Familiars: manipulating social networks with mobile gaming

Kirman, Ben and Lawson, Shaun and Rowland, Duncan and Davide, Fabrizio and Collovà, Francesco and Puglia, Stefano (2008) Familiars: manipulating social networks with mobile gaming. In: Games Design and Technology Workshop and Conference (GDTW), 12 - 13 November 2008, Liverpool.

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Abstract

This paper presents the mobile multiplayer gaming application Familiars. Familiars leverages social networking and locative technologies to create a reactive social experience for the game’s participants over extended periods of time. The game is based around the concept of each player owning a Familiar –a virtual sprite or creature somewhat similar in concept to Pullman’s dæmons - which has a visual appearance and a location in the real world. A player’s interactions with their own, and other players’, Familiars is used to directly inform the state of the game and status of the player – inviting them to become more aware of the impact of their social activity, and to discover novel strategies for becoming more socially effective in computer-mediated environments. We begin by explaining the design for the game and the unique challenges of the mobile medium as a platform for social gaming. We discuss the theoretical and technical background of the social and contextual analysis system used in the mobile mediated environment and go on to describe how this informed the implementation of the mobile and server applications that power the game. Finally we discuss the findings of the application test groups, lessons learnt during development and important design considerations for mediated mobile social gaming.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:This paper presents the mobile multiplayer gaming application Familiars. Familiars leverages social networking and locative technologies to create a reactive social experience for the game’s participants over extended periods of time. The game is based around the concept of each player owning a Familiar –a virtual sprite or creature somewhat similar in concept to Pullman’s dæmons - which has a visual appearance and a location in the real world. A player’s interactions with their own, and other players’, Familiars is used to directly inform the state of the game and status of the player – inviting them to become more aware of the impact of their social activity, and to discover novel strategies for becoming more socially effective in computer-mediated environments. We begin by explaining the design for the game and the unique challenges of the mobile medium as a platform for social gaming. We discuss the theoretical and technical background of the social and contextual analysis system used in the mobile mediated environment and go on to describe how this informed the implementation of the mobile and server applications that power the game. Finally we discuss the findings of the application test groups, lessons learnt during development and important design considerations for mediated mobile social gaming.
Keywords:mobile games, social games, games technology
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G440 Human-computer Interaction
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:2172
Deposited By: Ben Kirman
Deposited On:09 Feb 2010 17:51
Last Modified:02 Sep 2014 09:09

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