Glooveth: Healthy Living, Fun and Serious Gaming Enric MACÍASa, Oscar GARCÍAa, Pau MORENOb, Maria Montserrat PRESNOb and Tallulah FORREST b a GTM – Grup de Recerca de Tecnologies Mèdia (Media Technologies Research Group) b La Salle – Universitat Ramon Llull Abstract. Serious Games and Gamification deliver powerful and truthful experiences by providing the user with goals, challenges, problem solving and rules, besides a clear internal value and an interactive experience. In fact, Serious Games can be considered memorable experiences that deliver intense moments with the support of different platforms and social networks while ensuring high degrees of motivation, efficiency and performance. Here, we describe Glooveth, an educational game for children ages 6 to 12 years, which was the winner of the Silver Award in the Global eHealth Challenge 2010. Glooveth is a platform computer game that teaches healthy living. We developed a game to be used by three different peripherals: a mouse and two special gloves. These peripherals provide the user with a more intense gameplaying and learning experience. The paper explains the project, from concept to application to usability testing. Keywords. Serious Games, Edutainment, Infrared LED, Virtual Reality, Health Care, Natural Interaction. Introduction The appearance of low-cost virtual reality devices such as Nintendo’s Wii  has resulted in a change of design philosophy and innovation in computer gaming. Natural interaction between players and the computer is a new gameplay formula that relies on the user’s own bodily movements and gestures. This clear innovation appeals to everyone in the sense that playing computer games is not such a big deal. Now everyone is able to play. The Glooveth educational gaming project was designed to take advantage of virtual reality capabilities and to be a component of the Healthy Living part of the Global eHealth Challenge 2010  program, organized by Cure4Kids for Kids! . The Healthy Living part teaches about prevention of cancer and contains several topics: tobacco control and protection, safe sun exposure, appropriate physical exercise, and proper nutrition (the main topic of the Glooveth). Games, especially serious games, are perfect for the achievement of educational purposes. Fun and enjoyment are crucial to the process of learning. Kids playing an educational game enjoy a memorable experience in a relaxed atmosphere where they feel motivated and eager to learn. Computer games, in particular, are fun, challenging, and rewarding. For this reason learners will be more motivated and engaged in educational activities if these activities take the form of a gameplaying experience. 1. Technological Background Some technological aspects must be clarified before we explain the game: 1.1. Infrared LED, Wii Remote and the CyberTouch Dataglove The Wii Remote is the primary controller for Nintendo’s Wii  console. A main feature of the Wii Remote is its motion-sensing capability. Wii Remote comes with an infrared (IR) camera with an object tracking processor. The IR camera needs a bar sensor (containing 10 IR LEDs) on the top or the bottom of a screen to provide user’s motion information . One of the particularities of Glooveth is that the roles have been interchanged between devices. The Wii Remote plays the role of a camera (reading the user’s movements) and the IR LEDs are incorporated into an interaction glove to be read by the controller. Therefore it is possible to track what the user is doing with his or her hand. The CyberTouch   is an immersive glove consisting of 22 sensors that track hand motions in real time. Sensors are located over or near the joints of the hand and wrist. Note that this dataglove also comes with six vibrotactile feedback devices. There is one feedback device per finger plus one on the palm. 1.2 The Panda3D and Crayon3D libraries Panda3D  is a game engine originally conceived and developed by both the Walt Disney Company  and the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) . It includes graphics, audio, collision detection, and other abilities relevant to the creation of 3D virtual worlds. Panda3D is an open source solution that is helpful in the development of a 3D game from the outset in an incredibly easy and fast way. Although Panda3D was developed for the creation of 3D games, Glooveth is a 2D game environment. Crayon3D  is an external extension for the Panda3D library that was developed as semester project at the ETC at Carnegie Mellon University . This extension of code was built on the basis of the technology crafted by Johnny Chung Lee . Crayon 3D enables users to create objects by drawing in the air with their fingers while using a glove made of LED’s, just like Harold the main character of "Harold and the Purple Crayon"   book. Figure 1. (left) Number-directions relationship, (right) Shape created with Crayon3D. 2. The Glooveth Learning Experience To design an educational and engaging game to be used by kids, the project needs a subset of goals and rules to test users’ skills. At the same time it challenges skills, it should also contribute to users’ learning . 2.1 System design The specifications of the game experience were designed along the lines of Golden Axe , a classic horizontal scroll game in which the most important thing is to defeat enemies while trying to surpass the current stage (each with two or three enemies), in order to complete the full level. Glooveth uses the same game strategy with four or five stages inside a level and a total of 6 levels. The main character in Glooveth is a boy from 6 to 12 years old. He is able to walk through the stage, fight the enemies, and pick up diverse items to gain energy and power. There are five different abilities related to the “attack” action as specified. These abilities come from the existing six nutritional groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, fats and oils, milk, and meat (within meat we also added beans, fish, and nuts). We excluded fats and oils in order to avoid misconceptions, so we were looking for a clear and direct transmission with youngster users. We tried to communicate through images instead of text and the visualization of an oil bottle or something fat could conflict with the main purpose of the game. There are regular objects such as rice (grains group), lettuce (vegetables group), strawberry (fruit group), milk (milk group), and fish (meat, beans, fish, and nuts group). In addition to that, there are special items such as cereal (grains group), tomato (vegetables group), banana (fruit group), cheese (milk group), and eggs (meat, beans, fish, and nuts group). These items are spread over the levels and are crucial to fulfill the energy bar of energy and ability bar from power to kill enemies. We can say that the objects produce a significant quantity of energy and power. Each item gives a particular amount of energy, but some items generate more energy than others . We were also interested in introducing the idea of the coupling between the execution of exercise and the dissipation of energy. This is why the life bar decreases over time. Standing doesn't take as much energy as walking. Accordingly, to be active, the player has to eat as much healthy food as possible. Within the game mechanics created there’s the possibility that the Glooveth experience finishes if the character runs out of lives, which are visible on the life bar. The player starts with three lives, but that number can be decreased if an enemy hits the character or runs into it. Enemies are defined as unhealthy food: doughnuts, soft drinks, fried potatoes, and fully loaded hamburgers. 2.2 Technological content The game can be controlled with only a typical mouse; however, the experience is enhanced by the use of a virtual reality peripheral such as one of the two natural interaction gloves developed exclusively for this project. Each glove produces a different interaction with the game. Figure 2. (left) A Glooveth screenshot, (center) LEDs glove, (right) The CyberTouch dataglove. The materials required for the LEDs glove include a regular winter glove, 3 infrared LEDs, 1 white light LED, 3 resistances (51 ohms), a switch, a battery case (3V), 2 batteries (1.5V), and some cable (Fig. 2). The glove was originally developed for the Crayon 3D semester project belonging to the ETC . Our decision to use the LEDs glove was based on wanting youngsters to be able to control the entire application. The main character’s movements were to be executed with the user’s finger pointing at the screen. With the use of Crayon3D library routines, the software allows users to draw a specific shape in the air, and that shape is translated into one of the game’s “abilities”. During the actual playing experience, the child also uses a Wii Remote in his/her left hand. The A button of Wii Remote is used for menu navigation and for drawing shape’s process to execute abilities. The immersive CyberTouch   (Fig.2) dataglove is a fusion of two devices: the LEDs glove and a commercial CyberTouch unit. Thanks to this combination, we were able to follow a multimodal paradigm by which we could couple the information generated by the device with the infrared light directed to the LEDs, as captured by the IR camera. Although the CyberTouch dataglove includes IR LEDs, its specification and relationship to the interaction within the serious game differs from that of the LEDs glove. The data provided by the CyberTouch glove helped change the idea of control of movement for the Glooveth main character. The character moves across the stage (grass) in relation to the measurement of the forward and backward movements of the index and middle fingers of the player. Therefore kids assume that they are controlling the character’s feet by a natural interaction scheme. In this gameplaying the user sits on a chair and plays over a table in front of the screen, so boy’s grass becomes user’s table. With this game strategy, the user has to walk with his or her fingers inside/outside the table for a depth movement and left/right for a horizontal movement. The action related to the attack (i.e., the fight against unhealthy items) was designed to function in the same way as with the LEDs glove. Therefore we use the infrared lighting scheme to draw, not in the air but over the table in this case. CyberTouch dataglove vibrotactile feedback devices are used when the energy bar reaches a critical level, warning the user that he or she is running out of energy. 3. Conclusions User Experience Testing and Task Evaluation was performed, and this protocol allowed us to study interface efficiency and effectiveness between the user and the hardware/software, especially during the initial moments of play. We also compared the interaction results among users depending on the type of peripheral selected. Six users were asked to finish five specific tasks by repeating these three times with different interaction devices (a mouse, the LEDs glove, and the CyberTouch Dataglove). Regarding which peripheral yields the best game performance and interaction, the mouse is both the easiest to use and is most familiar. Players control the game with a mouse without any problems because they are used to it. The LEDs glove delivers a more powerful sensory experience, one that is innovative and different, but its use is more tiring than with the mouse. It requires more activity. Finally, the CyberTouch dataglove appears to be a difficult peripheral to use, especially for controlling the character’s walking. The users perceived an inability to control 100% of the character’s movement, as they would expect to be able to do. Glooveth provides an Edutainment experience whereby kids learn about healthy and unhealthy habits while playing and enjoying themselves. The items-enemies metaphor and the natural interaction paradigms help them to understand what is good nutrition and what is not. It has to be said that users didn’t really take into account that energy disappears and therefore they just played and drew while clearing enemies (unhealthy food). For this reason we can say that exercise is a crucial factor in healthy living that needs to be developed within the game experience in order to expand Glooveth’s edutainment value . References  Nintendo.(n.d.) Retrieved from www.nintendo.com.  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (2002-2011). Global eHealth Challenge. Retrieved from http://www.cure4kids.org/kids/university.php  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (2002-2011). Cure4Kids for Kids. Retrieved from http://www.cure4kids.org/kids/.  Wii Brew. (09.12.2010) Wiimote. Retrieved from http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Wiimote.  Immersion Corporation. CyberGlove v1.0 Reference Manual.  Immersion Corporation. (2009). VirtualHand SDK user and programmer guide. Retrieved from http://www.cyberglovesystems.com/sites/default/files/VirtualHand_UserGuide_2009_0.pdf  Carnegie Mellon University. Panda3D. (2010). [Online] Retrieved from http://www.panda3d.org/  Disney. (2010) Retrieved from http://www.disney.com  Carnegie Mellon. (n.d.) Entertainment Technology Center. Retrieved from http://www.etc.cmu.edu  Carnegie Mellon University. (n.d.) Crayon3D Project. Retrieved from http://www.etc.cmu.edu/projects/crayon-3d/  Youtube. (n.d) Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays using the WiiRemote. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd3-eiid-Uw&feature  Youtube. (n.d.) A Picture of Harold’s Room. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRY9_Tc8Uas (Visited: 08.29.2010).  Crayon3D. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://sites.google.com/site/crayon3d/  S. Jesse. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Boston, MA, 2008.  Sega. (n.d.) Golden Axe. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiWHW5G6hlM  The Nemours Foundation. (1995-2011). KidsHealth: Kids. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/kid/  M.L. Enric. Glooveth, Innovative Control Game Experience. Oscar García, La Salle, 2010.
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