In this response, Claire Baert describes her fascination with citizen science games and poses some questions about the practice.
This morning, like most days, I woke up early, had a latte, turned on my computer and opened Gamasutra. Like most days, I'm looking for articles discussing how games can help advance scientific research. But this morning, for the first time, I found the article I was waiting for. A blog post by Sande Chen, featured by Gamasutra, and [re]titled: Why designers should embrace 'citizen science' . This was the trigger for me to start this blog, to write about citizen science games and share my passion with the Gamasutra community. In this first post, I willintroduce many of the citizen science games everyone can play to advance science, and briefly introduce the different topics I willcover in the next posts.
My story with citizen science games began in 2013, in a small game studio in the UK. I was researching free to play, casual browser games, and was doing a quick play through the tutorials. Between Farmerama and Grepolis, I had listed a game I had never heard of:Foldit. First surprise, it's a client game. Second surprise, I'm taught how to mutate a protein to form more hydrogen bonds, not that casual. Third surprise, I'm doing real science. (Fourth surprise, first thing I did when coming back home was downloading Foldit on my laptop.)
I quickly became fascinated with the concept of citizen science games and started searching more of them. Not any kind of serious games, but specifically games that allow us, players, to contribute to authentic scientific research, without any scientific background. Games in which we provide valuable scientific data, accelerate research by analysing data, or solve complex scientific problems. Games that help diagnosis and cure diseases or that can answer important scientific questions.
After learning how to fold proteins inFoldit, I learnt how to fold RNA molecules inEteRNA and DNA molecules in Phylo. By playing these puzzle games, we are helping eradicatediseases. On my phone, I shoot at parasites in MalariaSpot to diagnose malaria in blood smear, I'm growing a microbe colony for Colony B. I'm mapping the brain in EyewireandMozak, advancing the field of neuroscience. I also dared join the quantum computing field, moving quantum atoms in Quantum Moves, optimising quantum algorithms in the prototype ofmeQuanics and solving quantum error corrections inDecodoku. All these steps are important to build quantum computers. Recently I've been showing off my navigation skills (ahem) in Sea Hero Quest, (and in VR!), to provide data to scientists researching dementia. With almost 3 million players, Sea Hero Quest is the largest dementia study in history.
Screenshot from Sea Hero Quest -VRI loved the concept of citizen science games so much that about 2 years ago, I launched a website dedicated to them. It's called well Citizen Science Games. For thecontent, I contacted many scientists and journalists, which led to the opportunity to join one of the team. I am now bringing my experience from the game industry to Stall Catchers, in which we annotate blood vessels to help answering questions about Alzheimer's disease.
Scientists have started harnessing our love for games to conduct scientific research, sometimes on their own, sometimes with game designers and developers. As Sande Chen reported in her post, they have been using different design approaches: integration, gamification and separation. Most of the games mentioned above are examples of integration. The gameplay was designed around a scientific problem. Stall Catchers uses game elements: we get points, accuracy feedback, climb leader boards and participate in punctual competitions. To illustrate the separation approach, I will use the example of EVE Online. EVE Online is the first (and only) mainstream games that integrated real citizen science activities, Project Discovery, to the game. We are looking for exoplanets by analysing luminosity measurements of stars. By reaching more than one millioncontributions in one day, Project Discovery became one of the most successful online citizen science project. This is also one of the rare citizen science game having a few articles on Gamasutra, which recently covered the launch of the second round of Project Discovery and an awesome GDC talk by CCP andMMOS.
Project DiscoveryThere is an increasing number of citizen science games. They generate tangible results and publications and can lead to important discoveries. Scientists write about design, mechanics, difficulties, pitfalls, discoveries, results, recommendations. They try to understand what motivates people to engage with these games.There is also some controversies. Do games attract or retain participants in citizen science project? Shall citizen science be gamified? Are games compatible with serious and rigorous traditional scientific research? All these questions find some answers in papers and will be discussed in future posts.
How could more studios embrace the concept? What scientific problems could be brought to existing games? What game genre would be best fitted for citizen science projects? What would be the best ways to integrate them? By starting this blog, I'm hoping to raise awareness about citizen science games. I'm also hoping to establish contact andstart discussions with designers and developers interested in the genre.
And finally, I'm a big fan of this quote so I have to share it. It was written by Dara Mohammadi who was a scientific adviser on Sea Hero Quest: "As a planet we spend 3 billion hours a week playing online games. If even a fraction of that time can be harnessed for science, laboratories around the world would have access to some rather impressive cognitive machinery."[This article originally appeared on Claire Baert's blog on Gamasutra.]
Claire Baert has 10 years experience in the video game industry and now focuses on citizen science games. She launched http://citizensciencegames.com in 2016.
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On Saturday 16th September, Gennady Golovkin faces a career-defining fight against Canelo Alvarez, the kind of fight he's been waiting for his whole career. The Kazakh boxer is arguably one of the best fighters of his generation, having defended his middleweight title 18 times over the past seven years, and this fight is being billed  The post Golovkin vs Alvarez Live Odds with Bet365 appeared first on Tennis Guru.
If you are distressed by the fact you will have to wait a year more for the last GOT season, here is a list of great games to entertain you this fall. Recently, I have been slow to discover new games. I just binged on my all-time favorite CS:GO, deliberately ignoring what's happening in the gaming world. I understood it's time to shake things up when I heard my friends discussing upcoming games and realized I have no idea what they are talking about. Finally, I need to get back on board and pack my brain with new information about upcoming games. That's why I have decided to create a short list of must-plays I should at least check this year. And here's what I've got for my Xbox shooters list. Most of the games will be available on PS4 and PC, too, so you will barely miss anything if you want to try something from my list.
Destiny 2 Release: September 2017 The game is already out for Xbox and PS4, but fans who will play on PC will have to wait another month or so, that's why I'm still counting it as upcoming. And, as you have probably already read, it's good. Bungie is well-aware of the shortcoming of the first game, and it seems they have put in great effort to fix them. The developers left what was great about the project, particularly skill-demanding raids and difficult loot hunts, and bridged holes in the narrative. The game is promising a new storytelling technique which will mesmerize you from the very beginning, or so they say. You won't also need to turn to external sources to learn the backstory of the world. Finally, all information can be acquired in game.
Star Wars Battlefront II Release: November 2017 Creating anything connected to the Star Wars universe is risky, because the bar is high, and there are so many devoted fans they will hate on anything new gaming industry produces. However, this is a good thing at the same time as the expectations are high, game developers are bound to create masterpieces. And while the first game in the Star Wars Battlefront series was deemed mediocre because of flimsy battle mechanics and lack of famous mods beloved by shooter fans, the second one appears to be promising. Luckily, it seems that game developers have taken into account fans' complaints and are ready to impress us with the reintroduction of space combat, brand new approach to character leveling and locations from The Force Awakens and Rouge One. The single-player plot revolves around an Empire operative, which also sounds quite luring.
Call of Duty: WWII Release: November 2017 How can there be a best or most anticipated shooters list without COD in it? Though I'm not a great fan of the franchise, it's undeniable that Call of Duty is a veteran both in the gaming industry and especially in the shooter genre. After exploring extraterrestrial frontiers, the game is back to its roots. While few pre-release news pieces don't give us much information about changes in the single player mode, since there hardly will be any, the multiplayer mode is rumored to be heavily modified. A new class system and a multiplayer war mode, focused heavily on the teamwork, will be added. Also, changes are made on the community side you will be able to visit a new social hub to interact with fellow players and show off your cool gear.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Release: October 2017 The franchise which is often deemed the godfather of most of the modern FPS is promising a brilliant comeback. After several impressive projects and painful fails, Wolfenstein is back to our PCs and consoles. Lucky gamers who have managed to get their hands on demo mark intense and gritty combat, bloody stealth attacks and innovative approach to killer toys, which will keep you on the edge of your chair. We will also meet most of the old and beloved (or hated) heroes, including BJ Blazkowicz, Anya, Fergus, Wyatt, and, of course, Frau Irene Engel. It's notable that BJ Blazkowicz is moving in a wheelchair, which prompts that both the narrative and gameplay will be tense and captivating. What are your plans for this fall? Share your most anticipated shooters (and even non-shooters, I fancy most of the gaming genres), so everyone will benefit and enlarge their gaming library and to-play list. The post Four Most Anticipated Shooters Coming This Fall for Xbox appeared first on Gaming Debugged | Video Games Blog Covering Xbox One, Indie Games and Gaming Discussion.