University at forefront of new gaming research

Performers and researchers from universities across the world have formed an unlikely coalition, led by the University of Lincoln’s Schools of Computer Science, Media, and Performing Arts.

The University of Lincoln is at the forefront of some new gaming research. Photo: Tom Larken
The University of Lincoln is at the forefront of some new gaming research. Photo: Tom Larken

Their video game research network aims to merge the real and the virtual by creating new ideas and designs for movement-based games, with the game mechanics led by performers.

Other contributors include Professor Gabriella Giannachi of the University of Exeter, and Arts Queensland, a division of the Queensland Government in Australia that is “dedicated to building a strong arts and cultural sector”.

The group will also look into how audience reaction could be used within games “to generate competitive and collaborative play,” said Dr Duncan Rowland, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science.

Dr Patrick Dickinson, also from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, wants to look at “location-based gaming and games that are situated ‘in the wild”.

Dr Dickinson argued that existing movement-based platforms, like Microsoft’s Kinect and Nintendo’s Wii, have “not been fully explored”. He said:

“We want to take a fresh look from the perspective of performing arts research and practice.”

Three workshops for the research project, officially titled Performance and Audience in Movement-Based Digital Games, have already been planned.

They will take place in Lincoln, Nottingham, and Brisbane, Australia; hoping to create prototypes of new collaborative game ideas.

Much of the sponsorship and funding for the workshops will come from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The AHRC is a public body that disperses money from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills amongst researchers in the arts and humanities sector.

Approximately £98 million is used by the AHRC each year to create social, cultural, and economic benefits for the UK.

The AHRC have also announced the foundation of five further new video game research networks, looking into other influences on video games, including social change, independent game production, and music.

Other universities involved include Sheffield, Manchester Metropolitan, Kent, and West of England.

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