From games for purpose to interactions and experiential environments for purpose

Serious Games Projects & Case Studies (Selection)


--- Consultant, English Language Oracy Portal, Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore, 2013-2014.

VAST_Image.png ReadingChamps_Image.png 

Advising, consulting and overseeing studies (observation, survey, focus groups) with 720 students in 12 primary and secondary schools using V.A.S.T (Voice Activated Spy Tech) and Reading Champs, a serious gaming simulation and interactive storybook respectively, to help Singaporean students speak better English. Also running a series of workshops intended to familiarize MOE officers with key aspects of interactive media, simulations and serious games for learning, and provide appreciation and skills for the development of studies and data collection instruments.


Tim Marsh, Joo Jin Sim and Dawn Chia. 2014. Entertainment and Language Learning: Voice Activated Digital Game and Interactive Storytelling Trials in Singapore Schools, International Conference on Entertainment Computing - ICEC 2014, Sydney, Australia.


--- Consultant, Future Schools@Singapore, Ministry of Education (MOE), 2012-2013.

Consultant of game-based learning on theme of "conflict". Delivered a series of professional development workshops intended to familiarize teachers and MOE officers with key aspects of interactive media, simulations and serious games for learning, and provide knowledge and skills in games and serious games design.


--- Design and development of a serious gaming environment to help visualize, explore and learn about aspects of the Great Barrier Reef, 2012-present. Allow everyone, from experts, laypeople to kids, to intuitively learn about and understand environmental conditions in the reef and help raise awareness of how sensitive ecosystems operate and the impacts humans have on them. Funded by the SEMAT (Smart Environment Monitoring & Analysis Technologies) research project through the Queensland Government Smart State National and International Research Alliances Program, Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation.

Publications & Talks

Tim Marsh & Bonnie Nardi. 2013. Activity Theory-Based Approach for Design of Sticky Mechanics: Raising Awareness about Conserving The Great Barrier Reef, Workshop on Mechanics, Mechanisms & Devices: to Inform, Reflect & Change Behaviour, ICEC2013, San Paulo, Brazil.

Tim Marsh presents on-going R&D on Serious gaming Simulations for visualization, learning and raising public awareness about conserving the Great Barrier Reef, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU), Queensland, Australia, March, 2013.

Tim Marsh, Jarrod Trevathan, Robert Donaldson and Ian Atkinson. 2012. Exploring and Learning about Reef Data in Serious Games. Coast to Coast 2012: Living on the Edge, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

--- GAMBIT Game Lab
With the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Education Arcade, Media Development Authority (MDA), Singapore funded, 2009-2011.
Principle investigator (PI) on research project “Investigating the role of narrative in puzzle-based games and their relationship to students’ engaged learning experience” (2009-2011) in collaboration with researchers from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Education Arcade. Waker 1.0 game was developed (summer 2009) as our test environment for students to learn about the physics concepts of displacement and velocity. Click here for details of awards, press, list of developers and free download.
Waker 2.0 redesigned and developed (extended narrative, and learning partner/assistant) by team (see below) led by Tim Marsh (National University of Sinagpore) and in preparation for comparative studies carried out in a Singapore High School, Hwa Chong Institution (see publications below) using blended in-game and off-game learning approach (Waker 2.0 Narrative, Waker 1.0 Puzzle, Machinima / Animation & Teacher) with students. Published widely the research, development and results from studies - see below.


Screen shots of Waker 2.0 with extended narrative interwoven with learning through event-triggered character voiceovers & voicelogs/replay functions for recall and reflection


Project Publications & Invited Talks

Tim Marsh. 2011. Serious Games Continuum: Between Games for Purpose and Experiential Environments for Purpose. Journal of Entertainment Computing, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 61-68.
Tim Marsh, Li Zhiqiang Nickole, Eric Klopfer, Chuang Xuejin, Scot Osterweil and Jason Haas. 2011. Fun and Learning: Blending Design and Development Dimensions in Serious Games Through Narrative and Characters. Chapter 14 in: Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, Springer, pp 273-287.

Tim Marsh, Li Zhiqiang Nickole, Eric Klopfer, Chuang Xuejin, Scot Osterweil, Jason Haas. 2011. Fun and Learning: The Power of Narrative, Foundations of Digital Games 2011 (FDG2011), Bordeaux, France.

Jason Haas, Josh Ramos, Scot Osterweil, Eric Klopfer and Tim Marsh. 2011. The Role of Narrative in Reflection and Metacognition in Learning Games, Games Learning Society Conference (GLS 2011), University of Wisconsin-Madison, US.

Tim Marsh. 2011. Creating Fun and Learning Using Narrative and Characters, Paper Presentation, Games, Simulations and Virtual Worlds in Education, London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London.

Tim Marsh, Li Zhiqiang Nickole, Chuang Xuejin, Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil and Jason Haas. 2010. Narrative and puzzle-based serious games and their relationship to students’ engaged learning experience. CGames 2010, 15th International Conference on Computer Games: AI, Animation, Mobile, Interactive Multimedia, Educational & Serious Games, Louisville, USA.

Tim Marsh, Li Zhiqiang Nickole, Chuang Xuejin, Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil and Jason Haas. 2010. Investigating narrative and puzzle-based serious games and their relationship to students’ engaged learning experience. International Workshop on Serious Games Development and Applications, UK.

Tim Marsh. 2010. Serious Games Continuum: Between Games for Purpose and Experiential Environments for Purpose. International Workshop on Serious Games Development and Applications, UK.

Tim Marsh. 2010. Puzzle vs Narrative-Based Learning Games: A Singapore Story, InvitedSpeaker, Paper Presentation, Serious Games Conference 2010: Games for Learning, Singapore.

Tim Marsh. 2010. Games for Everyone: The Need For Research in Games Development”, Invited Speaker at the SG GameFest Developer Seminar 2010, SCAPE, Singapore.

Waker 2.0 Researchers & Development Team

Tim Marsh, NUS.......................................Principle Investigator, Project Owner, Writer
Eric Klopfer, MIT........................................Principle Investigator, Project Owner
Scot Osterweil, MIT....................................Principle Investigator, Project Owner
Jason Haas, MIT........................................Researcher

Lin Yuanqin, DigiPen, Singapore..................Programmer

Steven Setiawan Jap, NTU, Singapore...........Artwork

Yin He, Singapore.......................................Audio Design

Li Zhiqiang Nickole, Ubisoft, Singapore.........Research, Writer

Chuang Xuejin, NUS....................................Coordinator, Writer

Diana Marsh, Singapore..............................Voiceovers

Yeow An Gnin, NUS....................................Animation/Machinima

Audrey Tan Yan Xi, NUS..............................Study Assistant

Yih-Lun Huang, NUS...................................Study Assistant
--- 2020Classroom, NSF (National Science Foundation), US funded

Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC) & InfoLAB,

University of Southern California (USC). Los Angeles, CA, USA
HCI Lead on the 2020Classroom project, we developed a 3D educational serious game simulation. The game lets students interact, explore, and learn about the physiological and biological processes of human organs. Formal studies were carried out with undergraduate students in natural classroom settings.
In-Game Analysis Tool (Telemetry)
We developed an unobtrusive in-game analysis tool to assess student/player behaviour, experience and learning in video games and serious games (see also link). This in-game approach was also used to detect problematic design and iteratively inform design to make improvements. Refer to project publications listed below for further details.
Project Publications

Cyrus Shahabi, Tim Marsh, Kiyoung Yang, Hyunjin Yoon, Albert A. Rizzo, Minyoung Mun and Margaret McLaughlin. 2007. Immersidata Analysis: Four Case Studies, IEEE Computer, volume 40.

Tim Marsh, Kiyoung Yang and Cyrus Shahabi. 2006. Game development for experience through staying there. ACM SIGGRAPH Video Games Symposium, Boston, USA, ACM Press.

Tim Marsh, Kiyoung Yang, Cyrus Shahabi and Seon Ho Kim. 2006. Immersidata Management and Analysis For Game Development and Assessment For Staying There, Digital Interactive Media Entertainment & Arts (DIME-ARTS 2006), Bangkok, Thailand.

Tim Marsh, Shamus Smith, Kiyoung Yang and Cyrus Shahabi. 2006. Continuous and Unobtrusive Capture of User-Player Behaviour and Experience to Assess and Inform Game Design and Development, 1st  World Conference for Fun 'n Games, UK.

Marsh T., Yang K., Shahabi C., Wong W. L., Nocera L., Carriazo E., and Kyriakakis C. 2005. Automating the Detection of Breaks in Continuous User Experience with Computer Games. In: Proceedings of CHI'05 Human Factors in Computing Systems, Extended Abstracts, Portland, OR, USA, ACM Press.

Marsh T., Wong W.L., Carriazo E., Nocera L., Yang K.,Varma A., Yoon H., Huang Y-L, Kyriakakis C, Shahabi C. 2005. User Experiences and Lessons Learned from Developing and Implementing an Immersive Game for the Science Classroom. In: Proceedings of HCI International 2005, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

--- INQUISITIVE, University of York, UK & Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL), UK
EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), UK funded research project
The goal of this research project was to find ways to inform design and appropriately evaluate/assess learning and experience in virtual reality/virtual environments. Evaluation guidelines for the design of experience (breakdown in interaction and breakdown in illusion) were developed and tested in an empirical study of a head-mounted display (HMD) VR system. The test environment was EISCAT (European Incoherent SCATter) developed at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK; it is a simulation of the real control room of the EISCAT (European Incoherent SCATter) radar facility. The purpose of the simulator is to familiarize scientists with the installation’s location and layout and train them in the use of typical control procedures prior to commencing their experimental programme at the real installation in Norway.
Studies showed that the guidelines (breakdown in interaction and breakdown in illusion) are effective in the evaluation of, and informing design to make improvements to the EISCAT VR system. In addition, we developed methods to capture user's spatial awareness. Finally, we investigated potential experiences from encounters with new and emerging interactive media, virtual reality/environments & digital games, and proposed an approach to inform design and evaluate user / player experience informed from film (voyeuristic, visceral & vicarious). Refer to project publications listed below for further details.

BBC Test Environment

Additional studies were carried out with Virtual Production Planner ©, a desktop VR based training system for student and professional television camera operators, producers, set designers and directors. Its purpose is to provide a teaching and development environment for a range of studio television production techniques from, storyboarding, camera operation and planning, development and creation of virtual productions, to set design and layout, and directing virtual productions. The sets provided are 3D computer generated graphical representations of two British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television programmes, the soap opera EastEnders, and the news and current affairs programme, Newsnight. 

Project Publications (selection)
Tim Marsh, Peter C. Wright and Shamus P. Smith. 2001. Evaluation for the Design of Experience in Virtual Environments: Modeling Breakdown of Interaction and Illusion. Journal of CyberPsychology and Behavior, 4:2, pp. 225-238.
Tim Marsh. 2001. Presence as Experience: Framework to Assess Virtual Corpsing, Presence 2001: 4th International Workshop on Presence, Philadelphia, USA.

Tim Marsh and Shamus P. Smith. 2001. Guiding user navigation in virtual environments using awareness of virtual off-screen space. In: Proceedings of Guiding Users through Interactive Experiences: Usability Centred Design and Evaluation of Virtual 3D Environments, Germany: Springer-Verlag, pp. 149-154.

Tim Marsh and Peter C. Wright. 2000. Using Cinematography Conventions to Inform the Design and Evaluation of Virtual Off-Screen Space, In: Proceedings of AAAI 2000 Spring Symposium, "Smart Graphics", SIGGRAPH/Eurographics, Stanford, CA, USA, pp. 123-127.

Tim Marsh and Peter C. Wright. 2000. Maintaining the Illusion Of Interacting Within 3D Virtual Space, Presence 2000: 3rd International Workshop on Presence, Delft, The Netherlands.

Tim Marsh. 2000. Evaluation for the Design of Experience, 1st International Workshop on Narrative Interactive Learning Environments (NILE), Edinburgh, UK.

Timothy Marsh. 1999. Evaluation of Virtual Reality Systems for Usability, In: Proceedings of CHI'99: Human Factors in Computing Systems, Extended Abstracts, Pittsburgh, USA, ACM Press, pp. 61-62.