Children's Activity Research: Mobile Games and Fitness

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Designed and deployed pilot field research to test children's activity on the playground between two conditions (Standard free play vs. Biba App driven play). The results demonstrated that mobile game-driven play actually got kids heart rates 42 percent higher than typical free play, signalling potential for those families looking to increase their children's fitness using an accessible (and fun!) means. This pilot research was conducted in partnership with Simon Fraser University's Child Psychology faculty.


Stanford Research Institute: Study on MMOG Player Behavior

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Research management and deployment of international study of massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) players.  This study, spearheaded by IARPA, sought to examine the dynamics between the in-game activity and real world lived experiences of MMOG players through live studies of player discourse, social and physical behaviors, co-situated player dynamics, eye tracking, and more.


Exploring the Phenomenon of Grinding in MMOGs



The grind in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) has been described by game studies theorists as an inscrutable, paradoxical convergence of work and play, but despite the academic fervor around MMOGs (especially throughout the early 2000s), examinations of the grind have offered little insight into why players grind, and even less about what the grind means to its practitioners. Studying the collected forum and interview texts of a six-year old MMOG community, this dissertation adopted a Wittgensteinian approach to discourse analysis to learn more about the grind and what it means to the players who practice it. This ‘mapping out’ of the grind’s meaning in the Guild Wars community was intendeded to contribute to a dialog in game studies that examines how play can be situated theoretically with respect to phenomena so often construed as undesirable by its players.


ARGO Analytics Engine: Semantic Engine



I was Research and Development Manager for Social Media Analytics software, ARGO. I designed the feature spec for ARGO's proprietary scoring and sentiment engine and managed the research team responsible for the engine's development. 

The engine itself was not only capable of providing a 'score' for one's campaign, both independently and as measured against its peers, but it also featured a 2-prong sentiment system. The first prong consisted of a dual-layer syntactical engine specifically engineered for social media discourse: the first layer providing general sentiment (neg/pos/neu) with the second providing a detailed attitude break-down per segment.

The second prong was a classic semantic engine for analyzing press and media uptake of a given campaign over time.



SAGE For Learning: Contagion Educational Web Game



Was a researcher, designer and project manager for Contagion: a suite of web-based games intended to raise disease awareness for kids. Created as a part of a cross-national project known as 'SAGE for Learning', the game was produced in multiple episodes with the intention of being playable by children through a browser in class at school.  The games came hot on the heels of the recent SARS and West Nile scares that had prompted a rash of misinformation and over-reaction from multiple media outlets. Contagion was intended to engage kids with the facts about these diseases in a non-pedantic manner; allowing kids to participate in narrative storyworlds in which maladies such as SARS were incidental to the world they were playing in.



National Screen Institute: NSI playWRITE



I managed, researched and helped design the National Screen Institute's initial foray into training writers for the video game industry.  Endeavoring to provide undiscovered Canadian writers with training and an opportunity to earn an internship with a major Canadian game studio, I coordinated the program's assembly, curriculum and instructional deployment (delivering my own sessions as well), and seeing a few talented candidates through to placement.  

The IGDA-certified NSI playWRITE was the first national program of its kind with partners including Electronic ArtsBioWareRelic EntertainmentRadical Entertainment among others.