4LI

In decades past, models of human language were wrought from
the sweat and pencils of linguists. In the modern day, it is more
common to think of language modeling as an exercise in probabilistic
inference from data: we observe how words and combinations of words
are used, and from that build computer models of what the phrases
mean. This approach is hopeless with a small amount of data, but
somewhere in the range of millions or billions of examples, we pass a
threshold, and the hopeless suddenly becomes effective, and computer
models sometimes meet or exceed human performance. This talk gives
examples of the data available in large repositories of text, images,
and videos, and shows some tasks that can be accomplished with the
resulting models.

Announcing 2nd Annual Games for Learning Design Competition

Published September 24th, 2010

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By Cheryl Byrne

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Sponsored by  

The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), a joint research endeavor of Microsoft Research, New York University, and other universities, is announcing it’s second annual Games for Learning Design Competition to build mini-games for learning.  This year’s game criteria will focus on sixth grade geometry and game design instrumentation. The competition’s first-prize winner will receive $5,000 awarded at this year’s G4LI Game Design Expo on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at New York University. Cash prizes will also be awarded for 2nd through 5th place winners.  All entrants will have the opportunity to demo their games at the Expo to professional game researchers and designers.  Admission to the expo is free and open to the public.

Competition Registration Deadline:       October 27, 2010

Game Submission Deadline:                  November 30, 2010

Games for Learning Design Expo:         December 15, 2010                                                                                                                        5:00 – 7:00 p.m.                                                                                                                            NYU Kimmel Center for University Life                                                                                              Rosenthal Pavilion, 10th Floor                                                                                                          60 Washington Square South                                                                                                          New York, NY 10012

More details about how to participate, game design requirements, judging rubric and eligibility will be announced at www.g4li.org in the upcoming weeks.

G4LI featured in New York Times Magazine

Published September 18th, 2010

Category Press

By Jan L Plass

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The New York Times Magazine publishes in its September 19 issue a cover story by Sara Corbett on Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom, which features G4LI research. Our work was also described in the video Games Theory that was published online with the same article.

Kaelan Doyle Myerscough on gaming and the future of the world

Published September 17th, 2010

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By Charles Hendee

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Kaelan Doyle Myerscough, G4LI scientific advisory board member, wrote this wonderful article for CBC news last week.

Kaelan Doyle Myerscough is a 16-year-old high school student and an advisory board member for the Games for Learning Institute, an initiative of New York University. Her favourite video games include the Pokemon and Ace Attorney series.

First, there are games aimed at learning. As an advisor to an institute trying to figure out what kinds of educational gaming work, I’ve looked quite deeply into the concept of games as an educational tool.

Since the dawn of video gaming, educational games have gotten a bad rap. Although it is true that some educational games are less a game than a math or grammar quiz with bright colours, some recent ones have come out that are quite good, and many of these are Flash- or Java-based games.

One excellent example is the McDonald’s video game — produced by Molleindustria, not by the famous fast food company. In this game, you are the CEO of the McDonald’s Corp., and you must make good decisions to run the company properly. It is an addictive lesson about business and finance. It also shows the large-scale effects a corporation can have on the world. It is subtle and humorous — and it’s a potent educational tool.

This, I believe, is where educational games are headed -learning is being blended more smoothly within the gaming experience. Soon, many gamers won’t be able to tell the difference between an educational game and a simply entertaining one.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/09/17/f-video-games-future-predictions-kaelan-doyle.html#ixzz0zytIqoyB