Graduate Seminar: Seeing Experience from Many Angles: Educational Game Design as a Data-Informed Craft

Event Date: 
Thu, 2017-02-02 09:30 - 10:45

Speaker: Erik Harpstead, Carnegie Mellon University

Location: McBryde 655

Creating compelling games and effective instructional lessons is a reflective practice, where the design process takes the form a reflective conversation with the materials of a situation. A complication arises when applying this process to games because game players are afforded some agency to craft their own experiences. Further, when designing with an instructional intent the ultimate goal is to make a lasting impact on players’ knowledge, which is invisible to designers. Educational game design then faces a challenge to craft compelling experiences using materials that are both ephemeral and invisible. Computational methods can be brought to bear on this problem to provide designers with a way of explore the possibilities of different player experiences and consider whether they fit their design goals. In my work, I develop novel tools and processes to provide designers with different perspective on player experience. By drawing from varied backgrounds of HCI, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence, I build models of players that can be compared to real player behavior and provide data to decide whether a game is playing according to its intention. In this talk I will describe several projects that support this goal and layout my vision for educational game design as a data-informed craft.