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The 11th International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games will be a two-part event. In November 2020, we start with a digital conference that includes the Young Academics Workshop, several Summit Presentations, and international Keynote speakers. The research conference provides a virtual space for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas. Experts from the academy, science and research, economics, politics, and the game industry will address pressing issues concerning artistic design, technological development, and economic aspects of the videogame industry, as well as learning opportunities through digital games.

The discussion will continue in June 2021 at the TH Köln and the University of Cologne – as this year’s conference is the very first that is co-organized and co-hosted by the Cologne Game Lab (TH Köln) and the Department for Media Culture and Theater (University of Cologne).

Part I  | November 18-19, 2020 | all digital
Part II | June 2021 | in Cologne ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­

The Young Academics Workshop
Atmospheric Propositions: Creating And Thinking the Aesthetics of Playable Atmospheres

Wednesday, November 18, 2020, and June 2021

Guest Scholar: Dan Pinchbeck – creative director at The Chinese Room, Brighton/UK
Committee: Jimena Aguilar (ifs Cologne), Su-Jin Song (CGL), Miruna Vozaru (ITU), Felix Zimmermann (University of Cologne)

Organized by the Cologne Game Lab, TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences (Germany) in cooperation with ifs international film school cologne (Germany), University of Cologne (Germany) and the IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Call for Papers
This year’s Young Academic Workshop will explore the uncharted lands of atmosphere in digital games. Atmosphere, as a term, is ever-present in non-academic discussions about digital games. It is commonly used in game marketing as a marker of excellency of a given game regarding its world-building or its immersive qualities. Moreover, classic games journalism refers to atmosphere as a feature of reviewed games and usually rewards games it deems especially atmospheric with higher scores than their less atmospheric competitors. Finally, players refer to atmosphere as a major influential factor of their experience, and treasure games that have the ability of evoking a specific, desired atmosphere.

The colloquial status of the term ‘atmosphere‘ has resulted in a notably, but understandably low output of research focusing on it, in the field of game studies. Atmosphere is under suspicion of being hardly more than a makeshift solution or a metaphor to talk about something which cannot be handled scientifically. More often than not, atmosphere is used synonymously to mood, tone, feel or ambience without making explicit what is exactly meant when using these terms and how they differ from each other. The fact that the term ‘atmosphere’ is employed to describe these many different aspects of digital games in daily use appears to have deterred researchers from working on a framework to get a firmer grasp on this elusive term.

It might seem fruitful to consult game designers who – using a term coined by the German philosopher Gernot Böhme – can be called “aesthetic workers” and who actively craft settings in which atmospheres arise. However, turning to the foundational works in the field of game design, the same use of the term ‘atmosphere’ as referring to a vague, undefinable characteristic of games becomes apparent. Still, it is plausible to assume that techniques to create atmospheres in games are stored as tacit knowledge in the minds of the aesthetic workers in game design. Furthermore, game studies might find value in consulting other fields which have developed a more tangible approach to atmospheres and aesthetics for example in architecture, landscape design, advertising or tourism, to just name a few. It is a common thread in these fields that atmospheres can be consciously created to produce certain reactions in visitors or consumers. Additionally, pre-existing theories and methods in audiovisual media research provide a model for a more formal approach towards the creation and analysis of atmospheres as for example in literary works, atmosphere refers to emotions or feelings an author conveys to readers through description of objects and settings. However, the practices have not yet been translated to the field of Game Studies.

Atmospheres can also be impacted by interaction, and the relationships that arise between the digital spaces and their users. Just as physical spaces are conferred with social qualities beyond the material – for which Henri Lefevbre used the term “social space”-, digital spaces are modified and produced by social interactions taking place within them, adding layers of meaning that go beyond the games themselves. Examples range from in-game credits being traded for real money in prisons to the art-world circles using a mobile party game for casual meetings rather than designated video-chat applications during the coronavirus crisis.  Questions of how these relations affect atmospheres are therefore also open for discussion.

The Young Academics Workshop’s aim in 2020 and 2021 is to translate the study of atmospheres for game studies, game design and interactive media design (VR, AR etc.). The workshop is open to researchers working on defining the term in the context of games and new media as well as designers, who have developed specific techniques to produce atmospheres in games and other formats. We would like to encourage practitioners from game design but also from other fields to share their insight on how they engage in the production of atmospheres.

Possible submission topics might include, but are not limited to:Adaptation of theories on atmospheres for gamesDefinitions and analysis of atmospheric gamesThe relationship of atmospheres to existing theories on immersion, involvement or presenceThe implications of the term ‘atmosphere’ in daily useThe prevalence of specific atmospheres in games (e.g. nature atmospheres, horror atmospheres, atmospheres of the past)The potential of specific genres to produce atmospheres (e.g. ‘Walking Simulators’)Relationships between atmosphere and interaction, social dynamics and social constructs 
We welcome contributions from scholars from all academic fields and disciplines (psychology, media and film studies, art history, philosophy, architecture, etc.) and from game developers and game development students (future game artists, game designers, game programmers, sound designers and all other students learning to make games). As this is a Young Academics Workshop, we invite all those who have recently entered the academic world, including Bachelor, Master, and PhD students, as well as Postdocs.
Applicants should focus on the relationship between play, games, and atmosphere from the unique perspective of their home discipline. We also highly encourage work-in-progress contributions which can be refined during and after our first meeting in November and be presented as fleshed out presentations in June 2021 (see the following section for more information).
New format for the Young Academics Workshop 2020/2021
As a reaction to the situation concerning COVID-19 we are preparing a two-part Young Academics Workshop, with a first edition taking place in November 2020, and a second one in June 2021.

Part I of the Workshop will take place on November 18, 2020 as an online format, dedicated to presenting (work-in-progress) projects/papers and will leave ample room for discussions and feedback.

Part II of the Workshop will take place in June 2021 in Cologne. Participants will present further developments of their projects/papers following the November workshop edition. The goal for the second part is to give the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary groups and share more in-depth feedback on the current research aiming towards the publication of the research output. The planned publication will accumulate the results of this two-part Young Academics Workshop 2020/2021 and the Young Academics Workshop 2019.
In the interim period between Part I and II, we would like to encourage further collaborative work between the participants, and the exchange of draft reviews, literature and knowledge stemming from their different fields.

Applicants should submit abstracts (no longer than 300 words, excluding bibliography) along with a (preliminary) bibliography/ludography to youngacademics@clashofrealities.com

All submissions will be assessed by a peer-review committee.
Important Dates
Deadline for submissions: September 18, 2020
Notification of acceptance/rejection: Mid October 2020
Publication of the Workshop Program: End of October 2020
Young Academics Online-Workshop (Part I): November 18, 2020 | all digital
Clash of Realities (Part II): June 2021 | in Cologne
youngacademics@clashofrealities.com ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­

Games Technology Summit 
Theme 2020: High Impact Trends in Games – AI in Natural User Interfaces

Call for Papers
AAA companies and indie devs alike harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and novel means of user interaction to facilitate game design & development and to provide for more intricate, authentic, entertaining, immersive and fun experiences. The available tools, established approaches, methods and gadgets in development are as broad as their application. With respect to AI perspectives develop from classical search and planning algorithms as well as generative algorithms towards utilising machine learning methods, simulation and optimisation. Even self-adapting, real-time capable systems are proactively utilised in the games industry. With respect to novel approaches of user interaction, especially the integration of multiple channels of communication (multi-modal approaches), for instance considering gestures and voice at the same time, have paved the road for natural user interfaces that diminish the cognitive load of designers, developers and, particularly, the players of next gen computer and video games. 

At the Games Technology Summit at the Clash of Realities 2020, we want to discuss how the successes in these fields are impacting the games industry (industry track) and which scientific, state-of-the-art ideas and approaches are being pursued (scientific track). We are especially interested in contributions targeting the intersection of these two fields of artificial intelligence and natural user interfaces.

For the industry track, selected speakers will be invited to give a presentation and to provide an extended abstract of their talk. For the scientific track, we invite academic paper submissions which will undergo a peer-review. The extended abstracts of the industry track and accepted papers of the scientific track will be published in the proceedings of the Games Technology Summit.

We are looking for original contributions that advance the state of the art in theories, technologies, methods, and knowledge towards the development of games. 
Concrete topics of interest for this year’s Games Technology Summit include but are not limited to:Multimodal User InterfacesNatural User InterfacesNovel Approaches to Interacting in Mixed Reality Intelligent User InterfacesPlayer Modeling and Affective ComputingIntelligent, Believable Non-Player Character ModelsAdaptive Games Artificial Intelligence for Game AnalyticsBig Data-driven Visual Analytics of GamesIntelligent Approaches to Testing Games Automated Game BalancingProcedural Content Generation for Game DesignFormatExtended abstracts for the industry track (invitation only) should fill 2 full pages.The scientific paper submissions for the scientific track (open invitation, peer-reviewed) should be between 5 to 10 pages.Please format your submission in accordance with Springer’s LNCS Templates: https://www.springer.com/gp/computer-science/lncs/conference-proceedings-guidelinesLaTeX2e Proceedings Templates (zip)Microsoft Word Proceedings Templates (zip) 
Please upload your submission at the EasyChair-site of the Games Technology Summit: 

Important Dates
Clash of Realities (Part I): November 18-19 | all digital
Paper Submission Deadline: March 1
Acceptance Notification: April 15
Camera-ready submission: May 15
Clash of Realities (Part II): June 2021 | in Cologne
Roland Klemke, Cologne Game Lab, Technische Hochschule Köln
Martin Lorber, Electronic Arts
Sebastian von Mammen, Games Engineering, Julius-Maximilians University, Würzburg ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­

The Clash of Realities Conference is co-organized by the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences and the University of Cologne.
Those responsible for the 2020 Clash of Realities concept and program layout are the Department for Media Culture and Theater of the University of Cologne; the Cologne Game Lab and the Institut für Medienforschung and Medienpädagogik of TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences; Human-Computer Interactions of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg; Electronic Arts and AG Games. ­ ­ ­ ­ ­