Multimedia Technologies and Serious Games

Serious Games approach, Multimedia Communications Lab - KOM, TU Darmstadt, 2012

Serious Games are defined as '.. software applications developed with game technology and game design principles for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment'.

A slightly different definition provide Dörner, Göbel, Effelsberg and Wiemeyer in their textbook on "Serious Games - Foundations, Concepts and Practice (2016)":
'A serious game is a digital game that was created with the intention to entertain and to achieve at least one additional goal (e.g., learning or health). These additional goals are named characterizing goals.'

The Serious Games group at KOM follows this approach and elaborates - in an interdisciplinary context - methods and concepts how to combine game technology and game concepts with information and communication technologies (e.g. sensor technology) and other domain-specific concepts for its use in a broad range of application domains. Hereby, the focus is set on educational settings (digital educational games, collaborative training) and games for health (personalised exergames, cognitive training, urban health games).

Research Focus

The overall aim is to elaborate a reference model for Serious Games resulting in a metadata format to describe Serious Games and to build the ground for a Serious Games portal (information center) as well as a quality label for Serious Games in a long-term perspective. Research topics and challenges are settled around the following three pillars: 

  • Authoring: Effective development and production of Serious Games, authoring process and authoring tools, support for non-programmers, (re-use of) game patterns and interaction templates, cross-platform publishing, procedural content generation.
  • Control: Personalisation and Adaptation, player models, game balancing (single and multiplayer scenarios), game mastering (concepts and tools).
  • Evaluation: Measurement of effects and affects, gaming (and learning) analytics, sensing/context detection, sensor-based measurement of physiological parameters.


In the course of the WTT Serious Games project, the Serious Games group offers two services:

  • Serious Games Information Center - implemented as web portal. for free
    Serious Games provider (developers) can describe their games for marketing purposes.
    User and potential customers can search for appropriated games matching their needs in particular Serious Games application fields such as educational games, training and simulation, health games, social awareness games, etc.
    The semantic basis for the SG-IC builds the Serious Games Metadata Format (DIN SPEC 91380).
  • Serious Games map with stakeholders in the Serious Games market. for free
    Developers, publisher, researchers and users of Serioius Games can enter their contact information within the map.
    Hence, networking among the Serious Games community is supported.

Stefan Göbel as head of the Serious Games group contributes in the following associations and activities - finally with the overall aim to push forward the Serious Games field, both in industry and academia:

  • GameDays - Science meets Business event since 2005. Originator and permanent host.
  • Joint Conference on Serious Games, Steering Board member
  • German association on Computer Science, Entertainment Computing, FG EntCom
  • game association "game - Verband der deutschen Games-Branche", working group on Serious Games.
  • gamearea Hessen, advisory board
  • Information and Cooperation Forum for Geodata (InGeoForum), network coordination and Topic "Geo & Games"