Get your game on for Melbourne Knowledge Week

Are you fed up doing your taxes? Do you dread washing the dishes? Melbourne Knowledge Week might just hold the answer to transforming the most mundane tasks of our everyday lives, in the form of game guru Lauren S. Ferro. She’s been thinking of ways to apply personalised gamified approaches to the boring things we hate doing most.

Lauren S. Ferro

Lauren S. Ferro, Doctoral Researcher at the GEELab

We caught up with the doctoral researcher in the Games and Experimental Laboratory (GEELab) to find out more.

What do you do at the Centre for Game Design Research?

My research is centred on developing methodologies and frameworks to help novice and experienced designers create more personalised game and game-like experiences. From this research, I’ve created a prototyping tool called ‘Gamicards’ which will be on show at the Knowledge Week workshop Your boring life gamified.

Gamicards

Gamicards

What is gamification – is it something anyone can do?

Gamification is the application of game elements and mechanics to make activities more engaging and motivating.

The concept is not entirely new. Long before the term was coined we were actually all doing it or at least participating in it in some way.

For instance, if you think back to when you were in school and every time you were awarded ‘house points’, you were actually part of a game-like system. Every time you did something good – keeping a tidy desk or completing assignments – you got points that worked towards a goal, for example, winning the house cup.

Depending on how you look at life, many things can be gamified. It is absolutely something Melburnians can all do, young and old, experienced and inexperienced.

It really comes down to what motivates you, and what you find enjoyable (or not enjoyable) and how various game elements and mechanics can be used to create these experiences.

Centre for Design Research

Students using the interactive Resonance Table at the Centre for Game Design Research

What excites you most about working in your field in Melbourne?

Melbourne provides a very diverse range of opportunities. I have been lucky enough to work with people in business, education and game design across various projects – from professional development and interactive medical selection assessments to gamifying communication between departments.

Through all of this we have discovered how personalisation in games or game-like experiences can increase engagement for workers and consumers alike.

With its fast pace and innovative industries and fresh perspectives, Melbourne offers fantastic opportunities for businesses and schools to adopt these ideas, and to facilitate professional development and motivate students.

Centre for Design Research

Virtual reality headset, Centre for Game Design Research

What’s your favourite video game?

My favourites would have to be Abe’s Oddysee, Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed. Abe’s Oddysee was one of the first games that got me really interested in game design. I remember when I first played Assassin’s Creed, it almost felt as though you were there especially with the music, it created such an immersive atmosphere. With Tomb Raider, especially when I was a growing up, having a strong female protagonist such as Lara Croft was really inspiring.

Your boring life gamified is just one of over 40 events on during Melbourne Knowledge Week, which runs from 19 to 25 October 2015.

More highlights at Melbourne Knowledge Week

  • Slide night – wearable technology: Hear about the latest applications of wearable technology in contemporary theatre practice.
  • Thoughtlab-14 – Back to the future: Re-join time travellers Doc Brown and Marty McFly, as their aerial craft touches down in the year 2041.
  • Rockstars of the new economy: Join KeepCup founder Abigail Forsyth and others on the role of business in society.
  • The idea nation: Explore the myth of success, the tall poppy syndrome, and why this is the best time in history to start a business.
  • Speed date a leader: Do you have big dreams? Meet some of Melbourne’s most successful leaders who want to help you fulfil them.
  • Supercomputing for sight: Hear how Melbourne scientists harness supercomputing power to advance their cutting-edge eye and vision research.

Check out the full Melbourne Knowledge Week program.