Friday, February 26, 2010

Science Pirates

Science Pirates is cool STEM learning game from the Learning Games Lab at NMSU.

Science Pirates: The Curse of Brownbeard is a 3D educational computer game that communicates food safety knowledge in an environment of scientific exploration.

The USDA awarded NMSU a grant to develop interactive games that help mid-school youth learn about food safety procedures, such as hand washing, cooking food to the proper temperature, keeping raw meat and cooked food separate, and washing surfaces. NMSU's Media Productions unit has a strong history in developing food safety materials, including an effective games site for younger children in 3rd — 5th grades, "The Food Detectives Fight BAC!®".

Original game design called for online gaming simulations through which youth would design their own experiments, draw conclusions and make recommendations in all areas of food safety. However, early testing of prototypes revealed the lack of experience youth have in conducting experiment design, and the instructional challenge of preparing students to adequately perform this important science process.

Thus, the educational goal of Pirate Science shifted from one of understanding food safety issues through science processes, to one of understanding science processes to better change food safety behavior. That meant the educational focus became more centered on scientific understanding and processes, with the end result being a game that leads students through science processes as recommended through national science standards, while giving gamers a culminating activity of experiment design to lead them to better understanding of hand washing.

Download it and give it a try!

Here is some contact info if you'd like to follow-up with them directly:

Barbara Chamberlin, PhD

Associate Professor
Extension Instructional Design and Educational Media Specialist
Project Director, Learning Games Lab
NMSU Media Productions

Gerald Thomas Hall, Rm. 286
940 E. College Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88003
575/646-2848 (work)
575/640-7230 (mobile)
575/646-4275 (fax) (iChat or AIM)
babschamberlin (Skype)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Great Lighting is such a treat ...

For me, lighting and chroma management makes or breaks the experience, whether it's a game, film, TV show, or painting. My wife and I went to see Avatar a couple of nights ago, and the lighting and chroma was superb ... that's not to say that the direction, other VFX, character animation, etc. weren't amazing (because they were) ... but, for me, the lighting was a real treat.

What was particularly enjoyable is that this was true for the entire movie, not just for the beauty shots or a few VFX shots that are exceptional.  For example, this shot of live action composited with UI animation is just one sequence that is representative of the entire film:

While I'm on the topic of great lighting ... something that I look forward to watching each week is CSI Miami - for just this reason alone ... it's the best lit show on TV right now ... hands down ... for example:


For a weekly TV episodic to reach this kind of production value is really noteworthy ... because it shows such a deep commitment to lighting each shot (especially on location) and then color grading in post production ... I wish more TV was like this!

Monday, October 12, 2009

IGC West - November 5-6 in LA

The 2009 Independent Game Conference West is November 5-6, 2009 in Los Angeles a the Marriot Marina Del Rey.

The conference has 5 tracks over 2 days, and the sessions are current, topical, and our speakers know their stuff! The first keynote speaker is, Robert Ferrari, Vice President of Production for Sanrio!

One of the keys to the IGCs is the networking they enable. With our digital communication dependence (necessity?), it's hard to get face time with other game developers. The IGC Series provides this-there's time to meet with both local and far-flung developers, industry experts, new talent, and business veterans.

One of the best ways to meet people and show off your talent is the IGC Game Demo Night. This special feature has provided many people and teams recognition and financial success and is included with conference admission! Over the last 2 years, 20% of participants have received financial deals DIRECTLY related to this event!

For more information, visit the conference website at

Call for Papers - The International Conference on Education, Training and Informatics: ICETI 2010

The International Conference on Education, Training and Informatics: ICETI 2010

International Conference on Society and Information Technologies: ICSIT 2010

Both conferences will be held collocated (at the same time and the same venue) on April 6 -9, 2010 in Orlando, Florida, USA.

The deadlines for both conferences are the following:

Papers/Abstracts Submissions and Invited Sessions Proposals: October 28th, 2009
Authors Notifications: November 23th, 2009
Camera-ready, full papers: December 16th, 2009

All Submitted papers/abstracts will go through three reviewing processes: (1) double-blind (at least three reviewers), (2) non-blind, and (3) participative peer reviews. These three kinds of review will support the selection process of those papers/abstracts that will be accepted for their presentation at the conference, as well as those to be selected for their publication in JSCI Journal.

Pre-Conference and Post-conference Virtual sessions (via electronic forums) will be held for each session included in the conference program, so that sessions papers can be read before the conference, and authors presenting at the same session can interact during one week before and after the conference. Authors can also participate in peer-to-peer reviewing in virtual sessions.

Submissions for Face-to-Face or for Virtual Participation are both accepted. Both kinds of submissions will have the same reviewing process and the accepted papers will be included in the same proceedings.

Authors of accepted papers who registered in the conference can have access to the evaluations and possible feedback provided by the reviewers who recommended the acceptance of their papers/abstracts, so they can accordingly improve the final version of their papers. Non-registered authors will not have access to the reviews of their respective submissions.

Registration fees of an effective invited session organizer will be waived according to the policy described in the web page (click on 'Invited Session', then on 'Benefits for the Organizers of Invited Sessions'), where you can get information about the ten benefits for an invited session organizer. For Invited Sessions Proposals, please visit the conference web site, or directly to

Authors of the best 10%-20% of the papers presented at the conference (included those virtually presented) will be invited to adapt their papers for their publication in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics.

Indie Game Challenge Deadline - October 31, 2009

The Indie Game Challenge deadline is just around the corner, so make sure to submit your game in time.

Register online at via the “How to Enter” icon.

Be prepared to provide your game name and genre (core, casual, cause).

Have information on hand to briefly describe the game, platform and hardware requirements, as well as the SDK version and middleware.

Submit your video game on 10 discs, each with an installer, installation and game play instructions, and copies of confirmation receipts.

Teams can have up to 15 members.

Teams can submit up to three games.

Only one iPhone application per team is allowed.

Questions can be directed to and will be addressed promptly.

All entries need to be post-marked by October 31, 2009.

“Survive 2012″ iPhone Quiz Game

Trigger Launches “Survive 2012″ iPhone Quiz Game -

Trigger created the “Survive 2012″ iPhone game for Sony’s release of 2012. The free quiz game challenges players to test their survival skills by answering disaster-related trivia questions. As players correctly answer questions, they advance across the globe with the goal of reaching higher ground in Tibet in order to survive the cataclysmic forces that will wreak havoc in 2012.

The application includes challenging trivia relating to land, air and sea disasters as well as a “Lifeline” feature allowing iPhone users to call someone from their own contact list. The game also has a GPS-based locator to indicate the user’s starting position.

This exciting new advergame demonstrates some very compelling mobile game features with important implications for mobile learning.

Visit the 2012 Movie Portal Site and play "Survive 2012":

Friday, July 03, 2009

Insert Coin Competition

The Humana Games for Health (HG4H) team is looking to create a new video game that is innovative, entertaining, and has a health benefit. It doesn't matter if you're a developer, an avid gamer or just someone with an awesome concept to share; they want to hear about your idea.

Total prizes equal $10,000 for the top three winning ideas and a chance to see your idea published. Visit to read submission guidelines and submit your idea before the September 9th deadline!

Monday, June 29, 2009

SIAA Paper

From Tim Holt on the listserv today ...

The SIIA (Software & Information Industry Association) has a paper out titled "Best Practices For Using Games & Simulations In The Classroom: Guides for K-12 Educators" which you can access on their website.

Here's a bit from the executive summary...

"We start from an assumption that games have positive impacts and our objective is to support the growth of this promising and emerging market. We have distilled the hard–won lessons from the schools and companies that have pioneered this space in order to provide guidelines to new users.

This paper is intended for teachers, administrators, policy makers and developer companies. They will get practical hands–on tips and insights on successfully integrating games into classroom practice."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

AbleGamers Survey

AbleGamers has an important survey that is designed to learn more about folks with disabilities and their use of video games - with questions about their opinion of the use of video games for rehabilitation purposes. They are asking for your help in getting the word out about the survey. Please share the survey with anyone you know with a disability and ask them to pass the word along as well. They are going to analyze and publish the results. We are interested to see how the results impact the gaming industry.

Please find the survey at Survey Monkey.

Monday, June 22, 2009

WOW for Math

Lucas Gillespie believes that at-risk students do poorly in school because they’re not motivated by traditional teaching topics. Enter WoWinSchool, a wiki for educators to share World of Warcraft-themed lesson plans for after-school programs.

A sample writing and literacy lesson: “In fantasy literature, the bard plays a key role as a traveling musician and storyteller. What song or poem would the bards of Azeroth sing about your character’s adventures?”

The math lessons are the best part. “Healing Analysis: Which types of heals produce a greater number of recovered hit points during an encounter? quick burst heals, slower more powerful heals, or heal-over-time spells?” And then they send the kids to EJ.