Monday, April 8, 2013

Action Games Workshop info (Aalto course code 25447)

Since we are using a generic course code and I can't edit the contents and learning outcomes in Noppa, I'm posting the material here.


Many games are simplifications and abstractions of reality. The designer's job is to abstract away irrelevant and/or cumbersome details, and choosing what to focus on is not trivial. Background research helps, but in addition to gathering mediated experiences in the form of text, images, and video, it's useful to experience things in person.

On this course, we will experience various sports and their digital representations to identify yet uncharted possibilities for action games. The course consists of physical activities mixed with lectures, gaming sessions, and interaction sketching exercises. In spring 2013, the course is organized for the first time as a workshop including parkour, trampolining, archery, swordfighting, contemporary dance, and bouldering (climbing) with help of professional instructors. 

An additional goal of the course is to share the latest insights from Aalto’s games and motion related research. 

Learning outcomes  

Gain insights and ideas for gameplay design from the points of view of, e.g.,  embodied experiences, biomechanics, motor learning and performance, physics simulation, and virtual cinematography. Understand the variety of embodied experiences, ranging from passive media to console games to experimental mixed reality games. 

How to register

You can sign up in Oodi:

Click "register" at the bottom of the page. Note that the Oodi page is a generic one, since the course doesn't yet have its own course code and page. Note also that you can find the updated course description by clicking the "Workshop I" teaching event at the bottom of the page, but Oodi doesn't let you register on that page - I would have linked directly to it otherwise.

The number of participants is limited to 14, not including me and Miikka of course.


Preliminary exercise: for the first gathering, prepare a few minutes presentation about a physical activity, such as your favorite sport. Illustrate your presentation with image(s) or video. Answer these questions: What's interesting, fun and motivating about it? How do you feel when practicing/competing? Has it affected the way you experience the world? How? Is there a digital version of it or a digital dimension to it? If so, how does the digital user experience differ from the real thing or what does the digital dimension contribute?


The course is organized during 22-26.4.2013. We'll start each day with a physical activity.

Monday 22nd 9-11am: Trampolining and parkour at Taitoliikuntakeskus. How to get there:

Tuesday 23rd 9-12am: Archery at Archery Club Wilhelm Tell. Place: Katri Valan puiston väestönsuoja:

Wednesday 24th 9:30-12:30: Medieval swordmanship at The School of European Swordmanship. Address Luiskatie 8, Helsinki (e.g, bus 77)

Thursday 25th 9:30-11:30: Contemporary dance at Helsingin Tanssiopisto. Address: Kaikukatu 4,

Friday 26th 10-12am: Bouldering (climbing) at Boulderkeskus, Konala. Address: Ruosilantie 1, 

Remember to bring indoor sports clothes and shoes. Climbing shoes will be provided by Boulderkeskus.

In addition to the activities, we'll have lectures and exercises each afternoon from 13:00-16:00 at the Media Lab games classroom. I'm currently preparing the materials, and so far the tentative themes for the afternoons are controls & virtual cinematography, character animation & biomechanics, physics based gameplay, story & emotion, and motion games & games for learning.