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Rod McCall <[log in to unmask]>
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Rod McCall <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 1 Dec 2008 10:42:56 +0100
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Player Experiences in Location Aware Games -- Methodological Issues
Co-edited by Barbara Grüter, Rod McCall, Lynne Baillie and Anne-Kathrin 

Location awareness is a feature of an increasing part of digital games, 
which introduce them to everyday life. Such games often come under 
various names including but not limited to: mobile, pervasive, 
ubiquitous or augmented reality. However what makes all of them location 
aware is that the player physically navigates within a game world which 
blends the real world and virtual elements. This combination 
significantly changes what players, designers and developers have until 
now understood about digital games. Furthermore as GPS-enabled phones 
have become more widely available the number of start-ups developing 
games within this area has also increased. This has all given rise to 
the need for researchers to not only focus on prototypes and demonstrate 
the technology but also to aim for a comprehensive understanding of 
player experiences in location aware games.

This special issue of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing will focus on 
the methodological issues in studying player experiences of location 
aware games. All instances of the iterative research cycle are included 
from modeling to studying, to understanding the underlying assumptions 
and remodeling and studying again.

Key questions are: what is the particular nature of the player 
experiences in a location aware game compared to online games, board 
games or traditional outdoor-games? How do player experiences unfold as 
they physically navigate within space? What improves or detracts from 
the mental and physical presence of a player within a particular 
location of a mixed game world? If we take into account the permeability 
of the magic circle when influenced by aspects of everyday life, what 
impact does this have on player experiences? How can we study location 
aware player experiences? What indicates experiences for the observer? 
How do we get access to the phenomena? What methods have to be deployed, 
adapted, or combined? Is it possible to maintain the standards of 
scientific work outside the lab in an uncontrollable world? As a result 
the key objective of this special issue is to advance knowledge and the 
competencies for modeling and studying player experiences of location 
aware games.

Topics include, although are not limited to:
o Models: what is the nature of location aware players? experiences,
what are the various aspects? How do we model them? What are the
methodological implications?
o Methods for studying player experiences: how to study the experience
taking into account, the situated, dynamic and distributed nature of
location aware games.
o Context of evaluation: what is the purpose of the study? Why do we
evaluate the game? Do we want to inspire idea creation for design in
the early phases of the development? Do we want to falsify our 
hypotheses on cause-effect relations of particular game mechanics, and
to optimize existing game concepts? Do we study game play in everyday
life to gain a deeper understanding of the game within a specific
culture or to inform marketing decisions?
o Evaluation criteria: playability, functionality and usability are 
different, but mutual dependent aspects of the quality of a game. How do 
we achieve and evaluate that? How do we approach the idea of controlling
the unpredicatability and complexity of location-aware games
when conducting studies in the wild?
o Technologies and tools for evaluation: What technologies and tools
support data collection and data analysis of mobile games? What
experiences have people applying such methods? What kind of
technologies and tools are required?
The special issue has been inspired by the interest in the first 
workshop on this topic, which was organized in conjunction with HCI2008 
"Evaluating Player Experiences in Location Aware Games" (see: We would like to see a deepening of 
the discussion and a more thorough analysis of the field. We hope to 
improve the debate between researchers and practitioners from a variety 
of scientific, engineering, and design disciplines (e.g. ubiquitous 
computing, game studies, cultural studies, and HCI) in order to shed 
light on the current methodological approaches to location aware player 
experiences, to share experiences and to draw attention to the key 
issues, challenges, possibilities, limitations and possible solutions.

In order to reach our goals we propose to encourage submissions within 
the following areas:
o Extended empirical reports from the field describing and analyzing
models of player experiences, game concepts, settings, methodological
issues foreseen or those which emerged during the evaluation
o Theoretical studies of methodological issues, especially the
physicality, dynamics and complexity of player activities based on
sound empirical analyzes;
o Experience and best practice reports from organizers and producers of
location aware games and the methodological quality issues related to
evaluation methods, often referred to as quick?n dirty methods.
For more information see:
Abstract and outline should be between 800-1600 words in length.
Full paper submissions should be no more than 6000 words in length.
All Submissions to:
The review process consists of submission of an abstract and outline of
paper, which, if accepted, will be followed by a full paper. A mentoring
process is also available to ensure that full assistance can be provided 
to authors from submission of the abstract through to the completion of 
the final version based on reviewer?s comments.
Authors should accord with the Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 
authors? instructions available from:
Information about the format and style required for papers can be found 
at, and 
templates can be downloaded from
More information about the Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing
can be found at
All submissions will be anonymously reviewed by at least three reviewers
and the selection for publication will be made on the basis of these 
Abstract and outline: 2nd December 2008
Notification and feedback to authors: 19th December 2008
Submission deadline of full papers: 20th March 2009
Notification and reviews to authors: 24th April 2009
Camera ready submission deadline: 29th May 2009
Publication: Autumn 2009
Please direct all inquiries to the special issue editors:
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Barbara Grüter, Hochschule Bremen, Unversity of Applied Sciences, Germany
Rod McCall, Fraunhofer FIT, Germany
Lynne Baillie, Glasgow Caledonian University (UK) and FTW, Austria
Anne-Kathrin Braun, Fraunhofer FIT, Germany
Annika Waern, SICS, Interaction Lab, Sweden
Jörg Niesenhaus, University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany
Jussi Holopainen, Nokia Research Center, Finland
Markus Montola, Nokia Research Center, Finland
Matthew Chalmers, University of Glasgow, UK
Steffen P. Walz, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland
Zachary O. Toups, Interface Ecology Lab | Texas A&M University, United

Dr Rod McCall
Callborative, Virtual and Augmented Environments
Fraunhofer FIT, Sankt Augustin, Germany

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