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With time, unpublished work accumulates at your feet.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 4.

I hacked in some sketches to represent each character: the PhD director (who also represents other colleagues), the reviewer and the scientist. There are a few things that simply don’t fit. That is, gameplay is not exactly entertaining… but that’s precisely what is nice about the ‘game in a week’ concept. If it doesn’t work, you haven’t lost a thing. And most probably you have learned something  useful. Anyway, I’ll try at least to add a start screen and make the whole thing playable before Day 7.

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!