June 28, 2018

New paper: “Gardening Games: An Alternative Philosophy of PCG in Games”

I’ll be presenting my new paper, Gardening Games: An Alternative Philosophy of PCG in Games, at the PCG Workshop at FDG 2018.

Abstract:

Procedural content generation (PCG) in games is often framed as a way to feed the content furnace, satisfying the voracious appetites of players by generating infinite seas of content for them to consume. Although this dominant framing provides a clear structuring purpose for PCG research, it also unnecessarily limits our vision of alternative purposes that generative methods might serve. Furthermore, generative systems designed with this purpose in mind may tend to reinforce certain problematic dynamics in game design. In this paper, we draw a contrast between two approaches to procedural terrain generation and the dynamics of play they tend to enable, which we term mining and gardening. We then extend this analysis to PCG more broadly and suggest that the latter (gardening) dynamic represents a viable and compelling alternative philosophy of how generative methods can be used in games.

May 22, 2018

Concise Computational Literature is Now Online in Taper

from Post Position
by @ 7:55 pm

I’m pleased to announce the release of the first issue of Taper, along with the call for works for issue #2.

Taper is a DIY literary magazine that hosts very short computational literary works — in the first issue, sonic, visual, animated, and generated poetry that is no more than 1KB, excluding comments and the standard header that all pages share. In the second issue, this constraint will be relaxed to 2KB.

The first issue has nine poems by six authors, which were selected by an editorial collective of four. Here is how this work looked when showcased today at our exhibit in the Trope Tank:

On Khevna Joshi, Blogger and Game Designer

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:18 am

Khevna Joshi, blogger and game designer at Tiltfactor, won this year’s Dartmouth Student Employee Contest in the category of academic/professional impact. Below is her essay on how Tiltfactor helped her build skills and knowledge to develop her resume!

Upper Valley Senior Center, October 16, 1:00 PM

“So, what types of games do you like to play? Board games, card games, digital games?” I asked.

“I love card games,” one of the senior women said. “Bridge is my favorite!”

“Really?” a senior man asked. “I have my phone with me all the time, so I like playing games like Candy Crush on it.”

On Khevna Joshi, Blogger and Game Designer

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:18 am

Khevna Joshi, blogger and game designer at Tiltfactor, won this year’s Dartmouth Student Employee Contest in the category of academic/professional impact. Below is her essay on how Tiltfactor helped her build skills and knowledge to develop her resume!

Upper Valley Senior Center, October 16, 1:00 PM

“So, what types of games do you like to play? Board games, card games, digital games?” I asked.

“I love card games,” one of the senior women said. “Bridge is my favorite!”

“Really?” a senior man asked. “I have my phone with me all the time, so I like playing games like Candy Crush on it.”

May 8, 2018

On Nick Feffer, Undergraduate Design Fellow

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:35 am

Tiltfactor: Hey Nick! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you are doing in the Tiltfactor lab?

Nick: I am a Dartmouth ‘21 and I have been working at Tiltfactor since fall of this year. Currently, I work as a Tiltfactor Fellow. My role is similar to that of a lab intern, but I’ll be working more closely with Max and Mary to develop new games this term. My background is in computer science and graphic design, so I mostly contribute to the coding and 3D modeling required for making some of our games. Right now, I’m working on a couple of different projects: a phone game code-named Potions and a new virtual reality puzzle game code-named Entangled.

On Nick Feffer, Undergraduate Design Fellow

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:35 am

Tiltfactor: Hey Nick! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you are doing in the Tiltfactor lab?

Nick: I am a Dartmouth ‘21 and I have been working at Tiltfactor since fall of this year. Currently, I work as a Tiltfactor Fellow. My role is similar to that of a lab intern, but I’ll be working more closely with Max and Mary to develop new games this term. My background is in computer science and graphic design, so I mostly contribute to the coding and 3D modeling required for making some of our games. Right now, I’m working on a couple of different projects: a phone game code-named Potions and a new virtual reality puzzle game code-named Entangled.

May 4, 2018

On Spring Yu, Undergraduate Design Fellow

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:34 pm

Tiltfactor: Hi Spring! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do at Tiltfactor?

Spring: I’m a Dartmouth ‘19, and I have been working at Tiltfactor on and off since my freshman spring. This is my 4th term working at the lab! I am currently an undergraduate fellow at the lab working on graphics, illustration, user interface, and user experience design. This means that I do a lot of the design work for layouts of what the screen looks like in our digital games, and I make decisions about how to draw the players’ attention to things they need to look at in order to have a good time in the games.

On Spring Yu, Undergraduate Design Fellow

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:34 pm

Tiltfactor: Hi Spring! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do at Tiltfactor?

Spring: I’m a Dartmouth ‘19, and I have been working at Tiltfactor on and off since my freshman spring. This is my 4th term working at the lab! I am currently an undergraduate fellow at the lab working on graphics, illustration, user interface, and user experience design. This means that I do a lot of the design work for layouts of what the screen looks like in our digital games, and I make decisions about how to draw the players’ attention to things they need to look at in order to have a good time in the games.

March 31, 2018

Mary brings values-centric thinking to Dubai workshop

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:14 pm

In February, Tiltfactor director Mary Flanagan was honored to be invited to Dubai by the organizers of the World Government Summit and the creative leadership group THNK for the UN/OECD-based Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) In Action workshop at the annual World Government Summit. Mary presented the group findings on industry goals, along with government ministers from around the world as an invited guest.

Mary brings values-centric thinking to Dubai workshop

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:14 pm

In February, Tiltfactor director Mary Flanagan was honored to be invited to Dubai by the organizers of the World Government Summit and the creative leadership group THNK for the UN/OECD-based Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) In Action workshop at the annual World Government Summit. Mary presented the group findings on industry goals, along with government ministers from around the world as an invited guest.

March 29, 2018

Remembering Bernie DeKoven

from Tiltfactor
by @ 2:58 pm

This week we lost a true great philosopher-king of play: Bernie DeKoven, who passed away in Indiana on Sunday. Founder of “The Games Preserve,” a game retreat center in Pennsylvania, he then went on to become involved in the New Games Movement, a 1970s collective that focused on physical and cooperative play to encourage dialogue and move away from competitive conflict resolution. During the Vietnam War, this movement stood out as having underlying political themes, and the games developed reshaped consciousness in a positive way. Bernie became the director of the New Games Foundation which created highly influential training programs as well as The New Games Book. Bernie “Blue” DeKoven brought his unstoppable brightness to his work as an organizer, trainer, thinker, writer, and activist. He impacted so many lives, including mine on both a personal and professional level.

Remembering Bernie DeKoven

from Tiltfactor
by @ 2:58 pm

This week we lost a true great philosopher-king of play: Bernie DeKoven, who passed away in Indiana on Sunday. Founder of “The Games Preserve,” a game retreat center in Pennsylvania, he then went on to become involved in the New Games Movement, a 1970s collective that focused on physical and cooperative play to encourage dialogue and move away from competitive conflict resolution. During the Vietnam War, this movement stood out as having underlying political themes, and the games developed reshaped consciousness in a positive way. Bernie became the director of the New Games Foundation which created highly influential training programs as well as The New Games Book. Bernie “Blue” DeKoven brought his unstoppable brightness to his work as an organizer, trainer, thinker, writer, and activist. He impacted so many lives, including mine on both a personal and professional level.

March 16, 2018

Tiltfactor Launches Online Adventure Game, Crowded Dungeon

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:00 am

We are excited to launch our online adventure game, Crowded Dungeon!

Designed by Tiltfactor with development by Producto Studios, Crowded Dungeon at first seems like a traditional ‘dungeon crawl’-style game. The player directs a hero through many rooms of a very crowded dungeon, frequently encountering monsters that bar her way. Unlike traditional games, instead of fighting the monsters, players must talk their way past them; you’ll need to figure out what each monster wants, and figure out what you can type to convince them to let you pass.

 

Tiltfactor Launches Online Adventure Game, Crowded Dungeon

from Tiltfactor
by @ 9:00 am

We are excited to launch our online adventure game, Crowded Dungeon!

Designed by Tiltfactor with development by Producto Studios, Crowded Dungeon at first seems like a traditional ‘dungeon crawl’-style game. The player directs a hero through many rooms of a very crowded dungeon, frequently encountering monsters that bar her way. Unlike traditional games, instead of fighting the monsters, players must talk their way past them; you’ll need to figure out what each monster wants, and figure out what you can type to convince them to let you pass.

 

February 27, 2018

New Article! Gender, STEM, and Emotional Attributions

from Tiltfactor
by @ 3:25 pm

Our new article in Psychology of Women Quarterly describes a set of studies that examined the influence of gender on how individuals make emotional attributions. Specifically, we had participants read a narrative about a female character dealing with negative emotions such as anxiety or doubt in the context of a STEM class. We then asked the participants why the character was feeling those emotions. Across three studies as well as an internal meta-analysis that examined the pattern across the studies, we found that men and women sometimes differ in the way they make attributions in this context. The male participants were more likely than the female participants to think that our female character felt anxiety and doubt in her STEM class because she was not adequately prepared. On the other hand, the female participants were more likely than the male participants to think that our female character felt anxiety and doubt because of the effects of stereotype threat and awareness of bias.

New Article! Gender, STEM, and Emotional Attributions

from Tiltfactor
by @ 3:25 pm

We have published a new article in Psychology of Women Quarterly! The article describes a set of studies that examined the influence of gender on how individuals make emotional attributions. Specifically, we had participants read a narrative about a female character dealing with negative emotions such as anxiety or doubt in the context of a STEM class. We then asked the participants why the character was feeling those emotions. Across three studies as well as an internal meta-analysis that examined the pattern across the studies, we found that men and women sometimes differ in the way they make attributions in this context. The male participants were more likely than the female participants to think that our female character felt anxiety and doubt in her STEM class because she was not adequately prepared. On the other hand, the female participants were more likely than the male participants to think that our female character felt anxiety and doubt because of the effects of stereotype threat and awareness of bias.

February 16, 2018

The Importance of Liberal Arts

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:54 pm

Although much of our research at Tiltfactor aims to increase the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), our work also shines a light on the importance of the liberal arts. The students who work at Tiltfactor come from a broad range of majors–from computer science to studio art to psychology–and it is through this intersection of STEM, humanities, and social sciences that we are able to create and study games that can foster social change.

The Importance of Liberal Arts

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:54 pm

Although much of our research at Tiltfactor aims to increase the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), our work also shines a light on the importance of the liberal arts. The students who work at Tiltfactor come from a broad range of majors–from computer science to studio art to psychology–and it is through this intersection of STEM, humanities, and social sciences that we are able to create and study games that can foster social change.

February 6, 2018

Using Electricity readings, with video of one

from Post Position
by @ 1:34 pm

I’m writing now from the middle of a four-city book tour which I’m on with Rafael Pérez y Pérez and Allison Parrish – we are the first three author/programmers to develop books (The Truelist, Mexica, and Articulations) in this Counterpath series, Using Electricity.

I’m taking the time now to post a link to video of a short reading that Allison and I did at the MLA Convention, from exactly a month ago. If you can’t join us at an upcoming reading (MIT Press Bookstore, 2018-02-06 6pm or Babycastles in NYC, 2018-02-07 7pm) and have 10 minutes, the video provides an introduction to two of the three projects.

February 4, 2018

Tiltfactor Impacts the World Government Summit

from Tiltfactor
by @ 6:29 pm

Mary is representing at the World Government Summit this February; it’s an annual event held in Dubai, UAE that brings together governmental and thought leaders across the disciplines for dialogue about government, the environment, and technology. Mary will be contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals aspects of the gathering.

Tiltfactor Impacts the World Government Summit

from Tiltfactor
by @ 6:29 pm

Mary is representing at the World Government Summit this February; it’s an annual event held in Dubai, UAE that brings together governmental and thought leaders across the disciplines for dialogue about government, the environment, and technology. Mary will be contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals aspects of the gathering.

Mary Davos Talks

from Tiltfactor
by @ 6:23 pm

At the  recent annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, from January 23rd and 26th, Mary Flanagan offered her thought leadership on panels, dinners, and gave a presentation on games for impact. The panel “Putting Jobs Out of Work” had an excellent team of business leaders and academics; watch the video of  her solo talk, “Game Changers: Playing Games for Good” and read a (mostly) accurate description of the talk.

.

Mary Davos Talks

from Tiltfactor
by @ 6:23 pm

At the  recent annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, from January 23rd and 26th, Mary Flanagan offered her thought leadership on panels, dinners, and gave a presentation on games for impact. The panel “Putting Jobs Out of Work” had an excellent team of business leaders and academics; watch the video of  her solo talk, “Game Changers: Playing Games for Good” and read a (mostly) accurate description of the talk.

.

January 30, 2018

Author Function

from Post Position
by @ 3:15 pm

The exhibit Author Function, featuring computer-generated literary art in print, is now up in MIT’s Rotch Library (77 Mass Ave, Building 7, 2nd Floor) and in my lab/studio, The Trope Tank (Room 14N-233, in building 14, the same building that houses the Hayden Library). Please contact me by email if you are interested in seeing the materials in the Trope Tank, as this part of the exhibit is accessible by appointment only.

There are three events associated with the exhibit happening in Cambridge, Mass:

February 7, 6pm-7pm, a reading and signing at the MIT Press bookstore. Nick Montfort, Rafael Pérez y Pérez, and Allison Parrish.

January 25, 2018

Mary at Davos summit speaking on design, games & social impact

from Tiltfactor
by @ 1:32 am

This week our director Mary Flanagan joins leaders from business, government, media,  academia, and the arts in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum’s 48th annual meeting. Read more in the Dartmouth News.

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