2014-02-28

Ixd Masters Thesis I

Title: Enhancing Game Jam Experiences: Finding more productive and focused group work interactions through establishing a framework

The paper can be found on Malmö University Electronic Publishing (MUEP) (1.53MB).
The deliverables/prototypes may also be downloaded/viewed.
Made for the Malmö University Interaction Design Master thesis paper.

01 Screenshot of the latest version of the prototype made called Mutter. Looking back, this is quite impressive as proof-of-concept as it was designed and works as intended.

The findings

While concluding the paper, I admit that there will be many possibilities which can be explored that will get more productive and focused group work interactions. Though the point of the paper is that the framework established helps create such resolutions like the Mutter program made.

The neat thing about game jam scenarios is that there are constant evaluation periods necessary to get the best output from team members. In physical jams it will involve being interrupted, often at sensitive moments, and usually with a lot of chaos involved.

Addressing group work through a foundation (and framework) allows for more positive interactions during the game jam event. It was also observed that this extra medium should not add overhead to the work tasks and the overall experience. In this way adding a 'digital overlay' introduces structure and an open dialogue for team members.

In essence, the Mutter program was a chatroom where users would comment about what they are doing and for how long. There was also a feature which pinged everyone for any announcements or arranged meeting, and ways to manipulate timer durations.

02 03 The initial sketch showing what thoughts I had concerning layout and features to include. There was a small, collaborating space on the side which was later removed as it felt more like an added extra and distraction.

In reality, the Mutter program would also be available as a web app/service. Verification would go through e-mail like other services. And ideally the web app would be preferred unless there's limited or no access to internet. It was conceived as a prototype for use in the thesis paper because it made things simpler.

I learnt a lot from this paper. Some of that through a hard lesson of being overly ambitious with research. This paper was the result of thesis work which took half the time it should take for such a paper.

04 05 The screenshots here show the easily accessible help menu and the initial state of the app where you type in your jammer name.

I also had fun designing around a playful constraint which involved limiting input in pixels. The jammer name screen introduces this concept of being limited/concise, as the username is limited by input length.

If I had to redesign Mutter for use today, there would be a lot that I would change. I would still like to keep the chatroom aspect, though would allow timers to be added more easily through dialog prompts instead.

The paper (abstract)

The thesis will focus on the methods of establishing group work objectives and in turn create focused groups that spend more time being productive and enjoying their efforts than having to go through trivial yet troublesome organization and structure sorting evaluation periods.