Research Projects

Based on earlier games research in the 1990s, the first games research projects in Hypermedia Laboratory started in 2000. Today Game Research Lab is located at the TRIM research centre, and is part of the Faculty of Communication Sciences. The current portfolio of UTAgamelab research projects has particular focus on comprehensive studies of games cultures, game design methodologies, playful innovation and also on emerging game forms such as hybrid and pervasive games, and the future mobile, multiplayer or location-aware games. UTAgamelab is actively combining multiple methodologies and the work is highly interdisciplinary, while also promoting emergence of Game Studies as a dedicated field of scholarship focused on games and play experiences. Active in national and international collaborations, the UTAgamelab group has organized conferences and seminars, and played important role in the establishment of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) to facilitate and coordinate the international community of academics working on game studies and digital games research.

Current and past research projects:

Desciptions:

Triangle:  The Challenges of Social Media to the Design of Game Services

  • Triangle studies the relationship of video games business, design and experience. The research is done at the University of Tampere Game Research Lab and Helsinki Institute of Interactive Technology. The project is funded by Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) and five industry partners: Veikkaus, RAY, Ironstar Helsinki, Moido Games and Applifier. The project running time is 1.1.2011 – 31.3.2012 (15 months)
  • Web site: http://triangleresearchdotorg.wordpress.com//

Transformation of Digital Play (TDP)

  • Transformation of Digital Play (Digitaalisen pelaamisen muodonmuutos) is a two-year research project that looks into the ongoing changes in areas related to play of games, new game audiences and required game design methodologies. TDP is carried out in collaboration with University of Jyväskylä.
  • TDP is a consortium project, funded by Tekes (Verso programme) and a consortium of companies. There is more detailed information available in the websites of subprojects, GaIn (http://gamesandinnovation.com/) and SoPlay (http://soplayproject.wordpress.com/ – mostly password protected).
  • Contacts: TDP/Frans Mäyrä (frans dot mayra at uta dot fi), GaIn/Annakaisa Kultima (annakaisa dot kultima at uta dot fi), SoPlay/Janne Paavilainen (janne dot paavilainen at uta dot fi).

Creation of Game Cultures: The Case of Finland (CG-Cult)

  • Creation of Game Cultures (CG-Cult) research project is a wide reaching consortium project funded by the Academy of Finland (2009-2012). It is a collaboration between University of Tampere, University of Jyväskylä and University of Turku, Pori unit, centres of digital culture studies. The project will produce knowledge about the role of digital play in contemporary culture and society.
  • More: http://finnishgamecultures.wordpress.com/
  • Contact: professor Frans Mäyrä (frans dot mayra at uta dot fi)

University Alliance Finland Research Cluster of Excellence on Future Learning and Games Research (LeGaResearch)

  • The LeGaResearch consortium project (2008-2012) will bring together the leading centres of game studies and future learning in three Alliance universities: University of Tampere, Technical University of Tampere and University of Jyväskylä. It will spearhead the fundamental and applied research work looking into the role of online, virtual environments in learning, social life and play experiences.
  • More: http://hlab.ee.tut.fi/legaresearch/
  • Contacts: professor Frans Mäyrä, Senior Researcher Tanja Sihvonen, Researcher Antti Syvänen (firstname dot lastname at uta dot fi)

Games as Services (GaS)

  • Games as Services (GaS) is a research project looking into the future developments of games as online services. GaS project intends to look into the impact of digital distribution of games and to produce comprehensive analysis of the ongoing developments in the following areas: changes in the play of games, changes in game structures and ludic storytelling, changes in games business and changes in games technologies.
    The project is carried out in collaboration by the Hypermedia Laboratory in the University of Tampere, and HIIT, The Helsinki Institute for Information Technology. It is supported by a consortium of companies and Tekes.
  • Project duration: April 2008 – March 2010.
  • Contact person: Olli Sotamaa, tel. +358 3 3551 7883, email: olli dot sotamaa at uta
    dot fi

Youth Spaces and the Alpine Tundra Regions (YOUSAT)

  • Youth Spaces and the Alpine Tundra Regions (YOUSAT) project is a Nordic Innovation Centre funded initiative to research and apply social and mobile media for involving young people to share nature experiences with each other.
  • Project duration: project runs in 2009-2010.
  • Contact person: Hannamari Saarenpää, hannamari dot saarenpaa at uta dot fi

Verkkorahapelaamisen muodonmuutos (VerMu)

  • VerMu-project focuses on new forms of Internet gaming and gambling. In Finland the state has the monopoly to organize gambling games. However, the Internet has made it easier for players to access also international gambling games. International gambling sites offer plenty of games which differ from money or gambling games traditionally played in Finland. The boundaries between gambling and other forms of gaming are not so clear in these sites. VerMu-project aims to map what are these new forms of money gaming and what are their qualities compared to traditional gambling games. The main focus is on recently generalized skill gaming-sites which offer a possibility for players to place a money bet on their games. The project is funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
  • Project duration: 1.4.2008-31.3.2009
  • Contact person: Jani Kinnunen, tel. +358 3 3551 4040, email: jani dot kinnunen at uta.fi

Learning by Hybrid Media (LeHMa)

  • Digital games do no longer remain separate from other areas of life, but appear as increasingly integrated in studies, work and social life, as well as in leisure. At the same time, digital media and computational power is also becoming integrated in everyday objects and environments, a development known as pervasive or ubiquitous computing, giving rise to new kind of mixed or hybrid realities. Learning by Hybrid Media project(2008-2009) explores these two trends, looking at the integration of digital games with paper-based educational materials.
  • Contact person: Janne Paavilainen, tel. +358 3 3551 7886, email: janne dot paavilainen at uta.fi

International Study of Games Cultures (InGa)

  • Digital games have grown larger than the movie industry in terms of revenues, and especially among the younger generations, almost entire generations spend regularly their time playing them. Despite this, there are almost no reliable academic studies which would chart and compare the real developments in the popularity of games. The International Study of Games Cultures (INGa; 2006-2008) is a new project starting as a collaboration of researchers in Finland, South Korea and North America. It is designed to produce foundation for larger international cooperation, studying the digital game playing and game cultures in different countries. The research project is multidisciplinary and producing basic scientific knowledge about such key facts as how much digital games are played in different age groups, and which types of games actually are played. The aim is to facilitate comparisons in game playing between different countries, and the contemporary role of games in different societies. In the future, such information can also be used to track the changes in the social and cultural significance of games and interactive media.
  • Contact person: Frans Mäyrä, tel. +358 3 3551 7933, email: frans dot mayra at uta.fi

Method for Evaluation of Player Experiences (MEPE)

  • MEPE focuses on the player experiences in both gambling and recreational games. The aim of the project is to develop a research method, which can be used to evaluate player experiences in different kinds of situations. The method should take into account the qualities of the player, the game and the surrounding environment. The social and cultural context of gaming is the central research area. The method is developed by utilizing different research techniques. These include player interviews, questionnaires, laboratory tests and collecting automatic game-data. MEPE-project is in close connection to the Vepe-project, which also deals in part with player experiences in gambling games.
  • Contact person: Jani Kinnunen, tel. +358 3 3551 4040, email: jani dot kinnunen at uta.fi

Verkossa pelaamisen erityisongelmia ja suojatekijöitä (VEPE)

  • VePe focuses on risks related to Internet gaming. In a main focus is Internet poker. Project is also researching massively multiplayer online roleplaying games and casual money games. These games are used as a comparison material. Vepe-project researches normal player experiences and problematic experiences in Internet poker. Main focus is to research if problematic poker players have different experiences compared to
    non-problematic players. Data is collected with laboratory tests and quantitative and qualitatitive methods.
  • Contacts: Mikko Svartsjö, Jani Kinnunen, Eetu Paloheimo, Frans Mäyrä

Mobile Learning Environments (MLE)

  • MLE is a research project focused on learning effects of pervasive mobile games. Pervasive games are games that try to blend into players’ lives mixing reality and virtual reality. Seven partners from three Nordic countries are involved in this project.
  • During the project one pervasive mobile game is designed and developed. The implementation of the game is done for three different platforms. The main target of this project is to study what kinds of effects technology has on player experience and learning. The main focus of Hypermedialab is in the game evaluation and doing a comparative analysis for three evaluation results.
  • Project duration: April 2007 – November 2008
  • Contact person: Hannamari Saarenpää, tel. +358 3 3551 8314, email: hannamari dot saarenpaa at uta.fi

GameSpace: A Method for Design and Evaluation of Mobile Multiplayer Game

  • GameSpace is a research project focused on the design and study of mobile multiplayer games, aiming to develop a game design and evaluation method, which would be suitable for the special characteristics of mobile devices and gaming. In practice, this research involves organising workshops that are focused on creating novel multiplayer mobile game concepts, but also on expanding the game design space and systematising the methodology for mobile game design. Also the potential issues related to the connections between casual games and money or lottery games are studied in this project. The project will involve work on various game theories, methodologies and practical game concepts, and will also produce a game methodology tool, in addition to research papers.
  • Project duration: 1.8.2006 – 31.7.2008
  • Contact person: Janne Paavilainen, tel. +358 3 3551 7886, email: janne dot paavilainen at uta.fi

Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming (IPerG)

  • Pervasive games are context-aware games of future, which combine physical presence with virtual game experience. These games combine location-tracking, wireless communication, virtual realities and various media in order to create new kinds of game experiences. The IPerG approaches to pervasivity include community-creation, user-created content and role-playing issues.
  • The project will produce showcase prototypes exploring five sub-genres of pervasive games. The experiences gathered from these prototypes will be combined during the third year of the project in order to create a truly new kind of games. The main focus of Hypermedialab is in the pervasive game design and evaluation research.
  • Contact person: Markus Montola, tel. + 358 3 3551 4082, email: markus dot montola at uta.fi

Mobile Content Communities (MC2)

  • The MC2 project, which started in June 2003 and ended in June 2006, studied the social meaning and impact of new communication technology for communities that are interested in mobile gaming. The results of the MC2 project include evaluated and tested scenarios of mobile community gaming, template-based design tools that allow people to create their own games and game-related content, new open source tools to empower the community activity, and company-specific case studies to help the industry partners to benefit from community-created content. The project contributed to games research both in industry (e.g., GDC Mobile 2005) and in academia (e.g., DiGRA 2005), as well as mobile media research (e.g., ACM Multimedia 2004).
  • More: the final report is here
  • Contact: professor Frans Mäyrä.

SuPer: koeympäristö tulevaisuuden rahapelien suunnitteluperiaatteille

  • SuPer is a research and evaluation focused project that deals with game experiences, and it implements a game testing environment for experimental game designs. Research is carried out in collaboration between University of Tampere, Veikkaus and Technical University of Tampere/DACI.
  • More: http://www.uta.fi/hyper/projektit/super/index.html
  • Contact: professor Frans Mäyrä.

PeTo: Lapset ja nuoret pelikulttuurien toimijoina

  • PeTo (Children as the Actors of Game Cultures) is part of the Children and Information Society consortium. PeTo research aims to find out what and how children play, and how they interprete their own playing. Research also studies the control issues of gaming.
  • More: http://www.uta.fi/hyper/projektit/peto/index.html . The final report is here. The project has also contributed in publishing the book, Lapsuus mediamaailmassa (Gaudeamus 2005).
  • Contact: professor Frans Mäyrä.