Lit’s Sound Designer Wins Best Score Award

Congratulations to Roy Coopervasser, Lit’s Sound Designer, for winning Best Original Music Award at the Charlotte Film Festival for the music he composed for Keren Atzmon’s feature film Failing Better Now. We are proud of you, Roy, and we expect nothing less for Lit!


Lit is in the news again!

Prof. Kinzer was interviewed by the Associated Press for an article that ran in newspapers around the country. Computer game designers try health promotion is the title of the story.

Games, Learning and Society at Madison, WI (June 2010).

This is the second year that I participate in GLS, an inspiring conference set at a fun town, covering game design, educational potential, challenges and achievement in the field.  Industry gurus like Henry Jenkins, Jim Gee, Sasha Barab, Kurt Squire, Constance Steinkuehler, Richard Halverson, Colleen Macklin and Eric Zimmerman remind us of the multi-disciplanary nature of the game design field.  Researchers, technologists, educators, designers, artists and administrators come together to present, listen, develop, discuss and most of all challenge conventions.

This year there is more confidence about the integration of games – play as well as design – in the public educational system.  “Who are the experts?” Squire asks, presenting his upcoming book “Video Games and Education” – as he calls to collaborately develop a new “Assessment Bill of Rights”, where students would have the right to challenge educators and researchers claims.  GLS brings about food for thought…

Lit is proudly presented at GLS.  People react enthusiastically to our project, especially to the idea of implementing a breath interface as a core design element, and aligning our mobile game design and research approach to both smoking literature (breath therapy; “Rush” and “Relax” modes) and data collection (a variety of physiological and emotional measurements).  I am grateful to be here and feel a part of the cutting edge.

Which Test?

As a researcher, I’ve wanted a site like for ages. By answering a few simple questions about your data sample, the site helps you figure out which statistical methods to apply. It’s not a replacement for stats classes, but it’s an incredibly helpful supplement. (Or, if you’re like me, it’s a good way to confirm that you’re actually doing what you meant to!)

It’s also reminded me that there’s lots of easy, relatively low-tech tools for thinking that no one’s built yet, because no one’s seen the money in it – or has gotten sufficiently annoyed to roll their own. Just last week I had to pull out my stats textbook to check something and got really irritated by how long it took me. Next time I’m annoyed at something in my daily life, I’ll pay attention!

Lit at Games for Health

If you’re interested in what we’re doing, you can come hear about the project in person in Boston at the end of the month.   We’re a part of a the first mobile serious games conference, which means you get to see lots of other people doing cool, innovative mobile game work too!

The conference schedule is here.  Azadeh Jamalian and Pazit Levitan will be attending, so look for us and say hello.  We’d love to see you!

Valve’s Play-Testing Methodology

I was incredibly excited to come across this presentation on Valve’s approach to play-testing.  For those who don’t want to page through the whole PDF, they go over the advantages and limitations of many different methods of gathering data: observation, talk-alouds, surveys, in-game data collection, physiological measures and more.  Each method is good at getting at certain kinds of data, and you have to think about the game design problem you’re trying to solve when you choose which one to use.

It doesn’t surprise me that Valve does a great job with play-testing; their games are super-polished!  What did surprise me, though, was how similar their analysis was to what I learned in my research methods classes.  There’s a lot of talk about how far apart academia and industry are, but this particular area seems very closely aligned.

I was, of course, also reading with an eye to the data collection we’re doing for Lit.  As we start play-testing our first digital prototypes, there’s that moment of “Oh, man!  We’re a bunch of academics.  What the hell are we doing?”  The answer, it seems, is learning from the best that’s out there.  Rock.