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It’s been a long wait, but our report “Changing Faces of Game Innovation” is now available at University of Tampere digital library. The report is a whopping 376 pages of articles covering almost the whole 2,5 year research journey. We decided to share our thoughts and results on wide variety of issues, even when some thought processes are not yet in a final form. We also included descriptions of the tools and methods we developed or looked at during this time. We hope you enjoy the package!

If you are not that keen on reading or just busy, check out the “comic book” version “Questions and Answers (on Game Innovation)”. It introduces the research questions and conclusions of our articles, each as a one-page comic.

There is also a limited edition of physical copies available at Granum virtual book store. Order your copy of “Questions and Answers (on Game Innovation)” or “Changing Faces of Game Innovation” before they run out! They ship internationally!

It’s been a great project! Big Thank You belongs to the people and the companies who have helped us during this journey! Hopefully we’ll get to elaborate these issues in the future as well, as the project has raised at least as many new questions as it has answered. We also encourage others to pick up from where we left off and continue the work. There is so much to do!


Mirva Peltoniemi dissertation “Industry Life-Cycle Theory in the Cultural Domain: Dynamics of the Games Industry” is now available online. You can access the book from The Library of Tampere University of Technology via this link:

Couple of weeks ago, a Finnish game researcher, Mirva Peltoniemi defended her dissertation at Tampere University of Technology, Finland at the Department of Business Information management and Logistics.

There has been couple of very interesting Finnish game research dissertations coming out this spring, but this one is especially relevant from the perspective of GaIn.

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Ian Fish has put up an article for Gamasutra about common pitfalls in game design processes.

These include:

1. Not Structuring Time For Game Playing
2. Placing Too Much Importance On Paper Designs
3. Peer Review Not Taken Seriously
4. Decision-Maker Picked For His Producer Skills
5. Not Taking Advantage Of Placeholders
6. Allowing The Story To Control The Game Design
7. Not Giving Designers Enough Tools
8. Entering Production Without Something Fun
9. Not Keeping Design Documentation Up-To-Date
10. Not Making Outside Playtests Part Of The Process

Even though this is only one opinion and we may not agree with all of these points, the summary is very interesting.  Especially time allocation for gameplay, or more precisely idea research, and point 9 are worth to examine for.

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Recently, Microsoft announced its upcoming visual game design environment, Kodu, to be released “later this spring”.  Combined with the level editor in Little Big Planet, these two should provide fascinating case studies for the project.

Another interesting piece on formal game design is the paper “An experiment in Automatic Game Design” by Togelius and Schmidhuber (find the paper in here).  The authors created a program that would automatically create new games based on an underlying schema (or “meta-rules” or “axioms” as the authors call it).  To evaluate the games, they had a genetic algorithm with a fitness function based on the idea of using learnability as a predictor of fun. Therefore games that are easy to learn but hard to master would get high fitness values with the algorithm, thus indicating a fun game.

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