Physical & digital play, developing games for hospitalised children

Authors: Caroline Claisse and Dylan Yamada-Rice

Caroline Claisse and Dylan Yamada-Rice at the Copenhagen Play Festival.

Caroline Claisse and Dylan Yamada-Rice at the Copenhagen Play Festival.

In January 2014 I began a one year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to materialise ideas for the design a videogame for hospitalised children that takes account of their missed offline and online play. The project is led by Professor Elizabeth Wood and Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice from the University of Sheffield and brings together academic researchers from different disciplines, video games developers and hospital play specialists in a series of workshops, using multimodal and art-based approaches.

Together with fellow RCA student Xinglin Sun, our role is to plan and lead a series of workshops as well as recording, interpreting and materialising one final outcome. The project is all about collaboration and multidisciplinary approach. From the start, we have worked closely with Dylan and Elizabeth, which was very inspiring as they shared their research and methodological perspectives with us. Yamada-Rice shared her research interest, which looks at early childhood literacy and multimodal communication practices. This inspired us and influenced some of our work for the project, more specifically in the way we chose to analyse our data. For example, we led a workshop called “Tangible Emotion” where we used multimodal approaches and challenged participants to create their “tangible emoticon” out of a variety of colours and textures from the starting point of an emotion connected to taste. We are currently analysing each participants’ outcomes according to multimodal analysis.

Tangible Emotion Workshop by Caroline Claisse and Xinglin Sun (1/2).

Tangible Emotion Workshop by Caroline Claisse and Xinglin Sun (1/2).

 

Tangible Emotion Workshop by Caroline Claisse and Xinglin Sun (1/2).

Tangible Emotion Workshop by Caroline Claisse and Xinglin Sun (2/2).

All the way through the project we kept an open conversation and exchange with both Dylan and Elizabeth where we shared our thoughts and progress weekly. This was very helpful and encouraging, as they would help us with structuring our thoughts and research. One of the most exciting outcome we designed together was the “Hospital Heights” game, a three dimensional version of Top Trump we presented at the Copenhagen Play Festival in May 2014.

Participant playing Hospital Heights.

Participant playing Hospital Heights.

As part of the project, we met once a month and carried out a workshop with the rest of the network. Usually the day mixed academic/industry talks and arts-based workshops together and finished with a wrap up which challenged the group to think differently. It was this process that led us to the initial idea for Hospital Heights which started as a series of slotting cards similar to Eames House of cards. Xinglin and I used these cards to facilitated conversation between workshop participants. Through the process of personalising (with ideas from the workshop), assembling and disassembling the cards encouraged creativity, collaboration and spatial imagination.

Workshop 1: Wrap up activity by Caroline Claisse and Xinglin Sun.

Workshop 1: Wrap up activity by Caroline Claisse and Xinglin Sun.

Workshop 3: Graffiting board game physical/digital (1/2).

Workshop 3: Graffiting board game physical/digital (1/2).

Workshop 3: Graffiting board game physical/digital (2/2).

Workshop 3: Graffiting board game physical/digital (2/2).

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