vendredi 24 février 2017

Text mining with Calc & Excel: 1001 PCs in the Tomb of Horrors

Some simple LibreOffice Calc and Microsoft Excel calculations for metrics and text mining. Applied to 1001 PCs adventuring in the infamous Tomb of Horrors.
  • if a value in a row match a set of values stored in another row then write something
  • how many values of a specific variable 
  • how many combinations of values of multiple variables 
Download the examples for Calc or for Excel.

Disclaimer: Misuses of Excel in academic is common. Excel is easy to use but it cannot replace real statistical tools for big projects. 

Illustration: from the Tomb of Horrors module, 2nd ed., painted by Erol Otus, 1981.
« Please, don't let your data slip in the green devil mouth nor in the misty arch. »

mardi 21 février 2017

Teacher as Dungeon Master: Connected Learning, Democratic Classrooms, and Rolling for Initiative [chapter]

Garcia, Antero. “Teacher as Dungeon Master: Connected Learning, Democratic Classrooms, and Rolling for Initiative.” In The Role-Playing Society: Essays on the Cultural Influence of RPGs, edited by Andrew Byers and Francisco Crocco, 164–83. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2016.

The participatory culture (consumers archiving, annotating, appropriating and recirculating media contents) was theorized recently with Internet but it already existed strongly in the subculture of role-playing games. The phenomenons of transmedia and fan fictions too.

A connected learning is when a student pursues a personal interest or a passion with friends and caring parents, and in return are able to link this to academic achievement, career possibilities or civic engagement (source). Roleplaying games can offer a framework (with few to no technology) for this connected learning, a safe context in which the student can explore, imagine and create.

4 elements to take care by the teacher/Dungeon master:
- Rules can get in the way of engagement
- Relationships matter
- Learning should feel adventurous
- Know when to back off

"The responsability of the classroom Dungeon Masters is to do nothing less than instill feelings of intellectual curiosity and empowerment in the young adventurers as they set out to create change in the real world beyond the classroom." (p.177)

Me: Purely theoretical content. I would have liked some examples showing how to stimulate intellectual couriosity.

jeudi 16 février 2017

2nd Tabletop RPG Conference in Paris [call for papers]

« Engagement et résistances [Engagement and reluctances] » 

June 16-18, 2017, Université de Paris XIII.

One page submission paper (with a mini-biography or a character sheet of you from your favorite game] sent before March 31, 2017 at

Scientific board : Danièle André, Vincent Berry, Olivier Caïra, Pierre Cuvelier, Sébastien Célerin, Coralie David, Willy Favre, Julien Heylbroeck, Jérôme Larré, John Grümph, Isabelle Périer, Alban Quadrat, Olivier Servais, Frédéric Sintes, Vinciane Zabban.

Organizational comittee : Danièle André, Vincent Berry, Alban Quadrat.

Via Tartofrez

mardi 7 février 2017

Cognitive Processes in Counterfactual Thinking [chapter]

Byrne, Ruth M.J., and Vittorio Girotto. “Cognitive Processes in Counterfactual Thinking.” In Handbook of Imagination and Mental Simulation, edited by Keith D. Markman, William MP Klein, and Julie A. Suhr, 151–60. New York, NY: Psychology Press, 2012.

[my comments in brackets]

Thinking hypothetically for alternative possibilities is fundamental to reasoning and decision making [and so it is to RPG and CYOA]. Most people are biased on this process and tend to focus on :
- exceptional events rather than routine ones
- actions rather than inactions
- controllable rather than uncontrollable actions and events
- facts explicitly exposed on the foreground
- few possibilities rather than many possibilities
- illusory inferences (they forget there are false possibilities)
- self-made temporarily true things (known/supposed to be false)
[RPG are enforcing most of these bias for entertainment and narrative satisfaction]

* * *

Also, the context and the way people acquire information [the role] influence the understanding of counterfactual conditionals and the creation of counterfactual alternatives.

For example, there is a story about a choice of envelope containing a problem to solve, then about the problem to solve. The problem is too difficult: people are asked to imagine conterfactual possibilities that could have brought a more positive outcome.
- The readers of the story focused more on the choice (60%). Eg. "If she choosed another envelope..." because they have few informations on the context.
- The actors of that story (and the observers of actors) focused more on the problem solving (92% for actors and 80% for observers) Eg. "If I had more time", "If I had a pen",... because they have more informations on the context (timing, material conditions,...).
[having a role allow a lot of contextual information to be processed to produce more rich counterfactual possibilities]

vendredi 3 février 2017

Perezhivanie and the study of role-playing games [peer-reviewed article]

Schmit, W. L. (2016). Perezhivanie and the study of role-playing games. Culture & Psychology, 0(0), 1–17.
Theoretical article about the concept of perezhivanie. It’s a Russian word used as:
  • a live unforgettable and emotional experience which contributes to the development of a person’s personality.
  • a concept by Vygotsky : a framework to understand how personality is linked to some social environment dynamics. Unfortunately, I think the concept is blur, has multiple definitions, was poorly explained by Vygotsky himself but seemed to be very commented since (making it even more complex). [its my opinion]
The article applies the concept of perezhivanie to RPG and links it to the concepts of immersion (more immersion brings more feelings) and bleed (emotional transfer between character and player).