5th International Conference

Digital Culture & AudioVisual Challenges

Interdisciplinary Creativity in Arts and Technology

Hybrid - Corfu/Online, May 12-13, 2023

A Framework for Audio Game Design in the Augmented Museum: the Case Study of the Ionian University Museum Typography Collection
Date and Time: 13/05/2023 (10:30-12:00)
Location: Ionian Academy
Emmanouel Rovithis, Vasileios Komianos, Varvara Garneli, Agnes Papadopoulou
Keywords: Audio Games, Augmented Reality Audio, Game Design, Museum, Cultural Heritage, Typography

For over a decade, museums and other cultural entities have been increasingly adopting immersive media and gamification practices to improve visitors’ experience. Focusing on the implementation of augmented reality games on cultural heritage information, users’ interest and engagement are maximized, when a multifaceted interaction with the exhibits, a collaborative communication among the participants, and a contextual relationship between physical and virtual space are established. However, the majority of relevant projects relies heavily on visual information, whereas interaction through the acoustic channel is mainly restricted to triggering informative and/or narrative sound files in location-based audio tours. As a result, the well-documented potential of audio games to enhance concentration, excite imagination, and foster the understanding of complex information is neglected in the design of meaningful and exciting museum experiences.

This paper aims to provide a methodological framework for the design of audio-based puzzles that can facilitate a deeper connection between visitor and cultural information. The challenging task of solving a puzzle requires players to closely examine the information in focus. In the case of audio-based puzzles, sound stimuli is the main carrier of that information. Thus, players are required to develop their critical listening and focus on different acoustic properties to complete the task at hand. In that context, the authors have investigated different perspectives through the use of causal, semantic, symbolic, and reduced listening modes to facilitate the active exploration of the information that describes a museum exhibit.

Four such puzzles, each following a discrete compositional thought, were designed to enhance exhibits of the Ionian University Museum Typography Collection and consequently to serve as paradigms for shaping audio game mechanics that can relate to aspects of the exhibits’ nature and function. This paper describes the design of these puzzles, as well as the preliminary conclusions that were drawn after their pilot implementation. Nine subjects participated in a mystery game, in which they had to interpret the audio description of four exhibits in order to extract one “hidden” number from each and then combine all four numbers into the password of a locked document. In the beginning of the game players were introduced to a narrative context aimed at exciting their interest. After the game, an open discussion about their experience was carried out and recorded. After examining the collected feedback the authors argue that the integration of challenging audio game puzzles in the museum experience, while posing the need for increased concentration, creates conceptual and experiential bonds between the participating visitors and the exhibits, and supports the development of their critical thinking and creative thought.

Emmanouel Rovithis

Dr. Emmanouel Rovithis serves as Laboratory Research and Teaching Personnel at the Department of Audio & Visual Arts of the Ionian University in Corfu, Greece. He teaches courses related to Technology in Art Education, Instructional Design, Gamification, and Sound Synthesis. His research focuses on Audio Games, Audio Augmented Reality, and Mobile Augmented Reality for Cultural Heritage. He has a strong background in the design of interactive installations, games, seminars and workshops on behalf of prominent educational institutions, as well as in music composition and sound design for theatre and cinema.

Vasileios Komianos

Vasileios Komianos is a faculty member at the Department of Audio and Visual Arts, Ionian University, Greece, teaching courses related to Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality, video games and interactive multimedia. His research interests are mostly focused on Mixed Reality (MR) systems, on user interaction and user interfaces in MR systems and applications as well as on approaches for artistic expression and cultural communication. He has work experience on designing audiovisual content and installations in the cultural heritage sector, and his works are hosted or have been hosted in permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as in art festivals.

Varvara Garneli

Varvara Garneli works at the Department of Audio and Visual Arts, Ionian University, Greece as a member of Laboratory Teaching Staff. Her field is the Multimedia Applications and Video Games while her research interests also include Game design and development, Serious games and Gamification, Computing Education, and Computational Thinking.

Agnes Papadopoulou

Agnes Papadopoulou, Assistant Professor in the Department of Audio & Visual Arts at the Ionian University of Greece. Her scientific interests include Art Didactics, Art and Technology in Education, Philosophy and the Aesthetics of Media, Philosophical Issues in Ecology, Technoethics. She is the Head of the Pedagogical Sufficiency Program in the Department of Audio & Visual Arts at the Ionian University of Greece. Her publications are related to the teaching of art and creative technologies, in composing narration and the structures of meaning found in games, in using narrative as research, creating narratives with new media, and the role of the arts and technology as means of effective learning.

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