Prof. Bartle back on the island!

We’re continuing the expansion of our research wing at the Department of Game Design, and we are happy to announce that Prof. Richard Bartle is joining our team on Gotland as a guest professor!

We welcome professor Richard Bartle – Honorary Professor at University of Essex and Guest Researcher at the Department of Game Design at Uppsala University!

Professor Bartle co-wrote the first virtual world (MUD, in 1978), making him a pioneer within the massively multiplayer online game industry, wrote the seminal ‘Designing Virtual Worlds’ and authored the ‘Bartle Test’ which has inspired countless attempts to distinguish player types. He is also a respected and appreciated member of the game research community.

The man is no stranger to the department – he’s been an inspiration and a friend to many of us at the department since at least 2010 when he was the examiner for our colleague Mirjam Eladhari as she was finishing her PhD studies at Teesside. He’s regularly taken the time to come and share his expertise with us and our students; guest lectures on human rights in virtual worlds, strategic overviews of our education and research agenda, as well as providing our students with tons of insight at the Gotland Game Conference.

As part of his first tour of duty this autumn, Professor Bartle will share his perspectives in a guest lecture called ‘You – 40 years from now’, where shares his views on what it means to be a games student, game industry or games researcher today – in 40 years. The lecture is open to all students and the general public, but primarily geared toward first years GAME students.

Where: the Almedalen Library (room: E22),
When: Wed 26th of September, 13:15

More GAME students on the Switch!

Defunct was originally developed as a student project back in 2014 and has been available on Steam since 2016.

Today this team of former students are joining Niklas Hallin and his “Yono and the Celestial Elephants” with a release on the Nintendo Switch!

Well played and congrats Robert Graff, Jonatan Keil, David Forssell, Mikael Karlsson, Simon Öqvist, Petter Vernersson, Anders Hedström!

The Pioneers 2018: celebrating the schools that do things differently

“Creative education is vital. But creative education is, in places, broken.”, WeTransfer says. In order to support new, better, types of programs they teamed up with Lecture in Progress and developed The Pioneers listhighlighting schools around the world who deserve credit for doing things differently. They recently visited us on the island and spoke with our Director of Studies, Jakob Berglund-Rogert which led to this great write-up on how we approach game design at Campus Gotland!

The Pioneers 2018 Uppsala University Department of Game Design, Sweden

“A lot of departments look at game design from a media studies or from a computer science perspective, but we have an actual subject that is called games design,” Jakob explains. As part of the university’s faculty of arts, students sit alongside those from gender research and philosophy, narratologists and pedagogists, giving designers and developers the opportunity to work in areas such as medicine and psychology. The university also hosts a summer school in serious games where they teach the likes of biologists and physicists – “People with skills that can actually save the world,” Jakob says. […]

So if games themselves can serve as teaching tools, how do you teach aspiring game designers to do this effectively? For Jakob, one of the most important things students need to be equipped with is “some kind of ethical backbone.

“Since you’re making a mass product, you have a responsibility toward the world that you are communicating with. If you’re going to disrupt order you need to have thought about it long and hard. Game design is such a craft that a lot of students focus on the creation, but sometimes we forget to reflect on why we’re making something.” […] So right from the outset, students are taught to design with intent

[emphasis added]

Click through to read the rest of the interview with Jakob.

GAME Alumni leading by example

EmmaJohansson_RunawayGames There’s a good chance that your reading list is overwhelmingly male if you follow a lot of game developers and designers, even though you might be making a conscious effort to follow more women.

Well good news, everyone! Finding new sources for inspiration, experience and skill just became a lot easier. Our former student Emma Johansson and her New Zealand studio Runaway Play has created #GirlsBehindTheGames – a worldwide movement to highlight the women and benefits of gender diversity in the games industry, with participation from hundreds of deep-in-the-trenches developers from studios like Bioware, Capcom, EA UK, Google, Nyamyam and UsTwo Games.

She was interviewed in a Dunedin newspaper recently:

Emma Johansson, the studio’s creative director, said they’re close to gender parity, with a dozen women on the 26-strong team. That includes two women in the company’s leadership roles. She said they felt like they were “crushing the glass ceiling” in an industry traditionally dominated by men, and wanted to share their story about the benefits of gender parity.

That led to the #GirlsBehindTheGames campaign, a social media push that kicked off at the end of January in a bid to get more women making games.

“We were expecting to get maybe a few hundred followers on our twitter accounts, maybe a few shares and likes,” she said.

The campaign went far beyond that. It was shared online by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and “took on a life of its own”. […]

At GAME we pride ourselves on taking an active and vocal stance in social and ethical issues within the games media and -industry. We let topical issues infuse nearly all courses and discuss representation, equality and social issues from year one of the undergraduate. We have to do this in order to teach our students to be responsible creators, and to stand up for what is right, even when that seems difficult.

The work that Emma is doing – both in the company and in the community – is incredibly important, and it’s with great pride that we can point to her as one of ours! Follow @grlsbehindgames for lots of good stuff!