Peer Review. EGP Day… er… Last Day.

Ok, it’s done. It looks like a storyboard, or a sketch or the shadow of a game. But I simply didn’t have more time to invest on it. It may sound like a joke… but I had to proof read my own thesis work this weekend! What an appropriate excuse!

Although I wanted to add a few more features, the game captures my own despair when dealing with writing and publishing a paper. And it sticks to the proposed theme: REJETION. Almost all details are meaningful!

Peer Review: Real as life itself.

The bearded guy on the left side represents your PhD director, your colleagues or your own brain, continuously creating new work for you. When your research is fruitful and you have something to show to the World, you write your paper (that’s obviously the act of writing in the game) and you send it to a journal or a conference.  The peer review process is usually blind, like our reviewer in the game. That  means that you are unaware of the identity of your reviewers. If the process is double-blind, they don’t know you either. At least, in theory.

When they read your paper you receive an email with their opinion and decision. If it has been accepted, you cry from happiness and keep working like a dog. But if they reject your paper…  It’s a little bit demoralizing. You assume their critics and either you correct the paper and send it back again or you send it to a new journal or conference if you think it is still a good work.

In the game, when a paper is not accepted the reviewer throws it back to you. On its way down, it may push other papers down… which represents how all your work is delayed in real life when something you think is good is rejected for reasons that are not always understandable.

With time, unpublished work accumulates at your feet. You may decide to give it a try and work on it again. Who knows, the next reviewer may find your work interesting! But most probably it will lay there until you quit and turn your attention to some less frustrating activities, like brushing your cat’s teeth.

It’s not exactly an experimental videogame. Let’s call it a digital and interactive tantrum!

Play it HERE.

Peer Review. EGP Day 3.

I changed how the player ‘writes’ new papers. Until now, he just moved the scientist sideways with ‘z’ and ‘x’ and blowed papers pressing space repeatidly. Now, the player has to lie his hands on the keyboard as if writing. The character is controlled with ‘a’ and ‘l’ (with the little fingers) and in order to send papers upwards he has to type furiously. Anything is good if you type fast enough.

Reviewers already review your papers (they say things like “It lacks important references”). When rejected, your work is thrown back to you. Thanks to papers colliding with each other, a rejected paper may push other papers downwards, which represents how a rejected paper may slow down all your research activity. Real as life!

Peer Review. EGP Day 2.

Not much today, I had little time to spend in front of the computer. I tweaked gameplay a little bit (mostly how papers react to different forces) and I added… two fearsome reviewers. They wander in the upper part of the screen, waiting for your papers. When one of them falls in their hands, they examine it thoroughly and emit their opinions and veredict.

Right now they ask you to rewrite certain parts… throwing the paper back to you. But they won’t be so nice in the future!

Peer Review. EGP Day 1.

Here I go. Not much time for words, though. Peer Review will be a metaphor of the publishing process of scientific papers in journals and conferences for the Experimental Gameplay project competition (theme: Rejection).  I’ll be using Unity3D, of course, as it will make workload much lighter.

You control the white cube, who is doing his PhD (he’s a scientist!). The white sphere is his PhD director, who throws new papers (black planes) at you from time to time. It’s your duty to write and publish them! How? Well, you can move sideways and blow. When you blow, papers are thrusted upwards (and that represents the writing process). If papers fall to the floor, you lose a possible publication!

Who will receive those papers? That will be answered in Day 2!

Peer Review: a metaphor about writing and publishing scientific papers.