Serious Games Research Network

Serious Games Research Network

Serious Games Research Network

The Macquarie University Serious Games Research Network is an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers from multiple backgrounds and disciplines with a common interest in understanding and applying the principles of game design to address issues in advocacy, education and health.

Research Themes

  • Ethical decision-making in videogames
  • Reasoning and problem-solving in games
  • Virtual Reality Games for Vision Science
  • Virtual Reality Games for Social Neuroscience
  • Games for Sustainability
  • Narrative design for games
  • Games for understanding multi-agent social interactions


Current projects

Cybersecurity ethics training simulations for values-based decision-making

Investigators: Deborah Richards (Lead), Malcolm Ryan Paul Formosa, Michael Hitchens, Virginia Dignum, Mitchell McEwan

This project aims to investigate ways to train reflective ethical decision making in cybersecurity management through the design of interactive social simulations. The Project will advance the field of serious game design for cybersecurity training by using new techniques for building artificially intelligent virtual agents, drawing on interdisciplinary expertise in ethics, artificial intelligence and serious game design. Expected outcomes of the Project include new technologies for cybersecurity training and strengthened interdisciplinary collaboration between computing and humanities. This should provide significant benefits in the integration of deeper understanding of the ethical impact of new cybertechnologies.

Project page

Designing for Moral Engagement in Videogames

Investigators: Malcolm Ryan (Lead), Paul Formosa, Stephanie Howarth, Jane Messer
Project Parnters: Chaos Theory Games

There is a growing interest in videogames for ethics education as they can provide a safe yet meaningful space for players to practice moral choice. A well-designed game can immerse a player in a world and challenge them with difficult moral choices, but poor design can negate this challenge by making in-game morality merely a strategic choice made to win, instead of for its own sake. To establish which design factors are most important in maintaining moral engagement, we will implement a variety of games based around a common set of moral narratives and test them with human subjects, recording their choices. The outcome will be a set of validated design principles for the creation of games for ethics education.

This project is supported by a Macquarie University Research Seeding Grant.

Project page

Gaming to Net Zero

Investigators: James Hazelton (Lead), Malcolm Ryan, Shane Leong
Project Partners: Sustainable Business Group, Beletich Associates, Chaos Theory Games

While there has been some progress within City of Sydney tenancies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there are substantial opportunities for further gains. For example, there are unrealised opportunities that can only be achieved through improved collaboration between building owners and tenants – particularly with regard to the achievement of net zero emission buildings.
This project will motivate tenants to take action by developing a game that will apply the seven principles of tenant engagement outlined in the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) Tenant Engagement Foundation Report. The game will create a sense of community by highlighting the need for all tenants and building owners to work together to achieve net zero. It will be simple and social – clearly articulating what net zero looks like in practice and making it easy and fun for tenants to see how working in a collaborative way can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve sustainability.

This project is supported by a City of Sydney Innovation Grant.

Project Page

Videogames for Vision Science

Investigators: Malcolm Ryan (Lead), Mei-Ying Boon (UNSW), Mitchell McEwan

In this project we invesitgate the use of videogames for the study, diagnosis and treatment of various vision disorders including amblyopia, convergence insufficiency and colour blindness. We design and develop games using mobile and virtual reality devices, that also collect data to enable vision researchers to better understand and address these vision problems.

Project page

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