The aim of the Gamiforest Coffee Talks is to give the latest updates about the different projects going on in the scope of the Gamification Work Package of UNITE Flagship and start conversations around them. Each month a researcher from Gamification Group, Tampere University will give talks about the following subjects. Our ultimate purpose with these talks is to create awareness about the possible ways of gamifying forests, raise discussions, hear the feedback of the community and form collaborations with the interested parties. Please leave your e-mail address through the form here if you want to be reminded about the talks when new ones are started to be organized.



Talk #1: Climate Change Engagement and Games

by Daniel Fernandez Galeote

How do games engage players with large environmental issues such as climate change? How can players, as citizens, practitioners or from any other role identity, connect with environmental topics and explore their own understandings, feelings, and actions? In this talk, I will present a few different ways in which climate change is represented in digital games and players invited to interact with it. We will discuss how forests may factor in this space, and how they can be places both present and absent; known and alien; (ab)used and ignored; and where both climate problems and solutions materialize.


Talk #2: Ludic Spatial Strategies & Forest Spaces

by Mattia Thibault

How can the organisation of a space favour playfulness, creativity and curiosity? If we look at existing spaces designed to host playfulness (theme parks, arenas, interactive museums, playgrounds, casinos, treetop parks and so on) we can try to outline a series of spatial strategies that are put in place exactly to this end. But how can these strategies be applied to a space with an emergent morphology and an intrinsically open-ended configuration?


Talk #3: Playing with Robotic Forest Companions

by Eshtiak Ahmed

What does the future hold for robots? Robots were initially developed to assist humans in situations where the introduction of them would make the process easier or faster, such as manufacturing, logistics, etc. However, the usage of robots has not stayed limited to this domain over the years. Robots have become social and thus have created an opportunity for them to be included more in social contexts. But, how do you perceive a robot when it’s in a social situation with you? Friend? Compatriot? Companion? Or just another command following machine? Can robots be nearly as good a companion as humans? If so, then how, using what features, in which scenarios, and to what extent? We will try to generate some thoughts through these questions with some insights from relevant literature. Additionally, we will explore possibilities in domains that have been unexplored in this context, such as nature and forest engagement. We will discuss how robots can accompany humans in forests as well as their viability.


Talk #4: Engaging with Climate Change through Virtual Forests

by Laura Cosio

An intensifying trend in predicted climate change impacts and the complexity of the data required to generate models on its effects on our forests places greater demands on being able to visualize this information in a manner for all to understand is becoming increasingly important. Fortunately, in the last decade, our technological abilities have developed to better visualize these changes and data to the point where we can create realistic virtual forests that can be interacted with from anywhere. How can Virtual Forests help us to visualize and learn about the changes occurring in our forests and their ecosystems? How can these Virtual Forests be used to engage and educate varying communities to foster interest and decision-making for their local forests? We will discuss existing projects and how virtual forests could be used to embody climate change to facilitate cooperation and action from differing communities.


Talk #5: Forest Experiences through Location-Based Games

by Samuli Laato

The Pokémon GO boom in 2016 was very noticeable for anyone walking in cities at that time. The game brought people together in public urban spaces and continues to do so to this very day. Most of the contemporary location-based games, including Pokémon GO, are designed and optimised for an urban environment. But can they also bring people to forests and enhance players’ experience of forests? In this talk, I go through academic studies that have been done on this topic as well as review some of the most popular contemporary location-based games from the forest perspective. Join the talk to explore with me important questions such as should Bulbasaurs only be found in forests and how can we meaningfully connect location-based gameplay to forest environments.


Talk #6: Self-Care through Playful Forest Technology

by Velvet Spors

Technology has become a profound companion for well-being activities that happen in nature: From instructing you how to perfect your downward dog in the local park, to tracking your GPS during a hike in the mountains or providing a background ambiance for a mindful walk in a forest. However, an alliance with health- and nature-centred technologies is not an easy one, as their designers and developers need to conceptualise and present both “nature” and “health” in tangible terms. Considering the many possibilities for how these two aspects can be approached, it becomes clear that it is a complicated, contested and ambiguous undertaking. In this talk, I will present findings from a scoping review that surveyed recent research to shed light on this issue. I will sketch out how both “nature” and “health” are being currently presented in nature- and health-focused technologies, and outline pain points and potential future design opportunities.

Talk #7: Gamification for Sustainable Consumption

by Georgina “Ginnie” Guillen

While forests are not directly mentioned in the sustainable goal 12 (responsible consumption and production) their relevance to our everyday lives is undeniable, particularly if we consider that, if global consumption patterns continue as they are today, by 2030, humanity will need the resources of two planets Earths to support itself. To enable shifts from current to sustainable consumption practices, it is important to start with individual lifestyle changes and what opportunities exist to make them happen. Through a practice-oriented approach, this study aims at answering the question: “how can gamification enable sustainable consumption practices?” exploring different ways that gamification is and could be tackling these opportunities. Gearing towards its third year, this research has explored theoretical and practical implementations of gamification across different domains of sustainable consumption, from communication to individual agency distribution and supporting mechanisms, revealing the prevalence of weak sustainable consumption narratives as well as innovative ways of linking global challenges with personal choice.

Talk #8: Co-designing Joyful Nature Technology Futures From-the-Wild

by Ferran Altarriba Bertran

How can we design human-nature-technology interaction futures that are not only efficient and smooth but also caring, joyful, sustainable, and experientially rich? In this talk, I will discuss my research into the co-design of joyful nature technology futures. Building on a range of case studies, I’ll propose that the technologies that will mediate our future interactions with(in) the forest should be envisioned from the forest itself rather than from a lab; I will also share some of the ideas and reflections that emerged from a series of actions where I situated technology design research into the wild. Overall, I hope to stimulate a conversation around the values and drivers behind nature tech innovation, as well as how they can lead to novel technology designs.

Talk #9: Gamifying Occupational Safety in Forests

by Eetu Wallius

While technological advancements have been increasingly applied to mitigate safety risks across domains, human behavior still plays a key role in ensuring safety in socio-technical systems. In contrast to some of the widely used strategies to tackle the human aspect of safety, which often rely on informing and extrinsic regulation, gamification provides a potent alternative for enhancing safety through positive experiences. By fostering intrinsic motivation towards safety behaviors, gamification has the potential to lead to long-term behavioral change while encouraging proactive safety citizenship roles that exceed the minimum safety requirements of rules and regulations. In this talk, I will discuss why gamification is a promising approach for tackling the human aspect of safety. I will present findings from previous studies and discuss their implications for improving safety through gamification.

Talk #10: AI and LiDAR Powered Gameful Interactions with Forests

by Timo Nummenmaa

What can we do to make interactions feel more connected to a nature location and the environment at that location? How can we maintain a connection with the forest when not physically there? Who can benefit and how? I will present ongoing research on approaches for addressing these questions. The first approach is to use LiDAR-based augmented reality solutions for activities that are tied to the target environment. With recent technological advances, virtual entities can act in a realistic way with the physical world. The second approach is to develop a data-driven virtual entity that can be communicated with through various means such as chat, but also draws data from online sources and nearby events. We will also discuss about the value that is created for different stakeholders through the solutions.