M+Dev Conference Highlights

Eric B. Bauman, Tim Laning & Thomas “Brett” Talbot

On Friday, October 28, the Wisconsin Games Alliance held its inaugural Midwest Game Development (M+DEV) Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Over 400 participants attended the conference hosted in Wisconsin’s thriving game development hub, which boasted a roster of internationally renowned academic and industry experts covering a wide array of game-related topics.

Clinical Playground’s Dr. Eric B. Bauman and Filament Games’ Dan Norton co-chaired the education track, which focused on topics such as game-based learning, simulation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Featured speakers included Warren Specter of Deus Ex fame, Tommy Palm of Candy Crush Saga, Dr. Thomas “Brett” Talbot from the University of Southern California, and Tim Laning of the Netherland’s award winning Grendel Games.

Education Track Highlights

Tim Laning, Grendel Games

Tim Laning of Grendel Games  with Tim Gerritsen of Fantasy Flight Interactive

Tim Laning’s presentation touched on several of Grendel Game’s most successful projects, including Garfield vs. Hotdog, a game that helps children learn about nutrition, and Water Battle, a family friendly game designed to raise water footprint awareness. Water Battle recently received two awards in the US, including the Sensus Reach Award. Garfield vs.Hotdog took a bronze award in the 2017 Serious Play Awards.

Laning also discussed Underground, a game that helps medical residents practice surgery skills from the comfort of their home using a modified Nintendo Wii. As an innovation for surgical practice outside of expensive simulation labs, Underground won two Dutch Game Awards and has been acclaimed as a “Game that can change the world” by Forbes.

Thomas “Brett” Talbot

Dr. Talbot, CEO of Medical Mechanica LLC and principle medical expert at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, shared his expertise as both a speaker and panelist at the inaugural conference. His talk, titled “Conversation Games and Dialog Agents”, presented valuable insights on the mechanics of exposition in game design. He also participated in a discussion focused on the role of narrative with Matt Forbeck, Warren Spector, and Tim Cubbison, moderated by Tim Gerritsen of Fantasy Flight Interactive.

Dr. Talbot is a driving force in the serious games and virtual environments healthcare space as a prolific international medical educator and innovator.

Eric B. Bauman

PhD Student Angela Samosorn & Dr. Eric B. Bauman

Dr. Bauman facilitated the Games in Education Panel featuring speakers Tim Laning, David Gagnon, Andrew Williams, Eric Weiss, and Dan Norton. The panelists addressed a variety of topics on the trends and methodologies in the educational game field. Questions included:

  • What is the role of ludic pedagogy and the creation of games for learning or educational game design?What constitutes a complete educational game development team?
  • In 2011 Eric Zimmerman remarked at the Games+Learning+Society Conference – “We are entering the Ludic Century… We will use games to shape the future of education” – In your opinion how has this played out?
  • What is the difference between games designed for education and games designed for entertainment?
  • Compare and contrast the difference between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation as it relates to game design, learner engagement and achieving learning outcomes?
  • In the beginning, many used the term serious games, rather than educational games or game-based learning. Are these the same thing and or should serious or educational games have to be fun?
  • Many have debated the difference between simulations and games. What is the relationship between the two?

Weekend Highlights

Before returning to their homes, Dr. Bauman, Tim Laning, and Rafael Arizaga, of Yeppah! games spent time at Madison Wisconsin’s enigmatic Freakfest. Highlights below: