Phaneroscopy for Video Games

Phaneroscopy for Video Games

Francisco V. Cipolla-Ficarra (Latin Association of Human-Computer Interaction, Spain & International Association of Interactive Communication, Italy) and Jacqueline Alma (Electronic Arts – Vancouver, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7377-9.ch001
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The authors present a first study for the classification of the video games from a synchronic and diachronic perspective, in relation to the notion of phaneroscopy. The chapter analyzes categories of interactive design and communicability. In addition, there is a constant interrelation among the components of the multimedia systems aimed at entertainment in the late 20th century with the so-called “Z generation,” in the era of the expansion of communicability, and through the latest video game technologies, which allow the functioning of those interactive systems.
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One of the functions of the design models of interactive systems is to generate a common language among the designers, programmers, quality evaluators, etc. (Cipolla-Ficarra et al., 2010). The purpose is to avoid ambiguities which can increase the production timing and consequently reduce the costs. Although there are different models aimed at the design of hypertext, multimedia, and hypermedia systems from the 80s to days, (Garg, 1988; Yankelovich et al., 1988; Tompa, 1989; Stotts & Furuta, 1989; Hall & Papadopoulos, 1990; Schnase et al., 1993; Hardman et al., 1994) in terms of the production of interactive systems aimed at education, information, tourism, culture, entertainment, etc. their notions have been used or are used, when it comes to the design of the interactive design, whether it is an online support or off-line. How is it possible that a model born in electronic and computing departments in Milan (Italy) does not agree with the department of computer science and engineering in Zaragoza (Spain), when the mentors and potential users of said model are all university professors of mathematics and computer science? How is it possible that a design model of hypermedia systems generated between a private college in Brazil (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro) and another hybrid in Italy (Polytechnic University of Milan) is not understandable to a Spanish public university (Polytechnic University of Catalonia –Barcelona School of Informatics)? (Schwade et al., 1995). The answers to these questions can be found first in semiotics –our research work uses several notions from it (Nöth, 1995). In second place, and in terms of human factors in software engineering (Cipolla-Ficarra et al., 2011) it is possible for disagreements to be present, –there are alwsy diferent viewpointss–, however we won’t analyze the same the current study, though, and because we leave this as a line of research for the future.

The use of semiotics in the design of interactive systems has proved to be very efficient when it comes to generating systems that reduced costs and with provide a high quality level, whether it is for e-learning, tourism or cultural heritage, etc.

The strategy followed has been to classify the main elements which make up the design of the system from several categories: presentation or layout, content, navigation, structure, compatibility or conectibility and panchronic (Cipolla-Ficarra et al., 2010). These categories of interactive design have been evolving with time, in order to generate quality attributes, metrics, techniques and evaluation methods, new professional profiles, etc. (Cipolla-Ficarra, 1999; Cipolla-Ficarra et al., 2010). In this sense, Umberto Eco, stresses the importance and the validity of the classifications (Eco, 2009) at the moment of generating and/or interacting with interactive systems of bidirectional interrelations, orthogonal or not orthogonal, unions and intersections, etc. These methods and techniques may be applied amongst the diffferent components which in principle can be presented as lacking those links among themselves. In our case, after experimenting with some design models of hypertext systems, including multimedia and hypermedia forms/types, and with few positive results for the heuristic evaluation of the new systems of multimedia mobile phones, we have resorted to the main notions presented by Theodor Holm Nelson in his book “Literary Machines” (Nelson, 1992), and those deriving from semiotics or semiology. In the current chapter we resort to the notion of phaneroscopy in the discovery of universal categories.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Interactive System: It is a computer device made up by a CPU and peripherals, whose functioning requires a constant interaction with the user. Currently these systems tend to their miniaturization, the mobility and wireless connectability among them.

Video Game: Is an electronic game that involves human interaction with one or more user/s interface/s to generate audio-visual feedback, for instance, on a video device.

Phaneroscopy: A term Charles S. Pierce. Pierce coined this term from the Greek words phaneron and scopy. The principal task of phaneroscopy is the discovery of universal categories. In other words is a doctrine of the categories.

Communicability: A qualitative communication between the user and the interactive system, such as hypermedia, mobile phones, virtual reality, immersion multimedia, among others. The extent to which an interactive system successfully conveys its functionality to the user.

Generation Z: Is one expression used for the denotation of people born after the new millennial. There is no agreement on the exact dates of the generation with some sources starting it at the mid or late 1990s democratizationn of Internet) or from the mid 2000s, to the present day.

Control of the Fruition: Is the degree of autonomy in navigation that the structure of the multimedia systems given the user. The degree of autonomy in the user’s enjoment of system can be high, middle or low when the user decides towards which areas of the structure the system can be directed, and what actions can be carried out from within by the user him/herself.

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