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A richer gaming experience

Based at the University of Oulu, LudoCraft focuses on game design, game analysis, and studying the nature of how people experience games and game communities – and has designed a line of novel game technology applications, such as eScape and AirBuccaneers.
University of Oulu

Digital games are essentially about fun and entertainment, and have been from the start. The quality of computer-mediated interpersonal interaction, however, has always been one of their main shortcomings, and this has only been further emphasised with the expansion of the virtual playing field thanks to the spread of high-speed network connections and the availability of low-cost, high-power PCs.

A lack of intuitive and perceivable interaction features in products in the digital marketplace typically puts computer and telecommunication environments at a disadvantage compared to face-to-face encounters. To open up the pot ential for accessing non-verbal communication cues and other forms of self-expression, LudoCraft has designed a line of novel game technology applications.

Extending the playing field

LudoCraft's eScape, launched in 2003, is a collaborative team adventure game that requires the effort and commitment of every participant to successfully solve the problems players are faced with.

The research behind eScape focused on finding new solutions for applying game technologies to future learning environments – and LudoCraft worked with the Educational Technology Unit at the Univ ersity of Oulu t o evaluate and analyse the group dynamics and collaborative processes between players to provide a richer games and interpersonal experience.

The game incorporates a speech system for free dialogue, for example, to further promote communications between all those playing, and to extend the game's 'collaborative space' and focus players' minds on the social process dimension.

As a team-oriented multiplayer game based on hot air balloon combat – offering a combination of graceful air ballet, fierce pirate-like action, and 3D tactical manoeuvring – LudoCraft's AirBuccaneers focuses on rewarding cooperation and collaboration between players.

> Tony Manninen, Professor
(Published in High Technology Finland )