Building data games on publication metadata

During 2014 we have a data games project together with two librarians at Malmö University, Jessica Lindholm and Jacob Andersson. The goal is to create game concepts and games based on publication metadata from SwePub (hosted by the Swedish Royal Library), accessed through their SPARQL interface.

illuminatispel [1]Based on a workshop this spring we are currently developing two games, more information to come.

If you read Swedish:

Open Trumps

One of our most recent data games is Open Trumps, a version of the popular card game Top Trumps with decks that are procedurally generated based on open data. The game is played among multiple players through drawing cards and selecting the feature that is most likely to trump the same feature on the other players’ cards. The decks are generated from data sets from the UN and the World Bank describing different nations.

At the Foundations of Digital Games conference 2014 we presented an article based on the deck generator by Andrew Borg Cardona and  player evaluation by Aske Walther Hansen.

Players can generate their own decks through choosing a suitable dataset and setting certain attributes; the generator then generates a balanced and playable deck using evolutionary computation. In the example dataset, each card represents a country and the features represent such entities as GDP per capita, mortality rate or tomato production, but in principle any dataset organised as instances with numerical features could be used.

We also report the results of an evaluation intended to investigate both player experience and the hypothesis that players learn about the data underlying the deck they play with, since understanding the data is key to playing well. The results show that players enjoy playing the game, are enthusiastic about its potential and answer questions related to decks they have played significantly better than questions related to decks they have not played.

You can find the article here.

New data games at FDG 2013

At the conference Foundations of Digital Games in Chania, Crete, next week, two contributions of data games will be presented. 

Julian Togelius will present an overview article of our work on data games at the workshop on Procedural Content Generation, which is part of the conference. This article presents several new data game prototypes, as well as a preliminary taxonomy of the data games and some directions for future research.

Julian will also present a short paper describing Bar Chart Ball, one of our new data games, at the main conference.

What are data games?

Welcome to our site and blog about data games. This is a blog about our work on defining on defining and exploring the concept of data games. We will discuss the prototype games and content generators we create, but also other examples of data games or related work that we find in the literature. But first: what are data games? 

A data game is a game that allows the player(s) to explore data that is derived from outside the game, by transforming the data into something that can be played with. In other words, games as a form of interactive data visualisation. We believe that games, through their procedural and interactive nature, can provide possibilities for visualisation over and beyond traditional methods. Data games differ from most other types of serious and educational games in that they do not (intentionally) have an agenda; they are tools for the player to use to explore data with as few constraints as possible. This implies that the player, to the greatest extent possible, should be able to choose both what data to use and what in the data is important.