Thesis Blog

Updated Thesis and Abstract

The primary thing that I have been working on from last week into this week was revising my thesis statement and also my abstract.  After getting some good feedback from Prof. Gilbert, I decided to go back and review some of the research that I previously did and look at a couple of new options in order to revise and tighten up my thesis.

My first thesis and abstract were focused on frameworks and user-interactions necessary to translate physical board games into digital games:

Designing digital board games using three-dimensional interfaces and gesture-based interactions provides a framework that successfully translates physical multiplayer board games for single players using digital devices with touch interfaces.

Converting physical board games to a digital form using traditional point and click interactions with 2D interfaces fails to provide an intuitive gameplay experience that board game players are accustomed to with physical games.  Physical board games have three-dimensional physical components like a game board, figurines, cards, and dice and the player’s interaction with these components is a substantial part of the player’s experience of playing the game.

Traditionally, physical board games have been converted using 2D interfaces with point and click interactions, and this limits the intuitive experience that a player would have with a physical board game.  Using a 3D environment and the game components can be visualized in a more realistic way by using touch gestures such as swiping, tapping, and pinching. The player will be able to have a digital gameplay experience that is more intuitive and closer to the one they would have with a physical game.

I have decided to focus my thesis research on using digital board games as a way to teach players the systems that can be very complex and lead to accessibility issues for new players.

New Thesis:
Designing digital board games using three-dimensional interfaces and gesture-based interactions provides a framework that simplifies the emergent systems present in modern table-top games and increases the accessibility for the player.

Updated Abstract:
Modern table-top board games are challenging for new players to learn because of the complexity of the rules, physical components, and implied player interactions.  All of these components play a role in the emerging complex systems that the player has to understand to learn how to play a game.  By using three-dimensional interfaces and gesture-based interactions, board games can be easier to learn in digital form. 

Steven Johnson states that “emergence arises out of complexity.” This complexity can lead to accessibility issues for a new player and can discourage the player from breaking through this wall of systems to play the game. By using a digital environment, these complex game systems found in board games can be illustrated in a meaningful way and enable the gameplay to be more accessible for the new player learning how to play the game. 

I like this new direction for my thesis because it’s focused designing solutions for teaching players how to learn a new game. This is a very interesting research topic for me because being a full-time educator and I’m faced each semester with learning new methods and ways to make complex topics interesting, understandable, and accessible for my students.