GameSpace research report and tool

The GameSpace research report is finally available online. You can access it from Tampere University Electronic Publications, Tampub or directly from this link:

Check out also our department previous e-publications here.

Perhaps even more importantly, we have also released tiny flash tool with shorter texts and all the articles, files and tools that we have produced during the project. There you can also find the printable versions of VNA, GameBoard, GameSeekers and other game idea generation tools.

Flash tool:

Theoretical Philosophy and Thought Experiments

I have been a Master of Social Sciences (abbreviated to VTM here in Finland) from the last summer. The journey of 10 years with a specific interest on thought experiments as a method for philosophy (and science) ended into a Finnish master’s thesis where I reported my findings on the subject matter. I can never say that I actually was finished with this issue though.

The topic was never easy, and it doesn’t cease to interest me these days either. I am eager to find out how the area is evolving further.

But the burden of heavy philosophical arguments and deep waters of pure mind games is now officially come to an end from my side. I don’t think that I am able to ever dive into that deep end of science any more or at least not as intensively as I have been. But as they say: never say never. There are definite links with design research and game research with this meta-philosophical topic…

If you are interested, the thesis is available here, but unfortunately I have to inform you that in order to really understand it, you need to master Finnish and possibly also basics of philosophy. As a good reference in English, you can always start on reading Sören Häggqvists dissertation from year 1996. I follow the same lines in many respects with him.

(Re)turn to blogosphere

As there have been so many other possibilities to express myself in writing, I haven’t seen myself pressing ‘publish’ button too eagerly here. But I think it’s time to return to my personal blogosphere and continue reporting my unofficial thoughts here as well. Hopefully some of you are still listening!

In the meanwhile there have been several other blogging projects that you can check out, if you are curious:

GAIN – Games and Innovation (this is our new research project)
Intro to Game Design (this is online course that just closed)
Game Design Specialisation course blog (this was another online course) (information package of games cultures to teachers, in Finnish)

Oh, and you can also follow my tweets at:

Future Play 2008

Alhough the GameSpace project has been officially come to an end; we are still working with the last pieces of the project and putting things to final touch. Upcoming research report is under its way, there are plans for closing seminar and I have been continuing with some of the topics in another project (GAS).

But also our last conference paper is about to be published under ACM digital library: Janne, GameSpace project manager, is currently at Toronto presenting our paper “Designing Game Idea Generation Games” at Future Play 2008 conference. The paper is similar to our Meaningful Play conference paper, but the emphasis is on the design process and challenges that we faced with our idea generation games. I will publish the link to the paper in ACM, as soon as I will get information about it.

Meaningful Play 2008 proceedings

Meaningful Play 2008 conference proceedings are now available at along with our paper “User Experiences of Game Idea Generation Games”.

Here is the abstract:

User Experiences of Game Idea Generation Games
Annakaisa Kultima, Johannes Niemelä, Janne Paavilainen and Hannamari Saarenpää

In this paper, we introduce three idea generation games designed for the use of game designers and discuss about the feedback they received while used in the authentic production settings. Three games designed especially for generating game ideas were developed in the GameSpace project that studies methods for design and evaluation of casual mobile multiplayer games. According to our experiences, games can be considered as successful devices for idea generation. Game-based idea generation techniques provide an easily facilitated, focused but playful setting for coming up with new ideas. We would like to share the feedback of our games in order to inspire others to create similar tools for generating innovative ideas in the field of games or other industries alike. 


Presenting at Meaningful Play 2008

I presented a paper at Meaningful Play 2008 conference in East Lansing, MI, USA concerning the game-based idea generation tools that we have developed in GameSpace project and especially the experiences designers had with the idea games in our pilot study. The presentation slot was quite short (15 min. for the presentation, 5 min. for discussion) and I had to rush my 20+ slides, leaving so many interesting things out. But what I tried to concentrate at was introducing our games and discus why they were so popular, despite their flaws. The presentation and the paper are not identical, as I added some new thoughts that I am working on into the slide-show. Papers will be available online later on, here are the slides:

The presentation background is taken (and modified) from the GameSpace Tool that we have been working on the last weeks of GameSpace project. The tool will popularize the whole range of research findings from our project. We are going to announce the tool later this year, as soon as it is ready!

Hypermedia Lab summer party and the Lego game

Aww… The summer seems to turn into its cold end… No more holiday, back to work and so on. Happens every year.

Before the summer break, I have been busy with couple of articles and trying to get myself free from work in order to start the holiday. Because of some deadlines I did not make it according to the plan and had to postpone the starting date with couple of days. Well, that happens.

Fortunately we had a nice summer party with Hypermedialab staff right before the biggest crunch. It is our tradition that smaller group of people plans the day in advance and keeps the destination and activities secret before arriving to the destination. This year I accidentally volunteered to the organising team and we came up with an idea of light adventurous hike and camping food (and the sauna after, which was no secret to anybody). 

We ended up to choose “Birgitan polku” near Hervanta and happened to get not-so-nice weather for the day. Fortunately our hiking trip was short and well equipped with sausages and dough for pancakes and our buss fetched us to sauna before anybody got thunderstruck. The evening was spent at enjoyable sauna apartment at Pääskylä. We had two saunas at our disposal: one with extra steam and one traditional smoke sauna, and of course: a lake to swim. The whole place was great to stay and relax: I could have been there much longer than till midnight, even though I fell asleep in between.

As I was one of the organisers, I cannot really say, if lego-game (Assembling the Talisman) that we designed with Mika was fun to play or not, but it seemed to be rather successful (you can judge from the pictures).


Feel free to copy the concept for your own parties:

Put together approximately ten-piece lego construction and give it to one player (the prophet), gather exactly the same pieces and give to another (the constructor). Put two players in between these two to deliver messages from one end to another (messengers). Put another team with the same construction with different coloured pieces and let the teams compete which one is faster to assembly the right combination. Only one player on the team sees the sample piece and only one player can put pieces together or remove pieces. The piece that is under construction, may be delivered to the other end for comparison, but messengers and constructor may not see the sample piece in any case (only the prophet, since it is actually only his/her vision). You can also use more than two messengers in between to make the messages even more difficult to deliver to the other end. See who is good with communication and have fun!

Credits for Mika for this not-too-complicated but yet-difficult-enough 10 piece construction that we tied into the narrative of the evening and called it “talismaani”.

To see more pictures of our wonderful day at Pääskylä, check Katis pics here, or Andras’ pics here.