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Computer Games, Open Source Software, and other Socio-Technical Processes. Walt Scacchi Institute for Software Research and Game Culture and Technology Laboratory University of California Irvine Irvine, CA 92697-3425 USA http://www.ics.uci.edu/~wscacchi. Game World Stats.

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Computer games open source software and other socio technical processes l.jpg

Computer Games, Open Source Software, and other Socio-Technical Processes

Walt Scacchi

Institute for Software Research

and

Game Culture and Technology Laboratory

University of California Irvine

Irvine, CA 92697-3425 USA

http://www.ics.uci.edu/~wscacchi


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Game World Stats Socio-Technical Processes


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What is free/open source software development? Socio-Technical Processes

  • Free (as in “freedom”) vs. open source

    • Freedom to access, browse/view, study, modify and redistribute the source code

    • Free is always open, but open is not always free

  • F/OSSD is not “software engineering”

    • Different: F/OSSD can be faster, better, and cheaper than SE in some circumstances

  • F/OSSD involves more software development tools, Web resources, and personal computing resources


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OSS Development Models Socio-Technical Processes

  • Free Software (GPL)

  • Open Source (BSD/MIT, Mozilla, Apache)

  • Corporate Source (Hewlett-Packard)

  • Consortium/Alliance (OSDL, SugarCRM)

  • Corporate-Sponsored (IBM-Eclipse, Sun-Netbeans, Sun-OpenOffice, HP-Gelato)

  • Shared Source (Microsoft)

  • Community Source (Sakai, Westwood)


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OSSD Project Characteristics Socio-Technical Processes

  • OSS Developers are always users of what they build, while OSS users (>1%) are also OSS developers

  • Requires “critical mass” of contributors and OSS components connected through socio-technical interaction networks

  • OSSD projects emerge/evolve via bricolage

    • Unanticipated architectural (de)compositions

    • Multi-project component integrations

  • OSSD teams use 10-50 OSSD tools to support their development work


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OSSD Project Characteristics Socio-Technical Processes

  • Operational code early and often--actively improved and continuously adapted

  • Post-facto software system requirements and design

    • OSSD is not Software Engineering

    • OSSD has its own “-ilities” which differ from those for SE

  • Caution: the vast majority of OSSD projects fail to grow or to produce a beta release.


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F/OSS Processes for Requirements or Design Socio-Technical Processes

  • F/OSS Requirements/Designs

    • not explicit

    • not formal

  • F/OSS Requirements/Designs are embedded within “informalisms”

    • Example OSS informalisms to follow (as screenshot displays)

  • F/OSS Requirements/Design processes are different from their SE counterparts.


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Evolutionary redevelopment, reinvention, and redistribution Socio-Technical Processes

  • A major recurring evolutionary dynamic of F/OSSD is reinvention

    • Reinvention enables continuous improvement

  • F/OSS evolve through continuously emerging mutations (incremental innovation/adaptation)

    • Expressed, recombined, redistributed via incremental releases


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Evolutionary redevelopment, reinvention, and redistribution Socio-Technical Processes

  • F/OSS systems co-evolve with their development community

    • Success of one depends on the success of the other

  • Closed legacy systems may be revitalized via opening and redistribution of their source

    • When enthusiastic user-developers want their cultural experience with such systems to be maintained.


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Project management and career development Socio-Technical Processes

  • F/OSSD projects self-organize as a meritocractic role-hierarchy and virtual project management

    • Meritocracies embrace incremental innovations over radical innovations

    • VPM requires people to act in leadership roles based on skill, availability, and belief in project community

  • F/OSS developers want to learn about new stuff (tools, techniques, skills, etc.), have fun building software, exercise their technical skill, try out new kinds of systems to develop, and/or interconnect multiple F/OSSD projects (freedom of choice and expression).


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A pyramid (or core-periphery) meritocracy for F/OSSD Socio-Technical Processes

(images from A.J. Kim, Community Building on the Web, 2000)


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Socio-technical and reproductive cultural processes Socio-Technical Processes

  • New processes under study

    • Joining and contributing to a project in progress

    • Role-task migration: from project periphery to center

    • Alliance formation and community development

  • Independent and autonomous project communities can interlink via social networks that manipulate objects of interaction

    • Enables possible exponential growth of interacting and interdependent community as socio-technical interaction network

    • Computer game world is a social movement that can interact with other social movements


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Game related R&D efforts Socio-Technical Processes

  • visual and performing arts

    • Games as cultural media (www.selectparks.net)

  • humanities and social sciences

    • Games as graphic narratives for storytelling; machinima—game-based cinema

  • alternative game cultures and venues

    • hot rod game machines, LAN parties, and GameCon’s

  • science and technology education

    • Games for informal education in science


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Informal Science Education and Science Learning Games Socio-Technical Processes

  • Science Games

  • (Mechanical) Systems Engineering Game

  • Dinosaur and Life Science Game

    • Physical game linked to online/virtual game

    • Venue for action research


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CERN Quantum Game Socio-Technical Processes


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Science Learning Games Socio-Technical Processes

  • Physical interaction quest environment: DinoQuest

    • Life-size dinosaurs (e.g.,120’ Argentinosaurs)

    • Gesture-based, embedded electronic media activation (via user IR wand)

  • Online science games: DinoQuest Online

    • Addressing CA science education standards for K-6

    • Content and API-level interoperation with DinoQuest

    • DSC Goal: migrate to MMOSLG

  • DSC planning new SLG exhibits through 2010

    • >$35M investment

    • DSC developing network of three more DSCs (Korea, Turkey, Irvine)


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Summary observations Socio-Technical Processes

  • We find F/OSSD is helping to drive computer game culture and technology

  • We seek to break down barriers between art, science, technology, culture through computer games, game environments, and open source experiences

  • We seek to create a new generation of informal learning tools and techniques, together with a global community of developers and users, through a massively shared, participatory collaborative learning environments.


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New Games Socio-Technical Processes

  • Civilization IV – www.civ4.com

  • The Movies –www.lionhead.com/themovies/

  • New Library Games

    • Knowledge quests

    • Inter-branch LAN games

    • Library Game-based online community


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New Library Games? Socio-Technical Processes

  • Knowledge quests – quest/adventure game that requires the player(s) to physically navigate the library to find facts, sources, and story elements spread across many books in different library stack areas

    • Multi-level/age treasure hunting

    • Goal is to learn how to become a “knowledge researcher” (i.e., an expert library user)


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New Library Games? Socio-Technical Processes

  • Inter-library branch multi-player games

    • Multi-site LAN party games

  • Computer games-to-library connections

    • Pose challenges to find more information from library sources associated with game content

      • “Civilization 4--Library Discovery Edition” as a basis for “world history” library quests

  • Library Game-based online community

    • With blog/wiki/flickr based “report generation” capability


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Library-Specific Games Socio-Technical Processes

  • Knowledge Quest

    • navigational, adventure/discovery game

    • find and assemble knowledge from library resources

    • acquire practice and skill of library researcher

    • resident librarians as game masters/mentors

    • “open source” game engine, content development, and community participation


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Library-specific games Socio-Technical Processes

  • Inter-branch library game grid

    • MLS as virtual public network of online information servers accessible through local branch PCs

    • Create a virtual private network for inter-branch multi-player games and tournaments

    • Facilitate inter-branch game play and game culture

    • Deploy online community information-sharing system

      • “MyGameSpace” Web portal, blog, wiki, RSS, forum, etc.

      • Branch-specific, community oriented, ethnically diverse

      • Built from open source software components

      • Decentralized development cost, participation, and quality assurance


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Making Library-Specific Games Socio-Technical Processes

  • Partner with game research laboratories

    • UIUC, UCI, UW-M, or others

  • Propose to external funding sources

    • Government agencies

    • Philanthropic foundations

    • International partners (multi-lingual culture)

  • Empower open source game culture and technology for public libraries


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Further information Socio-Technical Processes

  • ISR OSS Research site: www.isr.uci.edu/research-open-source.html

  • UCI Game Lab: www.ucgamelab.net

  • W. Scacchi, Free/Open Source Software Development Practices in the Computer Game Community, IEEE Software, 21(1), 59-67, January/February 2004.

  • W. Scacchi, When Worlds Collide: Emerging Patterns of Intersection and Segmentation when Computerization Movements Interact, working paper, presented at the Social Informatics Workshop,  March 2005.


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Further information Socio-Technical Processes

  • UCI Game Lab: www.ucgamelab.net

  • W. Scacchi, Free/Open Source Software Development Practices in the Computer Game Community, IEEE Software, 21(1), 59-67, January/February 2004.

  • W. Scacchi, When Worlds Collide: Emerging Patterns of Intersection and Segmentation when Computerization Movements Interact, working paper, presented at the Social Informatics Workshop,  March 2005.


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Acknowledgements Socio-Technical Processes

  • Mark Ackerman (UMichigan), Margaret Elliott (ISR), Les Gasser (UIUC), Chris Jensen (ISR), Robert Nideffer (UCI Game Lab), John Noll (Santa Clara U), Celia Pearce (UCI Game Lab), also others at ISR and UCI Game Lab.

  • Research grants from the National Science Foundation (no endorsement implied) #0083075, #0205679, #0205724, and #0350754.

  • Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, CA

  • UC Humanities Research Institute

  • Digital Industry Promotion, Daegu, Korea

  • California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (CalIT2)

  • Creative Kingdoms Inc.


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