What is the project about?

The Game Preservation System (GaPS) project will investigate and prototype technologies to support digital conservation of computer games, virtual worlds, and their component artefacts. Unlike existing archiving systems, the emphasis is placed on accessibility, indexing, and the use of meta-data to enhance the way in which users experience and interact with stored materials. We are interested in more than just an archive: we wish to initiate a technological framework within which users can interact directly with games and related artefacts, and quickly locate bodies of work, whilst archivers can effectively present and showcase their work.

Who is working on the project?

Dr Patrick Dickinson

Dr Grzegorz Cielniak

Mr Olivier Szymanezyk (Research Student)

Students: TBC

Why are we undertaking the project?

The School of Computer Science hosts students studying games development, and our immediate interest is to enable these students to conserve and present their work in a way which is not only accessible, but which actively helps them to build an indexed online portfolio. However, the technology has much wider potential applicability to the conservation and archiving of digital artefacts.

The conservation of games raises interesting long-term questions about how and why digital artefacts are conserved, and how we define our experience of virtual worlds. These questions have recently fallen under the attention of academics and practitioners alike, and this project forms a basis for a longer term study of this topic.

What will the project achieve?

The project will produce a prototype digital object conservation system which we will use for evaluation, and as an active test-bed for further technological work and user studies. The initial part of the project will focus on requirements of users (both those archiving work, and those accessing work), based partly on an analysis of systems such as ePrints, Pouet, The National Media Museum, and Totem. This will conclude with identification and prototyping of a technological infrastructure to facilitate conservation of specific object types (e.g. executable files) which enable seamless interactivity and usability. Implementation in a prototype form will be deployed on a standalone server hosted by SoCS.

When is the project taking place?

Summer 2012

What is the project cost?

Total project cost: £1,000. Funding received from LNCD.