• An Interactive Educational Game For Children in Education

      Mehdi, Qasim; Salim, Aly; Walters, Kristy (University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and Information Technology, 2008)
      This paper presents an interactive educational game for Primary School children studying KEY Stage Two History. This game is designed specifically for children to support their continuing studies and to enhance their knowledge and memory retention. The work involves the investigation into Multimedia Design Methodologies and Instructional Systems Design (ISD) Models to support the development of the Instructional Multimedia Model (IMM) in order to provide a structured approach to the development of Interactive Educational Games. In this work, the development process of the interactive educational game will be outlined together with examples. This development is based on a model tailored for an educational multimedia application development which combines ISD and multimedia disciplines contributes to the success of the resulting application. The paper will discuss how each phase has an influence upon the next and the pedagogical factors which the model takes into account work in line with those required for Multimedia Design.
    • Applying Markov decision processes to 2D real time games

      Hartley, Thomas; Mehdi, Qasim; Gough, Norman (University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and Information Technology, 2004)
      This paper presents the outcomes of a research project into the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer game AI. The project considered the problem of applying AI techniques to computer games. Current commercial computer games tend to use complex scripts to control AI opponents. This can result in poor and predictable gameplay. The use of academic AI techniques is a possible solution to overcome these shortcomings. This paper describes the process of applying Markov decision processes (MDPs) using the value iteration algorithm to a 2D real time computer game. We also introduce a new stopping criterion for value iteration, which has been designed for use in computer games and we discuss results from experiments conducted on the MDPs AI engine. This paper also outlines conclusions about how successful MDPs are in relation to a real computer game AI engine and how useful they might be to computer games developers.
    • Building intelligence in gaming and training simulations

      Jacobi, Dennis; Anderson, Don; von Borries, Vance; Elmaghraby, Adel; Kantardzic, Mehmed; Ragade, Rammohan; Mehdi, Qasim; Gough, Norman (University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and Information Technology, 2004)
      Current war games and simulations are primarily attrition based, and are centered on the concept of “force on force.” They constitute what can be defined as “second generation” war games. So-called “first generation” war games were focused on strategy with the primary concept of “mind on mind.” We envision “third generation” war games and battle simulations as concentrating on effects with the primary concept being “system on system.” Thus, the third generation systems will incorporate each successive generation and take into account strategy, attrition and effects. This paper will describe the principal advantages and features that need to be implemented to create a true “third generation” battle simulation and the architectural issues faced when designing and building such a system. Areas of primary concern are doctrine, command and control, allied and coalition warfare, and cascading effects. Effectively addressing the interactive effects of these issues is of critical importance. In order to provide an adaptable and modular system that will accept future modifications and additions with relative ease, we are researching the use of a distributed Multi-Agent System (MAS) that incorporates various artificial intelligence methods. (Anderson 2002a, Anderson 2002b)
    • Development of ICT provisions for additional needs science students

      Musgrove, Nick; Homfray, Richard P.; Addison, Ken (University of Wolverhampton, 2001)
      The School of Applied Sciences (SAS) has one of the largest incidences of ‘additional needs’ students in the University, with the potential for this to increase through recruitment from linked organisations (e.g. Rodbaston College), through School initiatives (e.g. Flexible Learning) or University initiatives such as Widening Participation. The increased emphasis placed on the use of ICT as a means of producing assignments (word-processing, spreadsheets, specialist packages etc.), coupled with an expansion in TSL (i.e. use of the SAS intranet, WOLF, and ‘Subject Centre’ and other specialist teaching packages) in the delivery of courseware within our standard IT provision, was considered to be exacerbating the difficulties encountered by some of our students with additional needs. The principal objective of the project is to increase accessibility to the University standard software suites in use in SAS in addition to the specialist packages used in the school. The basic strategy falls within two areas: use of appropriate additional hardware and software to enhance the display options available to students and use of appropriate additional hardware and software to provide alternate means of inputting information into, and receiving output from, standard software packages.
    • Integration of digital video sequences and supportive interactive animations into the Level 1 module Introductory Microbiology, to enhance the delivery and effectiveness of experimental microbiology.

      Protheroe, Roy; Sunderland, Duncan (University of Wolverhampton, 2004)
      From a previous innovations project during 2002/2003, the feasibility of producing and editing digital video of experimental microbiological procedures was established. The digital video was produced for eventual use on the Level 1 Introductory Microbiology within the University of Wolverhampton virtual learning environment (WOLF), to improve an understanding of the principles and practice of experimental procedures encountered on the module. In addition to the video sequences, supportive animations of the practical exercises were produced, to be viewed eventually by students in association with the video also via WOLF. The end of the previous project had produced several video and animation sequences, although these had not, at that time, been added to the WOLF topic. To provide an effective package of video and animation sequences to fully support the practical component of the module, more sequences were required, together with refinement of existing material. In addition, following integration into the WOLF topic, an analysis of the effectiveness of the sequences, in supporting an understanding of the theory and practice of the experimental exercises, was considered to be of value.
    • Online Learning From Observation For Interactive Computer Games

      Hartley, Thomas; Mehdi, Qasim; Gough, Norman (University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and Information Technology, 2005)
      The research presented in this paper describes an architecture, which enables an agent to predict an observed entity’s actions (most likely a human’s) online. Case-based approaches have been utilised by a number of researchers for online action prediction in interactive applications. Our architecture builds on these works and provides a number of novel contributions. Specifically our architecture offers a more comprehensive state representation, behaviour prediction and a more robust case maintenance approach. The proposed architecture is fully described in terms of interactive simulations (specifically first person shooter (FPS) computer games); however it would be applicable to other interactive applications, such as intelligent tutoring and surveillance systems. We conclude the paper by evaluating our proposed architecture and discussing how the system will be implemented.
    • Styles of learning engendered by different approaches to work-based learning: a comparative study

      Davies, Jenny; Harris, Phil; Crossland, Glenys (University of Wolverhampton, 2004)
      Work-based learning is increasingly being implemented in higher education; the overall intention of this research project was to explore the quality of learning engendered by this experience with a view to identifying and characterising those facets which would enhance the students'learning.
    • Using value iteration to solve sequential decision problems in games

      Hartley, Thomas; Mehdi, Qasim; Gough, Norman (University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and Information Technology, 2004)
      Solving sequential decision problems in computer games, such as non-player character (NPC) navigation, can be quite a complex task. Current games tend to rely on scripts and finite state machines (FSM) to control AI opponents. These approaches however have shortcomings; as a result academic AI techniques may be a more desirable solution to solve these types of problems. This paper describes the process of applying the value iteration algorithm to an AI engine, which can be applied to a computer game. We also introduce a new stopping criterion called game value iteration, which has been designed for use in 2D real time computer games and we discuss results from experiments conducted on the AI engine. We also outline our conclusions which state that the value iteration and the newly introduced game value iteration algorithms can be successfully applied to intelligent NPC behaviour in computer games; however there are certain problems, such as execution speed, which need to be addressed when dealing with real time games.
    • Videogame Based Learning and the Problem of Gender Equity: Exemplifying an Androgynous Approach to Developing Computer Science E-Learning Games in Higher Education

      Nte, Sol (University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and Information Technology, 2008)
      Several authors have considered those virtual spaces in which videogames take place as being gendered and videogames themselves as gender specific (e.g. Jenkins, 1999; Subrahmanyam & Greenfield, 1994; Hartmann & Klimmt, 2006). Videogames are often considered to be an entry path into computer literacy for young people (Greenfield & Cocking, 1996; Kiesler et Al. 1985), if this is the case then to some degree first year undergraduate computer literacy is likely to be informed by videogame experiences. Videogames can be considered to be one of the most “engaging intellectual pastimes that we have invented” (Prensky, 2004) which suggests successful videogames as a useful model for developing sound E-Learning applications (Ebner & Holzinger 2007) . However since E-Learning must be careful to avoid gender bias in the presentation of learning resources, any adoption of a videogame development model must undergo a process of “ungendering” wherein game models are analysed in terms of gender equity and suitably corrected. An actively androgynous “games for gamers” not specific genders (Subrahmanyam & Greenfield, 1999) approach is proposed and exemplified to consider how the game developer can avoid producing learning games that have some form of gender bias in the degree to which they are effective. This paper examines the preparatory theoretical work in the development of a pilot study that employs an androgynous software approach to avoid those effects of gendering originating in videogames which can negatively affect games based E-Learning. The analysis is presented from a software development perspective and documents the theoretical considerations that led to the development of the “Class Solitaire” demo - a version of the popular “solitaire” videogame designed to teach java subclassing to first year undergraduates.