Critical Point

[Research] (05.08.08, 8:49 pm)

The time has come to ask an important question in regards to my research endeavour. Generally, I am not one to turn problems down or leave questions unpursued and unanswered. However, at this time, I need to actually pin down and begin thinking about what, specifically, I am going to write my dissertation on.

This issue is critical because there are seemingly two diverging paths that can be taken. One of these paths goes down a route of educational technology, looking at how games or software (simulation, more particularly) can be used to convey information about a domain, exposing methodology and its underlying ideas. This idea is arguably more fundable, and is grounded in the fine tradition of educational technology. I think that this approach would reveal important things about how knowledge might be viewed and communicated. Extended further, it might provide a method for exploring how to generally communicate models through software and simulation.

The second idea follows a more “games and narrative” direction. The idea underlying this is adaptation, specifically applied to fictional worlds. While there are many narrative to game adaptations in certain genres (notably action or fantasy), not very many games are adapted out of other kinds of narratives, for instance social dramas, romances, comedies, etcetera. We know that these narratives are systematic in their own right, so the idea behind this research would be to develop a method for adapting these kinds of narratives. This approach would require identifying, specifically, a domain to examine for adaptation, and identifying a few works to make adaptations. While this idea would be risky, (admittedly dangerous in that I don’t want to follow Chris Crawford’s path and be faced with an impossible task). At the same time, were it succcessful, the idea also has the potential to make a significant impact on game industry.

For a variety of reasons, it is difficult to distance myself from either idea, and ideally I’d like to do a bit of both. A common thread may be find in the idea that both are tied to representing and communicating models. The real question is whether any hybrid of these two ideas is possible, useful, or worthwhile. And that is what remains to be seen.

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