$127
pledged of $450,000 goal
5
backers
48days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, September 6 2018 7:48 PM UTC +00:00.

Erik J Schlicht, PhDBy Erik J Schlicht, PhD
First created
Erik J Schlicht, PhDBy Erik J Schlicht, PhD
First created
$127
pledged of $450,000 goal
5
backers
48days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, September 6 2018 7:48 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Gaming for Good

Cognitive deficits are a hallmark of many psychiatric disorders but they are difficult to evaluate outside the clinic.  This is because assessing a patient's cognitive state is currently done by the physician using psychometric inventories that are expensive in both time and money. 

This Gaming for Good effort seeks to develop computational games that can produce data useful for quantifying cognitive deficits outside the clinic.  The games will be designed by researchers with vast experience in developing games that quantify human perception-action cycles

The mobile games will be designed to be compelling, while producing data useful for diagnosing mental health conditions.  More specifically, performance in the gaming modules will be used as features to classify diagnostic codes of patients who play the game.  

Benefits:

  • Longitudinal measures: ability to evaluate patient outside of clinic
  • Provides insight into symptoms patient is unable/unwilling to verbally report
  • Quick/inexpensive measure of patient symptoms
  • Quantitatively rigorous measures of patient symptoms
  • Compelling to patient; fun to play
  • Ability to evaluate both children and adults
  • Simplistic but powerful games that are accessible to patient populations

Game Play

Game mechanics will be designed to produce data that is useful for deriving quantitative measures of each component of the perception-action cycle, while still being compelling to the player.

Example intro screen for carnival game
Example intro screen for carnival game

The proposed game theme will be a carnival game where the player needs to earn money working at the carnival to participate in the game areas:
  • Crowd area: This is where the player will earn money to play the carnival games.  This area is also where the perceptual gaming modules will be located and each of the ways in which the player can earn money will be a different perceptual gaming module.
  • Casino area:  After the player has earned enough money to play, they can enter the casino and make different wagers.  This is where the decision-making gaming modules will be located and each casino game is a different module.
  • Shooting gallery area: After the player has earned enough money to enter the gallery, they may participate in different shooting gallery games, which are each sensorimotor gaming modules.

NOTE: mock-ups are meant to reflect the game mechanics and NOT final game design; efforts will be made to combine each of the game modules into a coherent game with modules that are experienced throughout game play. Also note the these modules are NOT an exhaustive list of the gaming modules that will be present in the final game.

Perceptual Gaming Modules

  • High-level measures (e.g., emotional inference)
  • Low-level measures (e.g., attention)
Example of 'crowd-area' where players earn money (perceptual gaming modules)
Example of 'crowd-area' where players earn money (perceptual gaming modules)

Perceptual metric example: Distance in perceptual space (relative to normative)

Decision-Making Gaming Modules

  • Behavioral-economic measures (e.g., risk- and loss-aversion)
  • Implicit and explicit bias quantification
Example of 'casino area': players make wagers with money earned (decision-making gaming modules)
Example of 'casino area': players make wagers with money earned (decision-making gaming modules)

Decision metric example: softmax utility risk- and loss- aversion parameters

Sensorimotor Gaming Modules

  • Uncertainty-based measures
  • Value-based measures
Example of 'shooting-gallery area': players use money earned to pay for chance to win prizes (sensorimotor gaming modules)
Example of 'shooting-gallery area': players use money earned to pay for chance to win prizes (sensorimotor gaming modules)
Sensorimotor metric example: target selection relative to normative

Player Scoring and Payment

Scoring in the game is related to player performance in each module relative to normative (i.e., optimal) performance. Modules will be designed so that optimal performance can be derived and players will be scored with respect to efficiency relative to optimal.  Based on the player's performance in the game, they will earn prizes (i.e., bonus pay (in-real-life), game medals, and game carnival prizes).

NOTE: Player performance in the game will determine their bonus pay, in real-life. During the beta-testing and predictive evaluation stages of the project, patients will be paid for their participation as a means to recruit an adequate number of patient participants to the game.

Example 'Patient View' of final scoring screen
Example 'Patient View' of final scoring screen
Example 'Physician View' of patient's scores (after sharing)
Example 'Physician View' of patient's scores (after sharing)
Example of 'Physician Diagnostic Screen'
Example of 'Physician Diagnostic Screen'

Project Stages and Funding:

Proposed schedule and funding
Proposed schedule and funding
  • Design Phase (months 1 & 2): finalize modules to be used in game; create game storyboard; determine data storage, retrieval, and security protocols; define optimal performance and measures to be collected; determine predictive classification models to be used for diagnosis (based on data) .  Deliverable Due: monthly progress report.
  • Development Phase (months 3-14): Collaborate with game development firm to assure game is being developed in manner consistent with design.  Agile will be used for software development with iterative opportunities for feedback from design team.  Deliverable Due: monthly progress report.
  • Beta Testing Phase (months 15-20): Distribute game to design team and backers (Saint and Divine) for evaluation.   Feedback and bug fixes will be incorporated throughout this cycle of development. Deliverables Due: monthly progress report; beta-test game to Saint and Divine backers.
  • Predictive Evaluation Phase (months 16-24): Games will be distributed to clinical/academic collaborators to administer to patients who have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.  The data from gaming modules will be used as features to classify ICD codes of patients; several predictive methods/models will be compared. Deliverables Due: monthly progress report; final game to Saint and Divine backers; report on predictive performance provided to backers at the Divine level after 12 additional months.

Risks and challenges

1. Designing games to be accessible, useful and quick. It is imperative that these games be accessible to patients with cognitive deficits while still being useful for statistical classification. Moreover, classification requires that enough data be produced, while balancing the length in which the patient participates.

Solution: our game designers have vast experience designing similar modules that will serve to inform our design decisions during planning. The games will also be updated in an iterative manner to assure the data are useful and the game is as brief as possible.

2. Data security: since the data produced can be used to infer patient medical conditions, it is imperative that the data be secure and anonymous.

Solution: best-practices in data storage and retrieval security will be followed, in addition to assuring that data cannot be traced back to an individual.

3. Identifying large patient population: once the games are developed, we need to evaluate how well the measures produced classify underlying disorders. Therefore, patients with existing diagnoses must play the gaming modules to evaluate diagnostic performance.

Solution: we have identified academic partners and local mental health services that are willing to allow access to their patients to test our gaming modules.

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