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Cipher cities : creating tools to support and sustain community co-production in the area of mobile game design

Huang, Duzhi Sherwin (2007) Cipher cities : creating tools to support and sustain community co-production in the area of mobile game design. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

My foray into location based gaming started because as a web designer, I felt that I wanted to expand my practice from one that consisted of straightforward interface design, to one that encompassed a wider variety of skills by improving on my knowledge and expertise in the burgeoning field of interaction design. This allowed me at the same time, to incorporate other aspects of design that include the usercentred design of tools for collaboration, content creation and community creation. I take a particular interest in the opportunities afforded by the convergence of web and game based technologies, especially when mobile interaction is afforded by such convergences. This exegesis describes the theoretical underpinnings that have informed the creation of a series of graphical interfaces that serve to bridge the gap between system capabilities as envisaged by the developers and a user's experience facilitated by an interface. The actual research into creation of the interface was preceded by an exploration of the field of location based gaming from which the initial area of interest was derived. Due to the fact that location based gaming is still an emerging field, it required the creation of a custom taxonomy for the works to be systematically separated into their various elements for analysis. The taxonomy to be created involved the combination of three smaller individual taxonomies in a way that has not been attempted previously and in a way that would give a balanced account of what makes up a location based game. The area of interested identified was how location based games might be made more readily available for a wider audience. Cipher Cities, which was a system in development at the time, was one that was already designed for such an application, but now required an interface that would appropriately represent what it aimed to achieve. I joined the team as their interface designer and it became clear that due to the location centric nature of the game, the only feasible way to go about democratising the participation in such games was to make it easy for people to build their own. The issue that arose was how an interface could encourage the creation of as well as participation in location based games. This required reference from current Web 2.0 applications that use members as creators of content as well as research into the theories behind community building, content creation and distribution in support of such an interface. These theories were put into practice and implemented before being evaluated and verified through a series of user testing sessions that served to refine the system in terms of user interface design and system functions. The result of the research is the first interface ever created that works to support a system for the creation of location based games by the public. More importantly, it is a robust, interface that is attractive as well as usable.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16607
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Polson, Debra& Jones, Jeffrey
Keywords: web-based interface, mobile phone, location-based game, online community, mobile game design
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Duzhi Sherwin Huang
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 14:06
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:50

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